Fintech funding round-up: 7 November 2017
Not cash-strapped just backed. Our latest fintech funding round-up features Douugh, Choice Financial, Monzo and Smartkarma.
All rise please. Banking (not baking) challenger Douugh has partnered with community bank Choice Financial to launch an integrated checking account and debit card. Choice has also made an investment to “support Douugh’s roadmap”, bringing the company’s total seed funding to $2.5 million.
As reported in August, Douugh unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI) powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie” – a 24/7 personal assistant for finances. Douugh is now accepting beta pilot registrations, which is being rolled out on an invitation-only basis. The firm was founded by Andy Taylor, co-founder of Australia’s P2P lending platform, SocietyOne.
Mobile-only challenger bank Monzo has closed its latest fundraising round, raising £71 million from Goodwater Capital, Stripe and Michael Moritz. They join existing investors Passion Capital, Thrive Capital and Orange Digital Ventures, who have each made follow-on investments. The money will be used for unspecified growth plans. Monzo says it is also working on a new crowdfunding campaign for 2018. (Last year, Monzo raised an extra £4.8 million in an “interim” funding round led by Passion Capital. It put the value of the bank at £50 million. At that time, the bank had raised £12.8 million.)
This year has been eventful for Monzo. It was hit with card payments issues; gently rolled out its current account; got clobbered (again) by tech issues for the second time in a week; and reported a loss after taxation of £6.7 million in its financial results.
Smartkarma, a provider of investment research, has closed a Series B round of financing led by Sequoia India, which brings the company’s total funding to $21 million. Smartkarma’s platform connects investment managers with a community of experts and analysts, and “independent, unbiased” research. It says over 400 analysts covering more than 2,400 companies across 15 Asian markets, now contribute to its cloud-based platform.
The funds will be used for expansion and to improve tools and features on its platform. In September, Smartkarma launched a UK office. Last year, Société Générale partnered with Smartkarma to provide equity research that is compliant with “evolving research unbundling requirements”, such as MiFID II.