Moneybox raises £30m

Launched in 2016, Moneybox began life as a way for users to invest the spare change from daily card purchases into a Stocks & Shares ISA.

It has since added a range of saving and investment products and ways to set money aside, recently hitting £1 billion in assets from more than 450,000 customers.

[Co-founder:] “Securing this funding enables us to continue to build the products, tools and technology to help people achieve their goals easily – whether it’s buying a house, saving for retirement or just a rainy day.”

UBS invests in home ownership startup Houzy

As part of its platform business model for property owners, UBS has invested in Houzy, a Swiss startup that offers users tips and tools to handle renovations and likely costs.

The interest in Houzy follows the recent launch by UBS of key4, an open online platform for financing and maintaining owner-occupied homes and housing.

Houzy offers homeowners individual recommendations for managing their property, tapping an expert resource base of 500 professionals from ten sectors. For example, it tells subscribers when their heating system should be renovated and how much money they should set aside for the purpose. The firm currently claims 15,000 registered users.

Blockchain Project Teller Raises $1 Million

Teller, a blockchain project for decentralized lending incubated by A16Z’s crypto startup school, announced on Thursday it secured  $1 million through its seed investment round… Teller revealed it is on a mission to disrupt the $215 trillion debt market. In DeFi, the decentralized loan market has grown tremendously.

[Teller founder and CEO:] “… true success for DeFi requires entering mainstream appeal; we need to stop building in a vacuum. In a trustless environment, unsecured loans are tough to architect but necessary for the evolution of DeFi…”

… it will reduce lending risks for crypto holders and allow anyone to launch decentralized lending markets that can offer unsecured cryptocurrency loans. Ultimately, this will lower the barrier to entry for mainstream consumers, who in 2019 accounted for over $140 billion worth of personal loans in the U.S. alone.

Revolut launches Open Banking for one million French customers

Users of Revolut in France  can now connect their Crédit Mutuel, Caisse d’Epargne, Banque Populaire, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, BNP Paribas and Hello Bank! bank accounts to Revolut, allowing them to view all their balances and transactions in a single app.

Open banking, the process of connecting accounts held by customers in different banks through an Application Programming Interface (API), is seen by many fintech commentators as the next long term phase of the disruption to the traditional analogue banking model. Adherents argue that it will widen out to a broad ‘open finance’ ecosystem that helps customers get better deals from a wide range of financial products… Critics of open banking argue that the technology has been slow to get off the ground.

[Revolut:] “We are delighted to see the new regulations facilitating a more open banking world, for the benefit of the greatest number of people.”

Revolut launched open banking functionality in the UK earlier in the year and also more recently in Ireland.

LendingPoint Launches New SDKn Technology to Simplify Consumer Credit Approval

[LendingPoint is a data and technology platform that enables origination of unsecured personal loans for financial institutions and for its own balance sheet.]

With just a few lines of code, SDKn … integrates into existing payment platforms, giving consumers an instant credit decision for in-store and e-commerce purchases, without ever having to leave the website or payment processor. The SDKn™ One App, One Approval, Multiple Lenders™ feature can be configured to permit multiple lenders with diverse credit “appetites” to operate within a single user experience without revealing their underwriting criteria to others.

LendingPoint originated its first loan in 2015 with a focus on using traditional and alternative data to understand Americans… whose credit needs have been traditionally underserved and overlooked by large banking institutions. The platform has now originated more than $2 billion over the past four years while expanding to e-commerce and point of sale loan originations and serving all credit profiles. In 2019, LendingPoint received more than 7 million applications.

Visa Partner Zap Raises $3.5 Million To Expand Bitcoin Payments

… While Zap’s charismatic young founder Jack Mallers… shared the milestone in conversation with Forbes.

While Mallers’ idea of a payments network for bitcoin is nothing new, Chicago-based Zap has distinguished itself by being one of the more sophisticated operations using a new platform built on top of bitcoin, called the Lightning Network, that can instantly confirm settlement instead of the 10 minutes it normally takes. In addition to being faster, the Lightning Network sidesteps the fees associated with bitcoin, which are much cheaper than traditional fees when sending large amounts, but have proven prohibitive to people looking to use tiny amounts of bitcoin in daily transactions. 

… By moving the transactions off-chain and reducing the fees associated with smaller transactions, Mallers believes he’ll have an edge over a rising tide of more mature cryptocurrency startups, including cryptocurrency giant Coinbase, also working with Visa. 

“Our users today, don’t ever know we’re using bitcoin when they’re using dollars. It’s just kind of like we’ve melted it in the background… I think tens of millions of people will be using this stuff in the next few years, and that just takes a little bit of capital.”