Welcome to The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Thursday 29 December 2022!
Funding and investment
Blockchain payments company Centbee has closed its pre-Series A round with entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, founder of Ayre Ventures. Ayre Ventures also invested in Centbee in 2019. The investment will be used for scaling and growth as well as strengthening technical and operating capacity.
Manafa, a Saudi fintech, has closed its Series A funding of SAR106million to launch new products and expand its offering across various sectors. Manafa plans to turbocharge its growth in the Kingdom, as well as expand its offering with the launch of several products and financing solutions. In addition it plans to double the number of investors investing in previously-inaccessible alternative asset classes.
TradeDog Group, the parent company of TD VC, is launching a $100million Web3 ‘Special Situation’ Fund with $10million in GP Commitments. The fund focused on the evolution of Web3. It will also re-structure and invest in projects with good products and businesses but struggling token markets.
Jakarta-based fintech Akulaku has bagged $200million from Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). Backed by China’s Alibaba Group, Akulaku offers digital banking and buy now, pay later services. According to reports, MUFG is also planning to acquire Japanese BNPL company Kanmu.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce has launched a new Fintech & Payments Business Group aimed at bringing together companies of all sizes within the fintech and payments sector to encourage collegial dialogue, advocate policy change and promote the emirate as a highly competitive global commercial centre. The launch is part of the chamber’s plans to increase the number of business groups that represent economic sectors and activities in Dubai.
Meanwhile, the chamber has also launched a Cloud Computing Business Group. It also connects companies within the sector to encourage productive dialogue on ways to propel and embed cloud computing services across Dubai.
Emirates Global Aluminium, an industrial company in the UAE, has opened sustainable corporate bank accounts with Citi and Standard Chartered Bank. EGA is among the first in the region to choose the accounts, which ensure cash balances are used to finance or refinance sustainability progress elsewhere in the economy.
Singlife with Aviva is now just known as Singlife. The company formed by a merger between insurtech startup Singlife and Aviva Singapore on 1 January 2022. The change will help cement the company as a Singapore grown company.
Mergers and acquisitions
SALAMA is to snap up the insurance portfolio of Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance Company. SALAMA stands as UAE’s largest sharia’h compliant Takaful operator. The acquisition will enhance SALAMA’s range of solutions and overall competitiveness in market share.
Cornerstone FS, a cloud-based provider of international payment, sells its non-core subsidiary Avila House. The licenced small electronic money institution, and software licence agreement, will generate £600,000 for Cornerstone in 2023. Cornerstone is selling Avila House to Aspire Commerce.
Nova banka has partnered with UnionPay to launch UnionPay’s virtual card solution in Bosnia and Herzegovina via TIZI wallet, a universal e-wallet that will make mobile contactless payment available on its Android app through host card emulation (HCE).
Fintech Global Financial Technology has signed an agreement with Visa. Following the agreement, GFT can issue Visa branded physical and virtual cards. Called OM Pay, it is a PCI DSS certified product.
Cashfree Payments has partnered with Sony Entertainment Television and Sony LIV as the payments partner for Shark Tank India season 2. It is the second consecutive year of partnering with the reality show, for aspiring entrepreneurs from India.
iDenfy, the identity verification startup, has teamed up with Beera Station, a self-pouring beer machine service provider. The new partnership helps Beera Station check buyers’ age and verify their identities while ensuring swift service.
Meanwhile RuPay has partnered with JCB International and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). JCB partners with NPCI to offer 40 per cent cashback for RuPay JCB Cardholders for in-store purchases in Thailand, Singapore and Bahrain.
DCM Swiss has joined forces with data platform Plato Data Intelligence. Through the partnership, the decentralised blockchain-powered platform’s partner brands will benefit from increased global reach. Both companies also plan to deliver a wide range of embedded data products.
SimpliFi, a cards as a service (CaaS) platform in MENAP, has introduced multi-currency cards across the region. SimpliFi Multi-Currency lets businesses issue cards in multiple currencies to match their spend with insights into how their cash flow movement is being managed across currencies while reducing exchange losses and administrative costs.