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NuBank’s $750 Million Funding Round Proves Digital Challengers Are Still in the Game

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Digital banking giant NuBank is about to become even more gigantic. That’s because the Brazil-based pulled in $750 million in Series G funding. When added to the $400 million it raised in January, the funds bring the Series G round to $1.15 billion.

Today’s round was led by Berkshire Hathaway, which contributed $500 million. Additional investors include Sands Capital, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, MSA Capital, Advent’s Sunley House Capital, Brazilian asset managers Verde Asset Management, as well as Absoluto Partners.

With the new investment comes a new valuation. NuBank is now valued at $30 billion, a figure that rivals the valuation of Brazil’s number three bank, Banco Santander Brasil.

NuBank was founded in 2013 to serve the underbanked population across Brazil, a group that adds up to 30% of the country’s population. Today, the digital challenger has 40 million customers and offers a robust range of banking services including a debit card, insurance, loans, small business accounts, and P2P payment tools.

Today’s news comes after the company brought on two C-level hires, Matt Swann as Chief Technology Officer and Arturo Nunez as Chief Marketing Officer.

NuBank will use the funds from today’s investment to fuel further expansion into Mexico and Colombia, launch new products, and hire more employees. While the company has been in Mexico since 2018 and Colombia since last October, NuBank’s banking tools are currently limited to credit cards in both nations.

The massive size of this round and the notoriety of the lead investor offer a hint that digital-only banks are not just a fad limited to 2020. These newcomers have the ability and willingness to serve populations that banks have consistently ignored. Because of this, existing digital banks have increased their customer numbers in the past year, and there has been a massive onslaught of new digital banking players vying for a niche subset of the population.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://finovate.com/nubanks-750-million-funding-round-proves-digital-challengers-are-still-in-the-game/

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Vietnamese financial services app MFast gets $1.5M pre-Series A led by Do Ventures

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MFast founders Phan Thanh Long and Phan Thanh Vinh

MFast founders Phan Thanh Long and Phan Thanh Vinh

MFast, a mobile app that lets Vietnamese users in remote areas access financial services, announced it has raised a $1.5 million pre-Series A today. The round was led by Do Ventures, with participation from JAFCO Asia. 

Launched in 2019 by fintech company Digipay, MFast says it has been used by 600,000 people to date. It partners with financial institutions who provide services like loans and insurance, and says it has been used to distribute more than 50 billion VND (about $2.2 million USD) worth of products so far.

The majority, or about 75% to 80% of MFast’s users are in remote provinces or rural areas, which the company says often limits their access to banking and credit-related services. 

The funding will be used to expand MFast to more cities and provinces in Vietnam, develop its technology and partner with more institutions. MFast also plans to enter other markets in the future. 

MFast’s consumer credit partners include Mirae Asset, CIMB, Mcredit and Easy Credit, and its insurance partners include PVI, PTI and BSH. It claims to have a network of more than 350,000 advisors, who offers their services through the app, and that its data analysis tools are able to reduce bad debt and fraud rates. 

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/21/vietnamese-financial-services-app-mfast-gets-1-5m-pre-series-a-led-by-do-ventures/

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Lumiant signs two industry stalwarts on its path to success

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Software supported advice platform, Lumiant, has announced two new senior appointments to support its aspirations to transform financial advice globally. Ex-Midwinter CEO, Jeff Hall, will join the Lumiant board as a Director. While industry veteran, former founding director of Shadforth, and author of The Life-First Advisor, David Haintz, joins as an Ambassador.

Lumiant is on a mission to make financial advice the noble profession it deserves to be. Its proprietary software supported advice process helps Financial Advisers uncover what clients truly value in life. The platform then enables Advisers to capture and record financial goals, strategies and tasks that will shape and sustain extraordinary lives for their clients.

Santiago Burridge, CEO and Co-Founder of Lumiant, believes the two new appointments will see Lumiant take another leap forward in its growth journey. In addition, the appointments will provide further confidence for Advisers to adjust their value proposition and reap the benefits of life-centred advice.

“With Jeff and David joining the team, Financial Advisers have two of the industry’s most influential executives supporting them in their journey towards life-centred advice. Both have a passion for enhancing the value proposition for Advisers and helping them to deliver extraordinary advice,” said Burridge.

“There is a complete alignment between Lumiant, Jeff and David, which makes these appointments so exciting. Not only will they bring incredible knowledge and experience to Lumiant, but they will also unlock new growth opportunities for the company. There is no bigger endorsement that what we’re doing is right for us and the industry at large.”

David Haintz has been appointed to the newly created role of Lumiant Ambassador, where he will be responsible for helping to grow the brand in Australia and abroad. A CFP, past director of the Financial Planning Association of Australia, and strong advocate for the transition to ‘above the line’ values and goals-based advice, he has been instrumental in the push for professionalism in the Financial Advice industry.

David has a passion for enhancing the value of advice. He joined Lumiant because it is the perfect platform to support Advisers undergoing a critical transition from a product sales-based occupation to selling professional services and advice.

“As advisers move from price-takers to price-makers, many struggle to articulate their value. This creates an issue around cost, as they cannot demonstrate the value of their advice. Lumiant removes this issue as it shifts the conversation from product to people and from money to meaning,” said Haintz.

“The beauty of the Lumiant platform is that it captures all these wonderful conversations in a high-fidelity platform that enables Advisers to demonstrate both the tangible and intangible value of advice. I don’t believe there is another platform on the market that captures ‘above the line’ advice as well as Lumiant that ultimately helps clients to live their best possible lives.”

Jeff Hall is joining the board of Lumiant as a director, where he will be responsible for guiding Lumiant’s commercial and operational direction. Jeff brings over 20 years of experience working in business advisory roles within the financial services and IT industries. Before Lumiant, Jeff was CEO at Midwinter prior to selling to Bravura Solutions. Jeff’s other experience includes being a Director at EY consulting within Wealth and Asset Management, a Division Director at Macquarie Bank for Coin Software and a technology consultant with Accenture.

Having seen the ins and outs of the advice technology industry, Jeff is keen to bring much-needed change. Working with Lumiant to uncover commercial and operational opportunities that deliver enhanced value to Advisers.

“Having been in the financial services industry for many years,  I see a lot of opportunity for new technology to assist and serve financial planners. While there are smart investment and managed accounts platforms, there has been very little to support Advisers in nurturing their relationships with clients,” said Hall.

“Lumiant provides Advisers with an extraordinary client experience through its software supported advice process. I am delighted to join Lumiant and be part of its journey in transforming the advice sector.”

Lumiant continues to raise capital to fund its aggressive growth plans in Australia and abroad, with more than $800,000 being raised in its extended Seed equity crowdfunding round to date. David and Jeff bring considerable expertise for Lumiant to execute its plans and deliver value to Advisers and its shareholders alike.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/lumiant-signs-two-industry-stalwarts-on-its-path-to-success/

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Payments orchestration smooths out travel’s turbulence

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Payments orchestration smooths out travel’s turbulence

It’s been called the worst year in travel history. With the global travel sector losing $1.3 trillion over the course of 2020, according to the U.S. Travel Association, losing over 10 million jobs and accounting for roughly 65 percent of all U.S. job losses during the pandemic, it’s hard to argue against that. The year 2020 was a low-water mark for the entire industry.

The good news is, 2021 is here and the vaccines are going out. The worst has passed (in the U.S.) and the travel industry as a whole is reorienting itself to get checked back in and on the road again.

This means, Spreedly’s Vice President of Product Daniel Wideman told PYMNTs in a recent conversation, travel players are and should be looking more closely into the role of payments in making the consumer reentry as smooth as possible.

For travel providers, one of the verticals within which Spreedly commonly works, the need is particularly acute because the payments are often highly complex, cross-border transactions with many moving pieces and places where things can go wrong. Travel, Wideman noted, is networked by default. Providers have to integrate with partner systems and services, including airlines, car rentals and lodging. It is an industry “intimately familiar” with navigating the burden of building and maintaining homegrown connections to an ever-expanding ecosystem of partners and providers – and where payments orchestration platforms can simplify that complexity.

“For merchants and platforms, payments orchestration quite simply lowers costs. It accelerates time to market and it increases customer retention by improving the customer experience by offering them more choice. The ability to do that quickly, and the impact on customer retention, goes straight to the bottom line,” Wideman explained.

What orchestration does is provide a single point of integration that unlocks access to a whole portfolio of payment providers, both the ones an organization may use today and the ones they may use tomorrow.

“The DIY, build-everything-in-house model increases costs and delays time-to-value. Good payments orchestration is about layers, baking in compliance as a service, keeping track of those regional regulations and emerging protocols, and finding ways to offer turnkey integrations with local PSPS [payments service providers] and acquirers,” noted Wideman.

As he pointed out, lighting up a new market for a travel provider becomes a low-risk and highly efficient proposition. “Travel is highly competitive,” he explained. “So providers are competing on two primary axes: price and customer experience.”

That means in terms of price, reducing the cost of payments by even a few basis points makes a difference. A lower price can be significant, particularly now amid a comeback from COVID, noted Wideman.

Moreover, he added, now is the time that travel operators must reconsider what the opportunity cost of maintaining their status quo approach to payments is going to be.

He said payment complexity, particularly as travel firms are taking it on in multiple markets worldwide, can quickly become prohibitive for providers considering expansion. Players need to decide if payments will be a checked box or become something they can develop into a competitive differentiator and a tool to enhance the customer experience. And if it’s not just a checked box, which it is increasingly becoming apparent that it should not be, payments orchestration is the solution travel players ought to be considering to keep their operations running smoothly.

Because, as their clients have seen, the alternatives aren’t pretty. What the team at Spreedly often sees is customers who come to them because they have felt the pain of an outage in their payment system at the wrong moment or recognized that their payments infrastructure isn’t flexible enough to adapt to new business needs.

“[One of our] customers had a large sale where they had just launched a product and a huge number of customers were coming to the website,” Wideman explained, noting that everything was going as planned until their payments capability crashed for 20 minutes. It may not sound like much time, but when a firm runs highly promoted sales, that is incredibly costly.

“This customer, before they had implemented payments orchestration, was single-threaded. They were only able to access payments through that one provider that went down. And as a result, they lost the millions of dollars they would have been transacting in that 20 minute timeframe,” Wideman said.

And the losses, he noted, only run deeper from there and become harder to calculate, but real nonetheless: all the future sales lost from consumers scared away by the bad experience the outage created for them and who won’t give this merchant a second chance. The power of payment orchestration means that the merchant now has redundancy baked into their payments process to ensure customers always get the best experience possible.

Jordan McKee, principal research analyst at 451 Research, says, “While 69% of online-centric merchants prefer a multi-provider approach to payments, one in five say that their current payment acceptance infrastructure has become a significant inhibitor to the growth of their business. Payment orchestration platforms can help to address the added complexity of a multi-provider strategy through the application of rules, logic, intelligence and streamlined connectivity.”

Payments orchestration, Spreedly believes, is becoming the new normal in travel and elsewhere because it increases a business’ flexibility and allows it to adapt a payments stack and a payments strategy in concert with its business strategy.

The more diversity there is in the payment system, and the more merchants can connect to these diverse payment services, the better it is for everyone involved: the merchants, the platforms and the end-consumers.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/payments-orchestration-smooths-out-travels-turbulence/

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40% of Australians intend to buy cryptocurrency in 2021: Savvy

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Is Cryptocurrency – the currencies powered by complex calculations and decentralised ledgers known as blockchain technology – the money of the future? According to a new survey by Savvy, a third of Australians are betting that it is: and 40% are willing to convert their paper money into something digital during 2021.

Surveying 1,000 Australians, 17.3% respondents said they already own or have owned some form of Cryptocurrency, with 36% intending to buy into Cryptocurrency in the future. Of those surveyed, 15.2% had invested up to $5,000, 2.5% had invested $5,000 – $10,000, while 1% had invested $10,000 – $20,000. If extrapolated to cover the Australian adult population, this could indicate over 500,000 Australians have invested at least $5,000-$10,000 in Cryptocurrency.

If Australians don’t have crypto yet, they’re at least thinking about it. According to the survey, 71% of Australians either understand or are interested in learning more about Cryptocurrency.

More men than women claimed exceptional or average understanding of Cryptocurrencies at 48% of men compared to 27% of women. Female respondents expressed a higher interest in learning about the technology: 37% compared to 31% for men.

As for which currency those surveyed were thinking of holding, 44% are thinking about Bitcoin, 21% Ethereum, and 18% are considering entrepreneur Elon Musk’s favourite, DogeCoin.

As of writing, Bitcoin has a market cap of A$878 billion; Ethereum A$340 billion, Dogecoin A$46 billion, according to online trading platform Coinbase.

A previous Savvy survey found that 47% of Australians prefer paying via digital wallet; and two-thirds of that group use it as their preferred payment method. Though at present we are exchanging Australian dollars through the wallet, it may only be a matter of time before we’ll have the option of paying in crypto. Only 9.7% of survey respondents said that it’s more likely than not that crypto will eventually displace the current fiat currency banking system, however.

Savvy Managing Director Bill Tsouvalas says the public profile of ‘Bitcoin millionaires’ and other successful crypto investors has added to its allure. “19.7% of respondents said they have already bought into crypto. Just under a third of that cohort said they bought into crypto to make money fast. 47% of the same group (358 respondents) said that they’d buy into crypto for the same reason in the future. Once upon a time, crypto was a mysterious ‘shiny new object’. 41% of investors said they did so ‘just for fun,’ for example.

“However, there is a high proportion that are invested long term as well as to diversify their investment portfolio – about half of respondents. So, getting in on Cryptocurrency is becoming less of a novelty and more of a sound investment strategy.”

Similar numbers were seen in those (36%) looking to buy in the future, when asked their top three reasons: 47% responded to make money quickly; 38% as a long-term investment; 28% for portfolio diversification. Only 22% said they’d buy into crypto “for fun.”

Respondents were split on whether the crypto “bubble” would burst by 2022 (21%), whether Bitcoin would reach a new high by the end of the year (19%) or prices would remain stable throughout the year (20%).

As for being a “wild west” currency, Australians would like to see more safeguards. 79.8% of all respondents agreed that cryptocurrencies should be more heavily regulated.

Either way, it’s an exciting time for finance and banking. “Cryptocurrency may very well be the currency of the future. It’s time for the wider finance sector to embrace it rather than treat it as a fad, or they’ll be left behind,” Tsouvalas says.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/40-of-australians-intend-to-buy-cryptocurrency-in-2021-savvy/

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