Revolut partners with British-Ukrainian Aid, one year on

Digital Banking

The fintech and its customers have raised more than £10m to support refugees from Ukraine.

Image source: Revolut & British Ukrainian Aid.


Marking one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Revolut is partnering with grassroots UK-based charity British-Ukranian Aid.

Revolut and its customers have collectively raised more than £10m over the past year, and the fintech is now hoping to further support victims of the war with the new partnership.

It has also added a new feature within its donations platform called ‘Collections’, which groups together charities around a common cause, with British-Ukrainian aid leading the list of partners of the Ukraine appeal.

“As a truly volunteer-run charity, driven by a growing community of supporters, we are happy to establish cooperation with Revolut,” British-Ukranian Aid trustee Andrii Mykhailov said.

“Together, we will be able to increase the reach and scope of assistance for vulnerable people in need. We are asking all friends of British-Ukrainian Aid and Revolut to join the appeal and donate.”

Both of Revolut’s founders have been steadfast and vocal in their critiques of Russia over the war against Ukraine.

Co-founder and CEO Nik Storonsky, who was born in Ukraine, renounced his Russian citizenship last October.

Almost a year ago to the day, Revolut’s co-founder and CTO Vlad Yatsenko took to Twitter to criticise Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, calling him a “brazen liar”. 

“As a British-Ukrainian citizen, I thank everyone for the ongoing support and I invite you to join Revolut and British-Ukrainian Aid in helping those who need it most right now,” Yatsenko said.

“With Revolut and British-Ukrainian Aid 100 per cent of your donations go to charity.”

British-Ukrainian Aid says it is in direct contact with those in need on the ground, assessing what people need and providing immediate help for emergency and relief operations.

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UK hits 7m open banking users

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More than 1 million customers used open banking for the first time in January.

Image source: Shutterstock.


The number of open banking users in the UK has just surpassed 7 million for the first time.

A mix of consumers and SMEs, this milestone comes eight months after the UK reached 6 million open banking users and just one month after the CMA Roadmap was completed.

January also marked the fifth anniversary of the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which made open banking a regulatory requirement in the UK. 

Open Banking Limited (OBL) CEO Henk Van Hulle noted the significance that 1.2 million of the 7 million active open banking users in the UK are first-time users.

“From access to cost-effective credit, building a regular savings habit or making more informed financial decisions – Open Banking is delivering the means for our citizens to improve their financial well-being,” he said.

Off the back of the upward trend of open banking adoption, OBL chair and trustee Marion King is encouraging the fintech ecosystem to keep up the momentum.

She commented that open banking is “good for the nation”, increasing competition and helping both SMEs and consumers benefit from new and innovative ways to manage their finances.

“It is encouraging to see that 7 million people have been empowered to take advantage of the benefits of Open Banking,” King said.

“As we await key recommendations on the future vision for Open Banking from the Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee [JROC], this strong growth underlines the need to continue the momentum so that the many benefits of Open Banking are developed, promoted, and made available to millions more of our citizens.”

A draft report created by open banking’s Strategic Working Group (SWG) intended to guide the decisions of JROC was seen exclusively by AltFi last month.

The report provided little clarity on the direction of open banking in the UK, with questions remaining both around a proposed ‘future entity’ to oversee open banking and a transition into “open finance”.

Hopefully the upward trajectory of open banking adoption will spur JROC to provide some “urgent clarity” on the future of open banking.

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Neobank Bunq hits profitability

Digital Banking

Ending 2022 with a quarterly profit of €2.3m, Bunq expects to keep turning a profit through 2023.

Image source: Ali Niknam/Bunq.

Amsterdam-based Bunq has just reached quarterly profitability.

Having reached break-even for the first time at the end of December 2021, the neobank has steadily worked to profitability since.

The challenger reached a pre-tax profit of €2.3m for the last quarter of 2022 and says it expects to continue to turn a profit throughout 2023.

“I’m incredibly proud that, just a decade since our inception, bunq’s service-oriented business model has proven to be profitable,” Bunq founder and CEO Ali Niknam said.

“Truly aligning our user-centred philosophy with financial success, we were able to build a business that’s only successful as long as our users are happy.”

Describing itself as a neobank for “location-independent people and businesses”, the fintech said the profit will fuel its further growth and expansion.

It acquired group expenses app Tricount last May, adding another 5.4 million users to its platform and making it the second largest neobank in the EU.

In 2022, Bunq also launched investments, relaunched its free savings account and introduced real-time budgeting to help customers struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

It had seen losses narrow for 2021 as deposits reached €1.1bn, with a 16 per cent improvement on its 2020 bringing losses to €13.4m.

In the last quarter of 2022, Bunq saw its net fee income grow by 37 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2021, with user deposits growing by 64 per cent to reach €1.8bn by the end of 2022.

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Revolut launches credit cards in Ireland

Digital Banking

The fintech has captured more than 40 per cent of the Irish population with its expanding roster of banking products.

Image source: Joe Heneghan/Revolut.

Revolut is starting to roll out credit cards to its more than two million customers in Ireland.

The fintech launched as a bank in Ireland last March and has since added a number of features for Irish customers, including its “responsible payment instalments product” Pay Later and ‘Loans’ up to €30,000.

According to the company, the new credit card is designed with a focus on “transparency, control, responsibility and rewards”.

“We’re delighted to add Revolut Credit Cards to our financial superapp, giving our customers in Ireland more control and flexibility over their personal finances in a responsible way,” Revolut Europe CEO Joe Heneghan said.

“We’ve developed the technology to provide Credit Cards to approved customers with limits tailored to affordability, so they can get the credit they need, when they need it.”

Revolut is making use of open banking to make customer affordability checks and says it has an “immediate” approval process for those who are eligible.

Customers can apply directly through the app with no interest for the first three months with a monthly minimum payment, 1 per cent cashback for the first three months (up to €30) and unlimited 0.1 per cent cashback after that.

The current credit limits are between €500 and €10,000 with no annual fees or punitive over-limit or returned payment fees.

The launch of credit cards follows news that the fintech made a quiet launch to a small group of customers testing out joint accounts in Ireland a few weeks ago, though it has yet to be announced when this will launch fully.

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Ledge exits stealth with $9m raise

Digital Banking

The Israeli startup has developed an automated, no-code payments command centre for finance teams.

Image source: Tal Kirschenbaum & Asaf Kotzer/Ledge.

Israel-based fintech Ledge is emerging from stealth after raising $9m in seed funding for its automated payments command centre.

Led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Vertex Ventures, FJ Labs and existing investors Picus Capitals, Ledge plans to use the funds to enhance its no-code finance operations platform, with greater “treasury management” capabilities.

Founded by CEO Tal Kirschenbaum and CTO Asaf Kotzer, the startup also plans to use the funds to expand its team and product globally, focusing on North America.

“We saw first hand in previous roles that finance teams are losing visibility over payments, losing control of their overall books, and losing crucial time for strategic initiatives, which is resulting in a hit to their bottom lines,” Kirschenbaum said.

“While many CFOs feel like they are dealing with a hair-on-fire challenge as they face an onslaught of mass digital payments being paid in and out, we believe that utilising the right technology can transform this challenge into a powerful driver of business growth.”

Kirschenbaum said the company’s solution unlocks “the immense potential of the data” that lies behind digital payments.

“We’re putting finance teams back in control by automating time-consuming tasks while also harnessing AI and the latest tech to uncover high-value business insights currently hidden amongst vast quantities of payments data,” he added.  

By fully automating the payments cycle, the company aims to give finance teams instant insights to make more informed strategic decisions. 

The platform has pre-integrated banks to major banks, payment processors and billing solutions allowing it to connect directly to companies’ existing data, payments and banking infrastructures.

“By providing a comprehensive, automated solution tailored for the finance department, Ledge enables smarter finance decisions while relieving the burden from engineering teams, allowing them to focus on their core role — building and enhancing the business’s revenue-generating products,” NEA partner Jonathan Golden said.

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Auxmoney issues third social bond worth €350m

Alternative Lending

Auxmoney re-opened the European market in 2023 with the first asset-backed security deal.

Image source: Daniel Drummer/Auxmoney.

Digital consumer lending platform Auxmoney has placed its third and largest asset-backed security transaction in the capital markets.

Named “Fortuna Consumer Loan ABS 2023-1”, the bond follows its second €225m placing last May, with its first having taken place in September 2021 at €250m.

According to Auxmoney, about 48,000 loans have been securitised for the latest bond.

“We are pleased to see the success and impressive demand for our recent bond issuance. With a record size of €350m, it is also one of the largest-ever social bonds issued in Europe by any fintech company,” Auxmoney CFO Daniel Drummer said.

“Being able to place our bonds in the capital markets throughout the cycle is a further testimony to the resilience of the auxmoney funding platform.”

According to the company, it is continuing to promote social and financial inclusion through its third social bond, making use of a “more differentiated risk assessment” to give access to more people who are typically underserved by lenders.

The German-based digital lender’s latest transaction marks the first consumer deal and the second European asset-backed security to re-open the market in 2023.

“With various classes being subscribed more than three times, investor demand has been strong from many accounts and we are more than satisfied with the result achieved,” Auxmoney investments managing director Boudewijn Dierick said.

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B2B fintech Sikoia raises $6m to simplify client onboarding

Digital Banking

The fintech aims to simplify onboarding, verification, monitoring and risk evaluation.

Image source: Alexis Rog/Sikoia.

London-based Sikoia has just raised $6m in seed funding for its onboarding and verification platform for financial institutions.

The round was led by MassMutual Ventures (MMV), with existing investors Earlybird and Seedcamp doubling down on their investment.

According to MMV, the platform is set to “transform financial institutions’ client management throughout the lifecycle”, streamlining risk and compliance processes for onboarding, underwriting and monitoring.

“Besides assessing consumers applying for financial products, many Sikoia customers also onboard and verify international business clients,” Sikoia CEO Alexis Rog said.

“They need to assess information from multiple public and private data sources, covering the corporate entity itself as well as the directors, shareholders and associated entities. This often results in poor customer experience and unnecessary operational costs.”

The capital brings the startup’s total funds raised to $8.3m including a pre-seed round from last year.

Sikoia also said it grew its client list and made a number of senior hires in 2022.

“Last year has been an exciting and transformative year for us. We scaled up the team, expanded our platform capabilities, and supported our ever-growing list of customers and marketplace partners,” Rog said.

The company will use the funds to accelerate its international expansion, develop “unique” technology and further its data coverage and workflow automation.

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Zopa acquires BNPL DivideBuy

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The digital bank has made its first acquisition as it takes a step towards “BNPL 2.0”.

Image source: Jaidev Janardana/Zopa.

Zopa has acquired ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) platform DivideBuy in its first-ever acquisition.

The push into the $7.2 trillion embedded finance space comes just a few weeks after Zopa raised £75m – and “markedly enhance[d]” its unicorn status – to kick off a year of mergers and acquisitions.

According to Zopa, the move will increase its revenue by at least 20 per cent as it moves towards its vision of a “BNPL 2.0”.

“This acquisition helps us bring to life BNPL 2.0, an evolution of BNPL which we believe delivers the easy, integrated product which customers love whilst also addressing some of the issues around affordability and responsible lending which have plagued the sector,” Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana said.

 “We are proud to be entering the POS space with DivideBuy, a market leader with a standout product and technology stack, and a culture that is closely aligned to our values of fairness and customer-centricity.”

Janardana sat down with AltFi to discuss the bank’s first push into BNPL last June, where he said he does not see BNPL “overall eclipsing” credit cards, but explained there is something consumers like about point of purchase financing.

Now Zopa is coming together with DivideBuy to offer customers credit on larger purchases between £250 and £30,000.

DivideBuy gives its merchants the option to offer customers interest-free payment options at point of sale spread across anywhere from two to 12 months.

“DivideBuy’s mission has always been to help make life more affordable. This deal with Zopa will bolster our current product suite to help us take POS finance further, faster – with ethical lending at the core,” DivideBuy CEO Robert Flowers said.

“This approach will ensure we meet upcoming regulation head-on to deliver a BNPL 2.0 that’s better for everyone.”

Zopa said the BNPL product will give consumers access to affordable credit with “clear protections in place” following confirmation from the Treasury earlier this week that the sector is set to be regulated by the FCA this year.

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FinTech Alliance and Seedrs partner to find the next Revolut

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The two companies are hoping to support the founders building the products and services “that will shape the world of tomorrow”.

Image source: Louis Williams & Emily Fitch-Deeley/Fintech Alliance & Seedrs.


Government-backed digital community FinTech Alliance is partnering with investment platform Seedrs.

The collaboration will allow FinTech Alliance, a digital ecosystem that “brings together and champions” the UK’s fintech community, to connect companies looking to raise capital with Seedrs.

First, the Seedrs team will help fintechs get onboarded and set up their campaign, and then FinTech Alliance will support them by promoting their campaigns and connecting them to potential investors and other founders.

“At FinTech Alliance, we are well placed to help the UK fintech community through what promises to be an interesting yet challenging year ahead. We will support fintechs with access to funding, partners, talent, insights and more,” FinTech Alliance community manager Louis Williams said.

“However, we can’t do this alone. Collaborating with companies like Seedrs enables our platform to be much bigger and shows that FinTech Alliance is part of a supportive ecosystem across the UK.”

Williams explained that the partnership will allow the company to support fintechs to look at all the funding options available to them.

FinTech Alliance will support those who decide to raise money on the Seedrs platform by providing insights on fundraising in addition to supporting the campaign.

“At Seedrs we recognise the power of partnerships and meaningful collaboration to drive innovation across our industry,” Seeds head of partnerships Emily Fitch-Deeley said.

“Over the years, we’ve hosted some of the UK’s most disruptive and game-changing fintechs on our platform.”

The online private investing platform enables individuals to invest in startups, growth companies and, for eligible investors, top VC funds.

It also allows entrepreneurs across all sectors to raise funds from their communities, angles and institutional investors.

Since launching in 2012, more than 1,800 deals have been funded through Seedrs, with more than £2.3bn invested on the platform so far.

“This strategic partnership with FinTech Alliance will allow us to help propel the financial technology businesses that are building the products and services that will shape the world of tomorrow,” Fitch-Deeley continued.

“Who knows, we might be about to find the next Revolut!

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Bank of London appoints a new chair for Europe

Digital Banking

Industry veteran Norbert Becker adds chair of the fintech unicorn to a list of chairmanships including PayPal and Lombard International Assurance.

Image source: Norbert Becker/The Bank of London.

The Bank of London has appointed Norbert Becker as chair of the European Union region for the firm.

Becker is also chairman of PayPal Europe, having been a board member since 2007, as well as chairman of The Administration des Biens du Grand-Duc, which oversees the Grand Duke of Luxembourg’s private assets, and group chairman at Lombard International Assurance.

He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of both the Luxembourg and wider EU environment to his new position at the Bank of London.

“Norbert is an inspiring strategic leader and I’m beyond delighted to have him join our firm in this critical role,” Bank of London founder and group CEO Anthony Watson said.

“Joining us at this pivotal point, Becker’s extensive knowledge of the Luxembourg and wider EU environment coupled with his over three decades of international experience will be invaluable for our growth.”

The sixth principal clearing bank in the UK seems to be on a growth spurt, having extended its Series C raise by $40m to reach $160m just last week.

According to the bank, it retained its valuation of $1.1bn which it reached in December 2021.

The Bank of London is unique. Its products and services are game-changing,” Becker said.

“I’m excited to be joining this transformative firm during the first year of its evolution, and I look forward to working closely with Anthony advising on geographic expansion and the business growth opportunities Luxembourg and the wider EU has to offer.”

The bank of London also made a number of other senior hires last year to bolster its leadership team heading into 2023, including Tom Wood as its deputy CEO and Gavin Hewitt as group CFO.

It also aims to hire thousands of new employees over the next few years, predominantly in London but also in the US and Northern Ireland.

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Credit Suisse leads $65m Series B for crypto-infrastructure firm Taurus


The platform’s clients Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Pictet and Arab Bank Switzerland all took part in the round.

Image source: Lamine Brahimi, Dr Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Oren-Olivier Puder, Sebastien Dessimoz (L-R)/Taurus.

Digital asset infrastructure firm Taurus has raised $65m in a Series B round led by Credit Suisse.

The funds will be used to support the Swiss company’s growth through hiring “top engineering talent” and setting up new offices across Europe, UAE and, “soon after”, the Americas and South-East Asia to get closer to its clients.

New investors including Deutsche Bank, Pictet Group and Cedar Muni Ventures joined existing backers Arab Bank Switzerland and stock-listed real-estate group Inventis in the round.

“We are proud to welcome such high-profile investors and benefit from their expertise to further develop one of the richest platforms in the industry, covering any type of digital assets, way beyond cryptocurrencies,” Taurus co-founder and managing partner Lamine Brahimi said.

Brahimi co-founded the firm alongside Dr Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Oren-Olivier Puder and Sebastien Dessimoz in 2018, and they remain majority shareholders following the raise.

According to the company, it has a more than 60 per cent market share in Switzerland, providing digital asset infrastructure to issue, custody and trade “any digital assets” including staking, tokenised assets and digital currencies.

“Our team is the only one to have built an end-to-end infrastructure while controlling the full technology stack including blockchain-specific protocols, as well as HSM [hardware security modules] and MPC [multi-party computation] technologies,” Aumasson said.

“This strategic advantage allows Taurus to execute faster than others, without the dependency and risk associated with third-party providers.”

Taurus currently works with more than 25 financial institutions and corporate clients across eight countries, including investors Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Pictet and Arab Bank Switzerland.

 “The strategic partnership with Taurus is a cornerstone of the Swiss Bank division’s digital assets strategy with the ambition to become the leading Swiss bank in that space,” Credit Suisse Switzerland CEO André Helfenstein.

“We continue to embrace new and innovative technologies and expect to soon launch several digital asset services for clients both on the issuing and the investment side.”

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Coinmetro buys blockchain-enabled fundraising platform for €4m

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Ignium enables SMEs to mint, design and self NFTs on its platform.

Image source: Kevin Murcko/Coinmetro.


Digital currency exchange Coinmetro has acquired Ignium for €4m.

A fundraising platform for SMEs that leverages blockchain technology, Ignium says it aims to solve the “crowdfunding accessibility crisis”.

Back in 2021, Coinmetro itself raised $2.5m through the platform, just a few years after it was founded by CEO Kevin Murcko in Estonia with its own similar mission “to make finance accessible and transparent for people globally”.

According to Coinmetro, 60 million small businesses are currently unbanked because they are not being well served by traditional financial institutions.

“SMEs are enduring one crisis after another, from Covid, to inflation to a potential recession. They are also the type of business least catered for by traditional financial services,” Murcko said.

“SMEs however have a key asset: their highly engaged communities. This is particularly marked in the crypto sector.”

Ignium has a particular focus on enabling businesses to raise funds through NFTs on the blockchain.

According to Coinmetro, the acquisition will allow it to now include services in the securities market and it will develop the product to create “an active market for equity trading” for both its more than 150 shareholders and external companies.

“Companies that nurture their communities can then reap the benefits of turning their loyal customers into engaged investors, made possible with products such as Ignium’s blockchain technology,” Murcko added,

Coinmetro has currently acquired 71 per cent of Ignium’s shares and plans to acquire the rest of the company by the end of April.

“Ignium has a long-standing relationship with Coinmetro – they are one of our first customers and their community members are active users of the Ignium product,” Ignium CEO Reimo Hammerberg said.

“We share an understanding of the importance of community in commercial success, which makes us confident that our clients will be in the best possible hands with Coinmetro.”

The company’s 4,000 registered users and its asset-issuing business clients have already been transferred to Coinmetro.

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