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Here's what we've been watching…. 👇
Pinned to the Top
In mid-May 2023, TechCrunch’s Manish Singh reported that founders of ZestMoney had resigned from the startup.
The Indian fintech, whose ability to underwrite small ticket loans to first-time internet customers, once drew the backing of many high-profile investors, including Goldman Sachs.
By December, ZestMoney was shutting down following unsuccessful efforts to find a buyer.
Then, last week, the company, which was once valued at $450 million, was sold to DMI in a “fire sale.”
ZestMoney has been a pioneering provider of checkout finance in India. And now it's fate sits in the hands of a partner, who hopes to make this a key piece in it's efforts to "provide digital financial inclusion at scale across India."
A new global report on financial crime from ComplyAdvantage has highlighted AI as a big emerging area of fraud risk.
The study is based on interviews with 600 C-suite and senior compliance decision-makers in the finance industry and 2,000 consumers.
Why this is the BFD - Although AI is posing a threat, 2023 saw fraud levels remain fairly stable, with only 8% of companies reporting an increase in financial crime.
However, 66% of companies surveyed think AI poses a growing threat, as cyberattackers harness new tech to stage more sophisticated and more dangerous attacks.
The report also showed that while most banks are investing in new tech to combat fraud, and many banks are exploring their AI capabilities, half of companies admit to not adequately explaining their use of AI to customers.
This, in turn, creates anxiety among customers. 60% feel uncomfortable with their bank using AI to fight financial crime, despite 89% being worried about fraud.
What's next? It’s perhaps no surprise that the more AI is integrated into banking to improve products and services, the more it will be used by criminals to try and undermine those products and services.
It’s the responsibility of all of us in financial services not only to be aware of these threats, and put the right controls in place, but to give our customers the right information and reassurance as well.
AI was an emerging trend throughout 2023, and will continue to be front of mind in the coming year as our industry responds to the insights found in this report.
Yieldstreet, a VC-backed multi-asset alternative investment platform, completed its purchase of Cadre, a New York-based real estate tech firm. Cadre had raised around $130m in VC funding from backers like Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive Capital, General Catalyst, Founders Fund, Spur Capital Partners, Khosla Ventures, Lakestar and Jaws Ventures. More here ->
Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK) agreed to acquire Payapps, an Australian provider of construction payment and compliance management software. Payapps had raised over US$30m from firms like FM Investors, Primorus Investments, and Salta Capital. More here ->
SIX Group, operator of the Swiss stock exchange, is considering a takeover bid for fund distribution group Allfunds(Ams: ALLFG), per Reuters. More here ->
Synchrony (NYSE: SYF) agreed to acquire Ally Financial's (NYSE: ALLY) point-of-sale financing business, including $2.2b of loan receivables. More here ->
Perfios, an Indian B2B credit decisioning SaaS provider, is working on a local IPO that could raise around $500m, per Bloomberg. It's raised over $350m from firms like Warburg Pincus and Bessemer Venture Partners. More here ->
Cetera Financial Group invested in Wilde Wealth Management, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based firm with more than $2.8m in AUM. More here ->
Keystone Agency Partners, a Harrisburg, Pa.-based portfolio company of Bain Capital, acquired LifeQuotes, a Westmont, Ill.-based life insurance price comparison service. More here ->
Briq, a financial automation platform designed for the construction industry, has raised a $8 million Series B extension at a $150 million valuation. Brie automates financial workflows, connects people, processes, and systems used by contractors, and utilizes AI to improve efficiency and profitability. More here ->
DailyPay, a New York-based on-demand payments company, raised $75m at a $1.75b valuation. It also secured a $100m credit facility extension from Citi. The company provides an earned wage access platform, allowing employees to access a portion of their earned but unpaid income before the traditional payday. More here ->
ModernFi, a New York-based bank deposit management platform, raised $18.7m in Series A funding. The company operates a deposit network designed to help financial institutions grow, retain, and manage their deposits. More here ->
Bilt Rewards, a New York-based provider of cobranded credit cards and loyalty programs for property renters, raised $200m at a $3.1b valuation. More here ->
BillingPlatform, a Denver-based revenue lifecycle management platform, raised $90m. BillingPlatform is a cloud-based monetization platform that offers a flexible and sophisticated solution to address various business models and streamline billing processes. More here ->
Sequence, a financial router for consumers, raised $5.5m. It allows users to connect and consolidate all their financial elements, such as bank accounts, credit cards, savings funds, and more. The platform provides features like visualizing money flow, creating automations, and managing finances across multiple accounts. More here ->
Ozone API, a British open banking API platform, raised £8.5m. It provides technology that delivers compliant open APIs, enabling these institutions to monetize open banking globally. The platform can be delivered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) model or within the client's environment. More here ->
OpenDialog, a British developer of conversational AI chatbots for regulated industries, raised $8m in Series A funding. More here ->
Bankflip, a Spanish provider of regulatory data collection and document processing for financial services, raised €2.6m. More here ->
Bluesheets, a Singapore-based financial data startup, raised $6.5m in Series A funding. More here ->
Naq, a Dutch automated compliance platform, raised €3m. Naq is a compliance platform that offers a combination of automated tools and expert human support to help businesses achieve and maintain compliance with various data privacy and security frameworks. More here ->
Safty, a Danish provider of banking consumer insights, raised €11.3m. More here ->
Alinia Invest, a wealth management app aimed at Gen Z women, raised $3.4m in seed funding. The app provides smart recommendations tailored to users' financial goals, combines real humans with AI to manage investments, and offers 20+ cryptocurrencies to choose from. More here ->
Axyon AI, an Italian asset management AI company, raised €3.9m. The company provides asset managers with AI-powered solutions that deliver predictive value and uncover alpha. More here ->
Ansel, a New York-based health insuretech, raised $20m. The company offers plans with benefits for moderate, severe, and catastrophic conditions, allowing employees to select payout amounts that fit their needs and budget. More here ->
Spotr, an innovative Dutch AI-powered property data platform, has successfully secured €4.5 million in funding. It collects images and data to create a complete visual profile of properties, including roof, façades, context, and interior images. More here ->
Cover Genius has joined forces with Vueling, Spain's premier low-cost airline, in an exclusive travel protection collaboration to provide embedded solutions via its global distribution platform, XCover. More here ->
Digs, a Vancouver, Wash.-based collaboration platform for homebuilders and owners, raised $7m in new seed funding. It aims to simplify information sharing, streamline communication, and organize documents related to home construction projects. More here ->
From the Stash
Transactions: Mastercard, The Clearing House extend RTP collaboration - Mastercard extended its collaboration with The Clearing House today to allow customers and businesses to use real-time payments. Mastercard will be the exclusive instant payments software provider for The Clearing House’s (TCH) RTP network, according to a news release from Mastercard. TCH’s RTP network has been gaining traction since the launch of FedNow More here ->
Synchrony to expand payments offerings, operations in 2024 - Synchrony Financial is expanding its distribution network through acquisition and additional product offerings in 2024. The Stamford, Conn.-based company “continued to diversify our programs in 2023, broadening the utility of our offerings and extending our reach,” President and Chief Executive Brian Doubles said today during Synchrony’s fourth-quarter 2023 earnings call. More here ->
Mastercard launches small business AI - The driving force behind the development of Mastercard Small Business AI is to provide small business owners with personalized guidance crucial for their growth and success. In a world where small businesses play a significant role in the economy, yet often struggle with limited resources, this initiative comes as a beacon of support and mentorship. More here ->
NFP and the National Hockey League (NHL) have announced a new multi year partnership spanning North America - Under the agreement, NFP assumes the role of the official business insurance brokerage partner of the NHL. More here ->
Visa teams up with Meta for P2P payments - Visa extended partnerships and made new connections during its fiscal first quarter as it looked to expand its reach, develop new use cases for its offerings and push its peer-to-peer payments capabilities. “We remain obsessed about serving our customers, including traditional bank partners, neobanks, fintechs, wallets, sellers, acquirers and everyone else,” Chief Executive Ryan McInerney More here ->
Reports / Webinars
What will financial services look like in 2024? - With winning insights from industry leaders, our third annual report looks back on the products and trends that shaped 2023, before predicting what the next 12 months have in store for financial services. AI, cost of living, personalisation, wealth - it's got it all.
Salesforce named a leader in FINS CRM report - In The Forrester Wave™: Financial Services CRM, Q3 2023 report, Forrester evaluated financial services CRM providers with retail banking, insurance, wealth, and investment solutions.
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