The Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) recently revealed that it will be migrating its online services to the Microsoft Cloud in order to move forward with its digital transformation strategy.
The move to Microsoft Cloud comes after the Middle Eastern nation’s Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) teamed up with Microsoft in 2019. The migration to the new Cloud services should offer significant benefits such as improved scalability, enhanced productivity, lower costs, and better security. This should help with meeting relevant regulatory and compliance requirements.
Eisa Ahmed Abdulla, COO at QFCRA, stated that, at the QFCRA, they’re focused on following the applicable international regulatory guidelines while adhering to industry best practices. This approach should help with maintaining “a healthy financial environment that encourages economic diversification and sustainable growth, a vital pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030,” Abdulla added.
He further noted that by migrating the organization’s IT infrastructure to the Microsoft Cloud, they’ll be able to meet their digital transformation objectives, while scaling their services in a secure manner. This should ensure “the soundness and stability of Qatar’s financial landscape,” Abdulla said.
The QFCRA confirmed that it will deploy its existing and new critical business applications to Microsoft Azure. This should allow the organization to operate in a flexible manner, while building solutions at scale and ensuring security, compliance, privacy, and transparency.
Lana Khalaf, Country Manager at Microsoft Qatar, remarked:
“We are excited to partner with QFCRA to support their digital transformation journey by enabling them to migrate to the trusted, scalable and intelligent Microsoft Cloud. This will empower them to securely scale with agility, accelerate innovation, as well as optimize costs, while ensuring to meet the local policies and regulations within the financial services industry.”
The MoTC had partnered with Microsoft in 2019 in order to work on Qatar’s digital transformation roadmap. The nation’s government had decided to use Microsoft Azure as its Cloud platform to meet its objective. Microsoft has also set up a data centre region in the country.
The Microsoft Cloud solution will go live at some point next year.
As reported recently, Mastercard partnered with Qatar Development Bank to support the ongoing development of the nation’s Fintech sector.
As covered, Qatar is supporting Fintech development with sustainable solar energy initiatives. Local firms are also using blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) to streamline operations. Qatar was recently ranked high on “ease of doing business,” as the country develops Fintech friendly policies and launches a regulatory sandbox.
This Is a $103 Billion Profit Opportunity
Investors in private startups pocketed a fortune last quarter…
According to a report released last week, they took home $103.9 billion.
That’s a record high — and as you’re about to learn, those profits are expected to keep flowing.
So today, I’ll show you why this is happening…
And then I’ll share two easy ways to get in on the action yourself.
How Private Investors Make Profits
Before I tell you how to take advantage of this profit window, let me back up for a moment…
Let me explain how investors in private startups make money.
Startup investors make money when a company they invested in has an “exit.” These exits happen in two main ways:
- When a startup gets acquired by a bigger company in an M&A transaction, or
- When the startup goes public in an IPO.
And as it turns out, Q3 of 2020 was a record-setting quarter for these exits…
A Record-Setting Quarter for Private Investors
The first half of the year was a disaster…
The coronavirus put a halt to everything, including exits.
But Q3 brought a massive uptick in activity.
For example, as you can see in the chart below (courtesy of PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor), exit value increased 292.5% versus Q3 2019.
That was the 2nd-highest quarterly total in PitchBook’s historical dataset, just behind Q2 2019.
What do all these exits mean for their investors?
They mean huge windfalls of profits!
(FYI, even when you factor in the winners and the losers, over the past 20 years, these exits have returned an average of 55% per year. At 55% per year, in 20 years, you could turn a tiny $500 investment into more than $3.2 million.)
Just six months ago, this sort of exit activity seemed impossible.
So what happened?
The 3 Reasons Behind These Profits
This burst of exit activity is due to three main reasons.
New Sectors Soaring: Covid-19 has given a boost not just to biotech, but to industries like Fintech, Edtech, and Telemedicine. The way we work, learn, and receive healthcare are changing — and innovative startups leading the charge are becoming valuable very quickly.
Macro Environment: Low interest rates and a booming stock market are giving investors confidence that innovative startups will command high prices as public companies.
SPACs: As noted earlier, M&A and IPOs are the two main ways that startups exit. But recently, a third way has gained in popularity: a “special purpose acquisition company,” or SPAC.
In Q3, public listings drove the spike in exits — IPOs like Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW), Asana (NYSE: ASAN), and Unity (NYSE: U).
The things is, as PitchBook explained, the strong performance of these stocks in the public markets will “likely drive more IPO” activity…
And for startup investors, it’ll drive more profits.
So — are you in?
Two Easy Ways to Get Started
Crowdability offers a multitude of free resources to make sure you see current startup deals that are available for investment…
And to make sure you know what to do once you find a deal you’re interested in.
For starters, look at our weekly “Deals” email. We send this out every Monday at 11am EST, and it contains a handful of new startup deals for you to explore.
Second, check out our free white papers like “Tips from the Pros.” These easy-to-read reports will teach you how to separate the good deals from the bad.
The profit window is now open — take advantage of it!
UK Fintech Modulr Reveals that its Dublin based Entity Is Now Licensed as EMI by Central Bank of Ireland
UK-based Modulr, a Payments as a Service API Platform for digital businesses, has revealed that its Dublin-based entity is now licensed as an electronic money institution (EMI) by the Central Bank of Ireland.
The Modulr team noted:
“This is an important step in enabling our European arm to provide efficient, scalable and reliable payment services to customers across the European Union.
As explained in a release, the European division of Modulr has been established to offer services to customers based in the European Union (EU). Modulr is focused on driving instant payments “expertise” into the Eurozone, in order to improve how wholesale and commercial payments are processed.
The Fintech firm provides payments infrastructure that’s used by established companies such as Sage, Revolut, Mode and Iwoca.
As stated in the announcement:
“Following strong business growth in the UK over the past four years, the newly granted EMI license will enable [Modulr] to offer [various] payments products, including its award-winning payments platform, through its powerful API to EU markets.”
Modulr also brings its expertise of real-time payments to SEPA Instant, which is the Euro’s instant payments scheme. As noted in the release, Modulr’s experience with Faster Payments will help it “unlock the potential” of the new scheme by offering convenient access for European software firms, merchants, and specialist banks.
The announcement also mentioned that the “true” potential of a digital API-based alternative to commercial payments will “rely upon an agile and efficient ‘behind the scenes’ payments process, which has historically been inaccessible and unaffordable to SMEs and enterprise alike.” As explained by the Modulr team, this information “comes from soon to be published research commissioned by Modulr, which reveals contemporary insight … into the hard cost of payment processes [and] the hidden impact on customer experience as well.”
Myles Stephenson, CEO at Modulr, stated:
“The opportunity for a digital alternative to commercial and wholesale transaction banking is significant as software businesses across multiple industry sectors are identifying the need to deliver new functionality and efficiencies to their customers by embedding payments in customer journeys. We plan to build a truly digital, frictionless payments infrastructure for software platform partners to provide new payment experiences to more than 500m people.”
Stephenson believes that his team has the experience and expertise in digital payments and API integration needed to offer key services to European businesses that are interested in streamlining how they make, receive and manage payments.
John Irwin, General Manager, Modulr Europe, remarked:
“Our digital platform and experience can transform the payments business. For too long, European payments have relied on the same technologies.”
Modulr has reportedly moved more than £40bn for clients such as Sage, Revolut, and Paxport through its platform which has “an uptime of 99.999%.”
Modulr offers this scale, reliability, and quality of service by investing in its own financial access and “achieving principal and direct access to critical payments.”
In September 2020, Modulr became the principal issuing member of Mastercard. The company had said that it would be offering more seamless digital payments solutions.
American Express and Coupa to Expand Partnership to Bring Virtual Card Payments to US Markets
According to a release, the American Express virtual Card payment option within Coupa Pay is now available globally, allowing companies to pay “smarter and simpler.”
Coupa (NASDAQ: COUP) and American Express had teamed up last year in order to provide better payment options. The release noted that they’re now ready to take their partnership to the “next level” as US-based customers now have the option to use American Express virtual Cards as a payment method with Coupa’s business-to-business (B2B) payments platform, called Coupa Pay.
As confirmed in the announcement, American Express virtual Cards are currently available in the UK and Australia. These payment options aim to effectively replace “outdated, complex, and inefficient payment processes” for businesses across the globe.
Customers are able to streamline how they pay their suppliers for all spend that’s directed or processed through the Coupa Business Spend Management (BSM) Platform.
The announcement further noted:
“As many companies continue to accommodate largely remote workforces for the foreseeable future, the expansion into the US continues to help meet the demand of customers who need a virtual way to pay suppliers and ensure their business continues to be operational.”
JR Robertson, vice president of Coupa Pay at Coupa, said that the pandemic has led to “widespread work from home policies,” which means that fragmented and manual business payment processes are not a legitimate alternative in a post COVID world.
“With Coupa Pay, Coupa and American Express are making it easier for our joint U.S. customers to thrive in this challenging environment by empowering them to pay using virtual Card technology.”
Trina Dutta, vice president and general manager of B2B Payments Automation, Global Commercial Services at American Express, remarked:
“By integrating American Express virtual Card capabilities into the unified buyer and supplier experience of Coupa’s … BSM platform, we’re addressing our customers’ need to digitize payments and thereby (potentially) becoming more essential to their operational needs.”
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