UK fintechs B-North, DIEM, Encompass, and Lumio raise funding
A round-up of recent investments clinched by the UK fintech start-ups.
B-North (Bank North), an aspiring Manchester-based bank for SMEs, will receive a £4.5 million investment from LHV Group once it gets its banking licence from the UK’s regulators.
The commitment was made as part of B-North’s Series A fundraise. The banking challenger needs to secure £20 million in capital before being granted the banking licence.
Founded in 2018, B-North aims to establish “the first truly regional lending bank in 150 years” in the UK. It will deliver loans to businesses ten times faster than the industry standard, it claims, via its network of regional “lending pods” and a cloud-based banking system. The first pods are expected to open in Manchester later this year.
Jonathan Thompson, co-founder and CEO of B-North, describes the LHV investment as “a significant boost”.
LHV Group is the largest domestic financial group and capital provider in Estonia. In the UK, it has a branch that offers banking infrastructure to international fintechs.
London-based DIEM, which describes itself as “a circular economy-oriented fintech start-up”, has raised nearly £4 million ($5.5 million) in an oversubscribed seed investment round. DIEM plans to expand across Europe.
The investment round was led by Fasanara Capital and supported by Chris Adelsbach, founder of Outrun Ventures. Additional investors included Andrea Molteni (early investor in Farfetch.com luxury marketplace), Ben Demiri (co-chairman at fashion tech PlatformE) and Nicholas Kirkwood (founder of the eponymous brand).
DIEM says it “powers a disruptive concept in fintech: merging solutions to address both personal finance and collective environmental needs”.
Its mission is “to empower consumers to value, unlock, and enjoy wealth they never knew they had, best described by its founder, Geri Cupi as the ‘Bank of Things’”.
The DIEM app enables users to value and get credit for the goods they no longer want or need, such as clothes, accessories, electronics and books. This is in addition to the standard banking services, such as a debit card and bank transfers.
“The valuation is executed in nanoseconds, releasing instant cash access upon client’s acceptance-making the proposition convenient, fast, reliable and importantly secure way to transact in a completely novel way while supporting green choices,” the company explains.
It is estimated that $6.9 trillion worth of goods have been disposed in the last 15 years, only, with 59% of the consumers throwing away goods. DIEM wants to change this.
Know your customer (KYC) software provider Encompass Corporation has secured new investment from Beacon Equity Partners, a Boston-based private equity group focused on regtech and compliance companies. Beacon joined with existing investors in a broader capital round supporting Encompass’ growth in 2020.
Wayne Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Encompass, describes Beacon Equity Partners as “the perfect match” for his firm, with expertise to formally bring Encompass to the North American market in 2021 – “a significant milestone”. The company already has presence in Singapore, Sweden and Serbia.
Encompass has reported revenue growth over the last year, hiring 70+ new staff (a 74% increase) and signing new clients. Among its flagship customers are Santander and Invidem (a KYC company owned by a group of Nordic banks).
Personal finance mobile app Lumio turned to crowdfunding for its latest fundraising campaign and secured £1.1 million from over 1,200 investors on Crowdcube, with its pre-money valuation at £3.5 million.
The start-up says its purpose is “to accelerate financial independence, integrity, and personal progress, through intelligent technology”.
With 18,000 financial accounts already connected, Lumio’s ambition is “to help one million customers grow their money by 2024” – a mission that the company describes as “big, audacious (and slightly scary!)”.
Lumio claims more than 6,000 users, growing 20% monthly; and over £90 million worth of user transactions analysed by its algorithm.
Lumio is registered as a payment services directive agent of Moneyhub Financial Technology, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).