Author: Steve OHear

Challenger bank Tandem partners with Stripe for upcoming ‘Auto Savings’ feature

TECHCRUNCH Tandem, the U.K. challenger bank, is gearing up to launch a new “Auto Savings” feature — a clever way to lower the barriers for Tandem app users who want to save for a rainy day — and to power the feature the company is partnering with Stripe. The latter in itself isn’t necessarily huge news when you consider that Stripe is morphing into a payments company in the broadest sense. However, it does come at a time when other U.K. bank upstarts are attempting to wean users off making Stripe-powered card payments to top up their accounts since fees can soon add up. The new Auto Savings offering will mean that every Tandem app will effectively have a flexible savings bank account with Tandem, which they can pay money into based on various savings rules. These rules will be applied based on transaction data gleaned through third-party bank accounts you’ve linked to in the Tandem app (and possibly your Tandem credit card, if you have one) and include rounding up payments to the nearest pound. At the end of each week Tandem will move the money it’s allocated to Auto Savings out of your linked account via your debit card. This, of course, is also where Stripe comes into play by handling all the needed rerouting, and processing the card payment. It is also evidence of how the...

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Loans marketplace Mintos scores €5M Series A and plans to launch a debit card

TECHCRUNCH Mintos, the Latvian fintech that operates a global loans marketplace to let you invest in loans from various loan originators, has raised €5 million in Series A funding. Backing the startup once again is the Riga-based venture capital firm Grumpy Investments (previously known as Skillion Ventures). More noteworthy, the new capital will be used to launch a Mintos banking account and debit card, significantly expanding the company’s offering. “Both banking account and the card in our opinion is a natural step in our journey of revolutionising financial services through technology and serving our investors and will nicely complement...

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Anorak raises £5M Series A for its life insurance advice platform

TECHCRUNCH Anorak Technologies, the U.K. startup building a life insurance advice platform, has raised £5 million in Series A funding. Notably, the round is led by previous backer Kamet Ventures, the tech incubator funded by insurance giant AXA. It brings the total raised by Anorak to £9 million. In a call, co-founder and CEO David Vanek told me the startup’s mission is to build the world’s “smartest” automated life insurance advice platform. It wants to offer insurance advice at the most appropriate time and place in a person’s life, such as when buying a house or starting a family, and in turn open up life insurance cover to many more people. As it stands, life insurance, such as accidental death cover, tends to be sold through financial advisors or brokers targeting high net worth individuals. That leaves swathes of people and their dependents without any cover at all. Vanek says the additional capital will be used to “grow our tech, data, product and business development teams,” and to continue to invest in Anorak’s unique recommendation engine, which covers the profiling of users, analysing their risk, and connecting them to a suitable product. The “insurtech” startup also plans to integrate with more partners in order to build out its distribution infrastructure for life insurance. This will span investment platforms, online mortgage brokers, money management apps, challenger banks, media groups, and...

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Fluidly, the ‘intelligent’ cashflow management SaaS for SMEs, picks up £5M Series A

TECHCRUNCH Fluidly, the London-based fintech that offers an “intelligent” cashflow management SaaS for SMEs, has raised £5 million in Series A funding. The round is led by New-York based Nyca Partners, with participation from other investors including Octopus Ventures, Anthemis, and angel investors Simon Murdoch, and Charlie Songhurst. Claiming to define a new software category, namely “Intelligent Cash,” Fluidly want to significantly improve small and medium-sized businesses’ cashflow management. To do this it has built machine learning-based technology to predict and optimise the future cash flows for SMEs, thus helping business owners conduct better financial decision-making. As part of this, you connect Fluidly to your business bank account via Open Banking, and to your cloud accounting software. “Fluidly is then able to access the transaction-level bank and accounting data and it uses this data to automatically forecast future cash flows by predicting when invoices will arrive, get paid or other payments will be made,” explains co-founder and CEO Caroline Plumb. “This gives a business an instant, continuously updated view of their financial future rather than having to model it in a spreadsheet”. Since launching a year ago, Fluidly says it is now working with nine of the top twenty U.K. accounting firms as a route to market, including BDO, Baldwins, and Haysmacintyre. The fintech has also formed partnerships with various cloud accounting software providers, and says it is one...

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Framer, the interactive design platform, scores $24M Series B led by Atomico

TECHCRUNCH Framer, the Amsterdam-based startup behind interactive design platform Framer X, has raised $24 million in Series B investment. The round is led by European VC firm Atomico, with participation from Accel, and AngelList. The startup says it will use the new capital to continue building out its platform for designers and product teams. It brings the total raised to date by Framer to $33 million. Founded by ex-Facebookers Koen Bok and Jorn van Dijk, Framer has set out to ride (and power) a trend that is seeing every company having to become a digital business and often a...

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Nested, the online estate agent that makes home sellers ‘chain-free’, raises further £120M

TECHCRUNCH Nested, the London-based “data-driven” estate agency that provides a cash advance to help you buy a new home before you’ve sold your old one, has raised a further £120 million in funding. The new round is a mixture of equity and debt: £20 million and £100 million, respectively. Leading the equity round is Northzone, and Balderton Capital, while the debt finance comes from an unnamed institutional investor. It is noteworthy that Balderton has only just invested in Nested several rounds into the company’s existence, considering that the London-based venture capital firm typically invests earlier at Series A. Balderton...

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RealtimeBoard, a visual collaboration platform for companies, raises $25M led by Accel

TECHCRUNCH RealtimeBoard, a visual collaboration tool particularly suited to distributed teams, has picked up $25 million in Series A funding. Accel led the round, with participation from existing investor AltaIR Capital. The 150 person-strong company — which itself is distributed across offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Perm — says it will use the additional capital to continue to scale, including building out its customer acquisition capabilities by bolstering sales and marketing teams, and growing its user community. To that end, RealtimeBoard counts the likes of Hubspot, Skyscanner, Qlik, Autodesk, Netflix, and Twitter as customers, and claims...

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Infarm expands its ‘in-store farming’ to Paris

TECHCRUNCH Infarm, the Berlin-based startup that has developed vertical farming tech for grocery stores, restaurants and local distribution centres to bring fresh and artisan produce much closer to the consumer, is expanding to Paris. Once again, the company is partnering with Metro in a move that will see Infarm’s “in-store farming” platform installed in the retailer’s flagship store in the French capital city later this month. The 80 metre square “vertical farm” will produce approximately 4 tonnes of premium quality herbs, leafy greens, and microgreens annually, and means that Metro will become completely self-sufficient in its herb production with its own in-store farm. Founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli, and brothers Erez and Guy Galonska, Infarm has developed an “indoor vertical farming” system capable of growing anything from herbs, lettuce and other vegetables, and even fruit. It then places these modular farms in a variety of customer-facing city locations, such as grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and schools, thus enabling the end-customer to actually pick the produce themselves. The distributed system is designed to be infinitely scalable — you simply add more modules, space permitting — whilst the whole thing is cloud-based, meaning the farms can be monitored and controlled from Infarm’s central control centre. It’s data-driven: a combination of IoT, Big Data and cloud analytics akin to “Farming-as-a-Service”. The idea isn’t just to produce fresher and better tasting...

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