FinTech Futures: Top five stories of the week – 20 May 2022
Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
UK challenger Atom hires Andy Sturrock as CTO
UK challenger bank Atom has appointed Andy Sturrock as its new chief technology officer (CTO).
Sturrock, who joins from BP, where he led the company’s digital consumer channels and offers teams, will head up Atom’s cloud banking platform.
He will be tasked with upgrading the neobank’s core banking platform, enhancing Atom’s ability to develop and deliver new products across savings, mortgages and business banking.
Also on the agenda is improving Atom’s automation capabilities, both for customers and the technology team within Atom.
Atom Bank’s new CTO says: “I’m looking forward to developing Atom’s technology and taking it to the next level, putting automation and data at the core of our systems and building new products and services at speed to support customers even more effectively.”
Nude partners GoCardless to deliver VRP inter-account payments
Paytech GoCardless has been selected by savings app Nude to power its users’ payments as they look to save and invest for their first home deposit.
Leveraging GoCardless’ suite of direct bank payment options, Nude will gain access to both Direct Debit and instant open banking payments through a single integration.
The personal finance app will utilise the GoCardless network to move money from a saver’s bank account into their Nude Lifetime ISA and will be among the first in the UK to leverage Variable Recurring Payments (VRP).
VRPs are the next phase of open banking, mandated by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and are scheduled to be rolled out in 2022.
Former Meta, PayPal chief launches Bitcoin payments start-up
David Marcus, former president of PayPal and vice president of messaging products at Facebook, announced the launch of his new company, Lightspark.
Lightspark aims to “explore, build and extend the capabilities and utility of Bitcoin”.
Announcing the new company on Twitter, Marcus says the seed funding round, for an undisclosed amount, was co-led by a16z crypto and Paradigm, with participation from Thrive Capital, Coatue, Felix Capital, Ribbit Capital, Matrix Partners, Zeev Ventures, among others.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Marcus says the first step for the newly founded company is “actively assembling a team to dive deeper into the Lightning Network”.
The announcement of Lightspark comes amid recent volatility within cryptocurrency markets.
“Downturns are good moments to focus on building and creating value with mission-aligned people,” Marcus says.
Experian buys majority stake in Brazilian fintech MOVA
Dublin-based Experian, a global information services company, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Brazilian fintech MOVA.
MOVA provides any company, including non-banks, with the expertise and technology to perform data-driven credit assessments of their small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients.
Experian provides solutions that help individuals take financial control and gain access to financial services. The firm also enables businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.
Appian awarded $2bn in damages in trade secrets lawsuit
Low-code software firm Appian has been awarded $2 billion in damages from customer relationship management (CRM) solutions provider Pegasystems following a lawsuit over alleged trade secret misappropriation.
Appian says a jury in Fairfax County, Virginia – the home state of Appian – found that Pegasystems violated the Virginia Computer Crimes Act and that Pegasystems’ misappropriation of Appian’s trade secrets was “wilful and malicious”.
At the conclusion of the seven-week trial, the jury awarded Appian $2.036 billion in damages, which Appian believes is the largest award in Virginia state court history.
Appian CEO Matthew Calkins says: “Appian will never hesitate to defend itself and its intellectual property from competitors where it believes they have acted illegally.”
Appian alleges Pegasystems hired an employee of a government contractor to gain access to its software in a scheme known internally as ‘Project Crush’.