Some big news today! Big investments, big launches and big decisions. Which companies, in addition to Freetrade and Robinhood, made headlines last week? Click to find out!

Weekly FinTech news digest: 23—29 March 2021

Freetrade raises £50m in one of the largest rounds by a savings FinTech

The successful series B comes only a year after a big crowdfunding round

It was a good year for savings and investment FinTechs, and Freetrade is among the startups that benefited the most from the surge in interest in trading. As a consequence, the trading platform managed to close a highly successful series B funding round, with the participation of private equity firms and VCs: Left Lane Capital, The Growth Fund of L Catterton, and Draper Esprit. The FinTech raised a total sum of £50m, joining the club of investment and savings startups with the largest fundraising rounds, which includes brands such as Nutmeg (raised £45m in 2019).

Read more about the top trading platforms

Robinhood filed paperwork for an IPO to go public on Nasdaq

The decision to go public comes after the stock shorting drama

I’m sure that you still remember the Robinhood, Reddit and GameStop stock shorting drama that we talked about in FinTech Wire #14. Being in the eye of the storm during one of the most commented market turmoils caused Robinhood quite trouble, including putative class actions and individual lawsuits. Now, the FinTech tries to recover from the controversy and expressed its intention to go public on the Nasdaq. Although it wasn’t revealed whether the company would go for a traditional IPO or a direct listing, the information that the stock trading app filed the paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission hit the headlines last week. No more details were disclosed yet, so stay tuned to our weekly updates for more information on Robinhood’s IPO.

Read more about the top FinTech startups to watch in 2021

Fidelity to launch Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, a crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF)

The ETF would be based on prices from various Bitcoin markets

An exchange-traded fund based on the prices of Bitcoin: that’s the recent undertaking that Fidelity Investments plans to launch under the name Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust. Fidelity is known as one of the few major financial institutions to embrace cryptocurrencies before they went full mainstream, and have long been an advocate of digital assets on Wall Street. Releasing a Bitcoin ETF seems like a logical next step for Fidelity. But there’s one problem: such a fund requires approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission. So far, regulators were reluctant to such ideas, repeatedly rejecting applications for Bitcoin ETFs. Will Fidelity have the chance to pave the way for cryptocurrency ETFs? We’ll see!

Read more about the investment trends in 2021

The UK’s first debit card made from recycled plastic released by Starling Bank

The British unicorn goes eco-friendly

Starling Bank decided to start replacing its plastic debit cards with a new version, made 75% from recycled PVC. The neobank attempts to reduce its carbon footprint and assures that the decision will allow saving ‘two kilos of CO2 for each kilo of the material used.’ The rest 25% accounts for the elements that cannot be made from recycled materials, such as the chip and magstripe. The recycled version will be rolled out gradually to the customers whose cards are expiring. This move is a part of Starling Bank’s sustainability agenda. The bank has recently expressed its concern about the environment by becoming a founder signatory of TechZero, a group of the UK’s fastest-growing tech companies dedicated to fighting climate change.

Read more about digital transformation in banking

BNPL offered to UK travellers by Zip and Alternative Airlines

The partnership brings BNPL options to flight bookings

‘Fly now, pay later’? That’s the idea born out of the newly formed partnership of Buy Now, Pay Later startup Zip and flights booking platform Alternative Airlines. The platform’s UK customers can now book flights with more than 600 international carriers and choose Zip’s payment option at the checkout, dividing the amount into four instalments, free of additional costs or interests. The credit is granted immediately, without delaying the booking. Customers are charged the first 25% at the purchase, and the remaining instalments are charged over the period of six weeks, making the expense more affordable for travellers with cash flow problems.

Read more about the leading Buy Now, Pay Later solutions

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FinTech gossip, startup scandals, market updates, investment news… That’s what you find every week on our social media and blog! We review the headlines of the best industry’s sources and pick the most essential info that you need to know to stay up to date and deliver it in an easy-to-digest form that you can devour with your morning coffee. Sounds good? Subscribe to never miss a new issue: on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter!