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Aquiline closes fintech fund on over $2bn, says coronavirus disruption presents ‘compelling’ investment opportunity




Fintech-focused investment house Aquiline Capital Partners has smashed the target for its latest private equity fundraise by collecting more than $2bn for a final close of the vehicle.

The firm was initially hoping to pick up $1.5bn for Aquiline Financial Services Fund IV

Aquiline chairman and CEO Jeff Greenberg said, “Today’s dynamic market conditions are creating significant disruptions across financial services, technology and healthcare that we believe will present compelling investment opportunities for us.

“We look forward to building on the global momentum we have established and continuing to serve as a trusted partner to our portfolio companies through our industry expertise, operating capabilities and technology know-how.”

Aquiline’s strategy sees it invest in businesses in the key industries of the global financial services sector: financial technology, insurance, investment management, business services, credit and healthcare.

The firm has tapped the fund three times already, backing CoAdvantage, Ontellus, and Elm Street Technology.

Aquiline, which was launched in 2005, collected more than $1.1bn for the final close of its third fund in 2016, having initially targeted $1bn.

Copyright © 2020 AltAssets



Royal Bank of Scotland’s Tyl Contactless Payment Service Reports Solid Uptake




The future of payments is in contactless payments and the transition away from physical cash has been boosted by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is reporting its contactless payment service Tyl is generating solid uptake in Scotland during the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to RBS, 69% of businesses registering for Tyl are adopting card payments for the first time.  RBS contrasts this number to 53% for the rest of the UK.

RBS says these numbers “suggest a quickening in the rate of businesses now accepting card payments.”

According to the bank, prior to April 1st, just 26% of Tyl customers in Scotland were new to card payments, compared with this most recent data post lockdown. This also aligns with the rise in a 190% increase in searches on Google for the term “contactless payments.”

In Scotland, the government’s route map will see the hospitality sector, museums, libraries, and hairdressers open from July 15th. Hairdressing salons, bars, and restaurants, along with dentists and mechanics are sectors the team at Tyl are seeing contacting them and coming on board in numbers as the businesses anticipate the rise in people looking to pay for services through contactless methods.

RBS has waived terminal fees for Tyl until the end of 2020 thus encouraging rapid adoption.

Mike Elliff, CEO, Tyl said the ability to accept contactless payments is proving to be a vital tool for the economy to reopen following the lockdown:

“Meeting customer and staff safety concerns and government guidelines coupled with the rise in e-commerce has presented themselves as key challenges for business during the pandemic and the current trends look here to stay. The introduction of Tyl to customers across the UK is a key part of our commitment to supporting business during this time. We hope that through next day settlement, 24 hour onboarding and smart data-led insights, Tyl can provide businesses with the tools they need to help them manage and grow their business and be on the front foot as we look towards the future.”


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Square Announces Acquisition of Operations Management Platform Stitch Labs




Payments platform Square recently announced it has acquired Stitch Labs, an operations management platform for growing commerce brands. The acquisition comes less than a month after Square acquired Spain-based P2P payments app, Verse.  Founded in 2011, Stitch Labs describes itself as the leading operations management platform for modern, high-growth brands.

“Purpose-built for today’s modern multichannel brands, Stitch helps brands optimize their two most important assets: people and inventory. Our platform focuses on empowering the operations team to align with marketing, sales, and finance to execute on big ideas, quickly.”

Stich also revealed it offers advanced capabilities in five key areas of a brand’s business: inventory management, order management, purchasing, fulfillment, and reporting and financials, as well as a full suite of consultative services by our in-house experts to help drive the business forward. Square further stated that while Stitch Labs won’t take on any new customers, its products will continue to operate for existing customers until Spring 2021. Square added:

“Longer term, we plan to sunset Stitch Labs’s products so the team can focus on building out Square tools, and we’ll work with existing customers to ensure that they have the resources and options they need to be successful transitioning off the platform.”


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Fintech in Need of Finance? Report States COVID-19 May Necessitate £825 Million in New Financing




A new report indicates that COVID-19 has hit UK Fintechs hard as this sector of finance may need to raise £825 million for these firms to make it beyond the global pandemic. According to KPMG‘s Fintech Focus report, annual losses for Fintech startups are hovering around £1.5 billion. The Fintech sector is estimated to be worth $48.5 billion and continues to generate encouraging returns on paper yet.

There have been many reports outlining the concern that COVID will harm the entire entrepreneurial sector of the economy and a generation of innovative firms may be impacted. In the UK, emerging Fintechs are an important sector of innovation and strategically important to the UK’s economy – long a top global financial center.

As well, there is a concern regarding valuations and the potential for down rounds in the Fintech sector. While more established Fintechs may find support from existing investors younger firms that represent greater risk may struggle to find the growth capital they need.

Janine Hirt, Chief Operating Officer at Innovate Finance is quoted in the report explaining:

“Like most sectors of the economy, UK Fintech will face some key challenges as a direct result of COVID-19, including a significant funding gap. We need to collaborate as an ecosystem to address these challenges and protect the increased access, transparency, and inclusion that Fintech has brought to our financial services sector over the past decade.

The UK is known around the world for its leadership in financial innovation, and Fintech has a vital role to play in society as our economy recovers and the digitisation of our lives accelerates. This report highlights how important it is for investors and entrepreneurs to work together to ensure the continued democratisation and transformation of financial services.”

KPMG’s report states that the estimated median internal rate of return (IRR) on paper for first-round investors in Fintechs, is around 71%. The report points to Paytech as an example that claims a median IRR of 98%, exemplifying the rising demand for Fintechs offering payments processing and open banking solutions.

The document adds that just 6% of Fintechs are breaking even with 84%, the vast majority, losing money at an increasing rate due in part to the Coronavirus. KPMG estimates that about half of early-stage Fintechs had less than 18 months of runway going into the health crisis. The report also highlights that female founders are also, for the second year running, outperforming the industry average, with only 22% of female-led Fintechs entering COVID-19 with less than 18 months of runway, around half of the representative percentage for the sector as a whole.

Anton Ruddenklau, Global Co-Head, KPMG Fintech says that COVID-19 is “sharpening the minds of the entire Fintech ecosystem:”

“For the Fintech firms that are truly transformative with their business models, the path to profitability at scale is still likely to be 10 years plus, and for these firms to remain competitive they will need to be systemically important. Nonetheless, patient capital must be found, and now more than ever institutional investors need investment data to support their participation.”

Anton added that it is encouraging to see that the picture is still positive for female founders. Last year KPMG found that UK Fintechs with a female founder or co-founder typically achieved 113% higher returns on paper for investors. This year, female founders make up 4 of the top 20 Fintechs with the highest IRRs as of their latest funding round.

Liam Gray, Head of Fintech programme, TechNation said raising funding is always a difficult process, even for some of the most promising Fintechs, and the crisis has exacerbated the problem.

“Not only has capital become more challenging to raise, many that do raise have been forced to accept lower valuations. That being said, raising capital – even at a lower valuation – is still a great achievement in this climate.”

Fintech Focus 2020 UK


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