Greek fintech Viva Wallet lands $80m from Tencent, EBRD
Viva Wallet, the Greek payments fintech which bought a bank last year, has landed an $80 million investment.
Backers include Chinese conglomerate Tencent and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as Breyer Capital, which also invested in US-challengers Stash and Point.
The EBRD’s capital contributing shareholders include 69 countries, as well as the European Union and the European Investment Bank.
Viva intends to use the fresh funds to accelerate the roll out of its ‘Tap-on-Phone’ solution, which turns any Android device into a card terminal.
For e-commerce payments, Viva is yet to launch what it calls a “one-line-of-code-integration” for smart checkout. The solution adapts to each cardholders’ locality, thus the start-up claims it boosts conversion rates.
As for its merchant customers, Viva is also in the midst of launching a credit service. The fintech says its acquisition of Greek digital challenger Praxia Bank in January 2020 will underwrite this.
Haris Karonis, Viva’s founder and CEO, says the company “plan[s] to unify the fragmented European payments market” across 23 countries.
In part, it hopes to do this by “liberat[ing]” merchants “from the hassle of maintaining legacy card terminals”.
From fintech to bank
Formed out of the ashes of Credicom Consumer Finance Bank – a specialist Greek automotive lender – Praxia was once hailed as Greece’s first digital bank.
But ambitious targets led to worries the neobank would dissolve due to a lack of sufficient funds, eventually leading to its acquisition.
Bob Diamond, formerly a chief executive at Barclays, helped build Praxia. He has invested €100 million into the challenger since it was founded, according to Kathimerini.
The Attica-based start-up bought Praxia before it could totally disappear, bagging its banking licence in the process.
This licence will allow it to serve a broader set of its customers, including services such as loans and savings products – which it is about to unveil.
Viva is already a licensed e-money institution for the whole European Economic Area (EEA). The fintech has offices in Warsaw, Athens and Helsinki.