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Portify raises 7M Series A for its fintech app for modern or gig economy workers

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Portify, the London fintech startup that offers an app and various financial products to help gig economy and other modern, flexible or “self-employed” workers better manage their finances, has raised £7 million in Series A funding.

The round, which comes a year after the company raised £1.3 million in seed investment, is led by Redalpine (an early investor in N26, Taxfix, Finiata, amongst others), with participation from existing investors Kindred and Entrepreneur First (EF).

Founded in May 2017 by EF alumni Sho Sugihara (CEO) and Chris Butcher (CTO), Portify has set out to help address the financial volatility many modern workers face, especially those who take part in flexible work or the so-called gig economy, or are self-employed in other sectors such as tradespeople or those in the creative industry.

The startup offers a number of tailored financial products, accessible via its mobile app, in addition to using Open Banking to provide financial insights into your current financial status and income, and help with short and long-term financial planning. However, until recently, the go-to-market strategy was primarily a B2B2C play — via partnerships with various gig economy platforms, such as Deliveroo. That’s now expanded to B2C.

“If you weren’t working for a select partner platform, you couldn’t access the app,” says Portify co-founder and CEO Sho Sugihara. “We did this because we wanted to make sure we were 100% focused on our target modern worker persona, and helping to financially include them. But once we started working closely with our initial users, we realised that while being modern workers, many of them also fell into the ‘credit invisible’/thin file segment, lacking access to basic financial products.

“There are a variety of reasons why they are thin file, but the main causes for our users centre around having an unconventional, fluctuating earnings pattern, being a recent migrant to the U.K. or simply never having taken out other credit products before, due to not trusting them.”

Sugihara says that while many thin-file modern workers do work with gig or temporary staffing platforms, the fintech startup also saw that many do not, or they switch work platforms frequently with gaps in between. This includes sole traders or those in employment but temporarily looking to top up their incomes.

“To make sure we fulfill our mission of financially including all thin-file modern workers, we felt it important we make our app as accessible as possible,” he explains. “In practice, this means that users can download the app directly off app stores now.”

Meanwhile, Portify says it will use the new funding to offer credit building and personal loans for “micro-business use.” It already launched credit services in the app earlier this year.

“Our revolving credit line caps out at £250 today,” says Sugihara. “We plan to increase this amount to higher values for a select cohort of our users: £500-1,000. Many modern workers are essentially tiny businesses/sole traders and face issues that any SME would face, like fluctuating earnings and turnover. While there are many products out there serving cash flow issues for large SMEs, our modern worker segment is extremely underserved. They fall somewhere between a consumer and business in the eyes of incumbent financial institutions who don’t really know how best to serve them. We see a big opportunity there, and are going after it.”

At the same time, Portify has begun working with the major credit bureaus to report the data produced by its app — with a user’s consent, of course — to help improve credit scores.

“Being credit invisible is a big pain point for modern workers,” adds the Portify CEO. “Even if you have an above national average income from modern working and work 80 hour weeks, you can really struggle to get basic personal loans, let alone a mortgage, just because you’re not in full-time employment and don’t fulfill the tick boxes set out by incumbent institutions. Our users have repeatedly asked for our help in solving this problem.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/12/portify-series-a/

Fintech

The Spanish fintech Pecunpay strengthens its position as a leader in the issuance of corporate programs

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The Spanish fintech Pecunpay strengthens its position as a leader in the issuance of corporate programs

The entity, regulated by the Bank of Spain (BdE), adds 7 payment method programs aimed at social benefits and managing corporate expenses.

After the end of the confinement, the consumption of payment methods, through physical cards and virtual cards of corporate programs issued by Pecunpay reached 8 million Euro per month.

The company will end 2021 with more than one and a half million cards issued, of which 300,000 belong to corporate programs.

Pecunpay issues cards under the VISA and Mastercard brands.

 

 The Spanish fintech Pecunpay, the trade name for the electronic money institution Pecunia Cards EDE, specialised in groundbreaking electronic money processing and payment solutions, consolidates its position as a leader in the issuance of payment method programs based on social benefits and corporate expense management.

Seven clients have put their trust in Pecunpay to issue their corporate programs through both physical and virtual debit cards. The latest program that has been launched is Coverflex, for the Portuguese market, which joins the rest of the programs, such as Cobee, Tickelia and Fuell.

Jaime Rentero, the Chief Commercial Officer of Pecunpay, explains the main reasons why clients of corporate programs decide to issue their corporate programs with Pecunpay. ‘We bring years of experience with this type of program, and we consider that our value offer is focused on the flexibility of our Banking Core, which we have been adapting to offer different rules, restrictions, parameterisations, etc.”

Some of the rules that Pecunpay’s platform allows to adjust in real time maximum daily or weekly amounts, limit payments by type of businesses, block payment methods on weekends or outside business hours, block the use of the card outside of identified geographical areas, etc.

In 2020, Pecunpay reached one million cards issued. In 2021, it will issue one and a half million, which places the company as the leading Spanish electronic money institution. 300,000 of these cards belong to corporate programs.

After the situation we have been through due to the COVID-19 confinement, where all these programs suffered a regression in consumption, the situation is returning to the path experienced before the pandemic, and 8 million Euro of monthly consumption have been reached.

The fintech has been very active during last year, where they have communicated their direct processing connection agreement with VISA, the launch of Xpays (Mobile Payment) for their payment method programs and the launch of the first virtual card issuance platform for marketing, loyalty and promotion agencies, inter alia.

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Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/the-spanish-fintech-pecunpay-strengthens-its-position-as-a-leader-in-the-issuance-of-corporate-programs/

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Blockchain

Crypto.com Now Enabling Cosmos’ Inter-Blockchain Communication Functionality for Cross-Chain Transfers

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Hong Kong-based Crypto.com announced on Thursday it is now enabling Cosmos’ Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) functionality for cross-chain transfers. According to Crypto.com, According to the duo, this integration creates new capabilities for future cross-chain implementations of the Crypto.org Chain and other IBC-enabled chains. 

The integration allows for the transferring and receiving of assets (tokens) and data using the ICS20 standard on the Crypto.org Chain Mainnet.  IBC assets will be available in the Bank module of the Crypto.org Chain, and CRO on other IBC-enabled chains.”

Cosmos and Crypto.com further revealed as part of its development on IBC, the project will create a bridge between Crypto.org Chain to Ethereum protocols, bringing on board Ethereum developers as innovative projects to the Crypto.org Chain ecosystem. Sharing more details about the integration, Eric Anziani, COO of Crypto.com, stated:

“The Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol (IBC) enables self-sovereign networks to connect, which will lead to building a strong ecosystem of networks thanks to the flexibility and open nature of IBC. The IBC launch marks the end of “network tribalism”. It also aligns with one of Crypto.org Chain’s goals of building  an open ecosystem — one that is welcoming to and supported by innovative projects, including Payments, DeFi and NFT initiatives.”

Founded in 2016, Crypto.com serves over 10 million customers today with its crypto app, along with the Crypto.com Visa Card, the Crypto.com Exchange, and Crypto.com DeFi Wallet.

“Crypto.com is built on a solid foundation of security, privacy and compliance and is the first cryptocurrency company in the world to have ISO/IEC 27701:2019, CCSS Level 3, ISO27001:2013 and PCI:DSS 3.2.1, Level 1 compliance, and independently assessed at Tier 4, the highest level for both NIST Cybersecurity and Privacy Frameworks.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175098-crypto-com-now-enabling-cosmos-inter-blockchain-communication-functionality-for-cross-chain-transfers/

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Fintech

Community bank taps Neocova to ramp up data-driven insights

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The Bank of St. Elizabeth, has tapped technology provider Neocova to help it derive business insights from its data in a partnership announced Thursday that will help the $180 million community bank unify its data on a single platform to run atop the bank’s core technology. Like other community banks and credit unions, the St. […]

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Source: https://bankautomationnews.com/allposts/retail/community-bank-taps-neocova-to-ramp-up-data-driven-insights/

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Fintech

5 Questions with Citizen Bank VP of Innovation RJ Sherman

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RJ Sherman, the chief innovation vice president at Citizens Bank, isn’t a believer in using technology for technology’s sake. Sometimes, he noted, older technology can be a better solution than trendy technology. Sherman spoke with Bank Automation News about the role automation plays at the Providence, R.I.-based bank, the emerging technology he’s most excited about, […]

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Source: https://bankautomationnews.com/allposts/cust-xper/5-questions-with-citizen-bank-vp-of-innovation-rj-sherman/

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