News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

many hands in a circle

1.UK – FinTech


The Fintech Times reports: 

“UK businesses have taken out 1.6 million government-guaranteed loans worth £75.1billion during the coronavirus crisis through schemes delivered by the British Business Bank. 

According to data from British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank, more than a quarter of all small to medium-sized businesses in the UK have now used a pandemic loan from the government. 

This includes 1,531,095 Bounce Back Loans worth £46.5billion, 98,344 loans worth £23.3billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and 716 loans worth £5.3billion through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. 

New figures for Bounce Back Loan Scheme Top-Ups reveal 101,666 loans have been approved valued at £0.9billion. 

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme all come to an end on 31 March 2021. Meanwhile, the new Recovery Loan Scheme will open for applications on 6 April 2021. 

A further £1.2billion of convertible loans were made under the Future Fund Scheme, which opened for applications on 20 May 2020 to support lossmaking fast-growth companies that had been unable to access the other schemes. This sum has been matched by at least the same amount from third-party investors.” 

2. UK - FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“The UK's Financial Conduct Authority is to use its legislative powers to steer the evolution of Open banking to a broader model of Open Finance. 

Open Finance refers to the extension of Open Banking-like data sharing to a wider range of financial products, such as savings, investments, pensions and insurance.

The FCA published a Call for Input in December 2019 on the shift to Open Finance, which could potentially offer significant benefits to consumers, including increased competition, improved advice and improved access to a wider and more innovative range of financial products and services.

The regulator believes it would also create or increase risks and raise new questions around data ethics and digital identity.” 



3. UK – FinTech 


When the banks aren’t trying to buy them, they’re excluding them… Finextra on IBAN discrimination against FinTech challenger banks. 


“Wise, in tandem with Starling Bank and other leading fintechs, have launched an initiative to tackle iban discriimination in Europe. 

Iban discrimination occurs when a bank or company doesn’t accept a payment instruction because it’s not from the same country in which the bank or company is based.

A common problem across Europe for some time, the issue was brought to the fore by Starling Bank in February, when it reported that some companies across the EU are refusing to accept payments from UK euro account holders because the iban contains the country code 'GB'.

Even though the UK is no longer part of the European Union (EU), it’s still part of the Single Euro Payments Area. Refusing to accept a payment from the iban code of a Sepa member is a violation of EU rules.

Starling was moved to draft up a written template for account holders suffering from iban discrimination to complain to companies refusing payment details.

Now it has joined forces with Wise, N26, Revolut, Raisin, Klarna, SumUp and Fire to set up a site - Accept my iban - where customers can file a complaint which is forwarded to the relevant authorities and the European Commission, saving users the hassle of dealing directly with disputed payments.” 


4. US – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider reports: 


Pilota U.S.-based fintech that specializes in back office services for startups and small businesses, announced on Friday it raised a total of $100 million through its Series C funding round, doubling its valuation to $1.2 billion. The round was notably led by Bezos Expedition and Whale Rock Capital, with participation from Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures. 

Launched in 2017, Pilot powers the financial back office for startups and small businesses. The company specializes in bookkeeping, tax preparation, and CFO services and are focused on delivering a customer experience of unparalleled quality. 

“Pilot integrates directly with the billing, banking, expense and payroll systems customers already use. With a special blend of custom software and expert bookkeepers, Pilot delivers accurate, consistent bookkeeping that gives entrepreneurs the freedom to focus on their business, as well as an array of additional financial services.” 

 Pilot revealed that it has more than 1,000 customers and has raised over $150 million to date. The company also noted that in 2020 it completed more than $3 billion in bookkeeping transactions for its customers, which range from pre-revenue startups to established companies generating more than $30 million of revenue a year. It has also established co-marketing partnerships with other industry leaders including American Express,, Brex, Carta, Gusto, Rippling, Stripe, SVB, and Techstars.” 


5. International – FinTech 


The Fintech Times reports: 

“Saudi Arabia-based fintech Geidea recently became the only non-bank institution in the region to be granted an acquiring license from Saudi Central Bank (SAMA). The license will enable Geidea to process secure, fast and seamless end-to-end payment solutions directly to merchants. 

Furthermore, Geidea becomes the first fintech in the region to develop an app-based contactless ‘Tap on Phone’ solution which will empower SMEs with a simple and intuitive way to process customer payments. The app based Tap on Phone solution will allow merchants to quickly and securely accept payments on their mobile phones without the need for a separate payment terminal or connection. 

The new Tap on Phone solution will also have all the features of a traditional PoS (Point of Sale) terminal, including acceptance of payments from contactless cards, mobile wallets, and wearable devices. All transactions are settled directly in the Geidea app on the merchant’s mobile phone and funds can be automatically transferred into their existing bank account within the same, or next day – easing the way of doing business in the Kingdom and improving convenience for both merchants and customers alike.”