News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Young woman whispers in friend's ear

1. UK – FinTech 

AltFi reports:


“After several delays and misfires, digital bank Monzo is finally relaunching its premium Plus subscription today with a host of new features.

The flagship feature of Monzo Plus, priced at £5/month with a 3-month minimum term, is deep open banking integration with other bank and credit card accounts like HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds, letting customers view and move money between these accounts.

Another feature being wrapped into Plus are Monzo’s virtual cards for customers to spend online without sharing their actual bank card details, monthly credit scores from the bank’s integration with TransUnion, and 1 per cent interest on all balances up to £2,000.

“With this version of Monzo Plus we went back to basics, and re-examined how we built things. We thought really hard about why people love Monzo and listened to our customers and our community,” said Monzo’s chief product officer Mike Hudack.”

2. UK – AltFi

A lawyer opines in City A.M. on the mistake start-up founders commonly make.

“There is a ton of noise on how to succeed in making fail-proof start-ups or nailing the elevator pitch. What doesn’t find much mention is mistakes founders make for lack of a legal budget. As a lawyer I will obviously say that there is just no substitute for proper legal advice, but I also recognise that “legals” can be a pain point for bootstrapped start-ups. This article suggests a few legal DIYs which might avoid a few costly mistakes early in start-up life.

Create a legally binding relationship with your co-founder. The truth is, unless a founder has a very large social circle of highly skilled people, a set of co-founders are likely to be people who do not know each other in-depth. Add to that the inevitability of beginner mistakes, you have the start-up etching nervously at the precipice of a board room dispute even before it has gained momentum.  

Founders need to consider not just the creative genius or business flair of their co-founders but also how persistent they would be when times are tough, or what it might cost the company if they decided to part ways. Founders would help themselves by openly discussing time commitment expectations, salaries, and who will be taking responsibilities when giving warranties to investors. If there are no written service agreements with vesting provisions at the outset, when things start going belly-up, co-founder disagreements can become a huge drain on the company’s time, resources and momentum. Establishing a vesting period can help protect the company from deadweight founders: this is where shares are only received over a specified period, and if someone leaves before their time (or is removed for reason) they lose that ownership.”


3. International – FinTech

FinExtra reports:

“JP Morgan has acquired a minority stake in Brazilian fintech startup FitBank, according to local reports. Details of the investment were not disclosed.

Founed in 2015, FitBank describes itself as the largest open banking outfit in Brazil, providing a white label platform that lets banks and fintechs offer bill payment, online treasury, banking, financial management, transfers and escrow services.

According to local news site Valor, some 96 clients have used its technology for 180,000 accounts. The new money will be used to expand to new countries in Latin America.”

4. US – FinTech

Crypto news. Crowdfundinsider reports:


Brave New Coin, a crypto-asset trading, research, and data firm, has agreed to a multi-year partnership with Toronto Futures Options Swaps Exchange or tFOSE, a derivatives exchange and clearinghouse that’s in the process of obtaining regulatory approval in Canada.

Brave New Coin will be designing, calculating, and administering several different cryptocurrency indices that will be used to power cash-settled options trading on tFOSE.”


5. International – FinTech

Open banking platform Tink has acquired fellow Swedish fintech Instantor, further expanding its portfolio of services on offer, according to AltFi. 

“Founded in Stockholm in 2010, Instantor helps banks and non-bank lenders to enhance their credit decisioning through the use of open banking and account aggregation. 

The acquisition, of which the price tag has not been disclosed, is the latest effort from Tink to bolster its services on offer with Instantor’s products being made available to all of Tink’s customers. 

Daniel Kjellén, co-founder and CEO of Tink, said: “What Instantor has achieved to date in Europe is impressive. It has deftly proven to be a leading European provider of credit decision solutions based on open banking technology.” 

“We are thrilled to be able to offer Instantor’s market-leading credit scoring products to all of our customers and now look forward to continuing to invest in product development in that domain.” 

Instantor supports more than 5m credit decisions annually and was ranked as Sweden’s second-fastest-growing fintech by the Financial Times in 2019.”