Francis’ remarks during a trip to Malta were the closest he has come to pinning the war in Ukraine on President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
The government said that the new law was aimed at ending the criminalization of people for smoking the drug and at reducing criminal trafficking.
The upside of the Open Banking regulations which have swept jurisdictions like the UK and the EU is that many more challenger banks have appeared. The headache for either incumbent banks or for upstart startups is the very proliferation of these new banks and financial tech products. But as we know, in gold rushes, the people selling the picks and shovels usually win. Thus, startups have turned their attention, not to launching full-stack banks, but to full-stack platforms that other people can launch their fintech startups and products upon.
The latest to join this brigade is Toqio, a fintech platform with a white label digital finance SaaS that allows anyone to launch a new fintech product.
The London-based startup has now secured an €8M / $9.4M seed round of funding led by Seaya Ventures and Speedinvest, with SIX FinTech Ventures participating.
Founded in 2019 by Eduardo Martínez and Michael Galvin, the teams behind Toqio previously built a small business SaaS startup, Geniac, which was acquired by Grant Thornton.
Eduardo Martínez, co-Founder and CEO, of Toqio, said: “Businesses and banks are looking to innovate in the FinTech sector, but to date, they have had to create and maintain complex software solutions to do this. This has also kept smaller niche businesses out of the market. We don’t want FinTech to end up like banking just with a new set of big incumbents trying to take control of financial services. We want to level the playing field.”
Toqio says its customers get access to pre-built products to create applications that can go to market quickly. Products include digital banking, card, and financing solutions, and a marketplace, aimed at financial institutions, FinTech startups, banks, and corporate brands.
Headquartered in London and Madrid, Toqio says it already has customers across Europe, including new Spanish bank Crealsa, business banking service Wamo in Malta, and alternative business lender Just Cash Flow in the UK.
Aristotelis Xenofontos, Principal at Seaya Ventures, said: ”We have spent many years following the Embedded Finance space and finally found the missing piece, a seamless enabler that glues everything together. Toqio is a truly end-to-end platform that provides a complete plug-and-play bank and allows any organization to offer a full suite of digital financial services in a rapid, painless, future-proof, and low-cost way.”
Stefan Klestil, General Partner at Speedinvest, added: “We’ve seen the rise of neo-banks, the change of regulations across multiple markets, and now we’re starting to see traditional businesses and big brands looking to embed financial products within their existing offerings. Financial services are going to change and expand at an unprecedented rate, and Toqio will be instrumental in enabling it.”
These days, investing goes way beyond the stock market. And in recent years there’s been a growing number of startups which aim to give more people access to a wider array of investment opportunities. Today, one of those startups has raised a significant round of funding to help it achieve its goals.
Yieldstreet — which provides a platform for making alternative investments in areas like real estate, marine/shipping, legal finance, commercial loans and other opportunities that were previously only open to institutional investors — announced Tuesday that it has raised $100 million in a Series C funding round.
Former E*TRADE CEO Mitch Caplan, of Tarsadia Investments, led the round. Other participants include Alex Brown (a division of Raymond James), Kingfisher Capital, Top Tier Capital Partners and Gaingels. Existing backers Edison Partners, Soros Fund Management, Greenspring Associates, Raine Ventures, Greycroft and Expansion Capital also put money in the round, which brings Yieldstreet’s total raised to $278.5 million since its 2015 inception.
Milind Mehere and Michael Weisz co-founded Yieldstreet with the mission of making investing more inclusive for non-institutional investors. In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO Mehere declined to say at what valuation the Series C was raised other than to say “near unicorn.”
What he did share is that Yieldstreet has funded nearly $1.9 billion on its platform and has about 300,000 consumers signed up on its platform. That’s up from $600 million invested on its platform from more than 100,000 members in February 2019, at the time of its last raise. Also since that time, Yieldstreet has seen its investor base climb by 350%, he said. And this year, the company is expecting “over 50% revenue growth,” compared to 2020.
Since its inception, Yieldstreet says it has provided nearly more than $950 million in principal and interest payments to its investors.
And, both the number of investment requests and new investors surged by more than 250% from January to April 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, with new investors already exceeding all of last year, according to the company.
Mehere also shared that Yieldstreet is considering going public via a SPAC (special purpose acquisition vehicle) sometime in the next year or two.
“We are growing extremely fast and a few SPACs have approached us,” he told TechCrunch. “We are on a great path to potentially explore some of those options in the next 12 to 24 months. I think the public markets would be great for a company like Yieldstreet, purely because that gives you the visibility to expand your consumer growth but also gives you access to equity to pursue growth strategies such as potential acquisitions and other things.”
So far, Yieldstreet has acquired two companies (both in 2019): WealthFlex and Athena Art Finance.
At a very high level, Yieldstreet aims to give consumers access to invest in asset classes outside of the stock market.
“These are investments that generate passive income. For example, we do a bunch of things in real estate such as financing warehouses, multifamily and distribution centers,” Mehere told TechCrunch. “We also do art, auto loans or equipment finance. These are typically investments done by institutions and what we’re trying to do is really fractionalize them and get them to real estate investors. A lot of this stuff is asset-backed and it’s generating cash flow.”
In an effort to help people understand just exactly what they’re putting their money into, Yieldstreet aims to provide “a ton of investor education,” Mehere added, in the form of content such as articles, blog posts and infographics.
The company also aims to have its portfolios working “around the clock” to automatically apply earned income toward everyday expenses — a concept conceived by Mahere as “self-driving money.”
Yieldstreet will use its new capital to expand its user base, develop new investment products, explore international expansion and pursue strategic acquisitions, according to Mehere. Outside of its New York City headquarters, Yieldstreet also has offices in Brazil, Greece and Malta.
“Alternative investing has generally been restricted to very high net worth individuals. This is not just a U.S. problem, but a worldwide one. In Europe, especially, it is exacerbated by a negative interest rate,” he said. “So it’s even more compelling to them to tap into U.S. assets.” As such, Yieldstreet plans to expand into Europe and Asia as part of its growth strategy.
Tarsadia Investments (and former E*TRADE CEO) President Caplan believes the company is “uniquely positioned” to “achieve significant growth in revenue while ultimately achieving tremendous scale.”
“Everything begins and ends with the management team,” he told TechCrunch. “Yieldstreet’s management team’s vision for the future of digital investing aligned perfectly with that of our organization at Tarsadia. Yieldstreet is building the future of investing.”
The force’s commissioner said everyone believed to be involved in the car bombing that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia was in custody. But a motive remains unclear.
Trawling ancient history with neural nets.
The migrants were transferred from the tanker, the Maersk Etienne, to a humanitarian vessel before docking in Sicily after 40 days at sea.
The weekslong refusal by Malta and other nations to allow a tanker from a major global company to dock reflects an escalation in hard-line tactics against migrants.
A boat carrying 95 migrants on the Mediterranean floated adrift for more than 30 hours before the Maltese authorities finally brought them to shore under intense pressure.
The government of Malta enlisted three privately owned fishing trawlers to intercept migrants in the Mediterranean, and force them back to a war zone, officials and a boat captain say.
Malta im Winter ist preiswert und die Temperaturen sind angenehm frühlingshaft. BILD sagt, was Sie dort unternehmen können.
Foto: mradlgruber – Fotolia