EMEA Daily: UK Renews Crypto Hub Offering

UK crypto

In today’s top stories from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, the U.K. restates its wish to become a global crypto hub, while an EU official calls on Europe’s parliament to adopt new crypto trading regulations.

Also, pan-African VC fund Launch Africa raises $36.3 million, while reverse logistics firm Cartlow takes in $18 million in a Series A round.

EU Commissioner Urges Parliament to Adopt Crypto Rules to Protect Consumers

Mairead McGuinness, EU’s commissioner for financial services, called on the European Parliament this week to pass the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation.

McGuinness’ comments came against the backdrop of a number of crypto-related crashes, which she said underscores the need for a law that provides “the right tool to address the concerns about consumer protection, market integrity, and financial stability.”

She spoke before a session with members of Parliament to explain the commission’s work on financial markets, such as the development of the capital markets union, anti-money laundering, and sustainable finance.

UK Wants Crypto Companies, Not Criminals, Digital Minister Says

The U.K.’s digital minister is underscoring his government’s wish to make Britain a worldwide hub for cryptocurrency, although he stressed the country must be cautious about illegal activity.

“We do intend the United Kingdom and London to be crypto centers,” Chris Philp said. “But of course, we’ve got to do that in a way that protects the public and in particular pays attention to issues concerning, for example, money laundering, and making sure that crypto is not used as a way to circumvent things like sanctions.”

In April, the British Economic Secretary John Glen argued the country has a robust and  globally recognized legal system that could serve as a “huge asset … in making the U.K. an attractive hub for all things digital.”

Pan-African VC Fund Launch Africa Raises $36.3M

Pan-African venture capital fund Launch Africa Ventures has wrapped a $36.3 million fund, which it says it used to back B2B and B2B2C startups.

The Mauritius-based company says it has worked with 108 startups in 21 African countries, including Kuda, a neobank based in Nigeria, and Kenyan B2B eCommerce retail platform MarketForce.

“I can’t think of a single fund that covers as many markets as we do,” said Managing Partner Zachariah George. “We’re doing deals in the DRC, Madagascar, Sudan, Benin, Togo. People use the word pan-African loosely, but when we say pan-African, we truly mean what we do.”

Cartlow Raises $18M to Further Grow in Saudi Arabia, UAE

Reverse logistics firm Cartlow has raised $18 million in a Series A round from AlSulaiman Group to help the company expand in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Based in Dubai and founded by CEO Mohammad Sleiman in 2019, the company first started as a reCommerce platform but grew into a cloud-based technology platform that offers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to reverse-logistics firms.

“The investment will help to take Cartlow to the next level,” Sleiman said. “Our aim is to continue to drive innovative technology within the reverse logistics landscape across the region.”

Qashio Debuts First UAE Corporate Card and Spend Management Offering

Qashio, a FinTech based in Dubai, has launched what it calls the first corporate expense management card and software platform for businesses in the United Arab Emirates.

The company says its expense management platform “enables business owners and finance leaders full visibility and advanced control of all expenses,” with cards that can be issued immediately. Companies can opt for virtual or physical cards.

According to Qashio, the software lets business leaders control the card: They can set budgets by day, week or month, restrict vendor or category usage or ATM withdrawals,  choose a card suspension date, and manage the card’s status.