The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has committed S$42 million for a new regtech grant as well as the enhanced Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG) to accelerate technology adoption in the financial sector.
These grants are part of the S$250 million committed under the enhanced Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (FSTI 2.0) in August 2020
The regtech grant scheme, which is available to Singapore-based financial institutions (FIs), aims to promote the adoption and integration of technology solutions in the risk management and compliance functions of FIs.
This will help FIs enhance processes and capabilities in these domains, and encourage a vibrant regtech ecosystem in Singapore.
The grant scheme will cover two tracks; under the pilot track, FIs can seek funding to pilot potential regtech solutions before embarking on full-scale integration of the product into its operating environment. Funding for this track will be capped at S$75,000.
Meanwhile through the production level project track, FIs can seek funding to develop larger scale customised projects that can be fully integrated into the FI’s systems. Funding for such projects will be capped at S$300,000.
Both tracks can be used to support either in-house development or commercial partnerships with regtech firms based in Singapore.
Enhanced DAG scheme
The DAG was launched in April 2020 to help smaller FIs and fintech firms with not more than 200 employees adopt digital solutions to better cope with the impact of COVID-19, and to position themselves for subsequent recovery and growth.
As of 31 March 2021, MAS received over 1,100 applications from both FIs and fintech firms. Applicants have tapped on the DAG to adopt cloud solutions and services, online communication and collaboration tools, data-analytics solutions, compliance solutions, and office productivity tools.
In view of the strong response, MAS will commit an additional S$30 million to the DAG till 31 December 2021 to encourage the industry to adopt digital solutions that enhance productivity, cyber security, and operational efficiency.
This brings the total grants available under the DAG scheme to S$65 million. Eligibility for the DAG will be extended to life insurance and general insurance agencies that employ not more than 200 agents and employees.
Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer, MAS, said
“MAS remains committed to the digital transformation of the Singapore financial sector. We expect the RegTech ecosystem to flourish with widespread use of innovative solutions to aid risk management and compliance.
The Digital Acceleration Grant has enabled the smaller FIs and FinTech firms to adapt to the challenges in the past year and we will continue to support these firms as they accelerate their digital transformation journey. We encourage FIs to tap on these grants to embed technology into the firms’ DNA.”
Applications are now open for both grants.
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Divvy Sells to Bill.com for $2.5 Billion
Adding Divvy’s technology to its platform expands Bill.com’s solution. The new capabilities will help the California-based company enable its 115,000 customers to automatically manage accounts payable, accounts receivable, and corporate card spend. Additionally, Divvy’s tools will offer businesses real-time insight into their B2B spending and provide them access to multiple payment solutions.
Combining the two companies also boosts Divvy’s capabilities. The Utah-based company will be able to offer its 7,500 small business customers automated payable, receivables, and workflow capabilities. “As we listened to our customers, we heard them ask for a comprehensive payments platform so that they don’t have to use multiple software systems to manage their finances,” said Divvy CEO and Co-Founder Blake Murray. “Today I’m proud that Divvy is joining Bill.com to bring the one-stop-shop platform that our customers and the market have been asking for.”
“Since founding Bill.com, I have been driven by the desire to build solutions that make a real difference for small and mid-sized businesses. Customers have been asking us to help them with their spend management, and I am excited that together with Divvy, we can deliver on that ask, furthering our vision to transform SMB financial operations. Our expanded platform will provide more automation and real-time information to SMBs, enabling them to make more informed decisions,” said Bill.com CEO and Founder René Lacerte. “We are excited to work with the talented Divvy team. We have a shared passion for helping SMBs succeed and both companies are driving our customers’ digital transformations. Together, we can further empower SMBs to transition quickly and easily.”
Today’s deal is expected to close by the end of September and is subject to regulatory approvals closing conditions.
Bill.com was founded in 2006 and went public in 2019. With a market capitalization of $12.33 billion, the company trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BILL.
Founded in 2016, Divvy has raised $418 million from investors including PayPal Ventures, Insight Partners, and New Enterprise Associates.
European Fintechs Qonto and October Join Forces to Offer Instant Credit to Small Businesses
European Fintechs Qonto and October revolutionize lending to small and very small businesses.
Qonto, a European finance management solution provider which has attracted more than 150,000 European companies looking to improve their day-to-day banking, and October, the No. 1 SME lending platform in Continental Europe have joined forces to facilitate access to credit for small and very small enterprises (SMEs and VSEs). The partnership offers to Qonto’s customers ultra-fast, 100% online financing directly via their banking application. They get an instant decision on their loan application, without personal guarantee. The decision is based solely on the transaction data of their Qonto account. Applicants do not need to download any tax package or other documents. The funds are made available in their account within four days.
A New Instant Loan Offer for VSEs, SMEs, and the Self-employed
This instant credit service is a first for European fintechs. It bolsters Qonto’s offering and enables October to extend the scope of its proprietary instant lending technology, called Kea, to very small businesses and the self-employed.
The service has been available in France since April. It will open in May to Italian companies and then extend to other European countries where both Qonto and October are active, such as Spain.
Qonto and October are flagships of the European fintech market and members of Next40 and the French Tech 120, French programs which distinguish French scaleups with the potential to become global technology leaders. Founded in 2017, Qonto is now available in 4 countries, France, Spain, Italy and Germany, and employs more than 300 people in Paris. The startup has raised €136 million in founding, including a €104 million Series C in 2020. Founded in 2014, October is the Continental European leading SME lending platform allowing businesses in France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany to borrow directly from private and institutional lenders. October has helped finance more than 1300 companies for more than €550 million.
The Qonto and October partnership now offers VSEs and SMEs two types of loans: a classic loan and a state-guaranteed loan (SGL, or PGE for ‘Prêt Garanti par L’État” in French). SGLs are part of the French government’s COVID recovery package. Qonto customers will thus be able to borrow up to €30,000 over 24 months for conventional loans and over 60 months for SGLs. For the first time, SGLs are now distributed directly to VSEs without going through a traditional bank. Just a few days after the launch of this offering, more than 10 TPEs already had their loan approved for around €500,000 in total.
“For the first time, Qonto clients who want to benefit from a loan, including an SGL, have an easy and quick access to credit. They can centrally manage their financing from their Qonto account and benefit from October’s expertise. This new offer marks a turning point for Qonto. It adds to our existing range of financial and accounting solutions a secure and efficient way to finance VSEs, SMEs, and the self-employed.” Alexandre Prot, CEO & Co-founder of Qonto declared.
“The integration of October technology in Qonto foreshadows what business credit will be in the future for every borrower: a simple and fast experience of a credit decision based on reliable data. The first loans granted through this partnership are the result of 6 years of R&D. We wanted to put credit at the fingertips of entrepreneurs, and we are doing it!” Olivier Goy, CEO of October, added.
Reinventing the Credit Experience
The loan application takes 10 minutes. Its automatic analysis is instantaneous – providing a smooth user experience. The API connection between the two fintechs allows a customer to submit a loan request in seconds with just a few clicks. After answering fewer than 5 questions, the customer receives an instant offer generated by an innovative scoring model based on the analysis of bank transactions and automated fraud detection. The funds, which are contributed by the community of more than 25,000 October lenders, are then made available in the customer’s Qonto account within four days.
Pierre-Antoine Errard, founder of Solarian, obtained an SGL of €22,500 to rebalance its cash flow and anticipate future expenses. He testifies:
“Applying for credit with October and Qonto was extremely quick and easy. With just one click, my information was transferred to October, who was able to make me an offer immediately. What was particularly pleasant was the transparency of the entire process. I knew what to expect at each stage, especially about the timing. It was very reassuring.”
Therese Torris, Ph.D., is a Senior Contributing Editor to Crowdfund Insider. She is an entrepreneur and consultant in eFinance and eCommerce based in Paris. She has covered crowdfunding and P2P lending since the early days when Zopa was created in the United Kingdom. She was a director of research and consulting at Gartner Group Europe, Senior VP at Forrester Research and Content VP at Twenga. She publishes a French personal finance blog, Le Blog Finance Pratique. Torris is also a graduate of INSEAD.
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