Thursday February 8 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingTree personal loans

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter’s IFISA finally arrives. Renaud Laplanche to keynote at LendItFintech USA 2018. LendingClub makes changes to IRA product. Goldman could be buying Clarity. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree January 2018 Personal Loan Offers Report. LendingTree January 2018 Mortgage Offers Report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Amsterdam gaining ground on London as Europe’s fintech capital. Senmiao Technologies sets terms […]

LendingTree personal loans

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United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Renaud Laplanche Joins LendItFintech USA 2018 As Keynote Speaker (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendItFintech, the world’s leading event in financial services innovation, today announced that Renaud Laplanche, founder and CEO of Upgrade, Inc., will join the keynote speaker roster for LendItFintech USA 2018. For three days, the world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEO’s will gather at the Moscone Center to focus on the hot button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

Laplanche’s keynote speech will focus on his vision for Online Lending 2.0 and in particular how new technology, blockchain, enhanced processes and the combined learnings of the past 10 years have helped make online lending better for consumers and investors alike.

Laplanche will also unveil Upgrade’s next major consumer credit product that industry observers are already touting “the biggest innovation in financial services since the credit card. Also, to illustrate how the Online Lending 2.0 principles help create more value for consumers and enable faster growth while achieving better risk management, compliance and credit performance, Laplanche for the first time, will release metrics about Upgrade exactly one year after its public launch.

Tax Efficient Investing and LendingClub IRA Changes (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Tax rates for 2018 start at 10% and go up to 37% for the highest wage earners. It’s important to understand how this ordinary income affects taxes compared to other asset classes like equities.

Let’s assume you decide to invest through a taxable LendingClub account. In a given tax year, you are only allowed to deduct $3,000 in losses against your ordinary income unless you have capital gains to offset the losses.

If you have a sizable investment in LendingClub and have no capital gains you’ll have to carry forward any losses beyond the $3,000 to future years.

LendingClub Offering a Bonus for IRA Investors

After understanding the benefits of investing through an IRA it’s worth mentioning that LendingClub offers bonuses for new accounts. The bonuses range from $25 all of the way up to $3,000 and are available on Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs or SIMPLE IRAs. Below are the bonus amounts in place for 2018.

TaxSlayer Teams Up With Kabbage To Provide Small Businesses Easy Access To Working Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

TaxSlayer, a leading online and professional tax and financial technology company, today announced a strategic partnership with Kabbage, Inc., a global technology and data platform powering small business lending. The collaboration offers qualified small business customers hassle-free access to lines of credit up to $250,000 from Kabbage, and exclusive tax resources, including tips, promotions and discounts from TaxSlayer.

TaxSlayer customers will have access to:

  • Lines of credit from Kabbage up to $250,000 for qualified borrowers
  • Promotions from Kabbage, including a $100 gift card after qualification
  • Partner offers through the Kabbage Customer Perks network
  • Tips and insight on small business lending and finance

Kabbage customers will have access to:

  • Small business and personal tax tips from TaxSlayer
  • Market leading tax-filing support from TaxSlayer
  • Unique promotions and discounts from TaxSlayer, including 20 percent off services

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.41% in January.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.41%, a decrease of 13 basis points from the prior month, and 47 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $24,218, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above, was down up 17 basis points ($41) from December, but up over 23% ($5,607) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had APRs of 4.98% on average, and loan amounts of $34,892. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,896 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: LendingTree

Good credit (680 – 719 score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged 15.79% in January.

  • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.79%, down 12 basis points from last month, but up almost 200 basis points from a year earlier.
  • At $15,628, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs increase by 1% ($160) in the last month, but drop by 1.72% ($268) from January 2017.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, had an average best APR of 7.19%, offered with an average loan amount of $24,130. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,215 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.
Source: LendingTree

LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • January’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.93% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 3.80% in December. Refinance loan offers were up 5 bps to 3.75%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 13 bps to 4.55%. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.45% and was also up 13 bps from December.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.41% in January, vs 4.70% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 29 bps between these score ranges was 1 bps narrower than in December but still near the widest since this data series began in April 2016. The spread represents nearly $15,000 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $238,518.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 15 bps to 4.46%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 25 from 24 bps, amounting to $13,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $244,540.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments fell for the first time in 8 months to $63,411.
Source: LendingTree

Apple May use Marcus for Point of Sale Financing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Indicative of this systemic trend is a report this week in WSJ.com saying Apple may be cutting a deal with Marcus – Goldman Sachs’ vision of the future on online lending.

According to the WSJ report, Goldman may provide Apple with point of sale credit at interest rates far lower than the typical credit card.

“By offering a lower-cost loan, Goldman hopes to siphon off some of that business. Goldman charges 12% interest on its average Marcus loans. Credit cards can charge upward of 20% and carry late fees and other charges. Partnerships with big retailers like Apple are key. They can deliver millions of customers that Goldman would struggle to find on its own.”

Goldman is said close to buying personal-finance startup Clarity (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is in discussions to acquire the personal finance startup Clarity Money, with plans to fold it into its Marcus online lender, according to people familiar with the matter.

Robinhood users ramped up deposits during Monday’s market bloodbath (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, the US stock market witnessed its largest point decline ever. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped as much as 1,600 points during Monday trade before closing down 1,175 points. Still, a spokesperson for Robinhood, the California-based brokerage, told Business Insider its users ramped up deposits on its zero-commission stock trading platform.

Venmo monetization may be on the horizon (Business Insider), Rated: A

Source: Business Insider

Venmo alone hit $10.4 billion, about 39% of the P2P total. As P2P surges across the board, it’s helping 

Identity fraud hits all time high with 16.7m US victims in 2017 (Payments Cards and Mobile), Rated: A

The 2018 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, revealed that the number of identity fraud victims increased by 8% (rising to 16.7 million US consumers) in the last year, a record high since Javelin began tracking identity fraud in 2003.

The study found that despite industry efforts to prevent identity fraud, fraudsters successfully adapted to net 1.3 million more victims in 2017, with the amount stolen rising to $16.8 billion.

The 2018 Identity Fraud Study found four significant trends:

  • Record high incidence of identity fraud  In 2017, 6.64% of consumers became victims of identity fraud, an increase of almost 1 million victims from the previous year.
  • Account takeover grew significantly – Account takeover tripled over the past year, reaching a four-year high. Total ATO losses reached $5.1 billion, a 120% increase from 2016.
  • Online shopping presents the greatest fraud opportunity – Card Not Present Fraud is now 81% more likely than point of sale fraud, the greatest gap Javelin has observed.
  • Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated

Nearly half of small businesses plan to invest in cybersecurity in 2018 (AZ Big Media), Rated: A

Half of all U.S. small businesses were breached in 2016, according to 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report. Disruption to normal operating expenses costs an average of $955K, which can be devastating to small business owners.

As part of Kabbage’s ongoing effort to help small businesses to be successful, Kabbage recently surveyed more than 800 customers and nearly half (47 percent) plan to invest in cybersecurity products and services in 2018.

Hackers find value in obtaining employee and customer data, bank account information and/or intellectual property, no matter the size of the business. Today, more than 70 percent of attacks are targeted toward small businesses, largely due to the their beliefs that they won’t be hacked (mostly due to their size).

Virginia consumers to receive $ 2.7 million in relief from settlement with internet lender (WINA), Rated: A

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today that more than $2.7 million in relief will be provided to Virginia consumers who took out loans with Internet lender MoneyLion of Virginia LLC-an affiliate of New York based Internet lender MoneyLion, Inc. Attorney General Herring’s settlement with MoneyLion will provide refunds and debt forgiveness to 3,800 consumers as a result of the company’s alleged violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Since creating a Predatory Lending Unit in his Consumer Protection Section, Attorney General Herring’s Office has recovered more than $25 million in restitution and debt forgiveness for Virginia consumers from online lenders.

The settlement includes the following key terms relating to loans made by MoneyLion during the period in question:

• MoneyLion agrees to provide $359,811.50 in refunds to 1,161 Virginia consumers who paid more than their loan principal plus 12% APR;
• MoneyLion agrees to give up the collection of $2,354,097.05 in illegal interest it charged on loans with 2,639 Virginia consumers;
• A payment to the Commonwealth of $10,000 as a civil penalty for MoneyLion’s alleged violations of the VCPA;
• A payment to the Commonwealth of $20,000 for its costs and fees in investigating MoneyLion’s alleged violations of the VCPA;
• Permanent injunctions preventing MoneyLion from misrepresenting its license status, allowable interest rates, and allowable fees.

Bankrupt Payday Lender Can’t Move CFPB Suit To Texas (Law360), Rated: A

A Montana federal judge refused to transfer a CFPB action alleging Think Finance duped borrowers and used sham tribal payday lenders to collect money it was not owed, finding Tuesday the case need not be moved to where the financial technology company’s Texas bankruptcy is.

U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris said the state of Montana has a “substantial interest” in hearing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s case since Think Finance LLC’s loans were voided under the state’s law.

Movement Mortgage Implements CompenSafe to Automate LO Compensation (Send2Press), Rated: B

LBA Ware, a leading provider of automated compensation software and systems integration solutions for mortgage lending and retail banking, announced that South Carolina-based Movement Mortgage has implemented CompenSafe to automatically calculate commissions for its loan originators (LOs) located in 700 branches across 49 states.

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced that an affiliate has entered into an agreement to acquire Cyanco Holding Corp. from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”).  Cyanco is the largest global producer of sodium cyanide, a critical input in the gold and silver mining industry. Terms of the transaction, which is subject to customary conditions to closing, were not disclosed.

OCC Chief Praises Mulvaney On Halting Payday Rule (PYMNTS), Rated: B

After a 45-minute meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 6), Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting had nothing but praise for acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mick Mulvaney.

“Acting Director Mulvaney has helped reduce the burden on the banking system by delaying implementation of his agency’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule, committing to reconsidering its payday lending rule, and deferring action on additional regulations until completing a more thorough review of those matters,” Otting said in the release. “I also applaud him for realigning his agency’s mission to the current needs of the nation, making its processes more transparent and fair.”

United Kingdom

RateSetter Innovative Finance ISA is Finally Here (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter has shared that is Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) will launch tomorrow (February 8th). RateSetter said the IFISA will initially be available to existing customers, then to new customers on 1 March and to inward transfers from other ISAs in April.

What a difference a tax year makes! P2P platforms pile in to the IFISA market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Just a handful of peer-to-peer platforms had full Financial Conduct Authority approval in time to launch an IFISA product in April 2016, with 2,000 accounts and £17m subscribed up to April 2017.

Many saw this as a damp squib, but as we enter ISA season for the 2017/18 tax year, platforms representing almost 80 per cent of the market could be set to lead the charge.

Both Zopa and Funding Circle have loan books worth more than £3bn each, while RateSetter boasts a portfolio worth £2.5bn.

ISA Innovation: What do investors think? (AltFi), Rated: A

Crowdstacker’s CEO Karteek Patel reveals why investors have opted for the Innovative Finance ISA over the past two years. 

When the first types of ISA launched in 1999 the country was still in the first flush of a much feted Blair Government, the economy was buoyant, and the outlook rosy.

It was the end of a decade that saw average base rates of around 8%. Inflation meanwhile may have started at 9.5% in 1990, but it rapidly fell to a more manageable 1.5% by 1999.

2016-17 average ISA subscriptions were £5,558. Average subscriptions for our Innovative Finance ISA were above £11,000 – probably indicating early adopters of the IFISA are more seasoned investors, who are investing larger sums. Of course, as we know from other innovations such as smartphones and social media, where early adopters lead, the masses will follow, as long as the proposition is attractive.

How UK challenger bank Monzo turned its customers into a loyal community (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Monzo asks customers for feedback on product launches and fees, allows them to invest in the company through equity crowdfunding rounds and holds community events across the U.K., either at Monzo offices or customer suggested venues. Its approach is based on the principle that customers will stay loyal and will refer others if they’ve got some kind of stake in it. Banks have traditionally relied on large-scale ad campaigns and promotions to get customers to change their providers. But U.K. customers still aren’t changing their banks in droves; according to U.K. nonprofit Bacs only 4.45 million successful switches have taken place since 2013. Plus, they’ll have less and less motivation to switch bank providers as more non-bank entities begin offering comparable services.

The company’s biggest growth driver is loyalty, with word-of-mouth referrals being the source of 80 percent of new customer growth, according to the company. The remaining 20 percent is based on a limited amount of sponsored ads on Facebook and Twitter. More than 30,000 customers participate in an online feedback forum for new products.

Separately, Monzo holds eight to 12 events per year around the U.K.

 

Esme Loans joins NatWest’s alternative finance panel (Finextra), Rated: A

Esme Loans, the digital lending platform that allows small and medium sized businesses to quickly obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000, will join a select group of leading alternative finance firms on NatWest’s Capital Connections panel.

Princeton dispute pushes Ranger’s 2017 returns into negative territory (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

RANGER Direct Lending (RDL) saw its net asset value (NAV) slide 2.95 per cent over 2017 due to its ongoing Princeton legal arbitration.

The investment trust’s December update showed its NAV return was 4.53 per cent in 2017 but the ongoing legal dispute with its Princeton investment over bankrupt lender Argon pushed it into negative territory.

On a monthly basis, RDL’s NAV was actually at a six-month high to 0.48 per cent.

Lendy secures major repayment on west London flat (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

P2P lending platform Lendy has announced that it has received a major repayment in excess of £2.1m on a luxury flat in west London.

The property has a security value of £3.25m, a loan value of £2.12m and an LTV of 65%.

Personal lending increases four times faster than wages (BBC), Rated: A

In comparison, wage data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the typical full-time worker has seen pay increase by 6.5%, over the same period.

British households amassed £37bn in unpaid personals loans in 2017, an increase of £7bn from three years earlier.

In Northern Ireland personal loan debt is just over £1bn and has risen 4% since 2014.

FINTECH AND BANKING GROUP SET FOR IPO (BusinessCloud), Rated: B

TruFin has published a document announcing its intention to float on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in late February.

TruFin has offices in London and Birmingham and currently operates under three separate businesses: Distribution Finance Capital (DFC), Satago and Oxygen Finance.

The group also owns a 15 per cent stake in technology-led peer-to-peer lender Zopa. The platform was launched in 2005 and has since originated over £2.6bn of unsecured loans, connecting more than 320,000 customers to 70,000 investors.

China

China’s recent crackdowns indicate growing pains for its advanced fintech industry (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The central bank is now reining in “social credit” scoring models by companies like Tencent and Alibaba that use consumer data from purchases and social behavior, as of the past weekend. These programs are designed to make up for the lack of institutional records of individuals’ creditworthiness in China’s financial system — something the central bank itself has tried to address with its own solution. Now the government is worried e-commerce-turned-fintech giants could use social scoring as marketing to sell their financial products.

China is a mobile-first nation. Mobile e-commerce took off there because its retail landscape was weaker and less efficient 15 years ago compared to that of the U.S.

European Union

Amsterdam Makes The Most Of Its Fintech Credentials (Global Finance), Rated: AAA

Despite Brexit, London has managed to hang onto its status as Europe’s leading fintech hub, at least for now. According to the Nesta 2016 European Digital City Index, “London leads for both start-ups and scale-ups.” However, Stockholm and Amsterdam, which rank second and third respectively out of 60 cities, are leading the pack nipping at London’s heels, according to the index, which looks at how European cities support “digital entrepreneurship.”

Amsterdam has many claims to fame, but one of its lesser-known features is its concentration of 350 fintech companies, more notably in the payments (Adyen, Payvision, GlobalCollect), trading (BinckBank, Flow Traders) and alternative finance (Funding Circle, Spotcap) spaces.

European Investors Elect Favorite Projects as Prêtons Ensemble Launches New €200 Million Digital Lending Fund (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The asset management firm Eiffel Investment Group which manages the €100 million marketplace lending fund “Prêtons Ensemble” (meaning “Let’s Lend Together”) for institutional investors Aviva France, AG2R LA MONDIALE, MAIF, MGEN and Klesia awarded European Digital Lending Awards at a gathering held in Paris on February 1st. The awards recognized SME projects presented on the lending platforms backed by the fund.

Nominated platforms included leaders such as Funding Circle and Lendix. The prizes however went to smaller marketplaces, a good opportunity to put the spotlight on these up-and-coming fintechs:

  • Green Economy award: Générale du Solaire, a project presented on Lendosphere, France.  
  • Job creation award: Metalliance on Wesharebonds, France.  
  • Innovation award: Selfstock on ClubFunding, France.  
  • Quality of Life award: All About Healthcare on Linked Finance, Ireland. Linked Finance is Ireland’s largest P2P lending platform with more than 16,000 registered lenders who have lent over €32 million to Irish businesses
  • Inclusive Economy: Mujeres y CIA on Finanzarel, Spain, and
    Nou verd and Nou set on Loanbook, Spain.  
  • Best pivot: Sky Hero on Look & Fin, Belgium.  
International

Senmiao Technologies Proposes Terms For $ 14 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Senmiao Technology (AIHS) intends to raise $14 million in a U.S. IPO by selling 3.25 million shares at between $4.00 to $4.50 per share.

According to a 2017 research report by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, the global direct selling volume increased by 1.9% in 2016, reaching $183 billion in sales between 107 million direct sellers.

In 2014, 45% of direct selling volume came from the Asia Pacific region and grew to 46% in 2015 – 2016, as the chart below shows:

Source: Seeking Alpha

According to management, ‘there are approximately 40 lending platforms in Sichuan province.’ Major competitive vendors that provide similar services include:

  • Sichuan Jinding Wealth Information Technology
  • Koudai Network Services
  • Chengdu Hongxue Jinxin Business Consulting
  • Chengdu Zhongke E-Commerce Co

Revenue ($)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: $182,960
  • FYE March 31, 2017: $73,237

Operating Loss ($)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: ($671,729)
  • FYE March 31, 2017: ($185,535)

Operating Margin (%)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: Negative
  • FYE March 31, 2017: Negative

Cash Flow from Operations ($)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: $302,568 cash flow used in operations
  • FYE March 31, 2017: $1,324,449 cash flow from operations

As of Sept 30, 2017, the company had $76,863 in cash and $736,246 in total liabilities.

(Source: Senmiao S-1/A)

 

Exclusive Interview with FintruX CEO Nelson Lin (Chipin), Rated: A

FintruX is an established online lending platform that is introducing blockchain into its financial network to better serve both kinds of customers.

Nelson. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and FintruX?

I am the founder and CEO of FintruX and also Robocoder. Robocoder provides the technology behind Fintrux.

FintruX is a global peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform on the Ethereum blockchain network for providing unsecured loans. It connects small businesses who need money for cash flow issues, with lenders who want to earn a better return on their money.

In some ways, tokenized P2P lending platforms is a “killer app” for the blockchain technology. We are pretty sure you would agree, but can you elaborate and in the context of what you are trying to do.

All the current monetary transactions require too many intermediaries to facilitate a simple transaction from end-to-end and the process itself is also inefficient and time-consuming. Furthermore, most of the systems are fragmented, inconsistent and usually require extensive human intervention. Finally, such transactions require numerous touch-points to handle and manage the “trust” between all of the parties involved. Our mission is to make trustless financing a no-brainer for both borrower and lender.

What is the biggest problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for FintruX to fill?

The biggest problem is that small and startup businesses do not have sufficient credit history or access to capital for their short-term cash flow needs. Furthermore, the traditional systems are inadequate, fragmented, inconsistent, labor intensive and involve lots of intermediaries. There are many P2P lending platforms in existence but they do not talk to each other.

Australia

Global tech giants will threaten bank tax receipts (Financial Review), Rated: A

The $14 billion in taxes the federal government receives each year from the banking sector could be eroded by global technology companies including Apple capitalising on policies designed to boost competition in the sector, the chief executive of the Australian Bankers’ Association, Anna Bligh, will warn on Thursday.

In its half-year results presentation on Wednesday, Commonwealth Bank, the country’s second largest taxpayer, pointed to the $2 billion of taxes it pays to contribute to the economy. This contrasts to many of the global tech players, who book little profit in Australia despite huge sales, and therefore pay much less tax.

India

Credit is here to stay, new lenders beyond banks to play bigger role (money control), Rated: A

Emerging as an alternative to mainstream banking, NBFCs have also been playing an important role in bridging the credit gaps, i.e. in meeting the increasing financial needs of the underserved and unbanked areas in the corporate sector, unorganized sector and also for the local borrowers.

According to the Reserve Bank of India, in January 2017, a total of 28.8 million credit cards were in operation. Credit cards, also known as revolving credit, have been the preferred choice of masses as it enables repetitive use for daily purchases that can be paid back in instalments on a monthly basis.

According to PwC research, over 95% of financial services incumbents seek to explore FinTech partnerships.

MENA

A year when new innovations show up in Dubai realty (Gulf News), Rated: AAA

In the UAE, we are seeing some significant strides, where one technology-driven real estate crowdfunding platform, Smart Crowd, recently received approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority to establish the region’s first regulated real estate crowdfunding platform. This will enable any individual to invest and own a piece of UAE property for as little as Dh5,000 and will most likely stimulate sales in the secondary market.

Canada

Business loans: Which one works for you? (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Source: Bankless Times
Bermuda

Trunomi Closes $ 3.5 Million Round from CloudScale Capital (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Consumer consent and data rights company Trunomi closed a $3.5 million round of funding today. This investment brings the Bermuda-based company’s total funding to $10.5 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor