European FinTech deals this week include in3, Insurely, Encompass, Xempus, Lunar, +Simple, ClearBank and Lendable
We feature Q&As with Harald Axelius of Billender and Cynthia Nadal of SeedX Liechtenstein
7 Questions with Harald Axelius of Billender
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
Billender is the first buy now-pay later solution for paying bills. You simply snap a pic, you can pay any bill in seconds with a variety of flexible payment options. Billender simplifies payment of bills while giving the user a better overview of their personal finance. With services like Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay etc, consumers today are used to having access to all types of payment options, including flexible credits any time they want to purchase something. Billender applies the same model for paying bills. Before I started Billender, I was involved as an angel investor, chairman of the board and many other different roles at Savelend, Sweden’s largest peer-to-peer platform. I have a Master of Laws (LLM) but always worked in tech. I currently reside in Stockholm, Sweden and Marbella, Spain with my girlfriend Jenny. When I’m not working I enjoy taking 20 minute meditation naps with noise cancellation earphones or watching Youtube videos about the construction of different “mega projects” around the world.
7 Questions with Cynthia Nadal of SeedX Liechtenstein
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
My name is Cynthia, I am a Partner at Seed X Liechtenstein. I am an operator turned investor and I have previously worked with different accelerators including Techstars, King’s College and Founders Factory in London. Prior to being an investor I have worked for 11+ years at the fintech unicorn Markit (Now IHS markit, being bought by S&P). I learned there everything I know about great product development, corporate innovation and the hurdles of fast growth (IPO on the NASDAQ in 2014 at $5bn valuation, merger with IHS in 2016, now worth more than $40bn).
Work-wise I like connecting the dots and people, understanding the big problems needing solving and who we can learn from. Having the right network also helps to support founders in their growth.
Some of my spare time is also spent on tech boards that I sit on, and supporting female entrepreneurs across Europe.
Dutch BNPL Fintech in3 Secures $11.1M, Enters Deal with Payments Firm Worldline
Dutch Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Fintech in3 has secured $11.1 million in capital and entered a deal with payments company Worldline in order to bring its products and services to more merchants.
In3 was launched back in 2018 by a professional team that had reportedly been a part of the early BNPL trend in the 2010s. It enables clients to make payments for products over three manageable installments within 60 days with 0% interest and without requiring any credit registration.
The company’s management noted that revenue has surged 300% YoY since the firm launched operations, with partner merchants like Kwik Fit, EP, La Souris, Matt sleeps and Dekbed-Discounter all signed up.
Via the collaboration with Worldline, in3 will offer a tech stack that will enable online and offline merchants, who are part of the Worldline network, to provide BNPL services.
And the $11.1 capital injection from Finch Capital will reportedly be used to build out the tech stack and engage in key hiring across the business.
Swedish fintech Insurely claims €19M
Developer of an insurance tracking platform built to keep track of insurance policies. The company’s platform retrieves all existing insurances automatically and keeps track of the covers provided and payments made while also showing and comparing other available partner insurances, enabling insurance companies to get more customers and be more transparent with them.
Encompass Raises $33M in Funding
Encompass, a London, UK-based provider of intelligently automated Know Your Customer (KYC) solutions, raised $33M in funding.
The round was led by Perennial Partners, with participation from Serendipity Capital, Seven Seat Capital, Microequities Asset Management, Alan McIntyre, Tim Frost, and Ray Scott.
The company intends to use the funds to accelerate its growth globally, which has included office openings and extensive recruitment in New York and Amsterdam, and ongoing product innovation and development, undertaken from three main engineering centers in Sydney, Belgrade, and Glasgow.
Launched in 2012 by Roger Carson, Encompass transforms regulatory compliance and customer onboarding with Know Your Customer (KYC) automation. As a global leader in automated KYC due diligence worldwide, the company serves global banks and financial institutions to streamline their KYC process and comply with regulations and requirements. Encompass serves customers across the globe with offices in Amsterdam, Belgrade, Glasgow, London, New York, Singapore and Sydney.
Xempus digitizes your pension – and gets 63 million in return
The insurtech Xempus has completed its Series D. In the financing round, the Munich-based company received fresh capital in the amount of the equivalent of 63 million euros (70 million dollars). The majority of this comes from Goldman Sachs Asset Management – the US investment bank has often invested in German tech companies, including the fintech Elinvar, the IT startup Leanix or the savings portal Raisin.
In addition to the lead investor, the existing shareholders, led by HPE Growth and Cinco Capital, have participated “substantially” in the round, according to the company. The new funds are intended to promote internationalisation and the expansion of product categories.
Xempus builds digital products for company pensions. With the so-called “Xempus Manager”, the Munich-based Insurtech is aimed at employers who can digitally offer their employees the pension scheme for self-closure. This should save effort, time and costs, according to Xempus.
With “My Xempus”, employees can adjust their pension provision and get an overview of the current status of their retirement provision from retirement. In addition to the statutory pension, the dashboard shows, for example, the monthly supplementary pension from the pension plan.
Scandinavian Fintech Lunar collects 70 million euros
Neobank is building a complete range of financial services. In addition: Xpeng launches electric sedan in Europe and trade in NFTs increased by 21,000 percent in 2021.
Lunar, a Scandinavian digital banking platform, has announced a €70 million Series D funding round. According to “Techcrunch”, the cloud-based fintech based in Copenhagen thus achieves a valuation of two billion US dollars. Lunar is also launching a crypto trading platform and B2B payments for its small and medium-sized business customers. The latest investment is an expansion of the Series D, which had a first deal of 210 million euros in July last year. The round – led by Heartland with participation from Kinnevik, Tencent and IDC Ventures – will now close with €280 million.
In the last year, Lunar’s customer base has grown by more than 90 percent. With the fresh money, the company wants to expand further. Lunar is building a complete financial services offering: in April 2021, it acquired Swedish consumer credit and peer-to-peer savings platform Lendify to strengthen its position in Scandinavia.
French startup +Simple scores €90 million for its insurtech solution
Founded in 2015, +Simple, has scored €90 million and acquired three European companies to grow its insurtech offering. The funding round was led by global investment firm KKR and saw the participation of +Simple’s founders and existing investors, including Eurazeo, Speedinvest and Tikehau Capital.
The French platform operates as an insurance Robo-Broker for freelancers, small and medium businesses. The tech behind the platform generates tailor-made and competitive insurance packages, based on a simple questionnaire. The firm was founded by Eric Mignot (Chairman), Anthony Jouannau (CEO) and Salah Hamida (Deputy CEO and CTO) with the aim to create a one-stop shop for professional insurance needs.
Eric Mignot commented: “KKR’s expertise in the insurance sector globally and track record in growth investing makes them ideally placed to support our development. Our ability to raise debt from a player such as Tikehau reflects confidence in our strategy to generate strong growth and profitability.”
UK’s clearing bank now eyes European expansion, swipes off £175 million funding
Next-generation clearing and embedded banking platform in the UK, ClearBank has raised a £175 million equity investment. The round was led by funds advised by Apax Digital, the growth equity arm of private equity advisory firm Apax, and saw the participation of existing investors such as CFFI UK Ventures (Barbados) and PPF Financial Holdings.
The platform created some news in 2017 when it became the first new clearing bank in the UK in 250 years. Now, with the additional capital, it is setting sights on international expansion.
The investment will drive ClearBank’s ambition to power banking services for both financial institutions and non-financial brands, using its single API cloud-native embedded banking platform. It will also drive the company’s global expansion, initially in Europe before moving into North America and Asia Pacific.
Founded by Nick Ogden in 2016, who was also the founder of WorldPay, which was later on acquired by Fidelity, the clearing bank has a portfolio of 13 million accounts and £3 billion held in balances at the Bank of England. The UK banking rails provider serves over 200 financial institutions and fintech customers, including Tide, Coinbase, Chip and Oaknorth Bank.
Lendable Raises GBP 210M in Funding At Valuation in Excess of GBP 3.5 Billion
Lendable, a London, UK-based AI-powered consumer finance platform, raised GBP210M in funding at a valuation in excess of GBP 3.5 Billion.
The round was led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’), through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP).
The company intends to use the funds to accelerate international growth and expand operations and development efforts.
Founded in 2014 and led by CEO Martin Kissinger, Lendable is an AI-powered consumer finance platform that connects global institutional investors with borrowers across all major products (loans, credit cards, car finance). The company applies AI and automation to enhance underwriting, and offer customers better rates, transparency and service, while offering institutional investors ranging from global banks to family offices access to the asset class.
JPMorgan to buy Irish fintech firm Global Shares
March 15 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said on Tuesday it would buy Global Shares, an Irish fintech firm whose software helps businesses manage employee stock plans.
The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, was expected to close in the second half of this year.
Founded in 2005, Global Shares manages nearly $200 billion in assets and its cloud-based platform is used by more than 600 clients.
The U.S. bank plans to integrate the company into its asset and wealth management business, according to a statement. Global Shares will remain headquartered in Cork, Ireland.
FT Partners’ Long-Term Client PPRO Acquires Alpha Fintech
PPRO, the provider of virtual payments infrastructure, announced the acquisition of Alpha Fintech, a next-gen payments tech firm. The deal will reportedly “expand PPRO’s offering, strengthen its presence and networks in Asia Pacific (APAC), and allow it to deliver products and services faster to its customers.”
Alpha Fintech’s Cloud-powered platform “allows for the seamless integration of digital payments products and services, from payment processing and merchant management to risk management, fraud prevention, and data analytics.”
The APAC-focused firm has served a key role in “accelerating the growth of banks, fintech enterprises, and payment service providers, including New Zealand’s BNZ and Southeast Asia’s super-app Grab.”
By adding Alpha’s platform to its infrastructure, PPRO is now poised “to offer a plug-and-play orchestration layer that will let its customers integrate products and services faster and at scale.” Clients may look forward to more global payment flows, “the ability to integrate third-party applications, stronger compliance and risk capabilities, and deeper data insights.”
Visa Closes Acquisition of Tink
Visa (NYSE: V) completed its acquisition of Tink, a Stockholm, Sweden-based open banking platform that enables financial institutions, fintechs and merchants to build financial products and services and move money.
The amount of the deal was 1.8 billion Euros, inclusive of cash and retention incentives.
The transaction was announced in June 2021.
Founded in 2012 in Stockholm and led by Daniel Kjellén, CEO, Tink provides an API that enables its customers to move money, access aggregated financial data, and use smart financial services such as risk insights and account verification. Tink is integrated with more than 3,400 banks and financial institutions, reaching millions of bank customers across Europe. Its 500 employees serve more than 300 banks and fintechs in 18 European markets, out of offices in 13 countries.
With the transaction complete, the combination of Visa and Tink is expected to enable clients to deliver benefits for consumers to control their financial experiences, including managing their money, financial data and financial goals. Businesses large and small will also have access to more customized range of tools to operate digitally and securely, whether initiating payments, reconciling bank statements and accounts or enabling alternative financing.
In the near-term, Tink will operate as a standalone subsidiary of Visa. Kjellén and the existing management team will continue to lead the organization.
Finleap co-founders raise over €100m for new “embedded” fintech VC fund
The fund, called embedded/capital, was founded this year by Ramin Niroumand and Michael Hock, who set up finleap, a Berlin-based fintech business that offers SaaS solutions to enterprises and builds stand-alone fintech companies.
A Berlin-based VC fund focused on the “next generation” of fintech founders has raised over €100m to invest in startups “embedding” financial services in their business models.
The VC fund, called embedded/capital, was founded this year by Ramin Niroumand and Michael Hock, who set up Finleap, a Berlin-based fintech business that offers SaaS solutions to enterprises and helps build fintech companies.
Embedded/capital’s fund focuses on founders who are “embedding” financial services in their offerings, particularly at pre-seed and seed stages with initial investments of up to €4m.
The fund has raised money from institutional investors, entrepreneurs and founders.
Along with capital support, embedded/capital says it can help fintech founders by drawing on a “strong network” of European financial service providers.
Furthermore, it said it also works with key institutional players, unicorn founders, and global investors to support ventures.
Niroumand said: “We continue doing what we love most: Helping founders in the most critical stages to succeed.
“The Berlin fintech ecosystem has made incredible progress over the last few years, and it’s exciting that the new generation of fintechs can build on the platforms created.
CommerzVentures Closes €300M Third Fund
CommerzVentures, a Frankfurt, Germany-based specialist fintech investor, closed its third fund, at €300m.
The fund, which saw Commerzbank return as the sole LP, brings their combined total fund size to €550m.
Led by partners Heiko Schwender and Paul Morgenthaler, the vehicle will go towards supporting early and growth-stage companies in the fintech and insurtech sectors, as well as the emerging Climate FinTech space.
The third fund follows on from their first €100m fund, launched in 2014, and their second €150m fund in 2019, as well as investments in 28 companies to date. Continuing their strategy of targeting founder teams with the ambition to solve billion dollar problems, CommerzVentures continue to invest with a global outlook, focusing on Europe, Israel and the USA.
The launch of Fund III will see the firm grow their headcount by 50%, enabling them to strengthen their position in fintech globally, and establish a foothold in new geographies, notably Africa. This follows CommerzVentures’ recent participation in MFS Africa’s $100m Series C and desire to support founders in the region’s vibrant fintech market.
The firm has already backed unicorns such as Bought By Many, Mambu, eToro and Marqeta and has a strong presence within Climate FinTech, with recent investments including ClimateView and Doconomy. Other notable investments within fintech and insurtech include Afilio, ByMiles, GetSafe and iwoca. Portfolio company Marqeta IPOed on Nasdaq, while Curv and Payworks were acquired by Paypal and Visa, respectively.
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