News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – FinTech

More of the financial parlour game: which sector will actually benefit from global lockdown?

Interest in remote identification verification has reached a whole new level in the past month and a half, reports Venture Beat.

Onfido, a provider of cloud-based identity verification tools, today announced that it raised $100 million in equity financing. CEO Husayn Kassai says the bulk of the fresh capital will be put toward product R&D and global expansion, including further market penetration in North America.

“Unlike most tech companies, our first investment check was $20,000 back in 2012, and we made that last for a year. One thing that has become apparent as we’ve scaled is that the size of the round matters far less than the size of the problem, and the drive to solve it,” Kassai told VentureBeat via email. “We feel privileged that our view of the world — where users are empowered to prove their real identity in a seamless and secure way — is starting to become the new global standard for digital access.”

Onfido — which was founded in 2012 by three Oxford University graduates who observed that background checks were largely done manually and were therefore prone to human error — develops a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that taps AI to perform background checks on would-be employees at each stage of the hiring and recruitment process. It initially targeted on-demand businesses and contract workers, but gradually expanded in scope to identity verification in financial services and ecommerce segments.

Technologies like Onfido’s could help to address the global rise in personal identity fraud. In 2017, 6.64% of U.S. consumers became victims of identity fraud. The next year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission estimated that such fraud caused over $1 billion in losses.”

2.UK – FinTech

AltFi reports:

“Fintech industry body Innovate Finance is joining the call of non-bank lenders for the government’s support in ensuring their lending to millions of UK SMEs continues.

Along with the Association of Alternative Business Finance (AABF) and others, Innovate Finance is proposing a new government-backed funding program to include:

  • A Forbearance Liquidity Funding Scheme: To support non-bank lenders in providing interest payment holidays and similar to SMEs unable to service their existing loans.
  • Bank guarantees from incumbent lenders to non-bank lenders: To aid non-bank lenders in raising new funding lines, which are currently closed.
  • A Bond Purchasing Scheme: To help non-bank lenders to continue issuing notes while the securitisation market is closed, which will top-up their existing funding.”

 

3. UK – FinTech

 

Credit Kudos, the ‘challenger credit bureau’ has closed its £5m Series A funding round, according to AltFi

“Credit Kudos says it is the first challenger credit bureau to use open banking to replace traditional, credit assessment processes. This allows lenders to provide credit to borrowers who would have previously been declined or overlooked. 

The investment was led by AlbionVC with participation from TriplePoint, Plug & Play Ventures as well as existing backers Entrepreneur First and Ascension Ventures.

A number of fintech angel investors also participated including Christian Faes (LendInvest), Tom Stafford (DST Global Managing Partner), Charlie Delingpole (ComplyAdvantage and MarketInvoice), Will Neale (Grabyo & Fonix Mobile) and Daniel Gandesha (PropertyPartner).”

4. International – AltFi

 

The Fintech Times runs an opinion piece on the short-term effects of the pandemic.

“While everyone is talking about “flattening the curve”, what can be done to prepare the business for the inevitable wave of economies crushing and client patterns changing tremendously.

We in Genome decided to analyze what trends and services are the first to follow after the pandemic peak will shift — everything from contactless payments to online merchant services.

Let’s start with the basics — a bank account. Whether people look for a way to open it for personal to business needs, they can stay at home and avoid going to the physical bank. Fintech companies already practiced the online account opening for personal finances with nothing but an ID snap. However, to open a settlement account for your business, for example, was a bureaucracy race, often rigged with inappropriate questions and stereotypical approaches. Now companies like Genome can process your company documents online and get you a fully functional bank account for your business in under 24 hours. In addition to online multi-currency accounts with instant money transfers inside Genome, cross-border, secure SEPA, and SWIFT transfers that will keep the businesses running.

One of the visible and predictable trends for businesses is going to be aimed at reducing the user’s offline contact. So besides the reduction of physical cash (being the perfect tool to spread bacterias), contactless payment is the next in line. MasterCard and VISA practically doubled the contactless transaction limits across 29 European countries. Some European banks (for example, in Denmark, Poland, Hungary, etc. ) followed and already raised the purchase limit with debit cards that allow customers not to enter their PIN manually. Unfortunately, MasterCard still lost around 35% in its shares prices, according to Marketwatch. 

Small and middle businesses are rapidly developing their online distribution channels. While in the U.S., 46% of them sell their goods and services online, that’s not the case for other countries. E-commerce platforms should be ready to broaden their industry coverage and integration options. It’s probably not the best time to be stubborn and stick to the old ways.”

 

5. International – FinTech

Crowdfund Insider reports:

“Singapore-based Huobi Group, a blockchain and digital assets firm, is introducing an on-chain analytics tool, called Star Atlas, for monitoring and identifying illicit cryptocurrency transfers.

The exchange’s Star Atlas tool allows users to track on-chain crypto-asset transactions in real-time. With the launch of this new software tool, Huobi joins a market that has mainly consisted of financial analysts, government agencies, and various law enforcement entities.”