Category: Banking

June 7, 2019 Off

Fintech platform Synapse raises $33M to build ‘the AWS of banking’

By Jill T Frey

Synapse, a San Francisco-based startup that operates a platform enabling banks and fintech companies to easily develop financial services, has closed a $33 million Series B to develop new products and go after international expansion.

The investment was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing backers Trinity Ventures and Core Innovation Capital . Synapse — which recently rebranded (slightly) from “SynapseFi” — announced a $17 million Series A back in September 2018, so this deal takes it to $50 million raised to date.

The startup was founded in 2014 by Bryan Keltner and India-born CEO Sankaet Pathak, who came to the U.S. to study but grew frustrated at the difficulty of opening a bank account without U.S. social security history. Inspired by his struggles, Synapse, which operated under the radar prior to that Series A deal, is focused on democratizing financial services.

Its approach to doing that is … Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

First American site bug exposed 885 million sensitive title insurance records

By Jill T Frey

News just in from security reporter Brian Krebs: Fortune 500 real estate insurance giant First American exposed approximately 885 million sensitive records because of a bug in its website.

Krebs reported that the company’s website was storing and exposing bank account numbers, statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers and driving license images in a sequential format — so anyone who knew a valid web address for a document simply had to change the address by one digit to view other documents, he said.

There was no authentication required — such as a password or other checks — to prevent access to other documents.

According to Krebs’ report, the earliest document was labeled “000000075” — with newer documents increasing in numerical order, he said.

The data goes back at least to 2003, said Krebs.

“Many of the exposed files are records of wire transactions with bank account numbers … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

These startups are locating in SF and Africa to win in global fintech

By Jill T Frey

To become a global fintech player, locate your company in San Francisco and Africa.

That’s the approach of payments company Flutterwave, digital lending startup Mines, and mobile-money venture Chipper Cash—Africa-founded ventures that maintain headquarters in San Francisco and operations in Africa to tap the best of both worlds in VC, developers, clients, and the frontier of digital finance.

This arrangement wasn’t exactly coordinated across the ventures, but TechCrunch coverage picked up the trend and some common motives among these rising fintech firms.

Founded in 2016 by Nigerians Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave has positioned itself as a global B2B payments solutions platform for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.

Clients can tap its APIs and work with Flutterwave developers to customize payments applications. Existing customers include Uber,  Booking.com and African e-commerce unicorn Jumia.com.

The Y-Combinator backed company is headquartered in … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

OpenFin raises $17 million for its OS for finance

By Jill T Frey

OpenFin, the company looking to provide the operating system for the financial services industry, has raised $17 million in funding through a Series C round led by Wells Fargo, with participation from Barclays and existing investors including Bain Capital Ventures, J.P. Morgan and Pivot Investment Partners. Previous investors in OpenFin also include DRW Venture Capital, Euclid Opportunities and NYCA Partners.

Likening itself to “the OS of finance,” OpenFin seeks to be the operating layer on which applications used by financial services companies are built and launched, akin to iOS or Android for your smartphone.

OpenFin’s operating system provides three key solutions which, while present on your mobile phone, has previously been absent in the financial services industry: easier deployment of apps to end users, fast security assurances for applications and interoperability.

Traders, analysts and other financial service employees often find themselves using several separate … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

Openfinance opens up US trading of third-party digital assets

By Jill T Frey

Openfinance, the secondary market for trading digital alternative assets, announced it will be opening up trading of third-party digital securities to US Investors, making it the first trading platform to do so.

The company already supported the trading of third-party digital securities (securities that have been migrated onto the blockchain that are now traded on Openfinance’s blockchain-based platform) in Europe, but was unable to provide the same capability in the US due to minimum holding periods for new tokenized securities required by US regulators.

Now that the holding periods are up for two of the first security token assets traded on Openfinance — Blockchain Capital’s BCAP security token and SPiCE VC’s SPiCE token — both accredited and non-accredited investors in the US will now be able to access and trade both securities through the Openfinance network.

The BCAP and SPiCE tokens are the first of several digital securities that … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

YouTrip, a challenger bank in Southeast Asia, raises $25.5M for expansion

By Jill T Frey

Singapore-based startup YouTrip thinks consumers of Southeast Asia deserve a taste of the challenger bank revolution happening in the U.S. and Europe, and it has raised $25.5 million in new funding to bring its app-and-debit-card service to more parts in the region.

Challenger banks have sprung up in Europe in recent years. Unicorns Monzo, Revolut and N26 are among those that offer their customers a debit card linked to an app and various levels of banking services, including savings and overdrafts. Brex — another billion-dollar-valued startup — is bringing that approach across the pond to the U.S. market.

But what about Southeast Asia?

All the signs indicate this is a region where digital services can thrive. The number of internet users across its six main countries is larger the entire U.S. population, and online spending is tipped to triple to $240 billion by 2025. Already, the region has mega … Read the rest

May 7, 2019 Off

Google launches new Assistant developer tools

By Jill T Frey

At its I/O conference, Google today announced a slew of new tools for developers who want to build experiences for the company’s Assistant platform. These range from the ability to build games for smart displays, like the Google Home Hub and the launch of App Actions for taking users from an Assistant answer to their native apps, to a new Local Home SDK that allows developers to run their smart home code locally on Google Home Speakers and Nest Displays.

This Local Home SDK may actually be the most important announcement in this list, given that it turns these devices into a real hardware hub for these smart home devices and provides local compute capacity without the round-trip to the cloud. The first set of partners include Philips, Wemo, TP-Link and LIFX, but the SDK will become available to all developers next month.

In addition, this SDK will make it … Read the rest

May 2, 2019 Off

A quiet London-based payments startup just raised among the biggest Series A rounds ever in Europe

By Jill T Frey

You probably haven’t heard of Checkout, a digital payments processing company that was founded in 2012 in London. Apparently, however, investors have been keeping tabs on the low-flying company and like what they see. Today, Checkout announced that it has raised $230 million in Series A funding at a valuation just shy of $2 billion co-led by Insight Partners and DST Global. Other participants include GIC, the Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund; Blossom Capital; Endeavor Catalyst; and other, unnamed strategic investors.

It’s the first institutional round for the company; it’s also one of the biggest Series A rounds ever for a European company.

What’s so special about Checkout that investors felt compelled to write such big checks? In a sea filled with fintech startups, it’s hard to know at first glance what differentiates it — or whether investors merely spy a huge opportunity, particularly given the company’s recent revenue numbers.

Checkout … Read the rest