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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 episode, we have UK FinTech investments topping £33m, Amazon Payments news, a blockchain update involving JP Morgan Chase and more.

Investment

In UK FinTech investment news, Challenger bank Monzo announced a £19.5m Series B round with a pre-money valuation of £65m. Thrive Capital, Passion Capital and Orange Digital Ventures took part in the round.

London-based financial automation service Dealflo closed a £10m Series B led by Holtzbrinck Ventures. Other investors in the round included Notion Capital and Frog Capital.

FinTech Monthly: £108m in UK FinTech investment, Square’s UK launch, Monzo news and more

Pleo, a London and Copenhagen-based payments startup, raised a $3.25m round led by Creandum. This brought the firm’s total Seed funding round to $5.5m.

Other FinTech funding rounds announced in February include the $1m raised by OpenGamma, and the £460,000 raised by London-based startup Squirrel.

2016 FinTech funding

While February saw plenty of funding go into UK FinTech firms, it seems 2016 wasn’t such a great year. KPMG’s Pulse of FinTech Report Q4 2016 showed investment into UK FinTech companies declined by more than 85% last year. Homegrown FinTech firms raised $4.6bn in 2015, with the figure falling to $654m in 2016.

I asked David Brennan, from Gowling WLG, what may have caused this decline and what 2017 holds for UK FinTech investment. Here’s what he had to say:

“Whilst we saw a decline in Fintech investment in the UK in 2016, this wasn’t necessarily something unique to our shores – in the US, for example, total funding also fell by around 50%. This global decline can most likely be attributed to geopolitical and regulatory uncertainty, a decline in mega-deals and the resultant more cautious approach by the investment community when it comes to Fintech startups and scaleups.

So, what does this mean for UK Fintech investment in 2017? Arguably, the recent decline in activity in no way reflects a lack of interest amongst investors, particularly those corporates who are gearing up to take advantage of the impact that the EU Revised Payment Service Directive will have on retail banks.

Whilst it’s probably fair to say that there will be an element of sailing into the unknown in 2017, the continued rise of blockchain, AI and the Internet of Things all bode well for the sector and, as ever, it will be those players who can adapt quickly to new circumstances who will take advantage of the opportunities in an ever increasing digital landscape.”

Amazon Payments

Amazon unveiled a new milestone for its payments business. The retailer revealed over 33 million customers have now used Amazon Payments to make a purchase.

The service allows online shoppers to check out on merchants’ websites using the payment information they already have stored in their Amazon accounts.

Blockchain

Thirty big banks, tech giants, and other organisations are uniting to build business-ready versions of the Ethereum blockchain.

Companies including J.P. Morgan Chase, Microsoft, and Intel have joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. The aim is to enhance the privacy, security and scalability of Ethereum’s distributed ledger technology.

And finally

Jaguar drivers can now use their car’s touchscreen to pay for fuel at UK Shell service stations. Jaguar owners can pay via the Shell app using PayPal or Apple Pay, with Android Pay to be added later in the year.

That’s all for this episode of FinTech Monthly. For more technology news, visit TechCityNews.com and follow us on Twitter.

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