London Fintech Week opens with fresh funding review

Backed by the London Stock Exchange, industry group Fintech Week London (FTWL) has announced a new review of the fintech funding landscape. Here we discuss what this means for the sector moving forwards and how fintech is adapting to inflationary pressures.

As leaders in the UK’s fintech industry gather in the capital for London Fintech Week, we are reminded of the city’s important role in the global fintech industry.

London is one of the top three global fintech hubs and has been a central driving force behind the UK’s emergence as a fintech leader, with roughly two-thirds of all fintech companies in the UK headquartered here. It has also helped establish a ‘halo’ of fintech activity around Greater London in cities such as Milton Keynes, Oxford, Brighton and Southampton, with a number of these areas developing specialisms in banking, payments and WealthTech.

Inflation tightens its grip

London Fintech Week arrives at a difficult moment for fintech companies. Investment into fintech hit record levels in 2021, but like most other industries, fintech is not immune to the grip of inflation. Against the backdrop of increasingly volatile markets, financial institutions have become more risk averse, meanings funds are more difficult to access.

Over the past few weeks, big names such as Klarna and SumUp amongst others have seen valuations drop amidst a sharp decline in venture capital investment into the sector. This is having a very real impact on real people, with an estimated 3,700 job cuts across the fintech industry in the second quarter of 2022 alone.

In reaction to this, FTWL has announced a new review into fintech funding which will bring together regulators, investors and finance firms to address declining investment and a plunge in valuations across the UK fintech landscape. Rafe de Kimpe, CEO of FTWL, said: “We’re going to look at what has happened to funding, how can we learn from this and how we can work together to make sure that industry gets better than before.”

Looking to the long run

There are signs of uncertainty ahead for fintech and this, aside from the war for talent, could be one of the industry’s biggest challenges to date.

The full maturation of any industry is a gradual process that comes with inevitable ups and downs – and fintech is no different.

The union between finance and technology is redefining the financial sector from top to bottom and despite the drying up of investment, fintechs continue to move forward, disrupting incumbents and driving adoption.

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), for example, revealed in June 2022 that the number of open banking users hit a record of 6 million, just four months after reaching the 5 million milestone. Similarly, recent data from found that nine out of ten financial institutions are in the midst of, or planning to, roll out embedded finance solutions.

And although there has been an increase in the number of fintech companies laying off staff, this trend is likely to reverse in the long-term. According to Statista, the number of employees in the UK’s fintech industry is estimated to increase by 15% between now and the end of the decade.

As London Fintech Week draws to a close, it’s clear the industry is making a real difference to the lives of real people. In the face of mounting obstacles, fintechs need to remain resilient and continue to lead the way in financial innovation.

Chatsworth was the first communications agency to focus on fintech. We’ve been building fintech reputations for 20 years, steering start-ups through launchgrowth and onto corporate action, and protecting and enhancing established infrastructures.

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Previse raises USD $7m in Series A funding round

Previse, the global supplier payments decisions company, has raised USD $7m in a Series A funding round, led by listed European fintech specialist, Augmentum Fintech PLC, and one of the world’s pre-eminent venture capital firms, Bessemer Venture Partners.

Hambro Perks and a number of existing and new angel investors also participated in the funding round.

Applying machine learning to B2B payments

Previse applies machine learning technology to solve a global business problem – slow B2B payments. The London-based fintech enables buyers to have all their suppliers paid instantly, as soon as the buyer receives an invoice. It uses machine learning to root out the invoices which may not be paid, allowing a funder to pay the rest immediately. The small fee paid by the supplier for instant payment is shared between the buyer, the funder and Previse.

How big is the slow B2B payments problem?

Slow business to business (B2B) payments caused by inefficient payment terms cost the world’s businesses US$300 billion every year. They cripple business and economic growth and are one of the leading killers of small suppliers. Paying slowly costs large buyers, because a supplier’s expensive cost of borrowing is priced into the cost of the goods or services supplied. Large buyers are also perceived to be taking advantage of their suppliers and are facing a growing public and political backlash as a result.

Significant demand for InstantPay

Since its founding in 2016, Previse has grown rapidly, signing up seven large organisations as well as receiving significant demand for its InstantPay technology from some of the world’s largest companies. It is also now listed on the G-Cloud – meaning instant invoice payment is now available for the £223 billion market that is public procurement.

The Series A funding will help scale Previse’s business to meet this significant, global demand, onboard clients and further develop its technology with the overall aim of ensuring that every supplier in the world can be paid instantly.

World-leading backers

Bessemer Venture Partners is America’s longest-standing venture capital firm. It has a global portfolio and has invested in companies such as LinkedIn, DocuSign, and Box. Augmentum Fintech is a listed fintech-focused venture capital investor and its portfolio includes leading UK fintech companies such as Zopa, Interactive Investor and Seedrs.

In 2017, Previse also raised £2 million in a seed funding round led by Hambro Perks, Founders Factor and high net-worth angel investors with close ties to high-profile multinationals.

It counts senior business figures such as Chairman of British Land, John Gildersleeve, and Sainsbury’s Chairman, David Tyler as members of its advisory board.

More positive news for high-flying UK fintech scene

This positive development from the London-based fintech comes just weeks after KPMG announced the UK held the crown for worldwide fintech investment in H1 of 2018. It attracted over US$16.1bn of inbound investment during the first half of the year, more than China (US$15.1bn) and the United States (US$14.2bn).

Previse has made huge strides since its launch in 2016, receiving backing from leading business figures, top venture capital firms and signing up seven large organisations. With strong plans for growth and a desire to transform global B2B payments, the company is undoubtedly one of the hottest fintechs worth keeping an eye on over the next few years.

Cobalt closes investment from former Deutsche Bank COO Henry Ritchotte

Cobalt, the FX post-trade processing network based on shared ledger technology, has closed an investment from Henry Ritchotte, the former Deutsche Bank COO who will also become a member of Cobalt’s strategic advisory board.

Henry Ritchotte spent over two decades at Deutsche Bank where he was a member of the Management Board and Group Executive Committee acting as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Digital Officer. Since leaving the bank at the end of 2016 Henry established RitMir Ventures, a principal investment firm focused on investing in products and services transforming finance through disruptive regulatory and technology driven business models.

Cobalt delivers a private peer-to-peer network that significantly reduces post-trade costs and risk for institutions operating in today’s FX markets. The platform is designed to create a single, shared view of a transaction on shared infrastructure and allows clients to reduce reconciliation and operational costs by up to 80%. With its production beta now live, Cobalt is ramping up to launch its live platform later this year.

Adrian Patten, Co-Founder of Cobalt, comments: “Henry’s investment reflects the increased interest our platform is receiving from the wider financial industry. With our innovative technology and his experience and knowledge, we are strongly positioned to redesign post-trade.”

Henry Ritchotte, Founder of RitMir Ventures, comments: “There has been comparatively little investment in post-trade over the past few decades. Cobalt’s network is an elegant solution that provides significant benefits for users and will reshape the industry as we know it. I look forward to working with the leadership team on their fresh approach to the post-trade challenges shared by all FX participants.”

Chatsworth client R3 secures record-breaking USD 107 investment in distributed ledger technology

We are delighted to announce that Chatsworth client R3 has secured one of the largest ever Series A investments in the global fintech industry, raising USD 107 million from over 40 institutions across the globe.

R3 is leading a consortium of banks and other financial institutions working together to develop a new operating system for the financial services industry based on distributed ledger technology (DLT), which was borne out of blockchain – the infrastructure that enables the transfer of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.

Chatsworth has handled global PR for R3 since its launch in September 2015. During the last eighteen months we have worked closely with the financial, business and technology media to raise awareness and understanding of R3’s unique approach and technology as it sought to grow its network of members and investors.

Drawing on R3’s team of expert spokespeople, Chatsworth positioned the company and its members as thought leaders in this revolutionary technological field, securing thousands of pieces of coverage including tier 1 outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, FT, Bloomberg, Reuters and the Economist. R3 is now widely seen as the leading voice on distributed ledger technology, with its spokespeople regularly called upon to provide expert commentary in the press.

The awareness generated by this coverage helped fuel the momentum to drive R3’s growth from a fintech startup with eight finance and technology veterans and nine bank members to a global team of 110 professionals serving over 80 global financial institutions and regulators on six continents.

This massive investment marks the next stage in R3’s evolution. Many of the world’s largest financial firms have come together not just with capital support, but with a robust commitment to work with R3 in developing foundational industry solutions that will be the building blocks of the new financial services infrastructure.

We look forward to continuing our work with R3 as they take distributed ledger technology off the drawing board and onto the trading floor.