This week the news is all about open banking. From a new Unicorn company through illuminating findings on the EU bankers’ attitudes to the UK’s largest seed round of any open banking startup. Apart from that, we’re taking a look at an SME challenger bank, a partnership built around cryptocurrency, and a study on embedded finance. Read on to get the full story.

Weekly FinTech news digest: 21—27 September 2021

Weekly FinTech news digest: 21—27 September 2021

TrueLayer raises $130 million in a Series E round, reaching the Unicorn status

The platform sees over 50% of all open banking traffic in the UK

It’s been a particularly busy year for the global open banking platform TrueLayer. Just this year the company’s monthly payment volume grew 400%, its monthly payment value increased 800%, and its user base doubled. Apart from that, TrueLayer launched PayDirect, a new payment solution, opened new European headquarters in Dublin, and welcomed new members to its executive team. Finally, this week TrueLayer has concluded a Series E round by raising $130 million and, at the same time, reached the coveted Unicorn status. The mega-round follows the company’s successful $70 million Series D round in April. The funding will help TrueLayer expand to new regions and grow its engineering, product and commercial teams.

Read more about open banking

Monneo partners with Coinbase to enable payment of invoices in cryptocurrencies

The new service is supported by two of Monneo’s partner banks

Monneo, a virtual IBAN account provider, has enlisted Coinbase, a well-known digital currency exchange platform, to allow users to pay for invoices in various cryptocurrencies. Monneo will offer the service for B2B invoice settlement. “In its platform, Monneo offers payments in 130+ fiat currencies to which leading cryptocurrencies are now added. Essentially payments in a cryptocurrency are no different from FX payments via fiat currencies. The mechanisms are the same,” commented Lili Metodieva, Managing Director at Monneo. Metodieva also noted that the new service encourages the idea of flexibility in payments.

Read more about the crypto economy

ThinCats to provide up to £300 million additional funding for UK businesses

The funding is possible through British Business Bank’s ENABLE Guarantee programme

The alternative lender ThinCats announced its plans to enable funding for mid-sized SMEs by lending up to £300 million of funding capital. The funding line operates under the British Business Bank ENABLE Guarantee programme, which aims to foster more lending to small businesses. This move includes ThinCats’s collaboration with Citi, and as such becomes the programme’s first transaction to promote lending for term loans to smaller businesses from an alternative lender with a bank as a senior funder. The funding capital that ThinCats sets out to deploy will most likely aid SMEs to make use of growth opportunities and acquisitions.

Read more about LendTech

Vyne closes UK’s largest seed round of any open banking startup

The account-to-account payments platform raised $15.5 million

More good news for open banking in the UK. Vyne, a London-based startup offering an account-to-account payments solution for online businesses, has secured $15.5 million in funding, making it the biggest seed round of any UK open banking startup. Supporters in this round included venture firms — Hearst Ventures, Entrée Capital, Triplepoint, Seedcamp, Venrex, Founder Collective and Partech — as well as angel investors such as Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, ComplyAdvantage CEO and founder Charlie Dellingpole, and Grabyo founder Will Neale. The new funding will help Vyne grow its presence on international markets and expand its use cases.

Read more about open banking apps

SME-focused challenger bank Recognise given green light by UK regulator

The Prudential Regulation Authority granted Recognise Bank its approval

Recognise, a new UK challenger bank, has been greenlighted by the Prudential Regulation Authority to offer its products. The bank aims its business lending and savings services at SMEs, but it also offers a handful of personal banking products. Its partnership with the cloud banking company nCino allows the challenger bank to utilise such features as biometrics, video conferencing, due diligence checks, and open banking initiatives. Part of the the City of London Investment Group, Recognise is led by Jason Oakley, former Managing Director of Commercial Banking and Mortgages at Metro Bank.

Read more about banking software development

37% of financial executives in EU predict that completing Open Banking objectives will take more than 10 years

The majority of bankers feels positive toward open banking

Tink, Europe’s leading open banking platform, has released a new report examining European financial executives’ attitudes toward open banking. The 2021 survey reveals a shift towards a more welcoming sentiment, with 71% of bankers feeling positive towards open banking, up from 55% in 2019. Financial executives also mostly agree that open banking is a revolution for the industry (83%) rather than an evolution. They acknowledge it can play a crucial role in meeting key goals such as enhancing the customer experience (36%), launching new digital services (35%) and increasing revenue (34%). The positive outlook will prove useful as many bankers believe seeing this revolution through might take a long time. 40% of executives predict it will take five to ten years for their companies to meet their open banking objectives. 37% of bankers prepare for an even longer journey that can last over a decade, hinting at large-scale transformation initiatives.

Read more about digital transformation in banking

73% of brands plan to launch embedded financial services within the next two years

Embedded finance is expected to net €720 billion for European brands by 2026

Global payments and banking-as-a-service platform OpenPayd has shared insights from a study on brand attitudes towards embedded finance. The report revealed that 73% of surveyed companies from the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany plan to launch embedded finance products within the next two years while 92% plan to launch such offerings within the next 5 years. And yet, a staggering 91% of respondents confessed to understanding embedded finance only partially. The study also found that the interest in embedded finance is mainly motivated by the desire to retain front-end customer experience (85%) and increase the number of customer touchpoints with their brand (84%). As for what type of services companies want to offer in the next five years, embedded banking proved to be the most popular choice (92%).

Read more about embedded finance

Tune in for more FinTech news next week

We’re already looking forward to what the next week might bring. Exciting funding rounds, brand new products, fascinating report insights, perhaps another Unicorn startup… Don’t miss any of it! Subscribe to our LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and check our blog regularly for weekly news digests.