ICYMI funding round-up: DigiDoe, Acorn Finance, ThankUCash, Trust & Will, MDXT, & Paywatch
At FinTech Futures, we know that it can be easy to let funding announcements slip you by in this fast-paced industry. That’s why we put together our weekly In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) funding round-up for you to get the latest funding news.
London-based paytech DigiDoe has secured £852,500 from new investors in an initial funding round, which it says “was closed early because of high levels of customer interest in DigiDoe’s unique next generation, fraud-inhibiting, multi-currency payments system”.
The round was led by investment firm Joint Journey and gives DigiDoe a 12-month runway.
The start-up says it’s “on a march to revolutionise the world’s outdated payments infrastructure” and claims to be the first company in the UK to offer biometrics-based payments to merchants without the presence of a card or phone.
DigiDoe is now trialling its patented multi-factor biometrics-based 7D user authentication technology. Designed from scratch, the solution can generate 200,000 transactions per second, compared to the 60,000 transactions-per-second capacity of current credit card providers, the company says.
Acorn Finance, which describes itself as “the world’s first embedded lending marketplace for home improvement financing”, has raised $8.4 million in Series A funding.
The round was led by MassMutual Ventures. Its managing director, Eric Emmons, will join the Acorn Finance board of directors.
Moderne Ventures and previous investors Vestigo Ventures, Accomplice, and MetaProp also participated in the round.
A prior $4 million in seed financing brings the company’s total funding to $12.4 million.
US-based Acorn Finance says the latest funding will help “to expand the number of lenders in its marketplace by including regional banks and credit unions, process loans almost instantaneously instead of next day, enhance the customer experience by slashing application time in half, and improve its algorithms to help borrowers choose the right offer based on key criteria including location, how quickly they need the money, the type of project, and their credit risk”. It also plans to double its team.
In 2021, the number of customers applying for loans through the Acorn Finance platform and Acorn’s revenue grew by 800%.
It is now exploring a foray into additional industries including elective healthcare, legal expenses, and e-commerce.
Online multi-merchant rewards platform ThankUCash has closed a $5.3 million seed funding round, co-led by venture capital firms 500 Global and Unicorn Growth Capital.
Expert Dojo, Predictive VC, SaaS Growth Ventures, Betatron Venture Group, and Accelerex Holdings also participated, as well as individual investors like Andrew Dell (ex-CEO of HSBC Africa) and Craig Fenton (director, strategy and operations, Google UK).
ThankUCash was launched in Nigeria in 2018 by Connected Analytics. It says it has over 600,000 users and 1,000 stores on its platform, and has processed over $80 million in transaction volume. It employs 45 people.
It previously raised $320,000 in pre-seed funding. The new funds will be used for expansion into Ghana and Kenya, the company says.
UBS Next, the $200 million fintech portfolio of Swiss banking giant UBS, has invested in US-based Trust & Will, a digital estate planning platform.
“With this investment, we are exploring services beyond banking where we can partner to deliver real value for our firm,” comments Mike Dargan, UBS Group chief digital and information officer.
UBS Next was set up in 2020 and primarily pursues minority, direct investments into early stage (Series A and Series B) fintech and technology companies with strategic and financial relevance (i.e. direct business or client impact or catalysts for platform/process improvements).
MDX Technology (MDXT), a UK-based provider of real-time data collaboration technology, has secured “significant investment” from a group of private backers, including Daniel Simpson and Emanuel Mond, co-founders of Cadis (now IHS Markit EDM), and Graham Denyer, ex-CTO of the IHS Markit EDM offering.
The investment amount is undisclosed.
Paul Watmough, CEO at MDXT, says the firm’s tech is used by “nearly 40 high-profile investment banks, interdealer brokers and buy-side firms” and underpins the MDXT marketplace.
Earned wage access (EWA) service provider Paywatch has raised $5.25 in a seed funding round led by US venture capital firm Third Prime and a number of family offices in Singapore and Hong Kong. SparkLabs, Won & Partners, and CTK Investments also participated in the round.
Paywatch claims it is “the only EWA service provider in Asia that works with top banks – such as Hong Leong Bank in Malaysia and Hana Bank in South Korea – to provide workers access to their earned wages, in real-time, before payday”.
It is integrated with five established financial institutions across Asia, and “serves as a bridge that provides its underbanked users with direct financial access to reputable banks”.
Operating in South Korea, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, the company plans to use the fresh funds to accelerate expansion efforts into new Southeast Asian markets, including Indonesia and the Philippines.
Paywatch was founded in 2018 by brothers Richard Kim (ex-MasterCard and HSBC) and Alex Kim.