4 FinTech companies end 2023 with major deals – Here are this week’s 15 FinTech rounds

4 FinTech companies end 2023 with major deals - Here are this week's 15 FinTech rounds

Four big deals help to make this a strong week for FinTech as the year draws to a close.

A total of $1.04bn was raised across 15 FinTech deals this week, of which, $944m was raised by the four biggest deals.

The largest deal of the week was secured by UK-based consumer lending FinTech platform Updraft. The company secured £272m ($344m), with £250 coming from a forward flow arrangement with Jefferies Financial Group and Santander Corporate and Investment Banking, along with senior financing from Santander CIB. The remaining £22m was supplied through a Mezzanine and equity investment.

Saudi Arabian buy now pay later provider was close behind with the close of a $340m funding round. The deal, which made the company the first homegrown FinTech unicorn in Saudi Arabia, was raised through a Series C round.

Saudi Arabia saw two other FinTech companies closing deals this week, WealthTech company Hakbah and infrastructure and enterprise software startup Spare. The country was responsible for the second most deals of the week, following behind the US with 7 and ahead of the UK (2), Israel (1), Australia (1) and Ukraine (1).

The last two big deals of the week were raised by US-based marketplace lending company SellersFi and WealthTech business Vestwell. SellersFi raised $135m in a new credit facility, but has the potential to increase to $300m. While Vestwell raised $125m for its Series D round, which will be used to bolster its expansion plans.

In terms of the most popular sector for the week, PayTech, WealthTech and CyberTech each recorded three deals each. The PayTechs were Tamara, Salt Labs and Payble, the WealthTechs were Vestwell, Backer and Hakbah, and the CyberTechs were SimSpace, Salvador Technologies and Hackless.

There were two marketplace lending companies (Updraft and SellersFi), and two infrastructure and enterprise software (Fiat Republic and Spare) deals completed this week. Finally, Redactable was the only RegTech funding round of the week.

Here are the 15 FinTech funding rounds that we covered this week.

UK’s Updraft raises £272m ($344m)  to transform credit management for households

Updraft, a prominent UK-based consumer lending FinTech, has raised a substantial £272m.

The financing comprises a £250m forward flow arrangement with Jefferies Financial Group and Santander Corporate and Investment Banking, along with senior financing from Santander CIB. Additionally, the company raised a further £22m in Mezzanine and equity investment led by Quilam Capital, MoreThan Capital, LC Nueva AIF, and Auluk Investments.

Updraft’s primary focus is to aid UK households in moving away from costly credit cards and overdrafts. The company achieves this through a unique blend of bureau data, open banking data, and behavioural analytics to underwrite credit risks more effectively. This innovative approach has significantly lowered the cost of credit for consumers.

The funds raised will be used to continue Updraft’s mission into 2024, focusing on helping customers achieve ‘debt zero’ with clear payoff routes. The company plans to add more value-added features, explore new channels for reaching different customer segments, and cement its position as a leader in financial support and guidance.

The company has had a strong year, growing its user base to 500,000 and assisting individuals in paying off over £225m in credit card and overdraft debts. Updraft’s advanced risk models have outperformed traditional bureau-based credit risk models.

$340m Series C funding elevates Tamara to unicorn status

Tamara, a FinTech platform for shopping, paying, and banking in Saudi Arabia and the GCC region, has bagged $340m in a Series C.

The company has become the Kingdom’s first homegrown FinTech unicorn, securing a substantial $340 million in a Series C equity funding round. This impressive amount was co-led by SNB Capital, a major regional financial institution, and Sanabil Investments, owned entirely by the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The funding round also saw participation from Shorooq Partners, Pinnacle Capital, Impulse, and others, including existing investors like Coatue, Endeavor Catalyst, and Checkout.com.

Tamara operates in key GCC countries including KSA, UAE, and Kuwait. It boasts over 10 million users, more than 30,000 partner merchants, and has reported a six-fold annual run rate revenue growth in less than two years. Founded in late 2020 by three Saudi co-founders, Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, Turki Bin Zarah, and Abdulmohsen Al Babtain, Tamara has also been one of the first companies to receive a permit from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) for BNPL services.

The company intends to use the new funding for further growth and expansion. Tamara’s CEO, Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, expressed his pride in this achievement, saying, “Saudi Arabia deserves its place on the world stage for financial technology. Just as Tamara was created by local entrepreneurs, nurtured by a supportive local ecosystem and market regulators, we stand here today, humbled and hungry, ready for our own leapfrog moment. This achievement is a testament to the ecosystem, to our incredible team, investors, and the collaborative spirit that makes this region a great place for talent to flourish.

“As we set our sights on becoming the next big giant in shopping, payments and banking we remain ever grateful for the significant opportunity in this underpenetrated and underserved banking and financial services landscape.”

SellersFi’s expansion backed by $300m credit facility from Citi and Fasanara

SellersFi, a global leader in the FinTech sector, has recently announced a new US credit facility amounting to $300m.

The cutting-edge financial technology startup has successfully closed a new US credit facility. This facility, arranged with major financial players Citi and independent asset manager Fasanara Capital, amounts to an impressive $135m. It also has the potential to grow up to $300m as SellersFi continues its expansion journey.

The financial package is structured with senior capital provided by Citi, complemented by a portion from Fasanara. Additionally, Fasanara is contributing mezzanine capital and renewing its commitment to SellersFi. This renewal is marked by its continued support as a senior lender across various jurisdictions and for multiple products. This new investment will be channelled towards further development of SellersFi’s innovative product offerings, expansion of its portfolio, and enhancement of its technological infrastructure.

SellersFi’s co-founder and CEO, Ricardo Pero, expressed his enthusiasm about the new financial partnership. “We are delighted to secure this credit facility with Citi, one of the largest banks in the world, and having Fasanara Capital renew its trust in SellersFi’s team, strategy and products. In the current macro environment, this is an important milestone for enabling our growth with both existing and new partners and answering the financing needs of thousands of e-commerce businesses,” he said.

Vestwell’s $125m Series D funding paves the way for next-gen US savings solutions

Vestwell, the New York-based FinTech, has just completed an impressive $125m equity round, marking a significant milestone in the US’s Series D SaaS funding landscape this year.

This strategic raise was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Fin Capital, Primary Venture Partners, and FinTech Collective, as well as new investors Blue Owl and HarbourVest.

The funds will be instrumental in accelerating Vestwell’s expansion. With a focus on introducing innovative products such as Emergency Savings Accounts (ESAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), the company aims to modernize the savings experience for American consumers and businesses. This initiative will move these groups away from outdated legacy platforms.

Vestwell’s core business revolves around empowering 80% of the state auto-IRA savings programs in the country. Additionally, the company collaborates with several top-tier financial institutions.

The capital injection is set to bolster Vestwell’s ongoing rapid expansion, especially at a time when demand for robust savings solutions is at an all-time high. Particularly, the funding will facilitate support for small and emerging businesses, which are currently benefiting from regulatory tailwinds such as the SECURE 2.0 Act. These businesses are increasingly seeking workplace savings programs that bypass the high fees and administrative burdens of traditional providers.

In addition to this, Vestwell will also focus on expanding its state-savings program initiatives. Moreover, the company plans to build upon its track record of catalyzing the growth initiatives of leading financial institutions that utilize Vestwell’s white-label product. This will not only help these institutions remain competitive but also contribute significantly to bridging the American savings gap.

L2 Point Management fuels SimSpace’s expansion with $45m investment

SimSpace, a leading company in the realm of high-end cybersecurity from the United States, recently announced the successful closure of an equity round amounting to $45m.

This significant investment was spearheaded by L2 Point Management, a firm renowned for its flexible capital solutions tailored for burgeoning enterprises. The latest funding surge has elevated SimSpace’s total capital influx in the past year to a substantial $70m, earmarked to catalyze the firm’s expansive growth plans, including its foray into new global markets.

Renowned for its expertise, SimSpace collaborates with the elite of Fortune 2000 companies and various national and state governments. Its primary offerings include unparalleled training and rigorous stress-testing capabilities essential for fortifying cyber teams and their defensive tools.

In the upcoming year 2024, Cybersecurity Ventures claimed the financial repercussions from cyber-attacks globally are estimated at $9.5tn. This looming threat is intensified by the increasing demands from regulators and insurers for stringent disclosure and adherence to Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) protocols, especially for companies pivotal to national missions. Amidst these escalating cyber perils, SimSpace stands out as a critical ally for both public and private sectors, offering robust defense mechanisms against advanced cyber-attacks that no longer recognize geographical boundaries.

Backer secures $9.5m in Series A funding: A new era for 529 savings plans

Today marks a significant milestone for Backer, a FinTech aimed at 529 Savings Plans, as it announces a successful $9.5m Series A financing round.

This pivotal moment is further amplified by its acquisition of Saving For College, a leading 529-related media platform and an essential resource for education savings used annually by millions of American families.

Jordan Lee, the visionary founder and CEO of Backer, shared his insights, “From day one, our mission has been to use technology to help the 529 industry reach a younger generation of parents. As we enter a new era of AI-powered tech, we see an exciting opportunity to combine the industry’s highest-traffic web destination with the industry’s top product team to modernise the way American families discover, enroll in, and engage with 529 plans.”

529 plans have been a robust college savings tool for years, amassing over $450bn in assets across 16 million accounts. With recent Congressional expansions, these plans now cover diverse educational expenses, including K-12 tuition, apprenticeship programs, and student loan debt. Notably, they now allow transferring unused 529 savings to a Roth IRA. Since 1999, Saving For College has been the go-to resource for millions navigating the complex 529 plan landscape and making informed decisions for their families.

Backer has distinguished itself with innovative strides in the 529 sector. Launched in 2017, its consumer savings app has empowered over 200,000 parents and children to save an estimated $250m for education, with 40% of these savings contributed by family and friends. Its high-conversion enrollment process, consumer-friendly gifting platform, and pioneering mobile app have solidified Backer’s role as a crucial technology ally for numerous 529 programs nationwide.

Salt Labs secures $8m boost for innovative loyalty earned assets in the workplace

Salt Labs, a FinTech bridging the gap between employees and employers, has raised an $8m investment from Third Prime.

This significant funding elevates the company’s total capital to $18m, reflecting its strides in pre-Seed and Seed financings.

Jason Lee, CEO and co-founder of Salt Labs, articulated the company’s ethos, “Salt Labs has built a loyalty earned asset for the workplace whose value is derived from the most significant investment of hourly workers—their time. We are excited that we can add Third Prime as one of our incredible backers who shares our vision of the future of work.”

Salt, the brainchild of Salt Labs, represents a novel asset grounded in the substantial time investment of hourly workers. Since its inception earlier this year, Salt has emerged as a coveted loyalty earned asset.

Offering flexibility, Salt allows employees to spend on daily necessities, aspirational experiences, or save for future financial needs. Salt symbolizes a tangible appreciation of workers’ contributions, promoting asset ownership and life enjoyment.

Initially piloted in Puerto Rico, Salt gained quick traction, with one in seven hourly workers in sectors like hospitality and restaurants now earning Salt. Remarkably, workers perceive Salt’s value as tenfold compared to its cost to employers, making it a cost-efficient and effective tool for companies. To date, over 75,000 users have accumulated more than 7 million Salt.

Banking-as-a-Service innovator Fiat Republic lands $7m to advance growth

Fiat Republic has marked a significant stride in its quest to meld the realms of cryptocurrency and traditional banking with $7m funding.

The company has successfully garnered $7 million in a seed extension round, a testament to its innovative approach in the financial sector.

According to FinTech Finance, this fundraising round witnessed participation from a mix of new investors like Kraken Ventures, Fabric Ventures, Arca, and Inovo.vc, along with continued support from existing backers such as Speedinvest, Credo Ventures, and Seedcamp.

The infusion of capital is poised to propel Fiat Republic’s growth and geographical expansion. The funds are earmarked for strategic recruitments, fortifying banking alliances, and extending their presence into new territories.

At its core, Fiat Republic’s platform eases the integration of crypto platforms with global and local banking networks. It offers a unique solution – a single API integration and a unified compliance touchpoint. This melds traditional financial (tradFi) security with automated fiat payments through embedded banking. Furthermore, Fiat Republic is committed to changing the narrative between crypto platforms, traditional banks, and regulators by forming a coalition aimed at transforming perceptions and fostering partnerships.

Additionally, Fiat Republic has recently obtained a full electronic money institution (EMI) licence from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). This enables them to offer regulated financial services throughout the European Economic Area, augmenting their existing UK EMI licence. The Dutch licence allows Fiat Republic to offer payment services and issue e-money to EEA-based crypto platforms via its developer-friendly API.

Future, a climate-positive FinTech, secures $6.5m for eco-friendly rewards expansion

Future, a climate-positive FinTech firm, has raised $6.5m in funding, contributed by a mix of new and existing investors.

This boost in capital has elevated Future’s total fundraising to an impressive $11m.

At the heart of Future’s operations is its pioneering platform designed to reward eco-friendly consumer choices. This venture includes the innovative FutureCard Visa® Debit Card, which offers over 5% cashback on green purchases, alongside a user-friendly app offering additional incentives like 10% cashback on renewable energy buys.

The fresh influx of funds is earmarked for an ambitious expansion, highlighted by the recent acquisition of Fan Rewards, an AI-driven rewards platform for fans of artists and influencers.

Innovative cyber recovery firm Salvador Technologies lands $6m investment

Salvador Technologies, a leading provider of cyber-attack recovery solutions for critical infrastructures and industrial organizations, has successfully raised $6m in a funding round.

The investment, spearheaded by Pico Venture Partners, was bolstered by contributions from existing investors including Pitango VC and Sarona Partners, further cementing their commitment to Salvador’s vision.

Established in 2020 by Alex Yevtushenko, CEO, and Oleg Vusiker, CTO, Salvador Technologies has revolutionized the landscape of cyber resilience. Their market-leading platform, equipped with patented security failover technology, addresses a crucial need in the sector. By enabling quick recovery from cyber-attacks and malfunctions, it minimizes operational downtime, a key concern in Operational Technology (OT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS).

The primary objective of Salvador Technologies is to ensure uninterrupted operational continuity in critical infrastructures. Their innovative platform circumvents traditional recovery protocols, allowing a rapid recovery time of just 30 seconds following cyber-attacks or system malfunctions. This capability is particularly vital considering the average downtime post-cyber-attack can extend to three weeks, causing substantial direct and indirect damages.

The newly acquired $6m funding is earmarked for enhancing Salvador’s platform capabilities and expanding its reach to a wider range of industries.

Redactable’s innovative AI redaction platform secures $5.5m in seed funding

Redactable, an AI-driven web application designed for redacting sensitive documents, has successfully secured $5.5 million in seed funding.

This significant financial boost was led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, with contributions from Wocstar Fund, earlier pre-seed investors, and several influential angel investors.

The company’s innovative AI-driven platform specialises in detecting and permanently redacting sensitive information in documents, offering a reliable solution for companies.

This round of funding arrives over a year after Redactable’s initial $1.3m pre-seed funding, supported by investors like Everywhere Ventures, Hustle Fund, Revelry, and Stony Lonesome Group. These investments kick-started the platform’s launch in July 2022.

In today’s digital age, where sensitive data sharing is common, Redactable’s solution is increasingly relevant. Traditional PDF editing tools and legacy software often fail to fully conceal confidential data, posing a risk of exposure. Redactable’s platform addresses this challenge by providing a secure and efficient redaction process.

The significance of Redactable’s technology is underscored by its recent $1.25m U.S. Air Force contract. This contract will utilise the company’s patented software to safeguard sensitive documents and streamline business processes within the Department of the Air Force (DAF).

OIF Ventures leads Payble’s $3.5m investment for payment innovation

Payble, a payment workflow and customer engagement software firm, has recently closed a remarkable $3.5m funding round.

The investment, spearheaded by OIF Ventures, marks a significant milestone for the company.

The funds raised are earmarked for capitalising on the burgeoning demand for Payble’s citizen-centric payment solution, particularly in its initial focus area of local government payments. Additionally, Payble is setting its sights on global expansion, looking to take its innovative solutions to new markets.

At its core, Payble aims to revolutionise how local governments handle payments. The company’s solution is designed to increase on-time payments and reduce the administrative strain associated with billing processes. This is not just a win for the local governments but a significant boon for community satisfaction. One of the standout features of Payble’s platform is its flexibility; it allows ratepayers to transition from larger, less frequent payments to more manageable weekly or fortnightly ones without incurring additional costs. Furthermore, it offers the convenience of adjusting or skipping payments without cumbersome paperwork.

Elliott Donazzan, the Founder and Managing Director of Payble, highlighted the current financial strains on households and the subsequent impact on local councils. He noted that a significant portion of councils anticipates an increase in payment arrears.

Payble’s solution, according to Mr Donazzan, not only assists councils in offering a more flexible, self-service payment experience but also aligns with the budgeting needs of the community. This dual benefit streamlines administrative processes for councils and enhances community satisfaction.

Hackless raises $1.2m to fortify blockchain security

Hackless, a leader in blockchain security solutions, recently announced the closure of a private funding round, amassing a significant $1.2m.

This strategic investment was led by a cohort of industry vanguards including DaoMaker, Insignius Capital, Cosima Capital, DeltaHub Capital, Factorial, and Halvings Capital. This funding marks a milestone in Hackless’s ambition to reshape the landscape of blockchain security.

The $1.2m funding reflects the escalating demand for advanced security in the blockchain and DeFi (Decentralised Finance) arenas. Hackless’s mission with this capital injection is to enhance its pioneering security offerings, Wallet Rescue and Sentinel. These products are specifically designed to counteract the increasing number of security threats within the DeFi sector.

Hackless’s successful funding endeavour is a significant leap forward in its quest to transform blockchain security. Backed by influential investors and driven by a passion for innovation, Hackless is well-positioned to establish new benchmarks in blockchain security, thereby contributing to a more secure and reliable digital asset environment.

Positioned at the forefront of blockchain security, particularly within the DeFi sector, Hackless is renowned for its cutting-edge solutions, Wallet Rescue and Sentinel. These innovations underscore Hackless’s commitment to safeguarding digital assets and protecting DeFi protocols against security breaches.

Hakbah elevates Saudi savings market with $5.2m Series A boost

Saudi-based savings platform Hakbah has recently concluded a successful Series A funding round, amassing a substantial $5.2 million.

This financial milestone was achieved under the leadership of VentureSouq, a MENA-based venture capital firm with an impressive global portfolio. Joining the investment were new entrants M-Capital and Bunat Ventures, alongside existing investors Global Ventures and Aditum Investment Management Ltd.

Hakbah has established itself as a formidable presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) vast $216 billion savings market. The company’s recent performance is nothing short of remarkable, boasting an 18x increase in Total Savings Under Management and a fourfold rise in revenue. This trajectory is further bolstered by strategic partnerships, most notably with flynas, a prominent low-cost airline in the Middle East. Remarkably, Hakbah’s customer base has surged to over 500,000 users, with a significant 70% falling within the 21-35 age bracket.

The newly acquired funds from the Series A round are earmarked for a range of ambitious initiatives. Key among these is the advancement of product development, with a particular emphasis on Machine Learning. The company also plans to enhance its savings engine, making it more easily integrable. Moreover, a portion of the capital is set aside to attract and retain top talent in the region, thereby consolidating Hakbah’s standing as the premier savings platform in the MENA region. Future plans include expanding into two additional regional markets through partnerships or strategic alliances.

At the heart of Hakbah’s innovative offering is its social savings platform, a system designed to bolster financial inclusion and seamlessly integrate with any banking system in under a week. This platform modernises the traditional group savings concept known as Jameya, widely practiced in over 60 countries. By digitising this practice, Hakbah enables users to collectively save and rotate funds within the group, enhancing traditional savings habits, promoting financial literacy, and facilitating purpose-driven saving.

Hakbah’s strategy addresses the critical savings issue in the Middle East. This initiative aligns with Saudi Vision 2030’s objectives, aiming to tackle the low household savings rate and lack of emergency funds among Saudi citizens.

Spare secures $3m for open banking expansion in Middle East markets

Spare, a trailblazing provider of open banking services, today heralded the completion of a $3 million funding round.

This significant financial boost was led by Vision Ventures, with contributions from Wa’ed Ventures, Seedra Ventures, the global investment firm 500 Global, and a group of noteworthy angel investors.

Founded by Dalal Alrayes and Saurabh Shah, Spare operates across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. The company specializes in providing state-of-the-art Open Banking solutions to businesses. These solutions are set to revolutionize financial institutions in the region by enhancing the availability and speed of financial services.

The $3 million raised will fuel Spare’s ambitious plans to lead open banking innovation across the Middle East. Vision Ventures, alongside other investors, have shown confidence in Spare’s potential to transform the fintech infrastructure landscape, particularly in open banking.

Open banking forms the foundation of modern financial innovation. With a global market expected to exceed $43 billion by 2026, Spare is strategically positioned to catalyze the open banking revolution in the Middle East. The MENA region is witnessing a dynamic shift, supported by evolving regulatory frameworks and a burgeoning fintech ecosystem, making it ripe for open banking advancements.

The funding underscores Spare’s early success and the growing importance of open banking in empowering consumers and businesses to manage their financial data effectively. As Dalal Alrayes, co-founder and CEO of Spare, emphasized, open banking is more than a technological innovation; it’s about creating a secure, accessible, and collaborative financial ecosystem.

Spare plans to use the funds primarily for talent acquisition, marketing, and operational expansion in Saudi Arabia. The company’s philosophy hinges on the belief that a lean team can execute efficiently and achieve great aspirations. This funding round is a critical step in enhancing their capabilities to advance the open banking agenda in the region.

Keep up with all the latest FinTech news here.

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