Capital is the lifeblood of economies, and of the companies (and yes, of course, individuals) that collectively make things and provide services … and in the age of FinTech, the capital comes digitally and across innovative channels.
The initiatives are far-flung and varied, but each is marked by a common thread of serving small business needs as both the lenders and the borrowers seek growth.
In one example, OurCrowd, which operates in the equity crowdfunding space, has struck up a partnership in Thailand with Bangkok Bank, boosting OurCrowd’s reach in Asia. The bank is billed as being the market leader in corporate and SME banking, with its focus in China and Southeast Asia.
Crowdfund Insider reported that the companies' joint efforts support the “Thai tech ecosystem” – delivering technology from Israeli and elsewhere to clients. Bangkok Bank is able to offer direct access into the OurCrowd portfolio, and the latter’s platform is slated to top $1 billion in 2018.
Within the FinTech space, there may be a resurgence of sorts for one firm. ZDNet reports that a digital bank, Neon Pagamentos, has found a partner to supplant a previous relationship. The bank that previously handled Neon’s settlements, Banco Neon, was shut down last week by the country’s central bank.
Reuters reported earlier this month that the central bank had liquidated Banco Neon’s operations via a decree that ordered the shutdown due to “grave violations of legal and regulatory norms,” and what had been cited to be a “compromised financial situation.” Also earlier this month, Neon Pagamentos said it had raised $22 million in a Series A round through venture capital funding, with a VC roster that includes Propel Venture Partners, Quona Capital and others.
Neon was forced to find a new partner, even as the firm’s wary customers sought to withdraw their money. Earlier this week, the company said it had linked with Banco Votorantim, which is the seventh largest bank in the country and is controlled by the conglomerate of Votorantim Group and Banco do Brasil. Under the terms of the new efforts, Neon seeks to boost its customer base to one million this year, up from the current 600,000.
In Europe, INV Fintech, which is the “sister accelerator to Bank Innovation,” as defined in its own announcement, said it had partnered with Berlin’s Open Bank Project, an open source API provider geared toward banks. With the new partnership, the Open Bank Project's sandbox—and more than 130 standardized APIs—is accessible to INV and its 13 startup partners.
Turning attention domestically to the United States, NBKC Bank, headquartered in Kansas, said that it has inked a “forward flow” agreement with Credibility Capital, which will purchase small business loans nationwide, specifically for A-paper whole commercial loans.
Late this week, the companies said that Credibility, in turn, boosts its base of bank buyers, sourcing borrowers across “proprietary” channels. In a statement from Brian Unruh, CEO of NBKC, the executive said that “our strategy has been to leverage technology and innovation to expand nationally. Credibility's excellent borrower sourcing capabilities and underwriting platform will help us grow efficiently. At the same time, their fundamental view of credit is consistent with the bank's philosophy."