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Weekly News Highlights – 25 January 2024

Welcome to the latest in fintech news, where cutting-edge technologies and innovative financial solutions converge to reshape the landscape of banking, investing, and payments. Stay tuned as we explore the trends driving the future of finance!

Plural launches €400m fund for Europe’s innovative founders (Tech.eu)

Plural, an early-stage investment fund founded by experienced entrepreneurs, has launched a new €400 million fund just 18 months after its initial €250 million fund. Plural aims to provide European founders with access to investors who have firsthand experience in building companies, addressing the gap where only 8% of European venture capitalists have previous company-building experience. The founders of Plural, with extensive experience at companies like Wise, Skype, Teleport, Songkick, and HelixNano, have already made 26 investments across fintech, AI, frontier tech, and climate and energy. The new fund will be used to expand the investment and platform scaling team to support ambitious founders tackling significant global challenges. Read more

Revolut unveils Mobile Wallets for cross-border payments (FinExtra)

Revolut, a leading fintech company, has introduced a new service called Mobile Wallets, aimed at simplifying international money transfers. Users can send remittances quickly by using recipient IDs, such as names along with phone numbers or email addresses. This service allows Revolut customers in the UK and most European countries to send money to Bangladesh (via bKash) and Kenya (through M-Pesa), with additional wallet routes expected to be launched soon. The goal is to address the challenges expats face when sending money home, providing an affordable and convenient solution for international money transfers. Read more

Objectway acquires Nest Wealth (The Paypers)

Italy-based fintech Objectway has acquired Canada-based Nest Wealth, a digital wealth solutions provider, to enhance its capabilities and geographic reach in North America. Objectway aims to position itself as a global end-to-end partner for the wealth management industry, offering a comprehensive range of products and services to clients in both the EMEA and North American regions. With over 30 years of experience, Objectway provides as-a-service software and services to banks, wealth, and asset managers globally. Nest Wealth, with over a decade in the Canadian wealth market, brings digital wealth solutions for onboarding, account opening, and financial planning to major financial institutions. The acquisition aligns with Objectway’s strategy to focus on digital and flexible as-a-service approaches. This move follows Objectway’s previous developments, including providing a wealth management platform for Belgium-based Accuro in 2023 and acquiring Germany-based DIE SOFTWARE in August 2021 to expand its portfolio of wealth and asset management solutions. Read more

Swedish Fintech Klarna Eyes for an US IPO (Finance Magnates)

Swedish fintech company Klarna, known for its buy-now-pay-later services, is considering going public in the United States, according to CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski. While no official dates have been disclosed, Siemiatkowski mentioned that the move is likely to happen soon. Klarna’s valuation, once at $45.6 billion, dropped to $6.7 billion last year but has since risen to $7.85 billion following its first quarterly profits in December. The company prefers a U.S. listing over potential listings in Sweden or the UK, citing the U.S. as its largest market by revenue. Klarna recently expanded its partnership with Adyen to simplify card payments for its global consumer base. Read more

Grayscale Dumps $2.14 Billion in Bitcoin (BTC) Post-ETF Approval: Details (u.today)

Grayscale Investments, the company behind Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), has reportedly sold around $2.14 billion worth of Bitcoin (BTC) following the recent approval of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Grayscale’s Bitcoin holdings have decreased by approximately 52,227 BTC, currently holding 566,973 BTC valued at $23.21 billion. This move is seen as strategic, possibly capitalizing on increased institutional interest in the cryptocurrency market after the SEC approved spot Bitcoin ETFs for major players like ARK Invest, BlackRock, VanEck, WisdomTree, Fidelity, Invesco, Franklin Templeton, Bitwise, and Valkyrie. Analysts speculate that Grayscale’s decision is influenced by the changing dynamics of the market and the evolving landscape of institutional players in the crypto space. Bitcoin’s current price is $40,955, reflecting a 1.73% decrease in the last 24 hours and a 5.90% decline over the past 30 days. Read more

Kneat seals $15m public offering led by Cormark Securities for global expansion (Fintech Global)

Canadian company Kneat, headquartered in Limerick, Ireland, has successfully completed a significant public offering, securing $15 million in funds. The company is renowned for its innovative Kneat Gx SaaS platform, which enables businesses to configure various work processes, including equipment and computer validation, along with comprehensive quality document management. The public offering involved a consortium of investment dealers led by Cormark Securities Inc., committing to purchase 4,615,600 common shares directly from Kneat’s treasury at $3.25 per share. Kneat’s platform is designed for regulatory compliance, adhering to FDA 21 CFR Part 11/EU Annex 11 standards, and its global clients have reported increased productivity and elevated standards in data integrity and compliance. Read more

Allianz Direct set to buy Accel-backed Luko for €5m (Sifted)

After facing financial difficulties, French insurtech Luko is set to be acquired by Allianz Direct, a subsidiary of German insurance giant Allianz, for around €5 million. The deal awaits approval from the French commercial court, with a final ruling expected soon. Luko, once a rising star in French tech, filed for bankruptcy in June last year. An initial deal with FTSE 100 insurance giant Admiral for €14 million fell through due to accounting concerns. Allianz’s offer emerged as the highest among competing bids, and the acquisition is expected to be completed this month, retaining Luko’s 112 employees. Luko’s financial troubles began when it was unable to secure fresh capital to cover debts. The final offer of €5 million, a 64% decrease from the Admiral deal, signifies a significant loss for shareholders. Read more

Keystone Agency Partners expands reach with acquisition of LifeQuotes (Fintech Global)

Insurance brokerage platform Keystone Agency Partners (KAP) has announced its acquisition of LifeQuotes, Inc., a life insurance price comparison service. This strategic move adds LifeQuotes to KAP’s growing ecosystem and brings the total number of KAP’s Platform Partners to 20. KAP, founded in 2020 in partnership with Keystone Insurers Group, Inc. and affiliates of Bain Capital, LP, focuses on acquiring and partnering with independent insurance agencies across the United States. LifeQuotes operates as an InsurTech pioneer, allowing self-directed life insurance shoppers to access quotes from 50 highly-rated life insurers and purchase policies online. The acquisition is expected to contribute to KAP’s commitment to offering diverse and customer-centric insurance solutions. Read more

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