January 23, 2022

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Unlimited Technology

EMEA Daily: Thought Machine Hits $1B Valuation

In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) news, U.K. FinTech startup Thought Machine raises $200 million at a $1 billion valuation; Flutterwave launches new a marketplace; the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposes changes to European Union regulation; inflation and the pandemic harm EU consumer confidence; the Saudi British Bank unveils trade finance tool; and more.

UK FinTech Thought Machine Raises $200M at $1B Valuation

U.K. FinTech startup Thought Machine raised $200 million in a Series C funding round at a valuation estimated at over $1 billion to bring legacy banks worldwide to the cloud. The company plans to use the fresh infusion of capital to continue developing and expanding its Vault and its Universal Product Engine as well as grow its international reach, support its five global offices and target new markets.

Flutterwave Marketplace Helps Africa’s Small Businesses Reach New Buyers

In a move to scale small- to medium-sized business (SMB) growth, Flutterwave, an African payments technology company, announced the launch of a new eCommerce service, Flutterwave Market. An extension of the company’s Flutterwave Store service launched in April 2020, the new marketplace will regroup the 30,000-plus merchant stores in one place, making it easier for consumers to discover and shop for products from different businesses, while helping online merchants find new customers and markets to boost sales and revenue.

FCA Proposes Changes That Remove ‘Barriers’ to Growth and Innovation in UK Payments

Earlier this year, the FCA launched an open consultation proposing changes to the SCA-RTS, the European Banking Authority (EBA)’s regulatory technical standards (RTS) on strong customer authentication (SCA) and secure communication. The EU regulation seeks to control the type of access that payment service providers (PSPs) have to customer payment account data held at account servicing payment service providers (ASPSPs).

Inflation, COVID Harming EU Consumer Confidence

Inflation and a rise in new COVID-19 cases has led to a drop in consumer confidence in the EU, the European Commission reported Monday (Nov. 29). The commission’s sentiment index for November fell to 117.5, down from 118.6 in October. That was the lowest level in seven months, an indication of consumers’ sour outlook on their current and future financial condition, their ability to make big purchases, and their feelings about the economy in general.

Saudi British Bank Unveils Trade Finance Tool

Saudi British Bank (SABB) has unveiled a Shariah-complaint supply chain finance tool, billed as the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. The launch aligns with the Saudi Vision 2030 program to increase SMB financing. Supply chain finance, or “payables finance,” is a system based around buyer risk, in which the seller takes on the cost of discounting. This tool lets suppliers access funding according to the buyers’ credit standing, without tapping into their own credit lines.

Ultrafast Grocery Delivery Services Compete Globally for On-Demand Loyalty

As the ultrafast grocery delivery space begins to see some consolidation, leading services are starting to expand their reach beyond the grocery category. On Monday (Nov. 29), for instance, Yango Deli, the 15-minute grocery delivery arm of Russian tech giant Yandex, announced the launch of Christmas tree delivery.

New UK Bill Seeks Crackdown on Data Breaches, Cybertheft From Connected Devices

The U.K. is seeking to crack down on connected device cybercrime with the introduction of a new law. Building on prior reforms to the U.K.’s Electronic Communications Code, the proposed new bill, known as the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, comes in three parts that mandate new controls at various levels of the connected device supply chain.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE 2021 HOLIDAY SHOPPING OUTLOOK

About: It’s almost go time for the holiday shopping season, and nearly 90% of U.S. consumers plan to make at least some of their purchases online — 13% more than did in 2020. The 2021 Holiday Shopping Outlook, PYMNTS surveyed more than 3,600 consumers to learn what is driving online sales this holiday season and the impact of product availability and personalized rewards on merchant preference.

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