News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1. UK – FinTech 


Altfi reports: 

“In a particularly unusual twist, a fintech that was once almost purchased by Visa has teamed up with one that has been acquired by Visa. 

Currencycloud, which was acquired by Visa for £700m earlier this year, has joined forces with Plaid, whose failed $5.3bn takeover by Visa sent shockwaves through the world of fintech in January 2021. 

Under the new partnership, Plaid will help power Currencycloud’s payment solutions through using its financial APIs and payments network. 

Currencycloud’s customers will now have access to Plaid’s open finance network, making it easier for them to operate in more than one currency.” 


2. UK – FinTech 


Altfi reports: 


“High street bank NatWest has led a substantial debt and equity funding round into fintech startup Updraft, helping to add £72m to the firm’s coffers. 

It comes less than a year after Updraft last raised £16m from investment firm Quilam Capital and the government’s Future Fund. 

Quilam joined the latest round by extending its existing credit facility with Updraft, with NatWest also contributing to the debt. 

Updraft aims to create a comprehensive overview of a user’s spending and borrowing to provide a series of interventions that can get them back on track—like refinancing credit card or buy now, pay later debt.” 


3. US – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports: 

“The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed a civil enforcement action against Alejandro Tinoco, and his company, Kikit & Mess Investments, LLC. The CFTC alleges ongoing fraud in a FOREX, crypto scam. 

The  CFTC complaint alleges that from at least September 2020 to the present, the defendants solicited more than $3.9 million from at least 61 clients that gave the defendants money to manage their trading in customized client portfolios for trading in the foreign exchange markets and cryptocurrencies. The defendants did not trade their clients’ funds in managed accounts; rather, they misappropriated the funds for Tinoco’s personal benefit or to pay false “profits” they reported to clients in a manner similar to a Ponzi scheme. 

The CFTC states that the vast majority of clients’ funds were used to pay Tinoco’s personal expenses, such as travel costs, including chartering a private jet, renting a luxury mansion and cars, leasing a luxury automobile, as well as purchasing real estate.” 


4. US - FinTech


Altfi reports: 

“The pandemic has been good for tech firms in general but the biggest beneficiaries are those startups that help make working easier during the covid years. One such example is Deel, founded in 2019, which has just hit a $5.5bn valuation after landing its $425 million Series D. 

Deel has raised over $630m after a succession of funding rounds last year helped in scale rapidly. In two years the team has grown from four to 400 employees and Deel serves more than 4,500 customers worldwide from names like Coinbase, Intercom and Shopify in over 150 countries.  

The company, founded by Alex Bouaziz and Shuo Wang, helps businesses to hire and onboard staff around the world in a compliant, speedy manner and pays them in 120+ currencies. 

The latest funding means Deel has become the highest valued company in the global hiring, payments, and compliance space.” 



5. International – FinTech 


Finextra reports: 


“Kevin., a Lithuanian-based account-to-account payment startup, has secured $10 million of new capital in a seed funding round co-led by OTB Ventures and Speedinvest. 

The investment brings the company’s total capital raised to $14 million. Also joining the funding round were OpenOcean, Javier Perez’s Global PayTech Ventures, and high net worth individuals including AmRest founder Henry McGovern.

Kevin. focuses on mobile and POS payments where customers predominantly pay using cards currently. The firm's POS product will enable customers to pay from their bank accounts for goods in physical shops through existing card terminals using NFC technology.

The new funds will be used to build out the product suite and to expand into new markets. Currently, the Company supports more than 2,700 merchants in 15 markets, including Sweden, Finland, Norway, Poland, Netherlands and Portugal. By 2022, kevin. expects to have operations in 28 markets in total, including in new markets such as the UK, Spain and France. The company has a team of more than 100 employees in seven countries and it plans to expand its workforce to beyond 350 employees in 2022.”