News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Trading screen filled with numbers.

1. UK– FinTech   


AltFi reports: 

“Payments technology provider Form3 has signed a partnership with, and secured investment from, payments giant Mastercard. 

Mastercard’s investment, the size of which has not been disclosed, means the financial giant will join fellow Form3 shareholders Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society and VCs 83North and Draper Esprit. 

As a reminder, Form3 is working on a new domestic payments network for banks that takes advantage of the latest cloud technology and is in line with upcoming payments regulations. 

“Our partnership with Mastercard will enable Form3 to accelerate its ambitions to grow on an international scale while complementing the services we have today and those we are building for the future,” said Form3 CEO Michael Mueller announcing the partnership with Mastercard today. 

The partnership is firmly positioned as a route to scale up Form3’s work internationally, and Mastercard says Form3’s tech is “complementary” to its own real-time payments system.” 


2. UK – FinTech 


Revolut is rolling out a low-cost subscription option which will give customers purchase protection and other features for £2.99 a month, according to Finextra. 

“Launching in the UK today, Revolut Plus is available to all customers and to existing paid plan Premium and Metal subscribers

The purchase protection on offer, which provides cover for damaged and stolen goods and event ticket cancellations, covers Plus customers up to £1,000, Premium customers up to £2,500, and Metal customers up to £10,000.

Revolut Plus customers will also be able to spend online with virtual cards, while parents and guardians can teach their kids money skills with access to up to two junior accounts.” 


3. UK – FinTech 


Vestrata, a new digital wealth management platform founded by eight former employees from some of the largest wealth managers in the world, has closed a $4m investment round and officially launched, according to AltFi.  

“Vestrata promises to deliver a host of discretionary, advisory and ESG investment solutions to help wealth managers control risk and reduce the cost of their investments. 

The funding comes from the team’s former employers, friends and families and other mystery backers, with plans to raise cash from institutional investors in 2021. 

The fintech’s leadership team consists of eight former leaders of wealth managers such as JP Morgan, HSBC Commercial Bank and Barclays Wealth Management.  

“We know from first-hand experience the significant and accelerating financial and regulatory challenges faced by the wealth management industry,” said Mark Le Lievre, co-founder and CEO of Vestrata and former head of products and platforms at JP Morgan Private Bank and head of investment content at UBS Wealth Management. 

“Firms now need to focus not only on managing their cost base but growing their revenues via enhanced client engagement. We understand these challenges and have built a solution to address them.”  

Other members of the executive team include Chairman Doug Wurth, who previously led the international Private Bank and Alternatives businesses at JP Morgan, fellow co-founder and chief technology officer Kim Lennen, who is the former CTO of JP Morgan Private Bank and head of solutions at Vestrata, Lea Blinoff, who was previously a managing director at J.P. Morgan.” 

4. US – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider reports: 

Neufund, an aspiring early-stage digital asset marketplace that connects investors with early-stage firms, has announced a €4 million investment led by Atlantic Labs and Udo Schloemer (founder and CEO of Factory Berlin). Additional investors in the round include Freigeist Capital and Dario Suter (founder and managing director of DCM). 

Neufund states that the new funding round extends the company’s previous €3.4 million Series A round, conducted on the platform as a digital security in 2018. 

The online investment platform says the funding will be used for obtaining a financial license, accelerating the development of new products as well as boosting its employee count. 

In a public statement, Zoe Adamovicz, CEO and co-founder of Neufund, said from the outset they have always strictly followed financial regulations and developed our business around the understanding that digital assets should be regulated like financial instruments.” 


5. International – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Japan's SBI Financial Services is opening a cryptocurrency dealing desk after acquiring liquidity provider B2C2. 

Financial terms were not disclosed but the deal comes months after SBI agreed to take a minority stake in B2C2.

SBI says the move puts it at the "centre of the cryptocurrency markets" by making it the natural entry point for financial institutions seeking a bank counterparty to trade digital assets.

Max Boonen, founder, B2C2, says: “With Bitcoin hitting an all time high this month, it is dawning on everyone in finance that crypto is here to stay.

"The timing could not be better for SBI, a financial conglomerate admired for its farsightedness, who is not simply dipping in but opening a new chapter for the industry."

The acquisition is the latest big crypto play from SBI. Last month one of its unit began offering clients the option to lend it their Bitcoin holdings, while it has also invested in Ripple and Boerse Stuttgart's digital assets business.”