Welcome to FinTech Monthly. Your roundup of last month’s top financial technology news, brought to you by Tech City News and law firm Gowling WLG. This month’s stories include FinTech funding rounds, an acquisition, a new FinTech VC, bitcoin’s price spike and more.
In UK FinTech investment news, CompareEuropeGroup closed a €20m Series A round. The financial management platform received backing from investors including ACE & Company, Pacific Century Group, Nova Founders Capital and SBI Holdings.
Monese, an online banking app, raised a $10m Series A round. The app enables non-native citizens to open a UK bank account.
Cleo, an AI financial assistant, raised $700,000. The funding came from a series of Angel investors, including Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom and Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Zoopla and LoveFilm.
London-based Babel Systems was acquired by InvestCloud for $20m.
The transaction will link Babel’s online trading and accounting capabilities with InvestCloud’s digital platform to provide solutions for financial services companies.
Bitcoin made the headlines again in January, with the price peaking at $1,153. Christian Kourtis from Gowling WLG thinks cyrptocurrency will continue making news this year.
“Regulation and the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies will feature prominently in the coming year, with national governments seeking to clamp down on cryptocurrency exchanges.
“Cryptocurrencies are in a position to respond to the difficulties faced by fiat currencies – in a crisis, some buy gold, others buy bitcoin. Recently, India’s shock demonetisation and Argentina’s hyperinflation have caused a surge in the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Some foresee that governments will make it difficult to exchange their national currency into and out of cryptocurrencies.
“Exchanges will be increasingly regulated to either deter users or to make the cost and operation of exchanges burdensome. Regardless, such actions will not prevent the use of currency on the web,” he said.
A new FinTech venture capital firm called Motive Partners is launching in London. Founded by a group of financial technology investors and entrepreneurs, Motive Partners will also open an office in New York.
Seedcamp sold part of its stake in money transfer startup TransferWise. This news came shortly after it was reported that US giant Andreessen Horowitz increased its investment in the London-based startup.
And finally, Mastercard has launched a mobile marketplace for East Africa’s agricultural sector. The digital platform, called 2KUZE, meaning ‘let’s grow together’ in Swahili, will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their phones.
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