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Klarna Scores Big in New Billion Dollar Funding Round

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Europe’s most valuable fintech startup just got a lot more valuable.

Klarna announced on Monday that it has raised $1 billion in new funding and earned a lofty valuation of $31 billion. The company, which set out to raise $500 million in the just-ended round, credited investor demand for the exceptional amount raised. Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski also cited strong growth in the U.S. as a reason why investor dollars are flocking toward his company.

“What definitely has accelerated and changed is the success in the U.S. market,” Siemiatkowski said. “Investors are seeing Klarna getting ahead of its competitors. I think that has changed the perspective and changed the view on our valuation.”

According to Siemiatkowski, investors are seeing Klarna as the king of an e-commerce wave that is making Buy Now Pay Later a mainstream financing approach. The reverse layaway strategy of enabling consumers to receive goods and services now and pay for them in equal installments over time has made BNPL the hottest new thing in online shopping. Klarna, which was founded in 2005 and made its Finovate debut seven years later, has been a pioneer in “after delivery payment” and other forms of consumer financing for years. This week’s financing is, in part, a recognition of this fact and a bet that, amid rising competition, Klarna will come out on top.

Right now, both Siemiatkowski and Klarna’s backers seem equally eager to take on legacy consumer financing options as well as Klarna’s BNPL rivals. Pointing out how the buy now pay later approach is fairer insofar as it makes the same offer to all consumers, Siemiatkowski adds, “There’s a number of investors out there that agree with us. They see that this credit card industry is actually at its core flawed and needs some innovation.”

In addition to using the new capital for acquisitions, the company is more interested in synergies that will “help people save time and money” than it is in purchasing rivals. That said, Siemiatkowski does have a few novel uses for at least some of the company’s new funding: Klarna will donate approximately $10 million to organizations that are dedicated to fighting climate change.

More than 30 current and new investors participated in Klarna’s latest fundraising, including Silver Lake, Sequoia Capital, BlackRock, and HMI Capital. Other investors included Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC and individual investor, rapper Snoop Dogg.

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Klarna claims 90 million users and 250,000 merchant partners around the world. The company is optimistic about its growth in the U.S., saying they expect it to overtake Germany as its biggest market by the end of this year. The company has inked partnerships with 20 of the top 100 brands in the U.S., and said it gained a million new customers a month in the States in the final quarter of last year.


Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur from Pexels

The post Klarna Scores Big in New Billion Dollar Funding Round appeared first on Finovate.

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Source: https://finovate.com/klarna-scores-big-in-new-billion-dollar-funding-round/

Fintech

Software-based facial recognition in payments industry to dominate by 2025

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A new report from Juniper Research predicts that software-based facial recognition to secure payments will be almost ubiquitous by 2025, thanks in part to Apple’s FaceID implementation.

According to the firm, there will be more than 1.4 billion users of facial recognition software used for payments alone in 2025, up from 671 million in 2020.

Apple’s FaceID is driving growth in the wider facial recognition market, even though masks and other facial coverings have become more common since COVID-19.

Beyond facial recognition technologies, fingerprint sensors and voice recognition are also picking up significant momentum.

“Hardware-based facial recognition is growing, but the ability to carry out facial recognition via software is limiting its adoption rate,” explains Juniper Research and author of the research report, Susan Morrow, says.

“As the need for a secure mobile authentication environment grows, smartphone vendors will need to increasingly turn to more robust hardware-based systems to keep pace with fraudsters’ evolving tactics.”

According to the Mobile Payment Authentication: Biometrics, Regulation & Market Forecasts 2021-2025 report, fingerprint sensors will be on 93% of smartphones with biometric hardware by 2025, while hardware-based facial recognition will only be on 17% of phones.

Voice recognition for payments is gaining popularity: In 2020 voice recognition had 111 million users – this is expected to rise dramatically to more than 704 million users by 2025.

Juniper Research states that voice recognition is primarily used in banking, and there are few other ways in which it can expand. The reason for this lack of growth could be due to robustness concerns.

“Juniper Research recommends that vendors adopt a multi-method biometric strategy, which encompasses facial recognition, fingerprints, voice and behavioural indicators to ensure a secure payment environment.”

To read more, please click on the link below…

Source: Software-based facial recognition in payments industry to dominate by 2025

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Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/software-based-facial-recognition-in-payments-industry-to-dominate-by-2025/

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Square extends lending arm to Australian businesses with Square Loans

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Today, Square announced it will be rolling out Square Loans in Australia, a program that helps small businesses grow by giving them quick and simple access to funds. Australia will be the first global market, outside of the US, where the payments company will launch its lending product.

“It’s no secret that small businesses in Australia have historically faced huge hurdles when it comes to accessing formal forms of funding,” said Samina Hussain-Letch, Head of Industry & Payments at Square Australia (pictured). “They’re often forced to pour over piles of paperwork, provide years of financial information, and put up personal guarantees that can be riddled with red tape.”

“As the Australian economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, and government stimulus payments begin to dry up, small businesses need our help now more than ever to continue to run and grow their businesses, while creating jobs,” she said.

Research commissioned by Square has found that more than half of small businesses in Australia have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than a quarter seeing revenue losses of more than 50%.

“There’s never been a more important time for more choice in the lending market, and so we’re delighted that we can offer our Australian sellers simple and quick access to funding through Square Loans,” Hussain-Letch said.

By using historical transaction data, Square Loans has a straightforward application process, where no paperwork is needed, and sellers get their money as soon as the next business day. Businesses will have one clear upfront loan fee which will automatically be paid back as a set percentage of daily card sales on Square — so they pay more back when sales are strong and less if things slow down. Unlike the structure of traditional loans, the cost to the seller never changes, regardless of how long it takes them to repay Square.

Research from Square highlighted that only one in four Australian small businesses have ever accessed any form of formal funding, such as a business bank loan, but two thirds of business owners have relied on private sources of funding, such as personal credit cards or borrowing from friends and family. The research also found that business owners were even less likely to have accessed formal funding, and more likely to have used personal finances, if they were women or aged under 40 years. As the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five businesses intend to apply for a formal loan.

“Many small business advocates have acknowledged that traditional lending processes in Australia aren’t flexible enough for small businesses,” said Hussain-Letch. “Overly onerous and lengthy processes from big banks will act as a deterrent to small businesses and will force many to borrow from less secure means. What we’re bringing to market solves that issue.”

Since the initial launch of Square’s loan product in the US, Square has facilitated more than USD$8 billion in financing to more than 435,000 small businesses.

Square expects to see similar momentum in Australia as local businesses continue turning to the platform as the engine to run their operations. Square recently added a number of products and services to its Australian portfolio, including an all-in-one payments processing device, dedicated point-of-sale software for retailers and restaurants, and deeper functionality for its Online Store to adapt to the changing business environment.

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Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/square-extends-lending-arm-to-australian-businesses-with-square-loans/

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Fintech

Strong representation again from Aussie FinTechs in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific

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The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific ranks the fastest growing Asia Pacific companies in the hardware, software, communications, media, life sciences and clean technology industries. Awardees are selected for the Technology Fast 500 ranking based on their percentage of fiscal year revenue growth over three years.

And once again Australian Fintech companies have dominated on this list.

Congratulations to you all.

Here are the Aussie firms that made the Top 500, with special mention of Verrency making the top 20!:

15.    Verrency
65.   Brighte Capital
85.   SelfWealth
137. Identitii
167. Wisr
190. Zip Co
199. Zuuse
211. PropertyShares
213. Raiz Invest
255. Practice Ignition
262. Slyp
312. GetCapital
315. Plenti Group
318. Openpay
436. MoneyMe Limited

Well done everyone!

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Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/strong-representation-aussie-fintechs-deloitte-technology-fast-500-asia-pacific/

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Fintech

Brokers fuel 100% growth at Aussie fintech Plenti

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Fintech Plenti have announced their results for the last quarter of the financial year, with an astounding 100% year on year growth recorded.

The results saw their total loan portfolio grow up to $615 million, a 61% rise on the same period in 2020, with increases seen across every vertical within the business.

Plenti, who were founded in 2014, offers lending across several channels, including personal loans and automotive. CEO Daniel Foggo was understandably very pleased with the result.

“Fundamentally it’s about growth,” he told Australian Broker. “Achieving over 100% growth over the same quarter last year is what we’ve been aspiring to do as a business. What we’re sought to do to secure growth is to invest in our technology, to make sure we’re differentiating ourselves in terms of the services that we’re supplying our end customers, which includes brokers. Our investments and our technology are really paying off. That’s what’s driven our growth.”

While Plenti has traditionally been a direct to market lender, they have seen huge growth in the broker channel in the last year.

To read more, please click on the link below…

Source: Brokers fuel 100% growth at Aussie fintech Plenti

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Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/brokers-fuel-100-growth-at-aussie-fintech-plenti/

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