Tuesday, September 17, 2019

FinTech

We explore global companies offering digital banking solutions for modern consumers, underserved populations and unbanked individuals. This covers retail banking, investment services, credit and lending solutions. 

U.K.’s Revolut Halts Effort to Expand Digital Bank into Luxembourg

piggy bank maze
British digital bank Revolut withdrew its application for an e-banking license in Luxembourg, after a member of the country’s parliament questioned whether the company was complying with fintech regulations.   The Telegraph reported that Laurent Mosar, an MP for the...

Accion’s Venture Lab Announces $33 Million Fund to Expand Inclusive Fintech Investment

kenyan money
Kenyan shopkeepers, Chinese farmers and U.S. migrant workers are all vital parts of the global economy. The formal economy, though, has mostly left them behind. According to the most recent edition of the World Bank’s Global Findex, 1.7 billion...

Federal Monopoly in Student Debt Holds Back Private Investors

student debt shackled cartoon
The U.S. government’s monopoly on student loans may be one reason why startups innovating in the space haven’t seen a higher level of investment. An estimated 45 million Americans hold educational debt, and many of them struggle to repay...

ThoughtSpot, Aiming for More Fact-Driven World, Raises Funds and Boosts Headcount

Multi-exposure image of charts and graphs
Seven years ago, a Googler and a software platform founder started a company called ThoughtSpot, aiming to disrupt the way companies use data. Since then, it’s grown to about 500 people, increasing by 60% since last year. ThoughtSpot provides...

Telegram’s GRAM Cryptocurrency Debut Will Raise User Interest and Regulator Scrutiny

Telegram Messaging App
Move over Libra: Messenger app Telegram may be set to steal Facebook’s thunder with the debut of its own long-awaited cryptocurrency by the end of October. The launch of the coin, dubbed GRAM, shows the ambitions of its libertarian,...

Global Tax Chiefs Increase Crypto Enforcement Efforts to Nail Tax Cheats

In a sure sign that cryptocurrency is close to becoming mainstream, governments around the world are stepping up efforts to make sure they get their cut of the action.The tax enforcement agencies of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and the Netherlands --...

Kiva’s Blockchain Technology Brings Financial Services to Sierra Leone’s Unbanked

Microloan nonprofit Kiva has teamed with the government of Sierra Leone to help bring financial services to the 80% of the country’s residents who don’t have access to traditional banks.Using Kiva’s biometric blockchain technology, an individual’s thumbprint is linked to a central...

How Millennials’ Values Are Already Impacting Investing Around the World

This content is brought to you in partnership with Savvy Investor Two significant shifts are reshaping the private funds and investment industry today. Millennials and Generation Z consumers, their values and how these values impact the way they approach...

U.S. Fears Terrorist Bitcoin Misuse While Arab Americans Decry Discrimination

While the U.S. Treasury Department expressed concern that terrorist financiers could misuse digital currencies, including Libra and Bitcoin, anti-discrimination advocates say that crypto currencies are not funding terrorist activities, but rather have been adopted to bypass discriminatory practices by financial institutions.

UBS ETF Focused on ESG Investing Sets Record in Europe

A UBS exchange-traded fund focused on ESG investing became the first in Europe to exceed €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in assets, showing that socially responsible financial strategies are growing in popularity.The UBS ETF (LU) MSCI World Socially Responsible UCITS ETF fund tracks...

ESG Investing Is Not Just for Millennials: New Study Shows Boomers, Gen Xers Catching Up

While millennials may be the generation most associated with social impact investing, other groups are showing strong interest, according to a new study from Allianz Life Insurance. Sure, it’s still millennials who are participating in ESG investing at a...

Einstein’s Banker Ladenburg Backs Millennial ESG Tool

The bank that once took deposits from Albert Einstein is keeping its offerings fresh by investing in a two-year old firm pitching social impact investments to millennials. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, whose lineage stretches back 143 years, is giving...

Fingerprints, Passwords Left Exposed Online By Flaw In Company Database

A trove of fingerprints, passwords and facial recognition data, supposedly protected, were found exposed and accessible online because the database of a company that provides secure access to warehouses and offices was flawed. The exposed data included fingerprints belonging...

U.K. Casts Eye on Future As it Eyes Blockchain for Welfare Payments

With an eye toward boosting security and efficiency, as well as toward managing an aging population, U.K. officials are considering Blockchain technology for social security and welfare payments.  They also want to make sure the checks get there on...

Crypto Trading App Robinhood Wins U.K. Approval, Wants to “Democratize Finance For All”

Robinhood, a U.S.-based owner of a stock-trading app, is heading across the Atlantic as it’s been granted a license to operate by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority. The app, available in the states since 2013, allows smartphone stock and...

Walmart’s Cryptocurrency Plan Aimed at Low-Income Customers

Walmart filed a patent for a cryptocurrency, saying a Blockchain-based currency would help the retail giant’s low-income customers who don’t have access to credit cards. “Low-income households” may find regular banking expensive and see the currency as an “alternate way to handle...

Fitch Ratings Pitches ESG Heat Map as Demand Rises for Impact Tools

Fitch Ratings released a tool showing the relevance of environment, social and governance factors to credit ratings in different industries, as investor demand grows for ways to measure ESG criteria from wastewater management to employee well-being. The ESG Heat...

What Happens When Legacy Asset Firms Start Investing for Impact?

The announcement that British asset manager Schroders would acquire a majority stake in the impact investing firm BlueOrchard Finance is the latest evidence that legacy asset managers are increasingly looking to beef up their sustainability bona fides, though whether acquisitions become the...

Capital One Breach Highlights Big Banks’ Remaining Technical Gaps

Law enforcement may have found the perpetrator quickly.  But the theft of personal data concerning 106 million Capital One customers renewed deep concerns about the big banks’’ ability to protect information and the persistence of what Deutsche Bank’s CEO...

More Governments Turn to Alternative Bonds for Social Good

The German government announced last month the preparation of its first green bond, as the cornerstone European Union issuer becomes the latest example of accelerating use of bonds to address environmental and social challenges.  Germany’s debut green bonds would...

Social Impact Investing Isn’t a Money-Loser, Economists’ Study Says

Debate swirls around whether environmentally friendly companies outperform the wider universe of firms. A study by Stanford and Yonsei university economists offers compelling evidence that they do.  The researchers, Stanford’s Soh Young In and Ashby Monk, and Yonsei University’s...

Arabesque S-Ray $20M Funding Highlights Rising Demand for ESG Measurement Tools

Investors scrutinizing target companies’ commitments to environmental, social and governance principles sometimes find they need a hand cutting through the feel-good fluff to measure what’s actually getting done.  Germany’s Arabesque S-Ray says it can help. The unit of London-based...

Swell Investing, PacLife Impact Platform, Closes After Inability to “Achieve Scale”

Pacific Life Insurance’s impact investing platform Swell, which sought to align offerings with the U.N. Sustainability Goals, said this week it would shut the service by August 30 because it didn’t “achieve the necessary scale.” The closure comes amid...

ESG and Impact Strategies May Be Resilient, but Only a Recession Will Tell

Studies show that Environmental, Social and Governance investments as more resilient than other strategies and that companies with high ESG ratings tend to outperform their peers. Yet old-school bottom-line watchers, fiduciary purists, insist this is nonsense.  These bottom-line Puritans...

Ethic Lands High Profile Backing For Sustainable Investing Tool

Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Fidelity Investments and the U.K.’s Theo Osborne were among high-profile firms backing Ethic Inc. in its latest funding round, as they bet on rising demand for tracking tools as more money gets directed at socially responsible funds. 

Startup Lemonade Tries To Be The Property Insurer Consumers “Love”

If you’ve never been in love with an insurance company, Lemonade is looking to change that.  The startup property insurer wants to shake up the industry, pitching love, charitable contributions and customer service. Whether that’s enough for the New...

VC Firms, Trade Group Target Gender Disparity in Dutch Tech Industry

Women entrepreneurs have long been overlooked by technology-focused venture capitalists. That may be changing in the Netherlands, whose largest city -- Amsterdam -- is seen as one of Europe’s central VC and tech centers.  A collection of 25 Dutch...

Unshackled Ventures Aims to Solve the Unique Challenges of the Immigrant Founder in America

From founding groundbreaking companies to fueling the workforce and reinvigorating neighborhoods, immigrants have shaped the U.S. economy since it began. While coming to the U.S. has brought a better life for many, hurdles remain for immigrants, particularly for those seeking to start...

Refugee-Founded Blockchain-Powered Identity Platform Raises Seed Capital

A pepperoni pizza delivery to Ter Apel refugee camp in northeastern Holland inspired a Blockchain-powered system that one day may enable millions of people to prove who they are without government documents. Today, Toufic “Tey” El-Rjula, 34, is founder...

Disrupting Trade Finance with Blockchain: Huge Potential But Little Real Progress

In this age of advanced technology, the $10 trillion global trade finance industry hasn’t embraced innovation, instead maintaining its dependence on paper-based systems. A single cross-border, trade finance transaction typically consists of 100 pages of documents from different counterparties -- importers, exporters,...
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