Fintech funding round-up: 2 March 2018
Welcome to the first fintech funding round-up of March. We’re joined by Blueprint Income, Wecash Technology and Everproof.
New York-based Blueprint Income is looking to prosper in the pensions market. It has launched with a $2.75 million seed investment led by Green Visor Capital and NextView Ventures, with participation from Core Innovation Capital, Kairos, and angel investor Jean Chatzky. It also recently participated in the third class of the Financial Solutions Lab, managed by the Centre for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with partner JP Morgan Chase.
The company’s flagship product is called “Personal Pension”, which “unlike traditional pensions”, doesn’t require an employer to sponsor the plan and subscribers can continue contributing when they switch between workforces. The start-up says the US has a $27 trillion retirement market and it reckons it can tap into some of that cash. Blueprint Income CEO Matt Carey says: “The 401(k) was never meant to be the main vehicle for retirement. Having your entire retirement wrapped up in the stock market is an increasingly untenable solution. If we don’t change how we approach retirement, it will quickly become something only the top 1% can afford to do.”
Chinese big data tech company Wecash Technology has completed a $160 million Series D financing round. This was led by ORIX Asia Capital and SEA Group, with co-investors SIG, Sagamore, Forebright, Lingfeng Capital and Hongdao Capital. Wecash founder and CEO Zhi Zhengchun says the funding will be used to widen the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in data mining, machine learning and smart chips and to expand its lifestyle service portfolio to include residential rentals, consumer goods and aesthetic surgery.
Wecash, which offers online credit assessment and reporting, was founded in 2013. Over the past two years, it says it has expanded its business into Southeast Asia and South America. According to the company, as of the end of January 2018, it had supplied credit reports based on the 130 million users whose credit histories were available in its database.
Over in Australia, digital identity verification platform Everproof has raised $1.5 million in a funding round led by Westpac-backed venture capital firm Reinventure and Allectus Capital.
The firm intends to spend the funding on expanding its product offering, and “screening and verification capability”. Everproof was established in 2016, and says it currently has about 35,000 individual users across more than 1,000 organisations. The firm is less open on its financial results – and only reveals that revenue grew 480% last calendar year.