271. News: Ericas & 'Mericas

58min listen

On this week's episode David and Simon sit down with Joost Lobbes, and Diana Paredes to discuss the latest and greatest news in fintech.

Our hosts Simon and Jason are joined by three great guests: Joost Lobbes, Product Manager at Rabo Bank, and Diana Paredes, CEO of Suade Labs.

First up, CYBG cans Virgin Money deal with Anthony Jenkins startup. The new owner of Virgin Money has canned a long-term deal with a digital banking start-up launched by Anthony Jenkins, the former Barclays chief executive. Not entirely unexpected, since David Duffy, CYBG's chief executive, had hinted since securing a £1.6bn deal to buy the bank that it was likely to use its own technology platform. Confirmation that CYBG is ditching the 10x deal may deal a blow to Mr Jenkins, who has been in talks with investors for several months about a substantial new funding round for his venture. Virgin Money is understood to have committed tens of millions of pounds to creating a digital platform with 10x's support, and CYBG's decision to terminate the deal is likely to trigger a sizeable payment to 10x.

Fintech startup Revolut is in talks to raise $500M from Softbank. Several sources have told City A.M. that the deal is set to close early next year, as Revolut tries to launch its banking app in the US, one of fintech’s most notoriously hard to crack markets. Comes less than seven months since Revolut closed its last funding round at $250m, which valued the London startup at $1.7bn as a so-called unicorn company. Not known if previous backers such as Index Ventures, Draper Esprit and DST Global will sign on to this round. Softbank said earlier this year that it was looking to deploy around $200m into fintech from its $100bn Vision Fund, and was reported by Sky News to have explored a similar investment in UK challenger bank Oaknorth.

We spoke to Emily Nicolle, the author of this article for City AM to give us her thoughts on this story.

Digital bank Starling to roost on the high street. Digital bank Starling is heading to the high street, announcing a tie-up that will enable its personal and business customers to withdraw and deposit cash over the counter at all 11,500 Post Office branches nationwide. Despite falling cash use across the UK, the app-only challenger bank said it was responding to customer needs. “Our customers still want to pay in cash and take money out,” said Julian Sawyer, head of banking services at Starling Bank. “The Post Office has more outlets than all the other banks combined, so it became a very obvious channel to link up with.” The digital bank’s move to the high street comes as larger banks shift customers online, closing hundreds of high street bank branches and free-to-use cash machines in the process.

We caught up with Megan Caywood at Xerocon yesterday to tell us more about this announcement and what it means for their users.

Simple attracts Amazon exec as new CEO. US neo bank Simple has named a former Amazon executive as its new CEO, in a rare example of talent returning from Big Tech to the banking industry
We interviewed the Co-Founder of Simple Bank, Shamir Karkal in ep. 254. David Hijirida moved from Washington Mutual to help build Amazon’s online payments business in 2007 before acting as a director of AWS.
Hijirida takes over from Dickson Chu who was working as the interim chief executive of the bank after founding CEO Josh Reich who quit in May.

Fluidly raises £5M in Series A Funding. Fluidly is an applied AI business that combines machine learning and financial modelling to automate the forecasting and management of cashflow for SMEs. The £5m Series A funding round was led by New York-based fintech investor Nyca Partners. Existing investors Octopus Ventures, Anthemis and tech angels including Simon Murdoch and Charlie Songhurst also participated in the latest financing round.

We caught up with Fluidly CEO Caroline Plumb at Xerocon yesterday, to find out more about what this money will be used for.

Alibaba sets new Singles Day record with more than $30.8BN in sales in 24 hours. Alibaba smashed through its Singles Day sales record on Sunday. The gross merchandise value (GMV) hit over $30.8 billion in sales in the 24-hour shopping event. That topped the $25.3 billion record set in 2017. Singles Day got off to a strong start with sales hitting $1 billion in one minute and 25 seconds.

BofA faces trademark suit over Erica chatbot. Bank of America has been sued by a man over the use of the name "Erica" for its in-app AI-powered virtual assistant chatbot. Rolled out to BofA's millions of customers over the summer, Erica helps users with a host of simple transactions such as money transfers and balance enquiries. Erik Underwood registered his own virtual assistant, called E.R.I.C.A (electronic repetitious informational clone application) in Georgia in October 2010.

PFM app Fintonic to fund interest-free deferred payments at Amazon. Financial management app Fintonic is collaborating with Amazon to provide Spanish clients with the option to fund interest fee purchases at the e-commerce store. Under the agreement, Fintonic's 500,000 Spanish users will be able to defer payments ranging between €200 and €1,000 for up to four months. Marketed as taking 3 minutes and users are given a reusable gift card for Amazon.es that lasts up to 10 years max

PayPal bans Tommy Robinson from its platform. PayPal has told the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon it will no longer process payments on his behalf. The online payments system said its services cannot be used to "promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory". Online petitions calling for companies like PayPal to stop processing his payments have gained thousands of signatures.

All this and so much more on today's episode of Fintech Insider!

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This week's episode was produced by Laura Watkins, written by Dhanum Nursigadoo and edited by Alex Woodhouse.

Special Guests: Caroline Plumb, Diana Paredes, Emily Nicolle, Joost Lobbes, and Megan Caywood.

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