In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa news, Paris-based Doctolib, an online management software provider for European physicians, has secured $550 million; banking giant HSBC is embracing Web3 by building a virtual stadium in The Sandbox, a leading blockchain-based metaverse.
Plus, banking-as-a-service finance startup Treezor in France will receive eight payment licenses from the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution; B2B eCommerce startup Sokowatch has changed its name to Wasoko after a $125 million Series B fundraising round; and global cryptocurrency exchange FTX is teaming up with AZA Finance to boost the adoption of Web3 and digital currencies across Africa.
Paris-based Doctolib, an online booking management software provider for European physicians, has secured €500 million ($550 million) in funding which brings the value of the company to €5.8 billion ($6.4 billion).
The latest funding will be used to create 3,500 jobs by 2027, which would bring its workforce to 6,000 employees, the company said. In addition, Doctolib said it plans to expand beyond appointment booking and introduce an instant messaging service for the healthcare community and a platform to consolidate medical documents.
Global banking giant HSBC announced it is embracing Web3 by building a virtual stadium in The Sandbox, a leading blockchain-based metaverse, in order “to engage and connect with sports, eSports and gaming enthusiasts.”
With the Wednesday (March 16) announcement of its foray into the metaverse, the world’s seventh-largest bank, with assets totaling $3 trillion, has become the latest major brand and first global bank to embrace the booming but still somewhat theoretical, and hype-heavy, virtual reality world.
Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) and embedded finance startup Treezor is the first FinTech in France to receive all eight payment licenses from the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution.
The additional licenses mean that Treezor can offer multiple new services including cash deposits with a network, payments or transfers with a card or credit facility, payment initiation services, account information services and fund transfers.
B2B eCommerce startup Sokowatch on Wednesday announced that the company is rebranding to Wasoko after a $125 million Series B fundraising round, according to a LinkedIn post. The round valued the company at $625 million, according to a TechCrunch report.
Founder and CEO Daniel Yu started Sokowatch in Kenya in 2015 as an asset-light platform and a marketplace for distributing fast-moving consumer goods to retailers, but said that model wasn’t sustainable because the company couldn’t guarantee the delivery of goods after orders were placed.
Global cryptocurrency exchange FTX is teaming up with digital currency exchange AZA Finance to boost the adoption of Web3 and digital currencies across Africa, according to a press release Wednesday.
Co-founded in 2019 by CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang, FTX is headquartered in Nassau, Bahamas, and recently closed a $400 million Series C funding round that gave the startup a valuation of $32 billion.
Cross-border B2B payments and foreign exchange platform VertoFX has upped the number of currencies in which its customers can convert and make payments.
IBS Intelligence reported VertoFX customers can now accept and send payments instantly in 12 new currencies using a single platform, expanding the company’s available currencies to 51, up from 39.
Alt FI reported Wednesday the new payment options being added to eBay’s German site will supplement existing payment methods like Klarna’s Pay Now service. The new features let customers access Pay Later and Financing.
J.P. Morgan Chase has agreed to acquire Global Shares, the Irish cloud-based provider of share plan management software, the New York global financial services company announced. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close later this year, were not disclosed. It is subject to regulatory approvals.
The acquisition is expected to boost the services J.P. Morgan offers to corporate clients and craft a client acquisition channel wealth management business.
Global clothing retailer Inditex, parent company of Zara, in its 2021 full-year and fourth-quarter earnings presentation said it expects 30% of its revenue to come from online sales in 2024, continuing a transition to a more eCommerce-heavy business that started during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Inditex announced online sales of €7.5 billion ($8.25 billion) in 2021, good for a 14% increase over 2020. Online revenues rose 77% from 2019 to 2020, starting at 14% of the company’s revenue in 2019, according to a report in the Financial Times.
African neobank 4G Capital has raised $18.5 million in a Series C funding round, The Kenyan Wall Street reported Wednesday. The new cash will allow the company to increase its finance and enterprise training solutions to small businesses in Uganda and Kenya and expand digital channels and data science to supplement its hybrid approach, 4G said.
In addition, the investment will allow them to expand their retail finance service to help retailers and distributors increase sales. The company said it uses Kuza, a FinTech feature that allows distributors to provide entrepreneurs with 4G Capital’s credit, rather than traditional cash on delivery.
European Union antitrust officials have given the green light to the Amazon proposal to buy storied movie studio MGM, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday (March 15).
This marks an important step in Amazon’s quest to purchase the studio, with a deadline quickly approaching for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to also make its decision.
IWG, a flexible-office operator, is looking into a $350 million venture with the Instant Group, which has an online listing site for office space, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The vision would be akin to the ways Booking.com or Airbnb offer lodging options. The companies are touting this as the world’s biggest market for flexible office space.