News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Statue of the 3 great entrepreneurs in Birmingham

1. UK – FinTech

AltFi reports:

“Global payments giant Stripe is taking on GoCardless in its home market, with the launch today of UK direct debit acceptance, AltFi can exclusively reveal.

With the addition of direct debits, Stripe is one step closer to becoming an all-in-one payments solution for online merchants, and has another differentiator vs rivals like Checkout.com.

Matt Henderson, Stripe’s EMEA Business Lead, will announce the UK launch later this afternoon during his keynote at SaaStock Remote.

“Recurring revenue businesses are going to play an important role in the global economic recovery,” said Henderson.

“We want to make sure Stripe can help these businesses protect and grow their revenues. The ability to collect Bacs payments will help increase conversion, reduce cost, and minimise churn.”

Direct Debit payments are either available via Stripe’s own Stripe Checkout, or can be integrated into custom checkouts by developers.”

2. UK – FinTech

The Cambridge Network looks at the resilience of the UK’s FinTech sector.

“As members of the UK tech sector meet virtually during #LTWConnects events, figures show UK digital tech companies are continuing to attract investment, are still advertising vacancies and are optimistic that they can navigate the crisis. On measures including investment raised by companies and capital raised by investors, which will help sustain the sector for the long term, the UK outperforms all of its European neighbours.

Just as the 2008 financial crisis triggered an entrepreneurship boom in the UK, from which Silicon Roundabout’s cluster of startups has grown into a nationwide network of more than 35,000 businesses, the report demonstrates that UK tech is resilient and has deep foundations to emerge strongly from the crisis. Tens of thousands of jobs were advertised in cities across the UK in 2019 and the start of 2020, with salaries continuing to grow well-above inflation in almost all regions.

The UK capital continues to lead the way and is now established as a global tech leader with London-based companies raising $4bn since the start of January, more than Paris, Stockholm, Berlin and Tel Aviv combined. Fintech dominates fundraising in the capital, accounting for 39% of 2020 fundraisings. Enterprise software companies raised a fifth of the money invested in the first five months of the year.  

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "The UK's tech sector has shown resilience in these challenging times and the levels of investment in the year to date have consolidated our Europe-leading position.”

3. UK – FinTech

Stocard, the leading mobile wallet and one of the largest B2C start-ups in Europe in terms of number of users, officially launches in the UK and unveils a mobile payment feature as it reaches 50 million users globally. UK Tech News reports:

“Starting today, UK-based Stocard users can pay via a virtual Mastercard issued in the app, an option which will be rolled out across Europe later this year.

Payments through the Stocard mobile app are accepted everywhere with just a tap of the phone on the terminal, without the need to touch the pin pad – much faster and safer, and therefore more relevant than ever in the current context.

The sign-up only takes a minute and is completely digital, with no paperwork required. Just like with their loyalty cards, users will now be able to add their bank cards to the Stocard app and select which one they want to fund their wallet with.”

 

4. UK – FinTech

 

Revolut is tightening its foreign exchange offering for its free plan in a bid to reduce costs amid a coronavirus slowdown. It is reducing the amount users can exchange for another currency from £5,000 to £1,000 per month, with fees also doubling for weekend transfers. AltFi reports.

“Last week saw the launch of Revolut’s ‘super app’ and revelations, shared via leaked messages from its CEO Nik Storonsky, that the firm is seeing lower revenues owing to COVID-19 as growth slows.

Yesterday it sent an update to customers saying:

"As you probably know, if you exchange more than our free exchange limit in a month, you pay a fee. This limit is decreasing to £1,000 each month (which, our research shows, most of you won’t hit anyway). Above that limit, our fee will stay the same at just 0.5%, and we’ll let you know if an exchange will be subject to a fee."

Premium and Metal plans which have always had an unlimited exchange will continue to do so.

Revolut said that users would also continue to see interbank exchange rates on weekdays but weekend transfers will become more expensive.”

5. UK – SMEs

SME owners dig deep. City A.M. reports:

“The coronavirus pandemic is leading small business owners to take drastic steps to keep their companies afloat, according to a new survey, with one in seven small business owners digging into their own pockets to ensure their business survives. 

Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK have come under intense pressure during the Covid-19 crisis, with a recent poll finding that two fifths of small businesses were at risk of shutting down permanently.”