New unicorns everywhere! Or, to be precise, in the UK and Africa. What they have in common is that they’re both the trailblazers in their respective regions and areas of expertise.

Weekly FinTech news digest: 9—15 March 2021

Zego became the first InsurTech unicorn in the UK…

Since the launch in 2016, Zego has raised $200m in total

The first one of the two newly announced unicorns is Zego, a London-based motor insurance startup. The company raised $150m in the recent funding round, achieving the valuation of more than $1bn in just five years. In addition to this achievement, Zego has more reasons to celebrate, as it has become the first British InsurTech to join the unicorn club. It’s definitely a good proof that Zego is successful in transforming the traditional motor insurance for businesses, by offering flexible models and leveraging telematics, data, and cutting-edge technology. And what’s next? According to Zego, the cash will allow them to expand to other European countries and beyond, as well as double its headcount.

Read more about the top InsurTechs to watch in 2021

… while Flutterwave became the very first unicorn founded by Africans in Africa

The payments company has closed a $170 million round

Now we move to a different region, Africa, but don’t worry–you’ll find unicorns here as well! After the successful C Series round, the company founded by Olugbenga Agboola in Nigeria joined the exclusive group of African unicorns. It could be any different seeing how good the last year was for Flutterwave: due to the pandemic and a rise in online transactions, the startup’s revenue grew by more than 100%. The recent investment, obtained from firms such as Avenir Growth Capital,  Tiger Global, DST Global, Green Visor Capital, Greycroft Capital will help Flutterwave in achieving its goal of becoming a global payments company

Read more about neobanks in Africa

MultiPay enters the UK payments market

The platform’s API lets merchants accept payments from all over the world

Merchants is the UK have a yet another reasons to be happy: a new all-in-one payments solution arrived into the market. MultiPay platform is designed mainly for large merchants that look for a single tool that integrates multiple payment channels, acquirers, and payment methods in any country. The startups plan to compete with existing providers with its unique technology: a single payment gateway that simplifies the whole payment process, both in-store and online, giving merchants the full control.

Learn more about the leading payment processing platforms

Sberbank and Visa rolls out the pay-with-face technology in Russian supermarkets

The new payment method will become available at 200 stores in March and April

The future of payments is officially here… at least in Russia. 150 X5 supermarkets and several Pyaterochka stores will implement a contactless biometric solution allowing customers to pay with a single glance, without using a card or a smartphone. The option will be available to the users of Sberbank mobile app, and is developed in a collaboration with Visa. The payment method will become available as soon as by the end of March in X5 stores, and Pyaterochka customers won’t have to wait much longer–only until April. And the rest of the world? According to X5 Retail Group CEO, Igor Shekhterman, such solutions “will very soon be used universally.”

Learn more about the most popular payment methods in 2020

Natwest decided to close its online lending platform Esme

The bank’s affair with FinTech ends abruptly because of the pandemic

The British bank admitted its failure to compete with innovative FinTechs on their own grounds and will wind down its SME lending platform launched just four years ago. Esme’s team will continue to provide service to existing customers, but no new loan applications will be accepted. The platform reportedly was affected by the pandemic and lost the race to the challengers such as Funding Circle and Cashplus.

Read more about alternative financing development

Tune in next week for more FinTech news!

Do you feel sometimes that the famous Fear of Missing Out is hitting hard? We get you, it’s not easy to stay abreast of all the news in a such dynamic industry as FinTech. That’s why we’re gathering the most important updates from the week for you. All that you have to do is to tune in every Tuesday to our social media channels, make yourself a good cup of coffee and… enjoy the news!