TWIF UK & Europe (23/12) - Merry Christmas

Hello TWIF UK & Europe friends,

Programming Note 1 - as Monday 26th is a public holiday, I am sending the last edition of the year early.  We will return on Monday 2nd January 2023.

Programming Note 2 - We have switched to a new newsletter platform.  Whilst this should result in no difference to you, please get in touch if you experience ANY issues.  You can manage which of the newsletters you are signed up for by logging in here > “Subscribe” and scroll down to see the “Sign in” link then click “Account” in the top right hand corner.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please find another week of fintech news, financings and exits below.


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Funding 💸

Highlights below of deals since the last post in the fintech space across the UK & Europe.

🇪🇺 SMB accounting service Fiscozen raised a €8m Series A from United Ventures and Keen Venture Partners.

🇪🇺 BNPL provider for banks Sileon raised a $1m seed round from Visa.

🇪🇺 No code payment solution NORBr raised a €2m seed round from PortfoLion.

🇪🇺 Money management app Frid raised a NOK 7m seed round from North venture and The Factory.

🇬🇧 Financial management solution Updraft raised a £108m Series A comprised of £100m in debt from NatWest and £8m in equity from LC Nueva, Auluk Investments and Faber Capital.

🇬🇧 Moneyhub has secured a £15m investment from Phoenix Group, the parent of Standard Life.

🇬🇧 Financial services customer messaging company Nivo Solutions received a £1m investment from Maven Equity, Barclays and Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

₿ Crypto trading firm Amber Group raised a $300m Series C as it seeks to ride through the FTX collapse.

Challenger Banking 🚀

🇪🇺 N26 is losing its recently appointed CFO.

🇪🇺 Payment For Order Flow is now allowed to be banned in Europe but countries are not required to do so.  It is likely Germany will keep PFOF but France, Netherlands and others will ban it.

🇬🇧 Wise customers are to earn “interest” in line with local rates on deposits in their accounts.

🇬🇧 LHV UK is to start issuing loans to SMEs across the UK after receiving FCA approval.

🇬🇧 Atom Bank is to make its four day work week permanent for the entirety of 2023. Its job applications were up 33% and employee churn down 20%

🇬🇧 The Coalition for a Digital economy, a trade group of UK fintechs including Monzo, Wise and Moneyhub, have signed an open letter that urges for clear direction from the government once the OBIE is dissolved.

🇬🇧 Revolut is launching a paid internship and one year grad scheme next year aimed at university students in their penultimate year.

🌍 The number of US SMB loans increased over 12% in 2021 but the loan amount fell by 21% according to nationwide statistics.

🌍 US neobank Chime is reported to have attempted to acquire earned wage access firm DailyPay twice last year for up to $2bn.

Digital Assets ₿

🇪🇺 The United Nations Refugee Agency is trailing the use of blockchain to get payments to displaced Ukrainians.

🇪🇺 The ECB is to finalise the design of a digital euro in H2 2023.

🇬🇧 Global credit network for institutions Hidden Road received its digital asset registration by the FCA, making it the only prime broker that holds both an investment licence and digital asset registration.

🌍 Crypto auditor Mazars has paused all work for its crypto clients that include Crypto.com, KuCoin and Binance.

🌍 FTX is attempting to sell some of its business units that are still operating, including FTX Japan, FTX Europe, LedgerX and Embed Business. Wintermute gained a seat on the FTX creditors committee. FTX is attempting to recoup political donations made by SBF.

🌍 SBF is facing criminal charges of wire fraud and securities conspiracy in the US. He was extradited to the US and bailed this week on a $250m bond, secured by his parents home.  Two of his executives look set to turn against him as they are cooperating with authorities and have pleaded guilty.

🌍 FTX’s FTT token has been called a security by the SEC which could have large knock on implications for the ecosystem.  The token was used to finance FTX’s acquisition of BlockFolio.

🌍 Coinbase has launched an ERC 20 recovery tool for users to self recover unsupported Ethereum tokens. It is also focused on staking revenue from retail and institutional clients.

🌍 Three Arrows Capital reported $1bn in assets against $3bn of liabilities in July.

🌍 Binance US has won the bidding to acquire assets of bankrupt lender Voyager Digital.

🌍 One of the co-founders of OneCoin has pled guilty to US charges.

🌍 BlockFi has asked a court to allow customer withdrawals citing it has “no legal or equitable interest” in the funds.

🌍 100 BTC tied to defunct exchange QuadrigaCx has been moved out of cold wallets that were thought to be inaccessible by anyone.

🌍 Visa is exploring automating recurring payments for custody crypto wallets.

🌍 Bitcoin miner Core Scientific has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with an estimated $1bn-$10bn in liabilities from 1,000 - 5,000 creditors.

🌍 Twitter has integrated crypto prices into the app’s search results.

🌍 Solana defi exchange Raydium was hacked, resulting in $4.4m in losses.

🌍 The Bank of International Settlement has pulled back on its proposal to penalise banks use of permissionless blockchains

Traditional Banking 🏦

🇪🇺 Banque de France, HSBC and IBM have reported on their testing of wholesale CBDC transactions.

🇬🇧 Santander is trialling recycling for its plastic cards in some UK branches.

🇬🇧 TSB has been fined nearly £50m to its bungled IT migration back in 2018.

🇬🇧 Nine UK banks have incorporated non profit Cash Access UK to finance the development of shared banking hubs across the country.

🌍 Goldman Sachs is rumoured to be laying off 4,000 employees which equates to 8% of staff. It will push its consumer banking business through expanding its partnership with Apple and is working on a high-yield savings account for Apple cardholders as well as some back-end services for Apple Later.

🌍 JP Morgan is continuing to grow its payments venture in Asia with an investment into In-Solutions Global.

🌍 Wells Fargo was fined $3.7bn for violations in its consumer banking.

Fintech Infrastructure 🚧

🇪🇺 Solaris has shuffled around its board as it seeks to execute on its new strategy and focus on profitability.

🇬🇧 The replacement body for the OBIE has identified three priorities to tackle its goal of increasing competition and innovation which include focusing on OB payments, adopting a model for future data sharing and establishing a foundation for ongoing development of open banking.

🌍 A number of Canadian financial organisations have sent a letter to the minister of finance to encourage the opening up of the payment system to local credit unions and PSPs.

🌍 Green Dot has extended its partnership with Wealthfront, where the former provides checking and money movement infrastructure of the latter’s Cash Account.

Payments 💰

🇪🇺 Payments provider PPRO has integrated mobile wallet MB WAY to expand its coverage in Portugal.

🇪🇺 Klarna is to report sustainability data on electronic goods using data from Clarity AI.

🇪🇺 A group of European banks from Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia and Norway, led by eID Project, have been chosen to deliver a cross-border payment pilot for the EU digital identity wallet.

🇪🇺 JP Morgan is acquiring a near 50% stake in Greek payment firm Viva Wallet for $800m.

🇪🇺 The ECB has found cash is still the most frequently used payment method at the POS.

🇪🇺 Italy has scrapped its plans to allow merchants to refuse digital payments for anything less than €60 after pushback from the central bank and the EC.

🇬🇧 Tribe Payments has partnered with PayNice to provide risk monitoring services for merchants.

🌍 SoFi has unveiled its BNPL product, Pay in 4, through a partnership with Mastercard.

🌍 Stripe and Shopify have pledged $11m to the Frontier fund to remove carbon dioxide from the environment.


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See you next in the new year!