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Railsbank news round-up: modernising financial services in Europe

A brief look back at week 38

Ping An Invests in Joonko to modernise financial services in Europe

The week kicked off in Hong Kong and Shanghai with news that Ping An Insurance, via its Ping An Global Voyager Fund, had invested in Joonko, the new digital financial portal from finleap, a leading European fintech ecosystem.

Joonko is a digital financial portal that helps European consumers choose the right financial products for their personal savings and protection needs. The portal will be launched at the end of 2019 with its first product: car insurance. Ping An invested in finleap in 2018 and has had significant involvement in developing Joonko's strategy and technology capabilities.

Donald Lacey, Managing Director and COO of Ping An's Global Voyager Fund, said, "We're pleased to cement a relationship with Joonko that includes both growth capital and technological support. To us, Joonko represents the logical evolution of financial digitalisation in Europe. It's the right approach to innovation in retail financial services: a next generation solution designed to benefit consumers and financial product providers alike."

Ethiopian Airlines launches WeChat Pay and KNET with CellPoint Digital's Velocity payment platform

Back in London and CellPoint Digital announced that it has enabled Ethiopian Airlines to rapidly deploy two new popular alternative forms of payment to serve its fast-growing Chinese and Middle Eastern markets

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa and 4-star SkyTrax certified global airline, is expanding its partnership with CellPoint Digital to provide a leading provider of digital commerce and payment solutions for airlines, and to offer more popular payment methods to its passengers.

ComplyAdvantage opens office in Singapore

From London to Singapore, the home of our Asian hub. We saw that ComplyAdvantage, the regtech company transforming the compliance industry through machine learning to neutralise the risk of financial crimes, has opened an office in Singapore. This marks ComplyAdvantage's first foray into the Asia-Pacific region, joining offices in the UK, US and Romania.

Neontri enters US market

In Warsaw, Neontri, formerly known as Braintri, a leading European fintech providing innovative B2B solutions in mobile banking and mobile payments, has entered the American market. The first Neontri sales office will open in North Carolina, the second most important US fintech hub the company said. The new business strategy is based on proprietary B2B products developed by Neontri's R&D team.

Greenlight on a mission

Over in Atlanta, Greenlight Financial Technology, the fintech company which says it is on a mission to empower parents to raise a generation of financially-smart kids, has raised $54m in Series B funding led by Drive Capital, also backed by JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Existing investors TTV Capital, Live Oak Bank and Relay Ventures also participated. The investment will be used to hopefully fuel continued growth and accelerate the company's development roadmap.

Moneybaba is backed by experienced team

Close to home in London, we heard that fintech investment expert Osman Semerci of EMEA Capital, along with Duet Group, have made a major investment in Moneybaba, a London-based fintech company that specializes in Latin American and African emerging markets.

Moneybaba is said to challenge the traditional lending process by offering options to individuals who have limited financial and credit histories. The company operates digitally, keeping expenses significantly lower than traditional lenders who use branches that require significant overhead. It has also made its products available in physical locations by signing agreements with thousands of vendors, giving them the ability to offer immediate finance to clients at points of sale. Moneybaba's algorithms make it possible to process applications and make lending decisions through borrower behavioural analysis.

Terafunding successfully closes Series B

Over in Seoul, news came out that Terafunding, a market leader in the Korean P2P lending industry, successfully closed a US$18m Series B financing round.

Terafunding is the first real estate focused P2P lending platform in Korea and was founded in early 2015. It has been focusing on providing reasonable financing solutions for local developers who have limited access to development loans from the financial institutions..

Taking part in this round were the largest financial groups in Korea: KB Investment, Hana Ventures and IBK Industrial Bank. Including Woori Bank in Series A, four out of the six leading Korean financial groups are now Terafunding's shareholders.

Dolfin app launched

In Bangkok, Central JD Fintech Holding officially launched the Dolfin app, what they described as the intelligent, one-stop platform for financial solutions.

Central JD Fintech Holding, a joint venture company owned by JD Digits, a leading innovator in digital technology, and Central Group, Thailand's largest retailer, officially launched Dolfin Intelligent Platform, an app offering digital finance solutions specially customized to the local Thai market.

The Dolfin Intelligent Platform is based on five complete intelligent services platforms, including smart transaction, digital lending, digital insurance, digital wealth management and Digital Marketing. It aims to respond to market trends and demands while offering unparalleled convenience to both individual and business users.

Spend Wallet

Over the pond, we heard that Spend, the payment industry's newest all-in-one alternative banking wallet application for users of cryptocurrencies and multiple fiat currencies, announced that customers in Canada will be receiving their Spend Visa Cards for immediate use anywhere Visa cards are accepted.

Customers who sign up for the Spend Wallet are able to load their cryptocurrencies into the wallet, which is directly linked to their Spend Visa Card. Once received, users can utilise the card at over 40 million locations across the globe to spend their cryptocurrencies in real-time. When the user activates the desired asset in their Spend Wallet and swipes their Spend Visa Card, the asset immediately liquidates into the local fiat tender.

The Indonesia Fintech Summit & Expo 2019

We had a heads up of a major fintech industry event, which actually kicks off today. The Indonesia Fintech Summit & Expo 2019 will see AFTECH, AFPI and AFSI launch the Joint Code of Conduct on Responsible Fintech Innovation at the show which takes place today and tomorrow in Jakarta.

Bringing the theme of "Innovation for Inclusion", the Indonesia Fintech Association (AFTECH), along with Financial Services Authority of Indonesia (OJK), Bank Indonesia, and supported by Indonesia Joint Funding Fintech Association (AFPI), and Indonesia Sharia Fintech Association (AFSI), are organising what’s described as the biggest fintech event in Indonesia.

Launch Of Silicon FinTech Bay Accelerator Programme

Over in Silicon Valley, FinTech Consortium USA (FTC) announced the launch of the first Silicon FinTech Bay Accelerator Program, focused on early stage startups developing innovative solutions for the fintech sector. The program is open to startup applicants from across the United States and will take place at Silicon FinTech Bay for three months.

"With roots down, this is the next exciting step we'll contribute to the ecosystem," said Rick Frisbie, CEO of Silicon FinTech Bay. "Accelerator participants will have so much access, which is a gamechanger. The robust curriculum includes access to mentors with deep industry and technical experience, access to capital and access to a wide global network of potential customers and investors, among other things."

Wahed Invest raises money

The week ended with news of fintech startup Wahed Invest raising a multi-million dollar investment from Dubai Cultiv8.

The idea behind Wahed's digital investment platform is to allow savers from all income brackets to invest in a diversified portfolio of Shariah-compliant stocks, Sukuk and commodities. As an investor with a long-term focus, Dubai Cultiv8 will offer growth and expansion capital, sector knowledge and regional expertise. Dubai Cultiv8 is a full subsidiary of Dubai SME which is an integrated division of Dubai's Department of Economic Development.

Arif Al Alawi, CEO of Dubai Cultiv8, said: "The demand for Shariah-compliant financial solutions is increasing and it is imperative that we adopt a culture of innovation. Partnering with disruptive FinTech startups like Wahed Invest, which is driving technological innovation in the FinTech sector, will open the door to best-in-class products that promote financial inclusion, literacy and most importantly access to ethical investment opportunities to savers from all backgrounds."

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