LATEST UK FINTECH NEWS
1. Four of the best UK tech hubs outside of London
Of all the unicorns created in the UK, 35% are now located outside London. Four leading tech hubs beyond the capital are Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cambridge. Manchester, a recent “Top Tech City” report from real estate firm CBRE rated it number 1. Everyone from IBM and Cisco has tech hubs in the city and international fintech, including Worldpay and Xero. Unicorns such as OakNorth, Flywire, Marqeta and Radius Payment Solutions have all alighted. Scotland’s main cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh continue to attract top tech companies too. In 2021, Barclays Eagle Labs named Edinburgh the UK’s leading technology ecosystem outside of London. Scotland spawned unicorns such as BrewDog, FanDuel and Skyscanner. Multiple tech companies, including Microsoft and Apple, have tech hubs there. Cambridge is the leading regional tech city in the UK based on a combination of VC funding, tech salaries and unicorns produced. For instance, homegrown unicorn Darktrace was set up by a former student at the University of Cambridge. Besides, Cambridge Science Park is the UK’s oldest science park and home to 130 companies, employing 7,000 people. It played a pivotal role in the “Cambridge Phenomenon” — the transformation of Cambridge from a market town with a prestigious university to one of the leading technology hotspots in the world.
2. Debite Establishes UK Footing to Maximise Cash Flow Access for Start-Ups
The early-stage company financing platform Debite has launched in the UK to help businesses manage cash flow and maximise growth potential more effectively. The platform has been built to serve the needs of early-stage companies that traditional lenders currently underserve. The company will initially offer two main products in the UK: “save and spend” loans and a “boosted Debite” card. Debite’s save and spend loans assist scale-up businesses in navigating a number of major financial hurdles. Businesses will be able to access funds, normally unavailable from traditional lenders, of between £5,000 to £50,000 at monthly interest rates starting from 1.40%. Alongside this, the company’s boosted Debite card offers credit limits higher than those of traditional lenders at zero per cent interest if paid within 30 days. Debite completed a pre-seed equity funding round, plus debt financing, from fintech funds and angel investors to fuel this growth.
3. Payments network TransferMate hits unicorn status after $70m funding
Irish B2B payments infrastructure provider TransferMate has secured a $70 million funding round, valuing the company at $1 billion. The newly-minted unicorn will use the funding, which consists entirely of primary capital, to expand its teams globally and develop its technology and product offering. TransferMate utilises its global licensing infrastructure and banking network to allow individuals and businesses to make cross-border payments in more than 200 countries and 140 currencies, “dramatically faster and cheaper than the traditional SWIFT system”, TransferMate founder Terry Clune says. The funding round was managed by Barclays Bank and Railpen, one of the largest UK pension funds, which manages £37 billion. TransferMate CEO Sinead Fitzmaurice highlights: “This investment will allow us to accelerate our mission to drive innovation”.
4. UK credit fintech Pillar raises £13m pre-seed round
New UK credit-building fintech Pillar has raised £13 million in a pre-seed round to build a global financial platform which provides access to credit for immigrants. The round, led by Global Founders Capital and Backed VC, saw participation from several angels including WageStream founders Peter Briffet and Portman Wills, as well as former vice president of Airbnb Oliver Jung. Pillar aims to open up access to credit for immigrants and build technical rails to democratise global credit underwriting. Currently, consumers cannot take their credit files from one country to another, making it impossible to access credit cards and loans in their new country.
The platform will leverage open banking and data analytics to offer immigrants previously unobtainable credit products. Pillar CEO Ashutosh Bhatt says: “We have set upon building a globally scalable platform that breaks down data silos and credit borders.”
Pillar is set to launch in the UK in Q3 2022.
5. A2A paytech Trustly buys open banking platform Ecospend
Swedish account-to-account (A2A) payments platform Trustly has acquired UK-based open banking payments company Ecospend for an undisclosed sum. Trustly is aiming to boost its footprint in the UK market, which it says, “presents a dynamic ecosystem, with rapidly accelerating consumer adoption, and strong transaction volume growth”. Trustly group CEO Johan Tjärnberg claims the deal will enable his firm “to capture opportunities and accelerate our current UK expansion”. Thanks to PSD2 (Payment Service Directive 2) making open banking a regulatory requirement in the UK, Trustly says the UK is one of its “core growth markets”.
Founded in 2017, Ecospend serves clients across a range of industries, including the public sector, where the company has a key contract with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).
In the past year alone, the firm has processed more than £5 billion in A2A payments to more than two million consumers.
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