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Bank of England and Bank for International Settlements Establish Innovation Hub in London



The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the Bank of England (BoE) revealed on June 11, 2021, that they’ve introduced the BIS Innovation Hub London Centre, which is notably the fourth Innovation Hub Centre to have been launched in the last couple years.

The BIS and its partners are taking a “leading role” in coordinating the work of reserve banks on tech innovation in the financial industry to pave the way forward for the “future of central banking,” Agustin Carstens, GM at BIS, noted.

This new Centre in London “reflects the Bank of England’s critical role as an innovator in responding to the challenges and opportunities of the digital world while safeguarding financial stability,” Carstens added.

Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, stated:

“As a central bank, we recognize the importance of innovation for the global financial system and look to support its safe deployment wherever possible. This requires collaboration between public authorities in all jurisdictions, and the BIS Innovation Hub is an important global initiative for achieving this.”

This launch is part of a plan “to expand the global reach of the BIS Innovation Hub, which also includes the opening of Centres with the Bank of Canada (Toronto), the European Central Bank/Eurosystem (Frankfurt and Paris) and the four Nordic central banks (Danmarks Nationalbank, the Central Bank of Iceland, the Central Bank of Norway and Sveriges Riksbank) in Stockholm.”

In January 2021, the BIS “signed a memorandum of understanding for a strategic collaboration with the Federal Reserve System (New York).”

Benoît Cœuré, Head of the BIS Innovation Hub, noted that he’s pleased to welcome the next phase of the BIS Innovation Hub’s expansion with “the establishment of the new Centre with the Bank of England in London, where there is such a strong nexus of technology and finance.”

Through this collaboration, the BIS Innovation Hub will “continue to develop key public goods that address financial sector issues of importance to central banks,” Cœuré said.

The BIS Innovation Hub’s work program is focused on the use of tech innovation in supervision and regulation (suptech and regtech); updated financial market infrastructures; central bank digital currencies or CBDCs; open finance; cybersecurity; and “green finance.”

Work related to these themes is “distributed across the various Hub Centres,” the release noted.

The United Kingdom is well-known for continuously pushing the boundaries of digital finance so it’s “great to have the new Innovation Hub opening here,” Rishi Sunak, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer said while noting that its work will “help central banks to support safe innovation, and boost our efforts to capture the extraordinary potential of technology.”

A virtual or online seminar on the launch was “held today at 09:30 BST/10:30 CEST.” Further details can be accessed here.

Speakers included:

Bank of England: Andrew Bailey, Victoria Cleland, Jon Cunliffe and Dave Ramsden
Bank for International Settlements: Agustín Carstens and Benoît Cœuré
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

External panel members:

Katharine Braddick – HM Treasury, Sujata Bhatia – Monzo, Ann Cairns – MasterCard

The BIS Innovation Hub was formed in 2019 by the BIS “to identify and develop in-depth insights into critical trends in financial technology of relevance to central banks, to explore the development of public goods to enhance the functioning of the global financial system, and to serve as a focal point for a network of central bank experts on innovation.”

BIS Innovation Hub Centres are now in place in Hong Kong SAR with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Singapore with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Switzerland with the Swiss National Bank.

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Newsletter: GoDaddy’s startup pick + WSJ’s miracle material



  • Startup of the Week: GoDaddy bets on Tailor Brands
  • Wall Street Journal: Gallium nitride is “the future”
  • The Startup Nation’s startup government
  • Entangled Networks: Quantum computing for all?
  • BlueGreen named Breakthrough Technology Company of the Year
  • DouxMatok’s low-sugar sugar’s sweet spot on Netflix’s ‘Explained’
  • Sweetch raises $20M for app that helps boost health outcomes
  • Superpedestrian acquires Navmatic to enhance e-scooter safety
  • Microsoft picks MagniLearn for education initiative
  • DarioHealth chosen for remote patient monitoring in Alabama
  • Edgybees brings video imagery to 911 call centers
  • Introductions
  • More than 2,700 high-tech jobs worldwide

Startup of the Week:
GoDaddy bets on Tailor Brands. Meet the CEO.

Join us on Sunday to meet the CEO of Tailor Brands, a fast-growing startup backed by GoDaddy and other top-drawer investors, as noted in TechCrunch. New businesses need to establish an online presence quickly and efficiently, with clear branding and an engaging website. Tailor Brands is tailor-made for these small new companies, with automated tools that help turn an idea into a fully functioning business ready for the first customer. “GoDaddy is empowering everyday entrepreneurs around the world by providing all of the help and tools to succeed online,” says Andrew Morbitzer, vice president of corporate development at GoDaddy. “We are excited to invest in Tailor Brands — and its team — as we believe in their vision. Their platform truly helps entrepreneurs start their business quickly and easily with AI-powered logo design and branding services.” The world’s first AI-powered logo design and branding platform, Tailor Brands makes it simple to create a unique online brand identity with no design experience and get up and running in minutes. The company has already enabled more than 28 million people in over 120 countries to kick start and scale their businesses online. The company is currently adding 8 million new users each year and its ARR is growing at an impressive 105% CAGR over three years, on track to reach $24M by the end of 2021 and projected to reach $50M in 2022. The total addressable market of small startup businesses is estimated at nearly $125B. The company is raising a $50M Series C at a $150M pre-money valuation. The round is led by strategic investor GoDaddy with participation from OurCrowd and existing investors Pitango Growth, Mangrove Capital Partners, Armat Group, Disruptive VC, and serial entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt. We’re hosting a webinar/conference call on Sunday, July 25th, at 7PM Israel/ 12PM New York/ 9AM San Francisco for investors to meet CEO and Co-founder Yali Saar and learn more (if you cannot attend, register and we will send you the video).

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Wall Street Journal: Gallium nitride is “the future”

The Wall Street Journal this week hailed gallium nitride as a “miracle material” that is “taking over in many of the places that silicon once reigned supreme.” This is why we are backing VisIC, a world leader in commercializing high-performance power transistors made from this versatile substance. Gallium nitride, according to the Journal, is “shrinking phone chargers, powering up electric cars, and making 5G possible,” thereby “transforming our increasingly electrified world.” A global Top-5 carmaker has chosen VisIC for its new electric vehicles; it has a PoC with one of the world’s leading electric car companies; and the innovation of arm of Continental AG, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of vehicle parts, has chosen to base its electric vehicle output on gallium nitride technology. Learn more about VisIC, the future of electric cars.

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The Startup Nation’s startup government

With the formation of Israel’s new government, we are witnessing the coming of age of Israel’s entrepreneurial class as its members assume the leadership of the country. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, President Yitzhak Herzog and many other prominent Israeli politicians including Nir Barkat, Ehud Barak and Izhar Shay have experience as entrepreneurs or investors in high tech. This tech takeover of Israel’s government is a signal to the rest of the country’s entrepreneurial community to step up and lead. Tech has long been the engine of Israel’s economy, now it must become driver and navigator. In 1932, David Ben-Gurion (above, opposite a young Bennett) exhorted the laborers of the Zionist movement to seize the leadership of the future Jewish State and transform themselves “From Class to Nation.” The time has come for today’s entrepreneurs to step up and transform themselves “From Ecosystem to Nation.” Read more in my latest ‘Investors on the Frontlines’ column.

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Entangled Networks: Quantum computing for all?

In theory, a quantum computer could reduce the time for complex calculations from years to “seconds,” according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. But the large quantum machines that could solve complicated problems, develop new materials and transmit hacker-proof data, are too fragile to build. They require very cold temperatures and an isolated, noiseless environment to function. “Each component you add starts making noise, interfering with other components,” Aharon Brodutch, CEO of OurCrowd portfolio company Entangled Networks, tells Sara Toth Stub in The Times of Israel. “It’s incredibly hard to grow and grow and keep the noise down. This is what is basically preventing quantum computers from becoming huge in the very near future. How do you take these fancy science toy projects and scale them up to the point that they can solve problems that are basically unimaginable for classical computers? You have to go above being a science toy, and this is the solution we are providing.”

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BlueGreen named Breakthrough Technology Company of the Year

OurCrowd portfolio company BlueGreen Water Technologies was named Breakthrough Technology Company of the Year in the annual Global Water Awards sponsored by DuPont. In the past year, BlueGreen has attracted explosive international interest in its innovative solutions to the global epidemic of toxic cyanobacteria, undertaking major projects for cleaning extensive water bodies in China, South Africa and the USA. “BlueGreen’s solution presents a huge leap forward from the traditional practice of using massive volumes of chemicals to manage cyanobacteria,” says the Award citation. “Its floating, time-releasing products are naturally propelled by winds and currents, selectively eliminating toxic algae while rehabilitating the aquatic ecosystem, and the company further employs its satellite-based capabilities to detect and analyze bloom outbreaks in near real-time all over the world.”

Top Tech News

DouxMatok’s low-sugar sugar’s sweet spot on Netflix’s ‘Explained’

Incredo Sugar, the sweetener from OurCrowd foodtech startup DouxMatok, had its close-up moment in the opening episode of Season 3 of Vox’s Explained on Netflix, Israel Hayom reports. “More than ever, overconsumption of sugar is a huge problem, in Israel and the world,” says Eran Baniel, founding partner of DouxMatok.

Sweetch raises $20M for app that helps boost health outcomes

Sweetch raised $20M in a Series A round led by Entreé Capital with participation from Noaber, Kortex Ventures, Insurtech VC, Fin TLV Ventures and existing investors Philips, OurCrowd and Qure Ventures, TechCrunch reports. Sweetch’s app improves users’ engagement with their own health and fitness plans, using AI to analyze “lifeprint” data picked up through a smartphone and delivering messages to when they are more likely to elicit a response and in a “tone” that encourages compliance. In that regard, a trial at the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network involving 55 adults with prediabetes over the course of three months showed that 47 of the participants finished the trial, and on average, they increased their physical activity by an average of 2.8 MET-hours (they may have actually exercised for shorter periods, but their intensity was the equivalent of 2.8 hours of work), and lost about 1.6 kilograms.

Superpedestrian acquires Navmatic to enhance e-scooter safety

OurCrowd electric scooter operator Superpedestrian has acquired Navmatic, a startup that helps micromobility operators locate vehicles and correct their movements in real time, TechCrunch reports. Applying Navmatic’s Super Fusion technology, Superpdedestrian launched Pedestrian Defense, which can detect unsafe riding behaviors — like riding the wrong way down a one-way street, aggressively swerving, sidewalk riding or repeated hard braking — and either notify the rider or correct the rider’s behavior in real time by slowing or stopping the scooter. Riders receive a safety rating at the end of the ride that is used to deliver customized safety training, to incentivize good behavior via discounts or to blacklist chronically unsafe riders.

Microsoft picks MagniLearn for education initiative
MagniLearn, an EdTech company incubated at OurCrowd’s Labs 0/2 and founded by artificial intelligence researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been selected by Microsoft Israel in its AI for Good Acceleration Program as the most promising startup in the field, Israel Hayom reports. MagniLearn has concluded deals with public and private school networks in Israel, Korea and Japan. It uses algorithms for smart learning, focusing on teaching English as a foreign language in schools. It can teach any subject that is verbal and topic-based. “We were impressed by MagniLearn’s use of AI and Natural Language Processing to personalize lessons for students according to their personal level and needs. That’s one more example of how AI can change the world for the better,” says Raz Bachar, Israel & Global Industry Lead at Microsoft for Startups.

DarioHealth chosen for remote patient monitoring in Alabama
OurCrowd Qure HealthTech company DarioHealth was selected as a digital health provider by Alabama Regional Medical Services to provide remote patient monitoring, Seeking Alpha reports. The Alabama health service is using Dario’s Remote Patient monitoring to improve the management of hypertension across a diverse patient population, including large numbers of underserved and uninsured patients.

Edgybees brings video imagery to 911 call centers
Public safety technology company Carbyne announced its integration with OurCrowd portfolio company Edgybees, a provider of high-precision, geo-registration software for aerial video that improves response time, accuracy, and communications for first responders during emergencies. The partnership brings video imagery to 911 call centers, public safety decision makers, and first responders in real-time through drone footage, enabling them to assess situations and efficiently respond based on precise video of the area in crisis. “Technological advancements in emergency response, such as the incorporation of real-time video or even drone capabilities, are streamlining mission-critical operations like never before. Carbyne is eager to partner with Edgybees to elevate our platform’s accuracy, improve life-saving measures, and achieve unprecedented location precision in the face of danger or disaster,” says Erez Tsur, President and COO of Carbyne.


Your portfolio gets stronger when the OurCrowd network gets involved. Visit our Introductions page to see which of our companies are looking for connections that you may be able to help with.

More than 1,200 High-Tech Jobs

Read the OurCrowd High-Tech Jobs Index Q1 2021 here.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, there are hundreds of open positions at our global portfolio companies. See some opportunities below:

Search and filter through Portfolio Jobs to find your next challenge.

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Payments Fintech Banking Circle Chooses European Firm SIA to Provide Instant Payments



Banking Circle, the Payments Bank for the digital economy, has chosen SIA, an established European hi-tech firm in payment services and infrastructures, controlled by CDP Equity, in order to introduce its instant payments service in Europe “connecting to the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) service of the Eurosystem.”

As stated in the announcement:

“Thanks to SIAnet, the ultra-fast fiber optic network infrastructure, Banking Circle enables European financial institutions and corporates to execute instant payments in less than 10 seconds with a maximum amount currently set at 100,000 euros per individual transaction, 24/7, all year long, in line with the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer scheme of the European Payments Council (EPC).”

The partnership with SIA will also enable Banking Circle clients to take advantage of the concession granted by the European Central Bank to SIA and Colt as Network Service Providers for ESMIG (Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway).

The announcement further noted:

“Beyond TIPS, SIAnet enables all the key organizations in the European financial system to access also the platform for the settlement of large-value payments TARGET2, the securities settlement platform TARGET2-Securities (T2S), the Eurosystem Collateral Management System (ECMS), and possibly other new services and applications.”

The high-speed, secure and low-latency network infrastructure SIAnet is developed to address the requirements of instant payments “in terms of security, reliability and performance and it represents a single access channel to the main national and international payment platforms, also including EBA Clearing’s pan-European real-time payment system RT1.”

Michael Boel, Head of Local Clearing, Banking Circle, remarked:

“Banking Circle is making cross border payments faster and more cost effective for Banks and Payments businesses, in turn enhancing the service they provide to their customers. Instant Payments is a crucial part of this and we are delighted that our partnership with SIA enables us to connect to the TIPS platform via our cloud solution.”

Michael added that they believe that being the first bank to use SIA’s network and Cloud integration options “sends a clear message that [they] are committed to getting as close as possible to central banks, Automated Clearing Houses and Clearing and Settlement Mechanisms.”

He further noted that through the partnership with SIA, Banking Circle will “deliver Instant Payments at the lowest cost possible and at the highest level of stability for our clients, and their customers.”

Cristina Astore, SIA’s Northwest Europe and DACH Region Sales Director, stated:

“Thanks to the perfect integration of our network with the major public cloud providers on the market, the new digital payment service was up and running in just a few months and is now available for all current and future Banking Circle customers.”

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Cross-Border Payments Fintech Thunes Acquires Limonitek, a European Payment Service Platform



Cross-border payments Fintech Thunes revealed earlier this week that it acquired Limonetik, a European Payment Methods Platform.

The latest acquisition by Thunes should complement the Fintech firm’s existing cross-border payments solutions by enabling companies or businesses to get paid in 70 different countries, using more than 285 local payment methods, including mobile wallets, payment by instalments (BNPL), QR code payments, and various other options. The solution will be called Thunes Collections.

As noted in a release, Limonetik is one of the “earliest” developers of an alternative payment methods platform that is “suitable for international merchants and marketplaces.” And like Thunes, the company closely works with different payment service providers (PSPs) and financial institutions.

Handling over EUR 2 billion a year, Limonetik is “trusted” by more than 14,000 merchants, marketplaces and Fintech players – which includes Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Veepee, CMA – CGM, Worldline – Ingenico, ACI, Amadeus and Natixis.

Established in Paris in 2007, Limonetik is led by CEO & co-founder Christophe Bourbier, a well-known entrepreneur and payment space professional. Today, Limonetik “counts 50 employees who will become Thunesters.”

As noted in the announcement:

“Rapid growth in cross-border e-commerce trade has made it essential for global sellers to accept payments in locally preferred methods. There are over 400 alternative payment methods, and this diversity brings integration complexity and back-office costs that Limonetik’s offering resolves with a single API integration. We believe collecting funds globally should be easy regardless of customer location.”

By joining the Thunes payment and collection networks, companies and their clients are able to send payments to – and get paid in – “even the hardest-to-reach corners of the world.” With a single, simple connection, Thunes provides fast, transparent, and affordable payments and will now also “enable more flexible ways to collect funds.”

Peter De Caluwe, CEO of Thunes, stated:

“Thunes is recognised for our far-reaching global network and brilliantly simple payments solution. We are excited to further strengthen our offering with a global collections capability made possible through the acquisition of Limonetik. We welcome the Limonetik team to Thunes, and as one, we look forward to offering a single end-to-end payment solution that connects every corner of the world and makes the global economy accessible to all.”

Christophe Bourbier, founder of Limonetik, added:

“Limonetik has been driving the transformation of collections with its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model, while Thunes possesses a powerful global payments network. We are incredibly excited to extend our combined payments and collections solutions across the world.”

Thunes is also introducing a new brand identity, which includes a new logo and website “to better reflect its well-established market position and expanding service offerings.”

These changes have come around 4 years after Thunes’ launch and the firm’s diversification and scaling of its business while expanding its international footprint.

In May 2021, Thunes secured $60 million through a Series B growth round led by global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, bringing the firm’s total funding to $130 million in just 2 years. Insight Partners’ support “enables Thunes to speed up investment in its operations, product and technology.”

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France: Real Estate Crowdfunding Gains Momentum in First Half of Year



Real estate crowdfunding. one of the most popular sectors of online capital formation is picking up pace in France, according to research by Fundimmo.

While 2020 was a challenging year for all platforms, everywhere, 2021 is on track of a solid year of gains for real estate platforms.

The report states that during the first half 0f 2021, €408.1 million was raised on property platforms. During the same period in 2019, €184 million was raised so more than double (122% increase).

Correspondingly, amounts returned to investors increased as well going from €76.6 million in 2020 to €114.2 million in 2021.

The average amount financed per project in H1 2021 was €872,074 versus  €803,570 a year prior.

The authors state that the increase in the size of projects is indicative of larger projects being financed.

Out of the 468 projects financed in the first half of the year residential dominated with 76.6% of the volume.

The average investment per individual stood at €2,888 – so fairly small. Investors received, on average, a return of 9.2%.

Fundimmo surveyed 40 different platforms but notes that this sector of Fintech is largely dominated by three individual platforms – including Fundimmo, which represents half of the volume.

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