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Berkshire Hathaway invests $500m in Nubank



Berkshire Hathaway is pumping $500 million into Brazilian digital banking behemoth Nubank as part of a $750 million Series G funding round extension at a $30 billion valuation.

The new funding tops up a January $400 million Series G at a $25 billion valuation for Nubank, the world’s most valuable digital lender.

Since a $400 million Series F in July 2019, the company’s customer base has grown from 12 million to 40 million people, with more than 45,000 signups a day.

The firm has developed from a core credit card product offering to a complete digital banking platform with a vast portfolio that includes personal lending; life insurance, which in three months reached 100,000 contracts; products for micro entrepreneurs; and instant payment services — Nubank accounts for about a quarter of all Pix transfers in the country.

While Brazil dominates the customer base, Nubank has won 1.5 million customers in Mexico in just over a year and has 300,000 Colombians signed up to a waiting list.

The new funding will be used to continue this international expansion and to make a concerted push into the investment sector through the recently acquired Easynvest platform.

The investment will also help Nubank attract global talent, such as the recent hires of Matt Swann, formerly of Amazon and Booking, as CTO and Arturo Nuñez, formerly of Apple and Nike, as chief marketing officer.

David Vélez, CEO, Nubank, says: “Around 50% of the population in Latin America still does not have a bank account. Credit card penetration is, on average, 21%, while in the United States this number is over 70%. This new funding will help us to keep democratizing access to financial services across the region.”

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London’s DNA Payments Group Enters £100M Deal with Alchemy Partners



London-based DNA Payments Group, the fast-growing “vertically integrated” payments firm, has entered a £100 million deal with Alchemy Partners (Alchemy).

With an operations based hub in Kent, DNA presently serves more than 45,000 merchants including established online and offline retailers to SMEs, offering them with  70,000+ terminals which make “over 20 million transactions worth over £600m a month.”

As mentioned in a release, DNA is one of just a few players in the United Kingdom and Europe with fully Cloud enabled omni-channel payment processing capabilities, and also “provides a variety of SaaS and PaaS solutions to major global acquirers and payment schemes.”

The investment by Alchemy “sees DNA well positioned to benefit from the strong market opportunity, with the UK beginning to see signs of a recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” the announcement noted.

Arif Babayev and Nurlan Zhagiparov, the founders of DNA, stated:

“Alchemy’s investment marks a historic day for DNA and is a huge endorsement of our company and our technology. We have been looking for the right partner with the right ethos, vision and experience and we are lucky to have found this partnership with Alchemy.”

The past year has been quite challenging for businesses, and at DNA they have been “fully dedicated to helping [their] customers manage through the pandemic,” the firm’s management noted while adding that during the last few months DNA has expanded its digital commerce solutions and payment methods, “providing merchants with Pay by Link, Checkout v3, ApplePay, Pay by Bank, PayPal, Open Banking and many other new capabilities.”

As noted in the update:

“This transaction will allow us to accelerate our growth, helping more merchants accept payments quickly and easily, both in-store and online. Our technology and vertical integration give us an unparalleled advantage in servicing our partners and customers, but also provide a great foundation for bolt-on acquisitions.”

This investment will allow us to further improve our product offering and continue with our business strategy of making key acquisitions to grow our presence “not only in the UK but also internationally,” the firm’s management added while pointing out that they have “more than doubled [their] estate size and turnover in the past 18 months.”

Toby Westcott, Partner at Alchemy Partners, remarked:

“We are delighted to be partnering with DNA. Alchemy is always looking for opportunities to partner with talented business founders and uncover attractive investments that others may not be able to access.”

Wescott also mentioned:

“We are focused on helping companies grow and develop, and having worked closely with both Arif and Nurlan during this extraordinary period caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, it was clear that DNA and Alchemy’s goals, missions and values were closely aligned. Merchants’ increasing need for omni-channel payments solutions combined with the strength of DNA’s product proposition creates a compelling investment opportunity and we are excited to join DNA on its journey to build a leading payments business in the UK and expand into Europe.”

DNA Payments was advised by Proskauer, Houlihan Lokey and EY and Alchemy was advised by Macfarlanes and PwC on this transaction.

Launched in 1997, Alchemy aims to target key opportunities across Europe to team up with and work with management teams, assisting them with creating value by addressing problems, helping “take difficult decisions and driving through change.”

Since introducing its services, Alchemy has finalized more than 190 transactions, investing  £4 billion+ into firms and organizations based in 14 different countries.

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Global Payments Fintech Fiserv Appoints Wafaa Mamilli as Tech Risk Committee Board Member



Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, revealed on Friday (June 11, 2021) that it has decided to appoint Wafaa Mamilli to its Board of Directors. Wafaa will reportedly be serving on the Technology Risk Committee of the Board.

Wafaa has served as Chief Information and Digital Officer of Zoetis Inc. and a member of the executive team since January of last year. While working at Zoetis, the global animal health firm, Wafaa was leading global tech, digital, analytics, and cybersecurity teams powering business innovation, growth, and customer experiences.

Wafaa has also been tasked with supporting the firm’s digital and data analytic strategies and solutions that promote better animal care and customer businesses.

She joined Zoetis from Eli Lilly and Company, where she spent over 20 years in various leadership roles such as Global Business Units CIO. Wafaa also worked as Eli Lilly’s very first Chief Information Security Officer. She was responsible for leading strategy and execution to secure digital products, devices, manufacturing systems, and information.

Denis O’Leary, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Fiserv, stated:

“Wafaa brings the insights of a deep technology background to our board, which will inform our focus on innovation and the creation of superior value for clients and shareholders. Her expertise and perspective on cybersecurity and the use of digital and data are particularly relevant in navigating today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape.”

Wafaa received her Master’s degree in Computer Science from INSEA in Rabat, Morocco, and also a Master’s degree in Business Applications of Information and Technology from Université Rennes in Rennes, France.

She possesses a General Management Certificate from the London Business School and has also completed the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management program.

As covered in March 2021, Fiserv had entered an agreement with Pittsburgh’s Fintech Pineapple Payments. The terms of the deal had not been shared publicly.

Established in 2016, Pineapple Payments offers payments processing services, proprietary tech along with omni-channel payment acceptance services for integrated software providers and SMBs. The Fintech company serves over 25,000 merchants.

Frank Bisignano, President and Chief Executive at Fiserv, noted earlier this year that with Pineapple Payments currently serving as a key distribution partner of Fiserv, they intend to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to many different merchant clients.

Bisignano added that together, they will aim to offer omni-channel payments tech and related services to enable merchants to “maximize the potential” of digital payment processing. He added that they’re looking forward to welcoming Pineapple Payments to the Fiserv team and continuing to provide services that merchants and their clients require.

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Crown Agents Bank appoints Fintech Head, Chief Commercial Officer as Part of Expansion 



Crown Agents Bank, a UK-regulated provider of wholesale foreign exchange and cross-border payments services has appointed a new Head of Fintech and Chief Commercial Officer.

According to a statement from the company, David Mountain has joined the bank as Executive Vice President (EVP) and Head of Fintech – a new role for the firm. Joe Hurley has been selected by the bank as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).

Crown says the new appointments come following a “transformational” 18-month period for the bank, with the launch of new digital financial services and 65% year on year growth in the business.

Mountain will be responsible for M&A and strategy, as well as the use of strategic technology. He previously launched Accucard, an online credit card business that was sold to Lloyds TSB, and is a board member of US-based Fintech ProducePay.

Hurley joins Crown Agents Bank to build the bank’s strategic client coverage and business development. He was previously Senior Vice President and member of the Management Committee at Discover Financial Services, working on M&As and investment in Fintech companies like Marqeta.

CEO of Crown Agents Bank, Bhairav Trivedi, commented on the new appointments:

“My vision for the bank very much involves being a first-mover on developing and offering our clients cutting edge technologies that give them an advantage over their competitors. David’s and Joe’s expertise in the finance sector and their impressive network, built up over years of being at the forefront of the fintech scene, place them in the perfect roles for driving forward Crown Agents Bank’s technology-first strategy.  Particularly in emerging and frontier markets, digital services are a priority, and through David’s and Joe’s leadership, we will continue to achieve – and accelerate – our growth in delivering tech-driven, market-relevant solutions to these often-underserved regions.”

Crown also noted that Steven Marshall will move from Chief Commercial Officer to undertake a newly created strategic role of Chief Product and Network Officer.

Crown Agents Bank is authorized and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Specializing in emerging markets, Crown provides FX, trade finance, payments, and deposits.

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B4B Payments, a Global Prepaid Payments Firm, to Leverage Digital Infrastructure from Banking Circle



B4B Payments, a multinational prepaid payments provider, has chosen Banking Circle to offer  payments infrastructure to support its corporate banking services.

Offering prepaid solutions to businesses for over 15 years, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved B4B Payments enables companies to effectively manage their finances, which helps with greatly simplifying payroll, reimbursements, and also provides worker rewards and special incentives.

As a key player in Fintech and prepaid business payments and voted the Best Prepaid Product of the Year in 2019, the new partnership with Banking Circle should allow B4B Payments to provide innovative, flexible, and time-saving services that streamline and eliminate outdated finance and accounting processes. At first, Banking Circle will be offering virtual IBAN accounts for B4B customers along with safeguarding services.

Banking Circle Virtual IBAN offers financial service providers like B4B the option to issue virtual IBANs in their clients’ names in a manner that regular banks would not facilitate because of the associated risk and the limitations of legacy systems. It’s a real game-changer for the payments marketplace, the announcement noted.

The vision or goal of the two companies’ collaboration includes leveraging Banking Circle’s multi-currency accounts, SEPA and SWIFT transactions products and foreign exchange (FX) features. By making payments “feel local,” Banking Circle will aim to remove the requirement for B4B to maintain a physical presence in every country in which its clients operate, yet still be able to provide payment costs that are comparable to those of local banks.

Paul Swinton, CEO and Co-founder at B4B CEO, stated:

“Banking Circle is changing the dynamics of the global payments ecosystem. It is doing the heavy lifting for businesses like ours by establishing a super-correspondent banking network that will deliver fast and cost-effective solutions for our clients. We therefore see our partnership as integral to our ambitious development plans.”

Anders la Cour, Co-founder and CEO at Banking Circle remarked:

“The diverse customer base of B4B requires flexibility and adaptability to serve their needs and we are delighted to be able to provide payments infrastructure to underpin that service. Our mission at Banking Circle is to tackle the legacy of high cost and slow international payments and B4B is another business that has seen the value we can add to their proposition.”

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