This $230m Series A round went down in history as the largest ever first-round funding for a fintech company. Checkout.com is a seven-year-old startup facilitates online payments by acting as a middleman between merchants and payment companies like PayPal and Mastercard. WorldRemit is a London-based mobile payments company that helps facilitate quick international transfers by migrant workers. According to TechCrunch, a "well-placed source" said that the raise brought its valuation to over $900m. Monzo's raise this June pushed the four-year-old startup's value to around £2bn.
Over the past few years, Boston has undoubtedly become an emerging hub for financial technology companies. But since then, in the last five years, we started to see a resurgence," Shereen Shermak, a local angel investor and venture capitalist, told BostInno for Monday's State of Fintech report. There are a number of things feeding into Boston's fintech scene, including large financial institutions such as Fidelity Investments, State Street and MassMutual, as well as a few big exits, including Samsung's $250 million acquisition of LoopPay and PayPal's $280 million purchase of Paydiant. There are also emerging technologies fueling Boston fintech, like machine learning and blockchain. While many Boston fintech startups are focused on the enterprise side, there are a number of companies that are consumer-oriented, including Circle, Insurify, Quilt and RateGravity.
It's been a great week for Israeli fintech. Insurtech company Next Insurance just raised $29 million in a Series A funding round with Munich Re/HSB Ventures. Meanwhile, YL venture capital, the group behind several security startups and the retail innovators Upstream Commerce, raised $75 million to fund Israeli software startups looking to enter the lucrative U.S. market. It's become increasingly common for Israeli startups to skip a local launch altogether and go directly to American and European consumers. "We plan to be worldwide, but we focus all our energy right now on the U.S.," Next Insurance CEO Guy Goldstein told International Business Times.
Vilve Vene has been building backend infrastructure for financial institutions for more than 25 years. As such, she's all too familiar with the problems traditional banks face when modernizing their monolithic systems for the digital age. "In Western Europe and the US, the incumbent banks have a long history, and very often their platforms and systems are from the 1970s," Vene tells ZDNet. "These are very expensive to manage and very difficult to change…Most of these old platforms can't respond to the online world we live in." Is Estonia the best place to start your start-up?