Category Archives: financial services

AI security startup Darktrace’s CEO defeats buzzword bingo with trust and transparency

It takes a lot of trust to allow a company to come in and install a mystery box on their network to monitor for threats. It’s like inviting in a security guard to sit in your living room to make sure nobody breaks in. Yet that’s exactly what Darktrace does. (The box, not the security guard.) The Cambridge U.K.-founded company, now with a second headquarters in San Francisco, assumes that any network can be breached. Instead of looking at the perimeter of a network, Darktrace uses artificial […]

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The Stanford connections behind Latin America’s multibillion-dollar startup renaissance

The houses along the tree-lined blocks of Josina Avenue in Palo Alto, with their big back yards, swimming pools and driveways are about as far removed from the snarls of traffic, sputtering diesel engines, and smoggy air of South America’s major metropolises as one can get. But it was in one of those houses, about a twelve-minute bicycle ride from Stanford University, that the seed was planted for what has become a renaissance in technology entrepreneurship in Latin America. Back in 2010, when Adeyemi Ajao, Carlo Dapuzzo, […]

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‘Weirdo’ Fintech VC Anthemis marches to its own drummer

Entering into the world of Anthemis is a bit like stepping into the frame of a Wes Anderson film. Eclectic, offbeat people situated in colorful interiors? Check. A muse in the form of a renowned British-Venezuelan economist? Check. A design-forward media platform to provoke deep thought? Check. An annual summer retreat ensconced in the French Alps? Bien sûr. Sitting atop this most unusual fintech(ish) VC is its ponytailed founder and chairman Sean Park, whose difficult-to-place accent and Philosophy professor aura belie his extensive fixed income capital markets […]

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These startups are locating in SF and Africa to win in global fintech

To become a global fintech player, locate your company in San Francisco and Africa. That’s the approach of payments company Flutterwave, digital lending startup Mines, and mobile-money venture Chipper Cash—Africa-founded ventures that maintain headquarters in San Francisco and operations in Africa to tap the best of both worlds in VC, developers, clients, and the frontier of digital finance. This arrangement wasn’t exactly coordinated across the ventures, but TechCrunch coverage picked up the trend and some common motives among these rising fintech firms. Founded in 2016 by Nigerians […]

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OpenFin raises $17 million for its OS for finance

OpenFin, the company looking to provide the operating system for the financial services industry, has raised $17 million in funding through a Series C round led by Wells Fargo, with participation from Barclays and existing investors including Bain Capital Ventures, J.P. Morgan and Pivot Investment Partners. Previous investors in OpenFin also include DRW Venture Capital, Euclid Opportunities and NYCA Partners. Likening itself to “the OS of finance”, OpenFin seeks to be the operating layer on which applications used by financial services companies are built and launched, akin […]

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Social investment platform eToro acquires smart contract startup Firmo

Social investing and trading platform eToro announced that it has acquired Danish smart contract infrastructure provider Firmo for an undisclosed purchase price. Firmo’s platform enables exchanges to execute smart financial contracts across various assets, including crypto derivatives, and across all major blockchains. Firmo founder and CEO Dr. Omri Ross described the company’s mission as “…enabl[ing] our users to trade any asset globally with instant settlement by tokenizing assets and executing all essential trade processes on the blockchain.” Firmo’s only disclosed investment, according to data from Pitchbook, came in […]

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Movius raises $45M for its business communications service

Atlanta-based Movius, a company that allows companies to assign a separate business number for voice calls and texting to any phone, today announced that it has raised a $45 million Series D round led by JPMorgan Chase, with participation from existing investors PointGuard Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Anschutz Investment company. With this, the company has now raised a total of $100 million. In addition to the new funding, Movius also today announced that it has brought on former Adobe and Sun executive John Loiacono as its […]

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Venture capital and the blockchain will be the talk at Startup Battlefield Africa

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield returns to Africa next month, and we have an agenda chock-full of interesting panels and our premier startup competition. Joining us in Lagos, Nigeria on December 11 for a couple of those aforementioned panels will be Chris Folayan, the founder and CEO of Mall for Africa; Nichole Yembra, chief financial, risk and investment officer for Venture Garden Group (VGG) and a managing partner at GreenHouse Capital; and Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi, partner at Hacked Capital. Chris Folayan, who is originally from Nigeria, graduated from California State […]

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CowryWise micro-savings service opens high-yield government bonds to everyday Nigerians

In emerging market countries where economic volatility is a way of life, there aren’t a lot of relatively safe options for members of the burgeoning middle class to park their money. For instance, countries like Nigeria have experienced a tremendous growth in the number of citizens entering the middle class, which now accounts for about 23 percent of the population (it’s around 50 percent in the U.S.), according to a recent article citing the African Development Bank. While Nigeria now faces some significant headwinds from a weak […]

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