13 min read

Fintech Highlights - 03/26/2024

Griffin Bank gets a banking license. Empathy raises a round. SensorTower acquires Data.ai (wow). And more.

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Griffin Bank gets a banking license

A top story for this week was Griffin Bank over in the U.K.

The banking-as-a-service company managed to do something that even the region’s most valuable fintech company, Revolut, hasn’t been able to do yet — obtain a banking license. Granted, as Mike Butcher writes, banking licenses are difficult to come by (Griffin’s took a year), but Revolut has talked about securing a banking license for the past three years.

Now that Griffin has a banking license, it offers a full-stack platform for fintech companies to offer banking, payments and wealth solutions via automated compliance and an integrated ledger. More likely, the company will offer banking accounts to businesses rather than consumers.


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Empathy raise $47M

Empathy, a New York-based support platform for employees and life insurance beneficiaries who've lost loved ones, raised $47 million in Series B funding led by Index Ventures.

Why it's the BFD: Employers often provide bereavement leave and life insurers pay settlements, but neither assist with death's emotional and logistical hardships.

  • Empathy, which works as an employee or policyholder benefit, provides help in areas like grief counseling, funeral planning, obituary writing, estate settlement, subscription cancellations, and probate.

Other investors include General Catalyst, Entrée Capital, Latitude, Brewer Lane, Allianz, MassMutual Ventures, MetLife, New York Life Ventures, Securian Financial, and Sumitomo.

The bottom line: "There are so many opportunities to really help someone who is grieving, beyond just giving them a lump sum of money and telling them to carry on." — Danny Rimer, Index Ventures


😃 Sensor Tower, an SF-based app analytics firm backed by Riverwood Capital, acquired Data.ai, an SF-based rival that had raised over $60m from firms like Greenspring Associates, e.Ventures, Greycroft, IVP, and Sequoia Capital. More here ->

Amadeus (Madrid: AMS) acquired Voxel, a Spanish B2B payments company for travel businesses, for €118m. Voxel had been seeded by Carat Venture PartnersMore here ->

Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) acqui-hired Proper Finance, a SF-based reconciliation platform for companies that had raised $4m from BoxGroup, Redpoint and YC.  More here ->

Direct Line Insurance (LSE: DLGD) rejected a sweetened £3.17b takeover offer from listed Belgian insurer AgeasMore here ->

Cerberus Capital Management is the frontrunner to buy Polish lender VeloBank, per Bloomberg.  More here ->

Keensight Capital acquired SoftCo, an Irish procure-to-pay company, for an over €100m. More here ->

Qonto, a a French challenger bank valued at €4.4b in a 2022 round co-led by Tiger Global and TCV, acquired Regate, a French accounting and financial automation platform.  More here ->

TPG is in talks to buy the manufactured housing business of Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (TSX: CAR), per Bloomberg. More here ->

Bain Capital agreed to buy Finova, a British provider of mortgage origination software, from Norland Capital. It will be merged with the MSO software business Bain is purchasing from Iress (ASX: IRE). More here ->

Advent International is in advanced talks to buy Nuvei (Nasdaq: NVEI), a Canadian payment processor with a market cap over $3b, per the WSJ.  More here ->

Shift4 (NYSE: FOUR), an Allentown, Pa.-based payment processor has around a $7b market cap, said takeover bids undervalued the company. Suitors reportedly included Fiserv (NYSE: FL) and Amadeus IT Group (Milan: AMA). More here ->


Agora Data, an Arlington based  fintech company that aims to enable any car dealer to be a finance company, revealed $400 million in new funding capacity raised led by Phoenix Merchant Partners. More here ->

OpenMeter, an SF-based provider of usage-based billing management software, raised $3m from YC, Haystack, and Sunflower Capital. The company offers a strategic solution that enables companies to implement usage-based pricing models efficiently.  More here ->

Aldine invested in Preferred Mortgage Services, a Henderson, Nev.-based provider of mortgage servicing solutions for the financial industry. More here ->

Marco, a Miami-based cross-border trade finance firm for Latin American SMEs, raised $12m in Series A funding. Marco aims to improve economic conditions in developing countries by offering fast and easy access to liquidity for small and medium-sized companies through services like factoring, asset-based lending, purchase order financing, and supply chain financing More here ->

🚑 CodaMetrix, a Boston-based health care billing tech provider, raised $40m in Series B funding, per Axios Pro.  The company's platform combines machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing to autonomously translate clinical notes into billing and diagnostic codes, reducing human coding workload. More here ->

OpenMeter, a startup that developed an open source platform that helps companies more easily track their usage-based billing, raised a $3 million round from Y Combinator, Haystack and Sunflower Capital. More here ->

Kravata, a Colombian cross-border payment and stablecoin conversion startup, raised $3.6m. Kravata is creating an ecosystem that enables businesses to offer cross-border payments, vendor/payroll payments, and savings/investment services. More here ->

Nsave, a Swiss savings app for people living in unstable economies, raised $4m in seed funding. The app offers users the ability to keep their savings in hard currencies like USD, Euros, or GBP, providing access to funds when needed. More here ->

Perfios, an Indian B2B credit decisioning SaaS provider that's reported to be prepping an IPO, raised $80m at a valuation north of $1b. Perfios' solutions, such as SignCatch and Rapidor, have emerged as a much-needed solution to facilitate interoperability between buyers and sellers. More here ->

Blockus, a web3 gaming tech stack and payments provider, collected $4m in pre-seed funding.  More here ->

PPRO, a London-based payments platform, raised €85m. Their mission is to simplify access to local payment methods and enable the sale of goods and services to anyone in the world using their preferred payment method. More here ->

Lago, a French open-source billing platform, raised $22m in seed and Series A funding. Lago's mission is to provide an open-source alternative to closed-source billing platforms like Stripe Billing, Chargebee, and Recurly.  More here ->

Buildnow, a Saudi BNPL for construction industry materials, raised $6.5m in seed funding. Buildnow's core offering is to provide construction, manufacturing, and trading SMEs with credit to purchase the raw materials they need, allowing them to optimize their cash flow and capture new growth opportunities.  More here ->

Solaris, a German banking-as-a-service startup, raised €96m in Series F funding.  hey provide a Banking-as-a-Service platform that allows businesses to build their own banking products by embedding fully digital banking services directly into their products.  More here ->

NX Technologies, a German automotive payment management platform, raised €22m in Series B funding. This funding will be utilized to strengthen its market position in Germany, expand into new European markets, and enhance its digital payment management platform for the automotive industry called bezahl.de More here ->

AccessPay, a British payment infrastructure startup, raised $16m in Series C funding, per Axios Pro. AccessPay is a British payment infrastructure startup that offers a flexible and secure bank integration solution for the Office of the CFO and Treasury teams.  More here ->

Appzone, a Nigerian decentralized payments infrastructure startup, raised $8.5m. Appzone facilitates direct connections between participating institutions for payment transactions without intermediaries, reducing costs, enhancing reliability, and eliminating reconciliation delays. More here ->

Moove, a Ghanian fintech for "mobility entrepreneurs," raised $100m in Series B funding at a $750m valuation.  More here ->


Cache, an exchange fund product for accredited investors, raised $8.5m in seed funding.  More here ->


Keyring, a London-based crypto compliance startup, raised $6m in seed funding. More here ->

Figure Markets, a decentralized crypto exchange, raised $60m in Series A funding. This initiative by Figure Technologies aims to create an "everything marketplace" where investors can seamlessly trade a wide array of blockchain-native assets, including cryptocurrencies, stocks, and alternative investments More here ->

D2X, a Dutch crypto derivatives trading platform, raised $10m in Series A funding. D2X offers a secure gateway to digital assets, allowing the trading of crypto futures and options on an EU-regulated market infrastructure for institutions. More here ->

NFTfi, an NFT lending protocol, raised $6m in Series A1 funding. NFTfi is an innovative decentralized protocol that sits at the intersection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi), providing financial utility to the NFT market. More here ->


🚑 Milu Health, a New York-based employee health care cost navigation tool, raised $4.8m in seed funding. More here ->

Vouch, a SF-based business insurer, raised $25m in Series C-1 funding. Vouch positions itself as the "preferred insurance provider of Silicon Valley's top investors and platforms" and claims that "tech companies trust Vouch with their insurance programs." More here ->

Coterie, a Cincinnati-based small-business insurer, raised $27m. The company aims to simplify commercial insurance by providing a seamless submission-to-bind experience in less than one minute, offering instant quoting and issuing of policies, and integrating a 100% digital underwriting process.  More here ->

The Carevoice, a Shanghai-based embedded health insurance startup, raised $10m in Series B funding.  The company operates an independentmobile social platform that provides trusted, community-sourced ratings and recommendations on top-quality healthcareservices, focusing on the affluent Chinese women and their families. More here ->


SetPoint, a real estate transaction platform intended to unlock speed, efficiency, and accuracy for proptech companies and their lenders, raised $15.34M from undisclosed investors. In December 2022, the company closed a $43M Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from LiveOak Venture Partners, Stonecroft, 75andSunny, Fifth Wall, 645 Ventures, NextView Ventures, Vesta Ventures, and ATX Venture Partners. More here ->

CasaPerks, a resident engagement and loyalty platform designed for the apartment industry, raised $1.3 million of venture funding from undisclosed investors. More here ->

From the Stash

Transactions: Greylock FCU selects Alkami for digital banking - Greylock Federal Credit Union has selected Alkami to improve its digital banking offerings.  The $1.5 billion credit union will implement the Alkami Digital Banking Platform to provide online and mobile banking to its retail and business clients, according to Alkami’s March 5 release.  Plano, Texas-based Alkami will also provide the following to the credit union. More here ->

Fintechs look to megabanks a year after SVB collapse - Fintechs are looking to legacy banks with strong portfolios to provide seamless onboarding and digital capabilities following the regional banking crisis last year.  One year after the collapse of Silicon Valley, Signature and First Republic banks, clients are still clinging to “too big to fail” institutions, Ashish Garg, co-founder and chief executive of digital communications. More here ->

Grasshopper CEO previews faster check clearance - Digital Grasshopper Bank will roll out an improved check-clearing process this year to streamline the time between depositing a check and gaining access to the funds.  Check deposits are “a complicated process in the industry,” Grasshopper CEO Mike Butler told Bank Automation News, noting, Grasshopper is “working toward giving people access to their money a More here ->

APWHY? Public APIs, Automation, and The Strategy Banks Are Missing - We Were Promised Flying Cars In 2014, Gartner predicted over 75% of the Fortune 1000 would have public APIs by 2017. This number is way higher in 2024! The initial motivation for enterprise APIs was mostly internal benefit: Hardened ‘services’, loosely coupled to each other to enable rapid new development – just like Jeff Bezos More here ->

Most subscription mobile apps don’t make money - according to an analysis by RevenueCat. Among the 29,000 apps it looked at, the company found that only 17.2% of apps will reach even $1,000 in monthly revenue, but after they hit that point, the odds of them growing further increase. More here ->

Open banking: An opportunity for banks to sell data - Banks are looking for ways to monetize the sharing of consumer data as open banking regulations are passed across the globe.  Open banking pushes banks to collaborate with fintechs to share consumer data without friction, Matthijs van Voorst, strategic partnership director at the Netherlands-based $380 billion ABN AMRO Bank, said at the recent FinovateEurope event, noting…. More here ->

Mastercard implements executive oversight on gen AI - To ensure that data is handled responsibly, Mastercard uses an established set of data and tech responsibility standards as well as additional senior executive oversight on all generative AI applications.   “Financial institutions have an advantage at the starting line when it comes to using generative AI,” Andrew Reiskind, chief data officer at Mastercard…. More here ->

Now is the time to reimagine wealth management - The Music is Starting to Stop Recent years have been extremely lucrative for wealth advisors; both the independents and full-freight firms. Low cost of capital, booming public markets, and a growing desire to diversify into new products are all ways wealth management firms can grow AUM and, as a result, grid payouts. More here ->

Arc sees 12X growth after SVB collapse - Nashville, Tenn. — Arc Technologies charted a 12X increase in loan originations year over year in 2023, as it gained customers and deposits when businesses looked to pivot to new banking partners after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. One year after the banking crisis, digital bank Arc is on track for “billions in deposits…. More here ->

Inside Wells Fargo’s gen AI council - Wells Fargo has created a generative AI council within the organization to study implementation, development and deployment of gen AI. Steve Hagerman, chief information officer of consumer technology at Wells Fargo, said today during Bank Automation Summit 2024 that the bank’s gen AI council consists of five bank leaders: People officer More here ->

Fintech Funding: Tough 2023 attributed to ‘cautious’ VCs, high interest rates - Fintech valuations and funding rounds had a tough year in 2023 as high interest rates pushed investors into capital conservation mode.  In 2023, “VCs were just trying to protect their own portfolios and be cautious with their investments,” Robin Scher, head of fintech investment at Lloyds Bank, said at FinovateEurope last month. “Fintechs that raised […] More here ->

More from the stash:

HSBC to hire almost 50 bankers for startup, venture lending in US
HSBC is planning to recruit about 50 more bankers in its U.S. commercial bank to lend to startup companies, mainly in the technology and healthcare sectors, according to a senior executive. The London-headquartered bank hired about 40 people from Silicon Valley Bank after the latter lender failed a year ago. The innovation banking business at HSBC now stands at about 60 employees and is focused on serving early- and mid-stage companies.
Green Dot to Enable Cash Transactions for 3 More FinTechs
FinTech companies Repay, Facebank and Pana have joined the Green Dot Network to enable cash transactions and services for their customers.
With Funding Down 70%, Here’s What Fintech’s High Flyers Are Worth Now
The estimated value of 11 leading private fintech startups shows declines as high as 79%. But a few have started to recover.
Maxwell launches POS feature that offers tailored workflows for lenders - HousingWire
Mortgage lenders can choose to integrate and configure many third-party services through Blueprint Builder.
Maxwell launches POS feature that offers tailored workflows for lenders - HousingWire
Mortgage lenders can choose to integrate and configure many third-party services through Blueprint Builder.
Artificial Buildup: AI Startups Were Hot In 2023, But This Year May Be Slightly Different
Generative AI and AI-related startups raised more than $42 billion in 2023, per Crunchbase data, with some, including OpenAI, Anthropic and Inflection AI, raking in billions of dollars all by themselves.

Reports / Webinars

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3 ways AI is shaking up UX in financial services

3 ways AI is shaking up UX in financial services

As AI becomes more integrated into our daily lives, what impact will it have on financial services and how people interact with them? In this episode of 11:FS Explores, Joe Colchester, Head of Product at 11:FS Pulse, delves into this question using best-in-class examples from our 11:FS Pulse library of user journeys.  

Get the report ->

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How AI and Automation are Changing the Banking Landscape

How AI and Automation are Changing the Banking Landscape

The banking sector is a significant component of the global economy, and it is currently undergoing a major transformation powered by the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation technologies. These advancements are not only enhancing operational efficiency but are also fundamentally changing the landscape of financial services

Get the report ->

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Analyzing Jan 2024 US Banking App Performance with AI Insights

Analyzing Jan 2024 US Banking App Performance with AI Insights

The Jan 2024 US Banking App Insights Session delved into a comprehensive analysis of the performance of various banking apps within the US market. Led by Yazad Karkaria, Global Head of AI Analytics and CX Strategy at Touchpoint Group, the session utilized Ipiphany, the AI-powered analytics platform, to provide deep insights into the digital performance of banking apps.

The focus of the session was on understanding recent login issues faced by PNC, one of the 40 financial institutions under review. Through the Ipiphany platform, Karkaria presented data based on online reviews from both the App Store and Google Play, emphasizing the importance of the engaged customer score in deciphering user experience trends. 

Get the report ->

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