Fintech funding round-up: 11 April 2018
Hot on the heels of yesterday’s (10 April) fintech funding round-up, more companies get to savour or splash the cash. Stars Ant Financial, Ripple, Blockchain Capital and Liberis.
Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is often in the news and this time it is looking to raise $9 billion in a private funding round, according to Wall Street Journal (WSJ) sources. Ant Financial owns Alipay, one of China’s largest payment platforms. Also, as reported in February, Alibaba Group will acquire a 33% equity interest in its affiliate Ant Financial as it looks to push deeper into the fintech world.
According to the WSJ, Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, a state investment firm, desires to be the lead investor ahead of Ant Financial’s IPO. If all this does happen, then Ant Financial could be valued at $150 billion, making it the world’s largest fintech firm. Then it will be a separate story, not in a round-up.
This isn’t an “exclusive”, as Ripple sent us an email as well. The firm tells us that it has invested $25 million in its XRP, a digital asset of the XRP Ledger, to Blockchain Capital’s most recent $150 million fund, specifically Blockchain Capital Parallel IV. San Francisco-based Blockchain Capital is the “first fund dedicated solely to the blockchain space and is also the first to accept capital calls in digital assets”.
As you guessed, Blockchain Capital will focus on investing in entrepreneurial teams that are building businesses on blockchain technology. Patrick Griffin, SVP of strategic growth at Ripple, says: “This is the first fund that we’ve contributed to, and it won’t be the last. We plan to be major players in shaping the future generation of blockchain or crypto companies.” Blockchain Capital was founded in 2013 and has raised and deployed three prior venture funds, including the “first ever ICO of a venture fund” (BCAP) in April of 2017.
In the UK, SME finance provider Liberis has secured £57.5 million in combined funding from British Business Investments, Paragon Bank, BCI Finance, and Blenheim Chalcot. This new money will be used to expand its product offering both in the UK and internationally. It’s not a new firm as it’s been around since 2007.
According to Liberis, it provides funding from £1,000 to £500,000 to small businesses based on their future credit and debit card sales. The funding is paid back via a pre-agreed percentage of the business’ digital transactions, “which means it’s especially suited to seasonal businesses as repayments are made in line with their daily income”. To date Liberis says it has helped over 7,000 small businesses and advanced £210 million in funding.