As the trusted and proven Paytech Pioneer™ uniquely focused on supporting the growth journeys of our customers, nothing gets us more excited than when we see our customers and partners dominating the payments news agenda.
That’s why each month we update our ‘Making Headlines’ blog series to bring you some of the highlights from our customers and partners in the last month, from acquisitions to significant customer milestones, right through to innovative features and strategic partnerships. Let’s go! 👇
Awards & celebrations 🏆
The payments and fintech awards season was in full swing throughout July, and the GPS team were delighted to be recognised at the industry’s leading events, with Neil Harris, our Group Chief Commercial Officer, scooping the highly coveted PayTech Leadership award at this year’s PayTech Awards! As well as leading our commercial team and driving monumental overall growth, Neil has worked tirelessly to champion better access to financial services via his role as Chairperson for The Inclusion Foundation. Well done Neil - thoroughly deserved!
We also rounded the month off with another piece of good news – being named in the Financial Technology Report’s ‘Top 100 Financial Technology Companies of 2021’. The list includes names big and small from around the industry, including the likes of Stripe, Robinhood and Square, truly showcasing the breadth and talent of the fintech ecosystem, and its bright future ahead.
Out and about in fintech 🎉
Perhaps even more excitingly, in line with restrictions loosening in the UK, we were able to attend some of the industry’s first in-person events in over 16 months, and even co-host a party!
GPS CEO, Joanne Dewar, joined over 180 speakers to take part in this year’s Fintech Week London conference and celebrate the future of UK financial services. She was joined by a panel of inspirational women from Microsoft, HSBC and 10x Future Technologies to discuss the growing relationships between big banks and big tech companies, and what financial services innovation we can expect these partnerships to drive. Later she sat down with leading industry commentator, Chris Skinner, to discuss the potential of London becoming a “Singapore on the Thames” following Britain’s departure from the EU.
GPS was also proud to sponsor the Emerging Payments Association’s (EPA) Summer Party, its first in-person event of 2021, alongside our valued partner Mastercard. We closed out the month by welcoming fintechs from around the UK to the heart of London to catch up, share ideas and celebrate the many successes in our industry, despite the challenging circumstances over the last year.
Talking finance 💸
UK digital bank, Revolut, took yet another huge step on its growth journey this month, raising $800 million in a funding round led by SoftBank and Tiger Global. The raise puts Revolut’s valuation at $33 billion, which is - staggeringly - six times the fintech’s reported value of $5.5 billion in 2020. The additional funding will be used to drive product development and fuel international growth, as Revolut sets its sights on expansion into the US and India.
Business expenses management platform, Soldo, recently announced that it had generated $180 million in a Series C funding round led by Singapore-based Temasek, with support from Advent International, Citi Ventures and more. The fintech, which currently has 26,000 customers including the likes of Gymshark, Mercedes Benz and GetYourGuide, plans to use the money to continue transforming the legacy expenses space, and drive better solutions for businesses.
🔵 Zilch generates $110 million in debt and equity from Goldman Sachs and DMGT, acquires US-based NepFin
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platform, Zilch, announced that it had successfully raised $110 million in debt and equity funding in a Series B round led by Goldman Sachs and Daily Mail owners, Daily Mail & General Trust. The round tops up the $80 million of funding the fintech generated just three months ago. The BNPL provider, which now boasts over 700,000 customers, will use the capital to help it expand further into the US market.
Zilch has also announced plans to acquire Miami-based Neptune Financial Inc. – or NepFin – to further bolster its US expansion plans and build its sales, marketing, compliance, customer service and engineering teams.
It has been a landmark month for London-based fintech Weavr, seeing substantial investment and posting fantastic growth figures. The platform, which promises to turn any business into a fintech through embedded payments and financial services, generated £7 million in seed funding, in a round led by Headline. The news comes as Weavr also announced that it had exceeded Q1 growth targets by 250% and will use the funding to accelerate its product roadmap.
It’s not just European fintechs that have seen major investment this month, with Singapore-based cross border payments platform, Nium, successfully completing a $200 million funding round to officially reach unicorn status. The funding comes on the heels of Nium announcing that it had received additional payments license privileges from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The new certification will allow Nium to expand its payment processing capabilities, covering key areas such as account issuance, domestic transfers, merchant acquisition and more.
Partnerships, technology & innovation 💡
🔵 Currencycloud acquired by Visa and joins forces with FxPro
In a move that’s set to take cross-border payments by storm, Visa announced the acquisition of leading FX specialist, Currencycloud. The acquisition, which sees two of our valued partners joining forces, was completed for £700 million last month, and will see Visa expand and enhance its existing FX solution as the demand for cross-border payments and mobile wallets from both consumers and businesses continues to rise.
It’s been a busy month for Currencycloud, as the fintech’s news doesn’t stop there. FxPro, one of the most influential online currency brokers, recently announced it was partnering with Currencycloud to launch BnkPro. The banking app will enable mass affluent customers to access an exclusive mobile wallet and other services, such as trading and investing in securities.
The conversation around mental health has never been more important and, for many, issues of financial health are intrinsically linked to emotional wellbeing. That’s why it’s so inspiring to see Maslife expand its offering by partnering with GPS, Paynetics and Mastercard to create a true financial wellbeing app. The app, which is powered by AI, will empower customers to take charge of their emotional and financial health, combining activities like yoga and mindfulness with rewards and other incentives.
As the Banking as a Service (BaaS) market heats up, French fintech Treezor has announced the launch of Treezor Connect, which allows brands to access payments in less than 100 lines of code. That’s right, just 100 lines! The embedded finance platform allows customers to integrate key financial services such as payment orders, spending notifications, and KYC analysis into its business at a fraction of the cost of building from scratch.
Fresh off the announcement of its substantial funding round, Revolut also recently launched ‘Stays’, a new functionality which allows users to book hotels and accommodation through its app. To further incentivise bookings, Revolut is offering 10% cashback on all reservations made through its platform. Stays is just another step on Revolut’s journey to becoming one of the world’s first ‘super-apps’, expanding into the travel sector at a key point in its re-opening following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Revolut isn’t the only fintech innovating in the travel space; travel card provider, Currensea, recently partnered with Singapore Airlines to allow British travellers to collect air miles without using a credit card. The programme will see flyers earn two KrisFlyer miles - which can be redeemed against flights, accommodation, holiday activities and more - for every £1 spent abroad. As customers start to take short haul trips to Europe, they can be actively saving for their next big getaway with Singapore Airlines.
It’s been a landmark year for BNPL, and the industry shows no sign of slowing down. Swedish-based BNPL platform, Klarna, recently acquired several new partners including German start-up, Stocard, to bolster its overall offering, in a move that reportedly valued the fintech at $110 million. Stocard provides mobile wallet functionality to over 60 million users worldwide and, more importantly, partners with businesses to provide compelling discounts through its app.
🔵 Around the industry 🏢
An outstanding month for Starling Bank
🔵 UK-based challenger bank, Starling, has had a highly impressive July all round, from winning awards to publicising strong growth figures. The neobank, which was named Fintech of the Year at the UK Fintech Awards (no hard feelings, of course!), announced that it would be expanding its offering with the acquisition of Fleet Mortgages, signalling a further move into key financial products such as lending. News of the purchase comes after the fintech continued to show encouraging signs of growth, being named amongst the most switched-to banks for four quarters in a row, and continuing to post monthly profitability in its quarterly earnings report.
WeLab Bank marks a major milestone
🔵 To finish off, we’d like to wish our customer, Hong-Kong based fintech, WeLab Bank, a very happy first birthday! Despite only being a year old, the virtual bank has already revealed some impressive results, surpassing 100,000 customers to date, and being on track for 5x user base growth by the end of 2021. We look forward to continuing our partnership as WeLab Bank works to revolutionise financial services throughout APAC.
Signing off 👋
From record-breaking raises to new product development and - perhaps most importantly - the much-welcomed return of in-person events, July was a stand-out month for fintech and financial services. We can’t wait to check back in with our partners and customers in August to see what other exciting innovation they’ve been driving!