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Online Lending for Students Is on the Rise

By Vladislav Solodkiy for LTP

Online lending service for students SoFi (Social Finance Inc.) is close to raising about $500 million in a funding round expected to be led by private equity firm SilverLake Partners to bolster the expansion of its online lending businesses and personal financial services. The investment round should include several Asian investors like Japan’s SoftBank and others. The new international group will purchase SoFi’s loans as well as take an equity stake. The fundraising round values SoFi at $4.3 billion, higher than its previous valuation of $3.2 billion.  (more…)

About, Fintech news, p2p/online lending

February 24, 2017

Auto Loans On Fire: Sizzle Or Big Fizzle In The Making?

By 

While everyone is gearing up for the Oscars, some of us may be in La La Land blithely ignoring smoke coming from the auto industry. This week’s big story is a bit schizophrenic and focused on consumer debt, which may eventually be a fizzle, while the battle rages on in eCommerce amid retail giants, to the chagrin of department stores everywhere. (more…)

Analytics, Fintech news

February 24, 2017

The future of student banking: Helping, not hindering

By Finextra

Synonymous with attending university in the UK is the student debt this racks up, typically totalling tens of thousands of pounds. From the rising tuition fees (currently at £9,000 a year), to rocketing living costs barely covered by maintenance loans, a recent report by social mobility charity Sutton Trust indicates that students are saddled with an average of £44,000 in debt by the end of their university career. (more…)

About, Analytics, Fintech news, p2p/online lending

February 24, 2017

Korean Central Bank To Deploy R3’s Blockchain Proof Of Concept

By CryptoCoin News

The Bank of Korea plans to execute the R3 consortium proof-of-concept blockchain technology project. Kim Jung-hyuk, head of the e-finance planning team for the bank’s financial supervisory service, announced the project at the Digital Money 2017 conference, according to EconoTimes. (more…)

Blockchain, Fintech news, Government activities, Korea

February 24, 2017

Messenger Powers Chatbot Payments For ATB Financial

Today’s eCommerce world keeps getting faster and faster. (more…)

Banks, Bots, Fintech news, Mobile payments/banking

February 24, 2017

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Atom Now UK’s Most Recommended Bank

For the first time since its launch in 1989, First Direct is not the most recommended U.K. bank — it has been displaced by digital-only entrant Atom Bank. (more…)

Fintech news, Mobile-first banks

February 24, 2017

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152

Bitcoin Near Record Max Amid ETF Hopes

Bitcoin has recovered from its drop in January — and then some. (more…)

Analytics, Cryptocurrencies

February 24, 2017

FinTech Investment in Australia Increased in 2016; Slumps Around the World

By CryptoCoins News

Analysis has found that investment in Australia’s FinTech startups rose last year compared to the rest of the world.

 

(more…)

Analytics, Fintech news, Government activities, Marketing Report

February 24, 2017

Bitcoin P2P Lending Platform Bitbond Raises $1.2 Million in Equity Funding

By CryptoCoins News

Bitbond, a German peer-to-peer bitcoin loan platform closed an equity funding round of $1.2 million in new capital as it looks to fuel user growth in potential markets. (more…)

Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, Fintech news, p2p/online lending

February 24, 2017

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Mastercard joins UI Labs City Digital platform

By Finextra

UI LABS and Mastercard today announced a new partnership aimed at improving the access to and use of urban services, such as transportation.  (more…)

Fintech news, Payment systems

February 24, 2017

Globe, Alipay, and the Chinese Tourist Trap

By  for Fintech Hong Kong

One weeks ago, Globe Telecommunications announced a new capital infusion from Jack Ma’s Ant Financial and Ayala Corporation into its Globe Fintech Innovations subsidiary (officially, Mynt). (more…)

China, Fintech news, Mobile payments/banking

February 24, 2017

TravelersBox Arrives at Singapore Airport

By 

Passengers traveling through Singapore Changi Airport can now utilize their unneeded foreign change (or remaining Singapore dollars), using the new TravelersBox kiosks located at the airport. TravelersBox is an innovative fintech company that helps travelers convert their leftover foreign currency, including bills and coins, into digital money with favorite e-Gift cards (iTunes, JD.com, Grab, Tokpedia, Starbucks, Facebook) or e-wallet brands (PayPal and Baidu). (more…)

Cashless, Fintech news, Singapore

February 24, 2017

Indian FinTech Investments Decline in 2016

By CryptoCoins News

A new report has found that India’s investments in FinTech dropped significantly in 2016 from 2015, indicating what impact a lack of mega-deals can have on a country even though actual deals in India remained steady over the same period. (more…)

Deals, Fintech news, India

February 23, 2017

Starling releases Open API, talks up marketplace model

By Finextra

UK challenger bank Starling is to release its API to third party developers as it undertakes its first hackathon and prepares for the forthcoming launch of its banking-as-a-service marketplace platform. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Open Source/ API

February 23, 2017

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New fintech degree course aims to churn out next generation of entrepreneurs

By Finextra

Budding entrepreneurs looking for a career in the fast-growing financial technology industry can now sign up to the UK’s first fintech undergraduate degree course at Wrexham Glyndwr University. (more…)

news

February 23, 2017

Ethereum-Based Humaniq To Deliver Banking 4.0 to 2 Bln Unbanked

By TheCoinTelegraph

Our London correspondent Nick Ayton caught up with Humaniq founder Alex Fork, who has an ambition to help eliminate poverty by delivering new banking options to emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia so that everyone who needs can get access to financial services. (more…)

Blockchain, Fintech news, Insurance, p2p/online lending

February 23, 2017

Messaging app Viber adds e-commerce button to sell you items inspired by your chats

By TechCrunch

Messaging app Viber is today announcing a new feature that taps into the bigger trend of messaging apps becoming multi-functional platforms, and also its ownership by e-commerce company Rakuten. Viber will start to present users with items for sale, inspired by your current chat, when you press a small shopping bag icon at the bottom of the screen and search for items.  (more…)

Fintech news, p2p-payments

February 23, 2017

German fintech software firm Bexio raises €7 million

By TechEU

The German startup Bexio, a provider of cloud-based software for SMEs, has raised €7 million. The funding comes from Swisscom Ventures and existing investors Redalpine Venture Partners AG and Armada Investment AG.  (more…)

Deals, Fintech news, SME

February 23, 2017

New Artificial Intelligence Service Plum Enables Consumers to Automatically Save, Invest & Earn More Interest on Money

By LTP Team

  • Plum brings artificial intelligence (AI) to savings and investments enabling people to automatically put money aside every couple of days.
  • Plum exists to solve UK’s £350bn savings black hole.*
  • Its new partnership with RateSetter allows consumers prepared take on risk to earn a higher rate of interest – the average return earned by RateSetter investors to date is 4.7%.

(more…)

AI / Machine Learning / Big Data, PFM/PFP services

February 23, 2017

British, Canadian regulators agree to assist fintechs

By Reuters

British and Canadian regulators have signed an agreement to make it easier for financial technology companies to expand in each other’s markets, they said on Wednesday. (more…)

Fintech news, Government activities

February 23, 2017

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Airbnb finalizes deal to buy social payments startup Tilt

By  for TechCrunch

Airbnb has finalized its deal to buy social payments startup Tilt, TechCrunch has confirmed. We reported on the acquisition talks last month, but now everything has been made official.

We are told that investors will be getting back about $12 million in cash, but the deal value is tens of millions of dollars higher if you include employee retention packages, which were paid for in cash and stock. Many of Tilt’s San Francisco employees including CEO James Beshara were asked to stay on board, but most of the remote team was not.

Airbnb is obtaining the Tilt assets and will keep the app operational, at least for now. But some sources are characterizing this as more of an acqui-hire, because Airbnb is spending most of the money on retaining the team.

While it’s better than shutting down, this was certainly not the dream outcome that Tilt investors had been hoping for when they invested over $60 million. Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and other big Silicon Valley names including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian all made bets that Tilt would be a leader in mobile commerce.

Founded in 2012, Tilt was an early pioneer in peer-to-peer money transfers. It is geared more toward group payments than individual transactions, but in some ways competes with PayPal’s Venmo and Square Cash. It is also used for crowdfunding anything from “activities” to “causes,” which makes it an alternative to fast-growing GoFundMe.

The deal makes sense for Airbnb, because it is gaining top talent in the payments space, an area which could complement trip-booking. Airbnb has already built a big lodging business, but wants to expand its travel offerings. 

Airbnb’s VP of product, Joe Zadeh, has provided us with the following statement. “Airbnb and Tilt have a common vision for building community-oriented products that make it easy to bring people together. Tilt’s experience and expertise complement our ongoing efforts to transform the way people travel. By joining forces, we’ll reimagine how groups travel and enhance Trips, our new platform that brings together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place.”

Airbnb, which has a valuation of $30 billion, has been using its clout to buy up smaller startups. They recently agreed to buy Luxury Retreats and in the past year have also acquired ChangeCoin and Trip4real. They’ve additionally been making investments in startups like Resy.

Airbnb itself is likely too expensive to be acquired, so there has been a lot of speculation about IPO possibilities. While this is an eventual goal of the company, we are hearing that they are unlikely to go public this year

First appeared at TechCrunch

Deals, Fintech news, p2p-payments

February 23, 2017

Austin startup data.world brings in $19 million to build out ‘social network for data people’

By Lori Hawkins for 512Tech

Austin startup data.world came out of stealth mode last July to tell its story.

The company, founded by a team of Austin tech veterans, revealed it was building a social network geared toward helping data scientists connect and share collections of data.

At that point, data.world was already armed with $14 million in Series A funding. Today, the company will announce that it has raised an additional $19 million.

The deal was led by family investment group of Chicago entrepreneur Pat Ryan, and includes capital from Chicago Ventures, Hunt Technology Ventures, LiveOak Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures, among others.

Also investing is a group of prominent angel investors including John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods; Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods; Kip Tindell, co-founder and chairman of The Container Store and Arthur Patterson, co-founder of Accel Partners and former director of the National Venture Capital Association.

The new money will be used to fund the company’s goal of building the most collaborative and abundant data resource available, said Brett Hurt, data.world CEO and co-founder.

“Amazing things happen when people join forces and use data to answer questions, solve problems and rise to solve our most urgent societal challenges together,” said Hurt, who founded Bazaarvoice in 2005 and has invested in a number of Austin startups.

“Closing this second funding round so close to our first, and with most of it still in the bank, is a validation of the opportunity in front of us and the progress we’ve made since our preview launch in July.”

The challenge data.world is tackling is the fragmentation of data. There are 18 million open data sets, but they are often stored in different places, aren’t machine-readable and take considerable time to understand and analyze.

Also at issue: There is often a duplication of efforts as different people work on the same or similar data sets but aren’t able to connect because they aren’t aware of each others’ work.

Data.world wants to solve those problems by building a platform that is part social networking site and part data aggregator. The company wants to become the central repository for open data sets, and also make it easier to find, understand and analyze the data.

The 30-person company is set up as a “public benefit corporation,” which is a specific type of corporation that allows public benefit to be a charter purpose in addition to the traditional corporate goal of maximizing profit for shareholders.

In data.world’s case, it lets the company’s board focus on its mission of making data easier to find and use, rather than putting profit or shareholder value first.

Several examples of data collaboration projects that have launched on data.world include:

– The White House Opportunity Project, which improves data discovery and fosters collaboration with data from 11 federal agencies and 12 cities.

– The Anti-Defamation League, which has created an open data workspace to help understand and combat the rise of hate crimes.

– CIA Crest Archive, which has independently collected, formatted and published metadata on 930,000 newly-released declassified CIA documents, representing about 12 million pages.

“People put these data sets out there because they want people to work with them in a way that creates breakthrough innovation or change in policy or the alleviation of poverty,” Hurt said. “People are talking about everything from how to solve cancer to the intelligence of dogs by breed.”

Most users won’t pay anything to user the platform. Data.world is generating revenue by charging companies or organizations for the ability to have private accounts that allow them to keep their data secret, while letting employees access and share it.

“We already are seeing a lot of people use data.world in private,” Hurt said. “We don’t know what they’re doing, because they don’t tell us.”

First appeared at 512Tech

Analytics, Deals

February 23, 2017

Meet The App That’s Empowering The Women Of Myanmar To The Bank

By Casey Hynes for Forbes

Financial inclusion is a topic of growing importance in countries such as Myanmar, where advances in tech are rapidly changing the dynamics in how people access financial products. As I wrote in 2016, fintech companies are capitalizing on Myanmar’s rapid development and increasing smartphone and internet penetration by offering digital financial products.

Although many people in Myanmar are skeptical of traditional banking institutions, fintech startups hope to win their confidence through low-cost, user-friendly products. One such organization is Wave Money, a joint venture between Telenor, Yoma Bank and Myanmar First Investments. (Disclosure: I performed contract editorial work for Telenor Group in 2014 and 2015.)

In a new partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Wave Money is targeting women consumers specifically in an attempt to increase financial literacy and inclusion in Myanmar. The company is developing a financial gaming application that will be accessible via users’ mobile phones.

Boosting confidence 

The app’s content will be delivered through a gamified system that teaches consumers about savings, interest and insurance. Ultimately, the goal is to help women become confident enough to engage with formal banking systems and navigate financial products they may have shied away from in the past. Wave Money, UNCDF and Australia’s DFAT aim to reach 260,000 women, 30,000 of whom already use mobile money accounts.

“The partnership between Wave Money and UNCDF will be instrumental in identifying how we can most effectively serve those currently underserved and excluded,” said Brad Jones, Wave Money’s CEO, via email. “We believe that through this application, people in Myanmar will be able to improve their understanding of financial concepts, which will further enhance financial inclusion in Myanmar.”

Wave Money CEO Brad Jones poses in front of the company logo in Yangon in August 2016. (Photo credit: ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Less than 10% of women in Myanmar between the ages of 18 and 34 currently have bank accounts, and only 29% have access to formal financial services. In a press release announcing the partnership, the partnering parties attributed the low numbers to “the lack of information that reaches women, and poor guidance available to them on where and how to use financial services that meets their respective needs.”

A digital gateway

But with smartphone penetration growing rapidly in Myanmar, digital platforms offer a gateway for reaching greater numbers of women and provide them with the means to participate more fully in the economy. In 2016, the GSMA reported that 33% of women own mobile phones in Myanmar, and about 1.4 million use smartphones. According to Jones, Wave Money will use UNCDF resources and data in developing the gamified app to ensure that it meets the needs of the women it aims to reach.

The Wave Money-UNCDF-DFAT partnership stems from UNCDF’s SHIFT Challenge program. The Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) department emphasizes empowerment through access to financial services and specifically focuses on women in underserved markets. Wave Money submitted a proposal for its gamification platform to the Challenge, and will receive funding from SHIFT, DFAT and the UNCDF’s Expanding Financial Access (EFA) program, the latter being the primary sponsor.

The EFA’s goals for Myanmar include increasing the number of adults who use more than one financial product from 6 to 15% and boosting overall inclusion from 30 to 40% by 2020. The program also aims to reach 830,000 “low income beneficiaries,” such as small-scale farmers, young consumers, and women entrepreneurs.

Winning over skeptics

As the first company to receive a mobile financial services license from Myanmar’s Central Bank, Wave Money sees an opportunity to “enable and empower people with the freedom to manage their money the way they most prefer in an easy and reliable way,” according to Jones. The hope is that consistent, transparent products will win over consumers who are skeptical of financial systems.

“The main objective of our digital gamification on financial literacy is to increase the understanding and perceptions of formal financial services and increase their interest and trust,” Jones said. “In this way, we believe that this will help improve these relationships.”

First appeared at Forbes

Banks, Cashless, Fintech news, Myanmar

February 23, 2017

Now you can send money internationally through Facebook Messenger

By Mashable

Sending money on Facebook is finally international.  (more…)

Bots, Cashless, p2p-payments

February 23, 2017

India wants to make credit and debit cards obsolete for payments

By Mashable

Ever since India invalidated much of its cash, it has been encouraging its citizens to switch to mobile wallets and other epayment solutions. Today, it took another step in pushing its citizens to embark on the cashless payment solutions — but early boomers aren’t going to like it.  (more…)

Cashless, eWallets, Government activities, Mobile payments/banking

February 23, 2017

Barcelona’s ID Finance raises $50 million in debt funding to expand fintech to developing countries

By VentureBeat

ID Finance, a fintech startup the relocated from Russia to Barcelona, has raised $50 million in debt from a consortium of banks as it seeks to expand across Latin America. (more…)

AI / Machine Learning / Big Data, Banks, Deals

February 20, 2017

Vietnamese Bitcoin P2P Platform Remitano Targets Global Expansion

By CryptoCoinsNews

Remitano, a Vietnam-based P2P platform for trading bitcoin, has expanded its services across the English-speaking world.

The company is targeting bitcoin exchangers, investors and users of remittance services, beginning with Asian countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and China. (more…)

Blockchain, Malaysia, Vietnam

February 20, 2017

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Invisible PFM Will Transform Banking As You Know It

By Finextra

Personal Financial Management (PFM) has evolved greatly since its birth in the early eighties. Originally developed to bring money management into what was then a widespread technological shift to the nascent personal computer age, PFM has since become a sophisticated means of managing your money. (more…)

Analytics, Fintech news, PFM/PFP services

February 20, 2017

Alibaba’s Ant Financial extends global reach with first investment in the Philippines

By TechCrunch

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has again extended its global reach after it completed its maiden investment in the Philippines. (more…)

China, Deals, eWallets, Fintech news, Philippines

February 20, 2017

DBS launches hackathon to identify top coding talent

By Finextra

Singapore’s DBS is to run a coding challenge and hackathon to identify fresh talent and fill 100 new developer jobs.  (more…)

Banks, Fintech news

February 20, 2017