Tuesday September 11 2018, Daily News Digest

AEP

News Comments Today’s main news: Betterment adds financial advice packages. Funding Circle the fastest growing P2P lender in UK. TransferWise revenue almost doubles. China’s P2P lending problems hit consumer spending. Lending Club CEO says U.S., China need clearer P2P lending regulations. Today’s main analysis: Funding Circle’s IPO, and aggregate excess payment. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How China tech companies are […]

AEP

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United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Betterment Introduces Financial Advice Packages (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Betterment, the largest, independent online financial advisor, today announced it will be piloting a new line up of financial advice packages, expanding its access to personalized advice from licensed financial experts. This new service furthers Betterment’s commitment to making advice more accessible and personalized.

Varo Money Bank Charter; Funding Circle IPO (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Early this week, Funding Circle announced plans to raise £300Mn on the London Stock Exchange through an IPO, valuing the company at up to £1.65 billion. To date, Funding Circle has originated over £5 billion in loans across Europe and the United States. Funding Circle has grown revenue by a 54% CAGR to £63 Mn in the first half of 2018. Funding Circle charges 100bps for servicing and estimates it receives revenue equal to almost 5% of loan value originated.

Source: TransUnion, PeerIQ

Chinese tech giants are dominating North America in VC funding (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Chinese companies have outpaced their North American rivals in funding startups for the first time — even as the country’s economy shows signs of slowing down.

In the second quarter, China-based companies recorded $30.9 billion of venture-capital investment, higher than North America’s $27.2 billion, according to data from Goldman Sachs.

What I Learned at LendIt Fintech China 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Hu Liming from Tencent Financial Cloud talked about the importance of the AI offerings within their cloud computing platform. AI is powering their anti-fraud offerings, their lending process, their collections and customer service efforts. More than 20 of the largest banks and insurance companies in China are using Tencent Financial Cloud for their core services.

Ken Lin of Credit Karma (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How the work Ken was doing at Prosper led to the founding of Credit Karma.
  • When Ken realized that Credit Karma was going to be a sizable business.
  • The key drivers of adoption early on in their business.
  • How Credit Karma’s business has evolved over time.
  • The different verticals they are in today.
  • How Credit Karma makes money.
  • What it means when Credit Karma says a consumer is pre-qualified for a loan.
  • How exactly they are integrated with the platforms when it comes to credit approvals.
  • How platforms can reduce their customer acquisition cost when they’re working with Credit Karma.
  • What autonomous finance means and why it is critical to the future of personal finance.
  • Why finance is not autonomous today.
  • The story behind their recent acquisition of the mortgage platform Approved.
  • The total number of consumers who have a Credit Karma account today.
  • How Ken thinks about geographic expansion at Credit Karma.
  • Where they are at with IPO plans.
  • What Ken is working on today that he is most excited about.

Places Where Millennials Carry the Most Debt (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its study on the places where millennials carry the most debt. The study found that student loans make up the biggest share of millennial debt, but auto loans are close behind. The study revealed that the typical urban millennial carries significant debt; the average debt balance for millennials living in the 50 biggest U.S. cities is $23,064.

  • Millennials in San AntonioPittsburgh, and Austin, Texas, shoulder the largest debt burdens of the 50 biggest metros, with median non-mortgage debts of $27,122$26,403 and $26,164, respectively.
  • Three California cities — San JoseSacramento and Los Angeles — have the lowest median balances on the list at $18,376$18,691 and $19,299, respectively.

In the top 10 cities, more than half of millennials have outstanding debts totaling $25,000 or more (not including mortgages), and roughly 1 in 4 millennials living in these cities owes more than $50,000.

The 10 Places Where Millennials Carry the Most Debt

(Excluding Mortgages)

Rank

Metro

Median
Balance

1

San Antonio

$27,122

2

Pittsburgh

$26,403

3

Austin, Texas

$26,164

4

Houston

$25,978

5

Jacksonville, Fla.

$25,947

6

Dallas

$25,939

7

Washington

$25,810

8

Virginia Beach, Va.

$25,591

9

Oklahoma City

$25,351

10

Columbus, Ohio

$25,129

Sacramento homebuyers are among the most financially stretched in the nation, study shows (Sacramento Bee), Rated: B

Area buyers took out mortgages in 2017 that were on average 3.2 times larger than their annual income, according to a study by Lending Tree, an online loan marketplace. The national average is 2.56.

That ranks Sacramento 10th nationally among the country’s 50 largest metro areas.

Six California cities are in the national top 10, a sign that Golden State residents are stretching more to buy a home than those living elsewhere.

LendingTree is the secret success story of fintech (TechCrunch), Rated: A

For all of the excitement centered around fintech over the past half-decade, most venture-backed fintech companies struggle to acclimate to public markets. LendingClub and OnDeck have plummeted since their late 2014 IPOs after several years of darling status in the private markets. GreenSky, which went public in May of this year, has been unable to return to its IPO price. Square is the exception to the rule.

Sometimes we overlook the companies that hail from the era that precedes the current wave of fintech fascination, a vertical which has accumulated over $100 billion in global investment capital since 2010.

PeerStreet Expands Real Estate Investing Options with Shorter-Term Notes (Business Wire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, today announced the addition of a new investment option, Cash Offer Loans. Cash Offer Loans are a new investment option that provides PeerStreet investors with a shorter duration than typical bridge loans.

Baltimore financial technology start-up gets $ 33 million investment (The Baltimore Sun), Rated: A

Facet Wealth, a Baltimore-based financial services startup, has attracted a $33 million investment led by a New York-based venture capital firm.

Finitive Facilitates $ 50 Million Warehouse Line Of Credit For Bungalow (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Finitive (www.finitive.com), a financial technology platform providing institutional investors with direct access to alternative lending investments, announced today the closing of a $50 million senior secured warehouse credit facility for Bungalow (bungalow.com). This transaction was the first of its kind in the co-living sector.

4 Interesting Investment Strategies With Good Yields (Influencive), Rated: A

4. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Lending clubs have revolutionized how small businesses get money and act as a third party between individuals who want to lend money and people who need it. You can think of it as a peer-to-peer lending system that’s normally backed up and insured. You could get around 7% with one of these investments.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle remains fastest growing P2P firm (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAAA

FUNDING Circle has retained its place as the fastest growing peer-to-peer lending firm in the latest Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100.

Fellow ‘big three’ P2P platform Zopa also featured in the list, which was published on Sunday. However, the smallest member of the ‘big three’, RateSetter, has dropped out of the annual league table.

Funding Circle confirms more details of IPO (P2p Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDING Circle has unveiled more details of its plan to raise £300m through a listing on the London Stock Exchange’s main market in October.

The peer-to-peer lending platform said retail investors will be able to apply for shares via intermediaries such as Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell Youinvest and The Share Centre, with a minimum application size of £1,000.

Funding Circle plans October listing in British ‘fintech’ first (Channel News Asia), Rated: B

Funding Circle will test investor demand for British peer-to-peer lenders in a listing scheduled for October and expected to value it at more than 1.5 billion pounds (US$1.94 billion).

Capitalising on high-street banks’ retreat from lending to that sector since the financial crisis, it has facilitated more than 5 billion pounds in loans to more than 50,000 companies across Britain, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.

Fintech start-up TransferWise reports second year of profit, revenue almost doubles (CNBC), Rated: AAA

TransferWise, one of Europe’s largest financial technology (fintech) start-ups, said Monday it was profitable for the second year in a row.

The London-headquartered money transfer firm reported an annual post-tax net profit of £6.2 million ($8 million) for the fiscal year ending March 2018.

Annual revenue nearly doubled to £117 million during the period, from £66 million the previous year, TransferWise said. Operating profit came in at £9.5 million following a loss of £519,000 last year.

101 Fintech Disrupters (BusinessCloud), Rated: AAA

See the full list.

The unique side of Crypto Lending and why it could be the option to reduce risk (London Loves Business), Rated: AAA

Crypto lending or digital asset backed loan is comparatively a new concept used in earning profits without much effort. It revolves around the concept of shorting. Perhaps, you do not understand how shorting works, do not worry because all you need to know is that you are lending fund to others who are making short trades. In exchange for the funds, you get an interest rate that goes from 5% to 50% each year.

OakNorth just landed a $ 2.3 billion valuation (Business Insider), Rated: A

ACORN OakNorth, a UK-based alt lender focused on small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and property financing, has secured a £78 million ($100 million) funding round from the EDBI of Singapore, NIBC Bank, Clermont Group, and Coltrane Asset Management. OakNorth’s loans have helped create 8,500 homes in the UK and 8,000 jobs.

Wonga payday loans collapse shows extent of UK poverty (World Socialist Web Site), Rated: A

The UK payday loan industry grew rapidly from 2008-2012, coinciding with the global financial crash and the pauperisation of millions of people in the UK. The numbers of loans issued in this period were 10.2 million per year, with a value of £2.8 billion.

Wonga’s posted pre-tax profit losses in 2016 of nearly £65 million, after recording huge profits just a few years before.

In its 2014 review of the payday loans industry, the FCA found that the average income of a payday lender was £16,500 a year, far below the UK’s median wage of £26,500 at that time.

The CMA found most recipients (52 percent) of payday loans have experienced financial problems in the recent past, with 38 percent of all customers having a bad core/credit rating and 10 percent of customers having had a bailiff or debt collector visit to their home. Over half (53 percent) use payday loans to pay for living expenses, food, utility bills—with 7 percent having to use these loans to pay for general shopping such as clothes and household items.

Crowd2Fund publishes loanbook and performance data (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

CROWD2FUND is publishing its loanbook for the first time and has analysed the data to forecast investor returns more accurately.

Detailed information on loans, including late repayments and defaults, will now be available to read online, as well as rates offered to borrowers and investors’ returns.

The House Crowd launches development finance offering (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

Borrowers can apply for funding ranging from £500,000-£5m over a maximum loan term of 24 months, with interest rates starting from 8% per annum and both arrangement and exit fees at 2%.

China/Hong Kong

Implosion of China’s P2P Lending Boom Hits Consumer Spending (Wolf Street), Rated: AAA

The Chinese government legalized peer-to-peer lending platforms in 2015. P2P sites attract money from individual investors – mostly savers – by offering them extraordinarily high yields. They lend this money at high interest rates to borrowers who have trouble getting loans elsewhere – classic subprime. By the end of 2017, there were over 8,000 P2P platforms, according to the People’s Bank of China, with over 50 million registered users. By the end of June, in a little over two years, the industry had gone from zero to $190 billion in outstanding loans.

In May, new vehicle sales still surged 7.9% from a year ago. Through the first five months of the year, sales were up 5.1%. But in June, the year-over-year sales increase eased to 2.3%. And in July, sales actually fell 5.3% year-over-year.

That 5.3% decline in July was a big, sudden, and unexpected swing from the 7.9% surge in May.

Mother Hangs Herself After Becoming a Victim of China’s P2P Crash (The Epoch Times), Rated: A

Around 4 a.m. on Sept. 7, construction workers in Jinhua, a city in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, found the body of a woman hanging from a tree in a park. She was Wang Qian, a 31-year-old single mother who had lost her savings in China’s recent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending crash.

Wang worked as an individual seller on Taobao, a Chinese shopping site similar to eBay. She lost about 260,000 yuan ($37,990). She had invested her money in P2P platform PPMiao, which collapsed on Aug. 6. She lost about 260,000 yuan ($38,000).

9F, fintech company with 63 million mainland Chinese users, eyes Hong Kong virtual banking licence (SCMP), Rated: B

Mainland Chinese financial technology company 9F Group has teamed up with local and international firms to apply for a virtual banking licence in Hong Kong.

European Union

The Hottest Fintech, Insurtech Startups in Berlin (Inside Bitcoins), Rated: AAA

Launched in 2013, N26 is a German neo-bank and one of the fastest growing banks in Europe. It serves more than 1 million customers, both businesses and individuals, across 17 European markets, and intends to enter the UK market in 2018 and the US market in 2019.

Smava is a loan portal that aims to make personal loans transparent, fair and affordable for consumers. Based on digital processes, Smava provides a market overview of 70 loan offers from 25 banks. As of January 2018, Smava had originated over US$3 billion in loans through its platform since inception.

Raisin is a fintech startup providing savings and investments marketplaces across Europe. The company operates several localized platforms for the German, French, Spanish, and Austrian markets, and more. These allow savers to shop and compare rates European-wide. In February, it launched a dedicated UK site, enabling savers to access deposit accounts in GBP, and another platform dedicated to the Dutch market in August.

SolarisBank is a platform with a full banking license which enables companies to offer their own financial products. Through APIs, partners gain access to SolarisBank’s modular services including payments and e-money, lending, digital banking as well as services provided by integrated third party providers.

Launched in 2014, CrossLend is a B2B marketplace lending platform that specializes in flexible refinancing via a capital market structure. CrossLend also offers cross-border credit intermediation through cooperation with a partner bank. The company aims to facilitate the borrowing, investing, and trading of money across the globe.

Founded in 2016, Billie offers a fully automated invoice financing platform that aims to “revolutionize small business financing.” Based on big data analytics, fully digitalized processes and a highly scalable state of the art tech platform, the company offers a simple and fast way for small businesses to access capital.

Real Estate Platform Zinsbaustein Receives Additionaly Investment from Sontowski & Partner Group (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform zinsbaustein.de has received additional backing from the Sontowski & Partner Group.

Zinsbaustein founding group FinLeap has sold its stake in the firm and is now focusing on building the recently introduced “B2B2X Fintech” platform.

International

Lending Club CEO: US’s and China’s P2P lending need clearer regulation and communication (TechNode), Rated: AAA

The idea became popular when it was first proposed around a decade ago. The then fast-growing sector fostered a series of unicorns. US P2P pioneer Lending Club was valued at $5.4 billion in its 2014 IPO and its peer Prosper was valued by private investors as worth $1.9 billion in its prime. Although a few years later than its foreign counterparts, Chinese P2P platforms have grown rapidly with leaders in the sector such as Hexindai who has gone public, and the likes of Lufax and Dianrong poised for an IPO.

Australia/New Zealand

Non-banks emerge as traditional banks retreat (NZ Adviser), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer lending space is gobbling up market share in mortgages as banks appear to be lending less to homebuyers, says one P2P mortgage lender.

Non-bank Southern Cross Partners is growing 20% year-on-year as the banks retreat from funding house, and sector demand grows, Southern Cross Partners chief executive officer Luke Jackson said.

Southern Cross enjoys strong year (Good Returns), Rated: A

The company’s total value of loans under arrangement  grew 24.8% in the year to date, as growth in investor funds rose 19.9%.

In a city that needs 13,000 houses a year to keep up – but only 7,000 are being built annually – lack of funding will only make the housing crisis worse.”

Asia

The Chinese P2P crisis and what Southeast Asia can learn from it (KrAsia), Rated: AAA

Merely three years ago, peer to peer (P2P) lending in China was hailed as the banks of tomorrow and the harbinger of financial innovation. Powered by technology and ever burgeoning rounds of funding and valuation, P2P lending was set to disrupt financing the world’s 2nd largest economy dominated by state owned (or sponsored) banks. The new elites in jeans and T-shirts would show the suited up old guard how finance is supposed to work. Here came the new finance, Silicon Valley style – with Chinese characteristics.

Fair was its blossom; and wretched is its downfall. By June 2018, the Chinese financial information provider 01Cajing reported only 1504 functioning P2P platforms, down from over 3000 in the heydays. The change in fortune is as swift as it is bizarre. Is this an omen of darker times to come for South East Asian marketplace lending? Before this question can be addressed, it is necessary to disentangle how the crisis precipitated in China, and the confluences of forces behind the calamity.

Peer-to-peer lenders plan to self-regulate (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: A

On Monday, the Preparatory Committee of the Digital Finance Association announced a series of self-imposed regulations that it plans to apply to all member companies when the association kicks off later this year.

Lendit, 8percent and Popfunding, the three P2P firms in the preparatory committee, left the older Korea P2P Finance Association in May along with other firms due to disagreements over its management direction.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday June 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Marcus future plans

News Comments Today’s main news: N26 reaches 1 million customers. Prospa postpones float. Transferwise could be working with Monzo. Ant Financial shifts away from finance. Goldman Sachs backs Marqeta. BlueVine raises $60M. Today’s main analysis: Capitalists invest in Chinese companies. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman shares its vision for Marcus. 10x Banking founder discusses the future of fintech. Indonesia’s looming digital disruption. United […]

Marcus future plans

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

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United States

Goldman Sachs backs card issuing, processing startup Marqeta (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has joined a $45 million investment round in Marqeta, a U.S. fintech company offering technology businesses can use to issue payment cards, the startup said on Tuesday.

The round, which brings Marqeta’s total funding raised to $116 million, was led by venture capital firm ICONIQ Capital, according to a statement from the companies. Marqeta is also backed by Visa Inc (V.N).

Goldman Sachs Shares Their Vision for the Future of the Marcus Platform (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

In the presentation Solomon did not address everything on this slide directly but much of it is self-explanatory. First, Goldman is breaking down their vision for their consumer platform into four key areas: Borrow, Spend, Save, Protect with 12 separate products listed. It is also interesting that Clarity Money is front and center on this slide. They clearly view the personal financial management app as a critical piece of the puzzle.

Let’s look at the future products in the Borrow space beyond personal loans:

  1. Credit Cards – we have already heard about their deal with Apple but there will likely be a Marcus branded credit card at some point.
  2. Mortgage – This is a huge market and one that still has plenty of room for disruption. While it won’t be easy to displace the banks or large non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans and loanDepot there is a huge market to go after.
  3. Auto – Another big market with no clear fintech leader. The banks still dominate auto lending, particularly for new cars. LendingClub has started in the auto space focused on auto refinancing and I expect that will be the area Marcus would go to first.

When disaster strikes, digital banking can become a lifeline (American Banker) Rated: A

As chief information and digital officer at Popular Inc., Burckhart’s role is mostly in the office and boardroom. But in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm, she and her team spent days in the field, figuring out how to get banking services to those who needed them.

Their efforts cannot be overstated, since the company occupies a key role in the island’s economy: Its Banco Popular claims to have 56% of the deposits in Puerto Rico and 49% of the net loans, as of year-end.

A week after Hurricane Maria, despite islandwide communication and electrical outages, Popular had 53 of 168 branches and 150 of 635 ATMs in service, as well as all digital channels.

Digital Banker of the Year: Fifth Third’s Tim Spence (American Banker) Rated: A

Last year, Spence oversaw the configuration of so-called Agile teams to work on Fifth Third’s online banking channels and mobile apps. This resulted in a revamped bill pay experience, along with the addition of online branch appointment scheduling and the ability to withdraw cash at ATMs using the bank’s mobile app. In months, it was also able to launch Zelle peer-to-peer payments and Momentum, a proprietary app that helps millennials pay off student loans faster through micro payments from rounding up purchases.

The plumber to US fintechs branches out (Financial Times) Rated: A

Apex Clearing helps to power leading fintech firms like Robinhood, Betterment and Stash, acting as the plumbing and operating in the background; as these digital platforms begin to slow their growth Apex has started to look beyond the startups for bigger clients; Bill Capuzzi, CEO of Apex Clearing, says there is more than $500bn of addressable market with larger firms who want to digitize; the effort is not easy as some traditional players still use fax machine technology; making progress slow but firms know they need to digitize and Apex is hoping to take a big share of those making the shift.

The Woz: Blockchain might be a bubble, but it’s on the right track (AltFi News) Rated: A

The ‘Woz’ also offered thoughts on digital banking and artificial intelligence.

He said that online banks ‘just aren’t as secure’ as their incumbent rivals, referencing a time that his own crypto-currency holdings, or a portion of them, were stolen from a digital bank.

Real Estate Startup FlyHomes Raises $ 17m in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

FlyHomes, a Seattle, WA-based real estate startup, raised $17m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Mark Vadon and Shasta Ventures, among others.

The company intends to use the funds to increase deployment of its Cash Offers program, accelerate hiring, invest in further product development, and drive new market expansion in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

IDology Study Reveals Consumer Insights on Digital Identity Fraud (IDology) Rated: B

Key consumer behavior trends and other major findings identified in the IDology Consumer Digital Identity Studyinclude:

  • Fraud concerns are impacting consumer choices online, with 83 percent surveyed having extreme to moderate concern that their identities will be used to fraudulently open accounts.
  • Consumers view biometrics, knowledge-based authentication and one-time passcodes as the most secure methods of authentication. Overall, 90 percent of consumers are comfortable answering knowledge-based authentication questions to verify their identities but prefer demographic-based questions over credit-based questions two to one.
  • Fifty-six percent of consumers report that they are more likely to choose a financial institution if they know it offers advanced identity verification methods.
  • When opening an account online, consumers place a premium on security (88 percent) and ease (72 percent), with 31 percent reporting they have abandoned signing up because it was too difficult or took too long. This reveals that more than ever, consumers are looking to do business with companies and financial institutions that have minimal friction as part of their overall service experience, along with assurance that their transactions and identities are secure.

Despite worries, America’s small business owners bullish on economy (Bankless Times) Rated: A

According to the survey, 53 per cent and 52 per cent respectively of small business owners named (1) the cost of providing health insurance for employees and (2) the effect of changes in the new tax law as key business considerations. What’s more, 35 per cent of respondents report the new tax plan has already caused them to make changes in their business, with 10 per cent reporting that they are actively investing in new equipment or staffing.

Cross River Hires Veteran Banker To Lead SBA Loan Practice (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Cross River, a leader in the emerging Fintech industry, has hired Kevin Gallagher, an accomplished small business lending specialist, to head its Small Business Administration loan division.

Gallagher joins Cross River from Empire State CDC: The 504 Company, where he led business development efforts around various SBA loan products and community lending products. Prior to that, he served as national sales director for SBA-related programs at Customers Bank and Citibank.

United Kingdom

TransferWise’s next partnership could be with U.K. challenger bank Monzo (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

According to sources, the international money transfer service and European unicorn is working with the fast-growing U.K. challenger bank Monzo.

The tie-in will likely see TransferWise functionality offered within Monzo’s mobile banking app, courtesy of the TransferWise API. It will give Monzo’s 700,000 customers the ability to send money in various supported currencies at the ‘mid market’ rate in addition to TransferWise’s low and transparent fees.

A partnership with U.K. challenger bank Starling was also announced last year, but integration with the bank’s app never materialised and TechCrunch learned last week that the partnership has now dissolved entirely. That is particularly noteworthy given that Monzo and Starling are direct competitors with an interesting shared history, shall we say.

10x Banking Founder on Why FinTech Is the Future (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sphonic to partner with Paysafe on digital wallet services (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

DATA and risk management specialist Sphonic has been chosen to provide digital wallet services to global payments provider Paysafe Group.

Sphonic, which works with peer-to-peer lenders including Funding Circle and Zopa, supplies data networking services.

These include customer on-boarding, anti-money laundering, know your customer, fraud detection and monitoring as well as authentication.

Automated financial advisor Multiply raises £1.75 million (Finextra) Rated: A

Multiply, the UK’s first fully-automated independent financial advice service, has secured investments totaling £1.75 million, led by Octopus Ventures.

Octopus Ventures, the early stage investor, invested £1 million, and was joined by Portag3 Ventures LP and Entrepreneur First to support Multiply’s development and roll-out of their beta consumer facing product. Angel investors include Nick Hungerford, former CEO of Nutmeg, Taavet Hinrikus, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise, Peter Rading, Michael Orland and Toby Moore.

China

Ant Financial is shifting its focus from finance to tech services (CNBC) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial Services, the dominant Chinese fintech company, is shifting its main focus to technology services and away from payments and consumer finance as Beijing’s crackdown on financial risk deepens, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.

But in five years, technology services will make up 65 percent of Ant Financial’s revenue, compared with an estimated 34 percent in 2017, according to confidential company projections viewed by Reuters. That would involve helping banks and other institutions with services like online risk management and fraud prevention.

Mao is Laughing: Capitalists Pour Money into Chinese Companies (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

Over the past week, two private Chinese technology unicorns, Xiaohongshu (“Little Red Book”) and Sensetime, announced that they had raised nearly $1 billion, adding to the ranks of large Chinese enterprises thinking about going public. Another Chinese company is scheduled to IPO in June, 3 recently selected bankers (a key step for launching an IPO) and 11 have already gone public for a total of 15 year to date, compared to 15 in all of 2017.

Year to date, the 11 Chinese companies are up 39%, compared to only 3% for last year’s vintage. HUYA, a leading live streaming platform for video games, is up 147% since its May 10, 2018 IPO, followed by another video streamer, IQIYI, up 62%. Last year’s big winner was tiny filter maker Newater, up 177%, followed by online lender Lexin Fintech, up 73%, while more than half of its 2017 comrades are under water.

China’s fintech startup Caogen Touzi secures $ 358m Series D round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Hangzhou-based fintech platform Caogen Touzi has closed an RMB 2.3 billion ($357.8 million) Series D round led by Shanghai-listed Geo-Jade Petroleum, a property development and oil and gas firm, and other investors.

In a security filing, Geo-Jade Petroleum said it will invest no more than RMB 500 million ($78 million) in Caogen Touzi.

Caogen Touzi told Kr36 that the firm will focus on tapping the rural finance market in the future and use the funds for business development.

Fintech Company Pintec Raises $ 103M in Equity Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

Pintec, a Beijing, China-baased independent technology platform enabling financial services, raised US$103m in financing.

The round was led by Mandra Capital and SINA Corp., with participation from STI Financial Group, Shunwei Capital Partners and ZHONG Capital Holding Group, among others.

The company intends to use the funds to increase investment in R&D, traffic integration, risk management and operations.

European Union

N26 passes million customer milestone (Finextra) Rated: AAA

We are very excited to announce that N26, that’s us, now has over a million customers.

To celebrate we put together a look at how customers help us transact €1 billion a month. Before continuing though, we’d like to mention that while we do look at aggregated data, we never look at individual data unless explicitly asked to do so.

ING pushes for open banking with SME financing platform and Yolt expansion (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

ING is launching a marketplace for SME financing in the Netherlands, which will open to other external financing providers, becoming the first Dutch bank in doing so.ING is keen to maximise the possibilities of open banking and is working with Yolt and Funding Options on bringing new features to customers across Europe.

ING is also expanding its money management capabilities offered to consumers with the launch of Yolt in France and Italy.

Fintech Company FinCompare Raises €10M in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

FinCompare, a Berlin, Germany-based fintech company, raised €10m in Series A funding.

The round was led by ING Ventures with participation from Speedinvest and Uniaq Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds for the expansion of the team, investment in IT and further growth.

Challenger bank Banco BNI Europa selects Alterestfor effortless loan data management (Banco BNI Europa Email) Rated: B

Banco BNI Europa and Alterest, an innovative loan data and intelligence platform, publicly announced today their partnership to streamline investment analytics and risk management between the bank and its credit originating partners. Initiated in Oct, 2017, the partnership comprised of data-feeds integration with tech-enabled lending platforms, implementation of a reconciliation process between operations and nostro accounts, and configuration of an IFRS9-compliant impairment calculation model.

Euro MPLs growing, but securitization a ways off (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

The marketplace lending sector in Europe is growing, with a sharp focus on the small to medium sized enterprise segment, but it is still lagging UK and the US markets and lenders will need to ramp up scale and educate investors before a meaningful pipeline of securitization can build

A panel on focused on European marketplace lenders on day one highlighted the risks and the challenges facing the sector. Speakers hit on some well tread talking points, such as the availability of data on underlying loan portfolios and the lack of performance history.

International

FusionFabric.cloud platform changes the way software is developed, deployed and consumed in the financial world (Finastra) Rated: A

Finastra announced the availability of the three core components within its FusionFabric.cloud platformfor open innovation:

  • FusionCreator – A rapid development environment for financial applications with low-code capabilities and integrated API management tools
  • FusionOperate – A management system to deploy and operate applications in a secure cloud infrastructure
  • FusionStore – An online marketplace for banks to search, try and buy applications

FusionFabric.cloud already has over 60 Fintechs and providers signed up.

The AI and robo-advice questions you should be asking (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

Automated advice, robo-adviser, machine learning, AI-enabled expert advice, robo-advice digital journey, hybrid machine/adviser solution … in a very short space of time the advisory sector has coined a significant amount of terminology for robo-advice.

Being properly informed about these issues and asking the right questions of a provider can make an enormous difference in levels of investment.

Australia

Prospa float postponed as ASIC queries small business loan terms (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

Small business lender Prospa says it has taken a conservative approach in delaying its $576 million ASX float by two days, in order to respond to renewed concerns from the corporate regulator that its standard form contracts may contain unfair clauses in breach of consumer laws.

New build financing gap boosts Southern Cross (Good Returns) Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Southern Cross Partners has seen an increase in investor demand as first time buyers struggle to finance new-build properties.

The lender says it experienced a 10-20% increase in investor demand last year amid a lack of available funding for the construction and sale of new homes.

Mortgage group’s “mortgage hell” billboard above CBA (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Online mortgage startup HashChing is advertising with a billboard above a Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) branch.

The home loan marketplace has launched a campaign against the big banks, which includes this billboard in the Melbourne CBD. The slogan reads, “Our brokers will go to mortgage hell, so you don’t have to”.

MENA

Israeli fintech co BlueVine Raises $ 60m (Globes) Rated: AAA

Israeli alternative business lending company BlueVine today announced that it has closed $60 million iSeries E financing round led by Menlo Ventures, and including new investors, such as SVB Capital. All major existing investors also participated. Including this financing round, the company has raised $533 million to date including $128 million in equity financing and $405 million in debt financing. This latter figure included $200 million raised from Credit Suisse two months ago.

The new financing will support BlueVine’s plan to expand its highly-successful invoice factoring and business line of credit products, and to explore new products catering to small and medium-sized businesses. BlueVine also plans to use the funding to accelerate R&D hiring.

Asia

Indonesia’s coming digital disruption (The Business Times) Rated: AAA

INDONESIA’S digital economy is set to boom, helping its overall economy expand from US$1 trillion in 2017 to US$2.7 trillion by 2027.

Over the next 10 years, we expect online retail in Indonesia to increase 14-fold from just US$4.4 billion in 2017 to US$63.2 billion, or 19 per cent of total retail sales versus 3 per cent currently.

To support this growth, as well as the rise in e-services such as ride hailing, travel bookings and food delivery, we expect an equally rapid adoption of e-money from just 2 per cent of nation-wide transactions in 2017 to 24 per cent by 2027.

We are also seeing the emergence of fintech solutions such as peer-to-peer lending targeting the 44 per cent of the population who do not have access to banking services today.

Thierry Sanders, CEO Of Mekar (Indonesia Expat) Rated: A

We’ve shifted our activities and are now mainly financing women’s businesses. Lending to women is safer in Indonesia. Statistics show that five percent of male borrowers, on average, will not pay back. With our female borrowers, it’s only 0.5 percent. Which is why we chose to focus on women. They also have a harder time getting financed. Now, 95 percent of the businesses we finance are women’s businesses.

Caribbean

ECCB advises caution regarding non-traditional financial services (St. Lucia Times) Rated: AAA

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is aware of the emergence of several initiatives which compete directly with traditional financial services. These include but are not limited to: peer to peer lending, digital wallets, crowd funding ventures, crypto-assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor