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Domestic payments organisations increase systemic innovation in wake of pandemic

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Domestic payments organisations increase systemic innovation in wake of pandemic

The Domestic Payments Schemes Jury today releases its 2021 report titled: “To Survive or Thrive? Domestic Payments Innovation in the Pandemic” revealing that while many domestic payment organisations had to make some adjustments to their innovation programmes due to the pandemic, 36% reported that the pandemic had ultimately led to an increase in their innovation activities.

Undertaken in collaboration with World Bank and European Card Payments Association (ECPA) the Domestic Payments Schemes Jury is made up of 48 C-level executives from 40 countries representing a rich tapestry of national payment schemes and operators. The 2021 report, the sixth in a series spanning eight years, explores the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic payment organisations; from the rapid surge in usage and their responses, to the acceleration in innovation and the evolution of the regulatory landscape.

“In the face of unprecedented digital evolution in the last year the ubiquitous role of the domestic payments organisation has significantly changed. As card schemes, telcos, social media platforms and fintechs vie for market share, domestic payments organisations have to strike a balance between standing on their own two feet commercially while bringing their diverse national payments communities together,” Chairman of the Jury, John Chaplin, commented.

“This year’s Domestic Payments Schemes Jury has concluded that the best strategic response for domestic payments organisations in the wake of the pandemic is a programme of systemic innovation that delivers value-added services beyond their traditional card payments, and at the same time demonstrably supports public policy goals,” continued Chaplin.

Download the full report from www.innovationjury.com

Key findings:

  • Despite steep declines in transaction volumes at the outset of the pandemic – nearly half (48%) of the Jury reported declines of more than 25% – 89% reported significant or full recovery of transaction volumes, helped in large part by the development and roll out of digital capabilities.

  • While 52% of respondents had to make some adjustments to their innovation activities due to the pandemic, most reported that their programs remained largely intact and 36% reported that the pandemic had ultimately led to a further increase in their innovation activities.

  • Supporting mobile and app-based services remains the biggest innovation priority for domestic payment systems (90%) with real-time account to account payments, enhancements to card services – such as QR codes – and digital identity all equally popular among the Jury (70%).

  • The study showed that domestic payments organizations were well positioned to facilitate Covid relief programs in different markets, with the Jury reporting that two thirds of respondents (70%) were provided emergency support to government efforts to either contain the pandemic and/or manage the adverse effects on the economy.

  • Diversification away from a single form factor and business model remains at the forefront of many domestic card payments organizations’ minds, with digital identity proving a popular option according to report contributor and industry stalwart David Birch.

  • As market structures evolve regulators are facing increasingly challenging policy choices as new real-time services are introduced with a need to balance operating efficiency with competition and innovation. A such, the 2021 report also explores the role of regulators as domestic payments organizations increasingly move beyond purely supplying services to banks and expand to include fintechs, telcos and retailers, among others.

  • The 2021 report also shows that many domestic payments organizations are becoming more international in their strategies, with nearly half (44%) now conducting activity in more than one country compared to 27% in 2015

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Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/domestic-payments-organisations-increase-systemic-innovation-in-wake-of-pandemic/

Fintech

Dorothy is a startup that offers faster cash post-disaster

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When disaster strikes, costs pile up quickly. Flood waters can wipe out the foundation of a home or building, just as much as wildfires can burn down the walls or the entire structure. For residents and business owners, rebuilding and rebuilding quickly is crucial: they ultimately need some place to live and offer services, and they often can’t afford to be shut out for extended periods of time.

Of course, the need for speed among consumers hits the brick wall that is the insurance industry and government’s timeline for dispersing post-disaster insurance claims and aid. It’s not uncommon for federal aid to take months or even years to arrive, and insurance companies can often take months as well to process claims, particularly after large disasters like hurricanes where thousands of claims arrive simultaneously.

Dorothy is a startup that is aiming to bridge the gap by offering, well, gap loans to users who already have existing private insurance or federal flood insurance policies. The idea is to extend cash as quickly as possible after qualification, and then Dorothy gets paid back when a claim is later processed. Much like other advance cash startups in other sectors, Dorothy takes a fee based on the size of the loan.

The company’s underwriting model assesses the likelihood that a claim will be approved given the details of a particular disaster and the user’s insurance policy.

Arianna Armelli and Claudio Angrigiani founded the company last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, naming it for the character from the Wizard of Oz who repeatedly said “there’s no place like home.” They met each other in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and explored different ways to solve the challenges of disaster finance.

Armelli, for her part, had experienced these challenges firsthand in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. She was an architect, and her office in Manhattan had to be evacuated. She returned a few days later, but over time, realized that many of her friends still couldn’t return to their homes even weeks after the hurricane had passed. She volunteered with recovery efforts, and I “went house to house in the Rockaways to remove drywall from their basements,” she said.

She continued her career, spending nearly six years as an architect and urban planner, and that training drove some of her early ideas about how to improve post-disaster recovery. “I thought the answer to these problems was designing better infrastructure and long-term sustainable solutions with planning,” she said. “After six years in planning, [I] realized these were 40-year projects.”

After meeting Angrigiani, the two explored ways to make the insurance system better for end users. They began by investigating how better flood data could help insurance companies underwrite better policies and process claims faster. They realized over time though that the insurance industry was quite sclerotic, and that a third-party provider of better flood predictive data wasn’t going to have a large impact on outcomes.

As COVID bared down on the world, they then explored business interruption insurance. Using their technology for disaster prediction, they saw an opportunity to offer “a financial supplementary product for businesses,” essentially a “credit line product that is offered to commercial business owners similar to a credit card,” Armelli said. That idea eventually morphed into the company’s current product offering targeting property owners, both businesses and individuals, with the same sort of gap loan to solve immediate cash-flow problems.

Dorothy participated in the latest cohort of Urban-X and closed a pre-seed round this past February. The company has raised a $250,000 debt facility to further test out its gap loan product, and it has 25 qualified customers in its pipeline. It’s early days, but an interesting new bet on how to make insurance actually useful when people face some of the toughest moments of their lives.

It’s just one of a new crop of startups that are building new offerings in a world increasingly filled with massive disasters.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/18/dorothy-is-a-startup-that-offers-faster-cash-post-disaster/

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Fintech

Finary wants to create the wealth management dashboard for the next generation

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Meet Finary, a new French startup that wants to change how you manage your savings, investments, mortgage, real estate assets and cryptocurrencies. The company lets you aggregate all your accounts across various banks and financial institutions so that you can track your wealth comprehensively over time.

After attending Y Combinator, the startup has just closed a $2.7 million (€2.2 million) seed round led by Speedinvest with Kima Ventures and angel investors, such as Raphaël Vullierme also participating.

If you know people who have a ton of money, chances are they tend to be at least 40 or 50 years old — you don’t become rich overnight after all. And they tend to manage their investment portfolio through a wealth management service with tailor-made services.

“There’s very little tech in wealth management. Advisors are also incentivized to sell you some financial products in particular,” co-founder and CEO Mounir Laggoune told me. In that situation, the company in charge of the financial product is generating revenue for the advisor — not the client.

At the same time, a new generation of investors is starting to accumulate a lot of wealth. And yet, they don’t have the right tools to allocate it properly. Younger people want to see information directly. They want a way to track information in real-time, or near real-time. And they want to be able to take some actions based on that data.

Finary wants to build that service based on those principles. It starts with an API-based aggregator. When you create a Finary account, you can connect it with all your other accounts — bank accounts, brokerage accounts, mortgage and real estate, gold, cryptocurrencies, etc.

The startup leverages various open banking APIs to be as exhaustive as possible. For instance, “you can connect a Robinhood account and a Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne account,” Laggoune said. Behind the scenes, Finary uses Plaid and Budget Insight, runs its own bitcoin and Ethereum nodes to track wallet addresses, estimates the value of your home through public data and a proprietary algorithm.

After that, you can see how much money you have, how it is divided between your investment pools, the current value of your gold and cryptocurrency assets and more.

“Our long-term vision is that we want to build a virtual wealth manager for Europe,” Laggoune said.

That’s why Finary recently launched its premium subscription called Finary+. With a premium account, you can see how much you’re paying in fees and track your performance — more features will get added over time.

A few months after launching its platform, Finary already tracks €2 billion in assets across thousands of users. With today’s funding round, the startup will roll out its service to more countries and more financial institutions in France, Europe and the U.S. The company is also working on mobile apps.

This is an interesting take on wealth management as Finary doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Legacy players want you to use a single bank for all your financial needs. But you end up paying a lot of fees and you have to use old and clunky interfaces.

Finary isn’t yet another wealth management service. It’s a holistic service that lets you use multiple banks and services while remaining on top of your assets.

Image Credits: Finary

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/18/finary-wants-to-create-the-wealth-management-dashboard-for-the-next-generation/

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Irish Fintech Payslip Announces Closing of Additional $10 Million to Series A Financing Round; Brings Total Funds Raised to $14.5 Million

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Payslip, an Ireland-based global payroll management software and fintech company, announced on Tuesday it closed an additional $10 million to its Series A financing round, which brought the total funds raised to $14.5 million. MiddleGame Ventures reported led the round and Mouro Capital serving as co-lead, with additional participation from Frontline Ventures, Tribal.vc, investors David Clarke, former CTO of Workday; Brian Williams– Co-Founder of One Source Virtual; and Phil Chambers, CEO, and Co-Founder of Peakon.

As previously reported, Payslip stated it delivers innovative global payroll management software to multi-national enterprise clients. The company also enables multi-national Global Payroll Teams to manage all data and workflows, internally across functions and externally with payroll providers, on a centralized cloud platform, delivering increased GDPR data protection, consolidated reporting, transparent process and people performance management. Fidelma McGuirk, CEO of Payslip, spoke about the company’s products by stating:

“Covid travel restrictions, in-country business continuity requirements, and increased WFH acceptability have turbocharged international hiring and country expansion. Payslip customers use our technology to grow quickly into new countries, deliver a unified employee self-serve experience globally and, most importantly, to have real-time insights via the reporting available on Payslip around payroll costs, operational delivery and vendor performance.”

Payslip further revealed that the extension round follows a record year of growth for the company since its last financing in March 2020, which saw a nearly 100% increase in employee headcount, 40% revenue growth, and 25% quarterly customer growth. The company then reported it plans to use the additional funding to expand its product roadmap to include enhanced payroll, benefits and employee payroll personalization, greater zero-touch automation and validation, and “last-mile” global payments & benefits integration.

The company added that the investment plans will ensure its platform and integration technology are fully optimized to lead the “next generation of innovation” in the global payroll space.

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175507-irish-fintech-payslip-announces-closing-of-additional-10-million-to-series-a-financing-round-brings-total-funds-raised-to-14-5-million/

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Spica Technologies awarded Innovate UK Grant to develop plug & play workplace app

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Spica Technologies awarded Innovate UK Grant to develop plug & play workplace app

Workplace experience software provider Spica were awarded the grant in November 2020 and will see the project through to completion in October this year. The grant was awarded by the UK Research &  Innovation (UKRI) organisation. Spica’s application was one of those selected from thousands of applications to make advancements in their fields.

The case for funding cited industry experts and statistics on the gap between the importance of employee experience and the lack of digital tools being implemented to help improve this.
• 88% of business leaders rate the employee’s experience of their workplace as either important or very important, but only 22% report that they are using Digital tools to create differentiated employee experiences.
• “Employees look at everything that happens at work as an integrated experience that impacts life in and out of the workplace. They expect a better-designed experience where every element of their employee experience can be accessible and easy to use on their mobile device.”
(Deloitte Insights)

Spica’s original workplace experience app, Luna, was initially launched in 2019, with a strong focus on a bespoke and customised nature, working closely with their customers on design and development activities for new modules. Global clients have praised the firm for this approach with Clament Lijoy, Global Real Estate Technology & Innovation at EY stating “The digital workplace transformation journey with Spica through the last 3 years have been extraordinary. The team was able to rise to the challenge and provide industry leading smart building capabilities tailored to the unique requirements that we had.”

However Spica realised they could take their wealth of experience in delivering employee experience apps out to a wider market, providing an “off-the-shelf” version of Luna with established best practices, standardised modules and customisation controls built in. The application cited “a need for solutions to this problem that are available to companies of all shapes and sizes”. This new approach reduces initial setup and maintenance costs and offers employee experience benefits to a wider audience.

This project will look to incorporate technologies like indoor positioning, IOT sensing, gamification, and machine learning to deliver an exceptional digital workplace experience. The proposed outcomes for users within the winning application were improved productivity and removing workplace frictions such as finding assets and resources, reporting workplace issues and accessing amenities. Ultimately culminating in enhancing employee wellbeing and sustainability goals of the built environment in which the business operates.

Project Manager and Spica Chief Technical Officer Paul Collins said “The support of Innovate UK (UKRI) has helped us significantly accelerate our research and product development plans in this area. With post COVID return to work at the top of the agenda, there is a surge in demand for digital tools like Luna to help businesses of all shapes and sizes provide a safe, healthy, productive, collaborative and enjoyable working environment.

A major focus of the project has been on reducing the time it takes to get tools like
these installed and up and running, as we recognise that businesses need help right now in preparing for people coming back into the workplace.”

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Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/spica-technologies-awarded-innovate-uk-grant-to-develop-plug-play-workplace-app/

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