Revolut applies for bank charter in the US

London-based fintech startup Revolut has announced that it is applying for a bank charter in the U.S. The company has submitted a draft application with the FDIC and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

If the company manages to get a charter in California, it would let the company operate throughout the U.S. as an independent bank. The discussions are still ongoing, which means it could take a while before the authorities grant a charter to the company.

After obtaining a charter in the U.S., Revolut could start offering more financial services. In particular, it would open up more opportunities when it comes to lending and savings products.

Right now, Revolut partners with Metropolitan Commercial Bank in the U.S. — they handle your deposits and they are insured by the FDIC. They also issue cards for Revolut.

In the U.S., Revolut is also launching Revolut Business. These accounts let a company send and receive international payments more easily. Companies can also use the service for payments with virtual and physical debit cards. Revolut Business is available across all 50 states. There are 500,000 companies using Revolut Business in Europe.

Revolut currently has 15 million customers for its financial super app — most of them are in the U.K. and the European Union. The company recently announced that it was applying for a banking license in the U.K., its home country and its biggest market. In Europe, Revolut has a specialized license from the Bank of Lithuania — some customers are already moving their account to Revolut Bank.

Revolut isn’t the only fintech startup applying for a bank charter in the U.S. Last month, Brex announced that it would apply for a bank charter in Utah. Varo Bank also obtained its own bank charter last year.

It proves that leveraging another bank’s charter is great for growth. But at some point, if you want to launch new products and generate more revenue from those products, you have to get your own charter.

#challenger-bank, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #neobank, #revolut, #startups


Fraud prevention platform Seon raises a $12M Series A round led by Creandum

Seon, which lets online businesses fight online fraud like fake accounts has raised a $12 million Series A round led by Creandum, with participation from PortfoLion, part of OTP Bank. The funding appears to be one of Hungary’s larger series A rounds to date.
Seon is a fraud-detection startup that establishes a customers’ ‘digital footprint’ in order to weed out false accounts and thus prevent fraudulent transactions. Clients include Patreon, AirFrance, Rivalry and Ladbrokes Launched in 2017, the company claims to bave been profitable since the end of 2019, after experiencing growth through working with neobanks, esports, gaming, Forex, and crypto trading throughout the rapid digitization brought on by the pandemic.

SEON’s CEO and Founder, Tamas Kadar, said in a statement: “We’re extremely pleased to have completed our latest funding round, led by Creandum, joining its exciting tech portfolio. We feel we have found a like-minded investor to work closely with to pursue the significant global opportunity for our business as we continue to democratize fraud fighting.”
Simon Schmincke, general partner at Creandum, said: “At Creandum, we believe cybercrime will be one of the most serious threats of the 21st century. With SEON, we’ve found an anti-fraud solution that’s effective, affordable, flexible, intuitive, and clearly proves its ROI.”
Gábor Pozsonyi, partner at PortfoLion Capital Partners, added: “Seon is a fundamentally useful brand: it offers a solution to one of the greatest challenges of digitalization, not only saving hundreds of millions of euros for its partners but making the internet a safer place.”

SEON are seen as competing with Emailage, Iovation, Threatmetrix. However, SEON’s thesis is that social media is a great proxy of a legitimate user vs bot/fake fraudster, so it looks heavily at social accounts to weed out fraudsters.

As part of the funding round, Seon has brought on board the following investors as shareholders: N26 founders, Maximilian Tayenthal and Valentin Stalf; SumUp founders Stefan Jeschonnek and Jan Deepen; Tide CEO Laurence Krieger; Revolut ex-CFO Peter O’Higgins; iZettle ex-chief Product Officer Leo Nilsson; Onfido cofounder Eamon Jubawy, and ComplyAdvantage founder Charlie Delingpole.

#ceo, #cfo, #charlie-delingpole, #cofounder, #europe, #financial-services, #financial-technology, #general-partner, #hungary, #izettle, #laurence-krieger, #mobile-payments, #n26, #onfido, #online-fraud, #online-payments, #partner, #patreon, #portfolion, #revolut, #social-media, #tc, #threatmetrix, #tide


Revolut lets customers switch to Revolut Bank in 10 additional countries

Fintech startup Revolut has its own banking license in the European Union since late 2018. It lets the company offer some additional financial services without partnering with third-party companies. And the company is going to let customers switch to Revolut Bank in 10 additional countries.

The Bank of Lithuania has granted a specialized license — it isn’t a full-fledged license per se as it focuses on some activities. The company is taking advantage of European passporting rules to operate in other European countries. Right now, Revolut takes advantage of its banking license in two countries — Poland and Lithuania.

In Lithuania for instance, you can apply for a credit card with a credit limit that’s twice the value of your monthly salary (up to €6,000). The company also offers personal loans between €1,000 and €15,000. You can pay back over 1 to 60 months.

Now, customers in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will be able to become Revolut Bank customers. It’s not a transparent process as you need to get through a few steps to carry your account over.

But once this process is done, your deposits are protected under the deposit guarantee scheme. If Revolut Bank shutters at some point down the road, customers can claim up to €100,000 thanks to the scheme — both euros and foreign currencies are protected.

You can expect new credit products in the 10 new markets. Overall, Revolut has attracted 15 million customers. The company recently announced that it was also applying for a banking license in the U.K., its home country and its biggest market.

#challenger-bank, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #neobank, #policy, #revolut, #startups


ETH spin-off LatticeFlow raises $2.8M to help build trustworthy AI systems

LatticeFlow, an AI startup that was spun out of ETH Zurich in 2020, today announced that it has raised a $2.8 million seed funding round led by Swiss deep-tech fund btov and Global Founders Capital, which previously backed the likes of Revolut, Slack and Zalando.

The general idea behind LatticeFlow is to build tools that help AI teams build and deploy AI models that are safe, reliable and trustworthy. The problem today, the team argues, is that models get very good at finding the right statistical patterns to hit a given benchmark. That makes them inflexible, though, since these models were optimized for accuracy in a lab setting, not for robustness in the real world.

“One of the most commonly used paradigms for evaluating machine learning models is just aggregate metrics, like accuracy. And, of course, this is a super coarse representation of how good a model really is,” Pavol Bielik, the company’s CTO explained. “What we want to do is, we provide systematic ways of monitoring models, assessing their reliability across different relevant data slices and then also provide tools for improving these models.”

Image Credits: LatticeFlow

Building these kinds of models that are more flexible yet still provide robust results will take a new arsenal of tools, though, as well as the right team with deep expertise in these areas. Clearly, though, this is a founding team with the right background. In addition to CTO Bielik, the founding team includes Petar Tsankov, the company’s CEO and former senior researcher and lecturer at ETH Zurich, as well as ETH professors Martin Vechev, who leads the Secure, Reliable and Intelligence Systems lab at ETH, and Andreas Krause, who leads ETH’s Learning & Adaptive Systems lab. Tsankov’s last startup, DeepCode, was acquired by cybersecurity firm Snyk in 2020.

It’s also worth noting that Vechev, who previously co-founded ETH spin-off ChainSecurity, and his group at ETH previously developed ERAN, a verifier for large deep learning models with millions of parameters, that last year won the first competition for certifying deep neural networks. While the team was already looking at creating a company before winning this competition, Vechev noted that gave the team the confirmation that it was on the right path.

Image Credits: LatticeFlow

“We want to solve the main AI problem, which is making AI usable. This is the overarching goal,” Vechev told me. “[…] I don’t think you can actually found the company just purely based on the certification work. I think the kinds of skills that people have in the company, my group, Andreas [Krause]’s group, they all complement each other and cover a huge space, which I think is very, very unique. I don’t know of other companies who have covered this range of skills in these pressing points and have done groundbreaking work before.”

LatticeWorks already has a set of pilot customers who are trialing its tools. These include Swiss railways (SBB), which is using it to build a tool for automatic rail inspections, Germany’s Federal Cyber Security Bureau and the U.S. Army. The team is also working with other large enterprises that are using its tools to improve their computer vision models.

“Machine Learning (ML) is one of the core topics at SBB, as we see a huge potential in its application for an improved, intelligent and automated monitoring of our railway infrastructure,” said Dr. Ilir Fetai and Andre Roger, the leads of SBB’s AI team. “The project on robust and reliable AI with LatticeFlow, ETH, and Siemens has a crucial role in enabling us to fully exploit the advantages of using ML.”

For now, LatticeFlow remains in early access. The team plans to use the funding to accelerate its product development and bring on new customers. The team also plans to build out a presence in the U.S. in the near future.

#artificial-intelligence, #btov-partners, #deep-neural-networks, #deepcode, #emerging-technologies, #global-founders-capital, #latticeflow, #machine-learning, #recent-funding, #revolut, #siemens, #snyk, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #zalando


Revolut applies for UK banking license

It’s hard to believe that fintech startup Revolut doesn’t have a proper banking license in its home country. But this is about to change as the company has applied for a banking license in the U.K. Up next, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are going to look at the application.

Revolut already has a banking license in the European Union. The Bank of Lithuania has granted a license and the company is taking advantage of European passporting rules to operate in other European countries.

It is slowly starting to offer its own banking products in Europe. Revolut is testing a credit offer in two European markets.

Revolut dubs itself as a financial super app. After you create an account, you get an e-wallet and a debit card. You can send and receive money, hold money in your account and use your card for in-store and online purchases.

Over the past few years, Revolut has greatly expanded beyond that simple premise. You can buy cryptocurrencies, stocks and commodities. You can set money aside in a vault. You can get travel and mobile phone insurance products.

Some of these features have been developed in house. Other features have required partnerships with other fintech companies. While you can do a lot of things with your Revolut account, it’s still not technically a bank in the U.K.

It has been great when it comes to growth, but it can be limiting when it comes to revenue opportunities and product offering. If Revolut gets a banking license, the company will be able to offer full-service current accounts with overdrafts and loans in the U.K. Revolut could also offer credit cards.

Customers will also be protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If Revolut becomes a bank and disappears, customers are protected up to £85,000 per person.

Revolut currently has 13 million customers and a valuation of $5.5 billion. While the company doesn’t break down its user base based on markets, the U.K. represents one of the most important markets for the company.

#challenger-bank, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #neobank, #revolut, #startups


Revolut launches mid-tier subscription plan

Fintech startup Revolut is tweaking its subscription plans with a new mid-tier offering called Revolut Plus — it costs £2.99 per month. Like N26 Smart and Monzo Plus, the new plan is a pandemic-proof package that doesn’t focus as much on travel.

For the past couple of years, challenger banks and alternatives to traditional bank accounts have been packaging additional services into paid plans. Essentially, those fintech startups are slowly becoming freemium software-as-a-service companies.

The majority of users don’t subscribe to paid plans. But a small portion is willing to pay a fixed monthly fee to access advanced features, get an insurance package and pay less in variable fees.

Revolut already has two paid plans — Premium and Metal. Premium increases limits on free ATM withdrawals and foreign exchange. You also get overseas medical insurance, delayed baggage and flight insurance and winter sports coverage. You can also access advanced features, such as disposable virtual cards and Revolut Junior accounts

With a Metal plan, your insurance package is a bit more thorough, with purchase protection and car hire excess. You get a tiny bit of cash back on purchases (0.1% in Europe, 1% outside of Europe capped at the monthly subscription price) and higher limits across various products.

Another big selling point has been card designs. With the Metal plan, as the name suggests, you get a metal card. It’s not that useful but some people like it. Premium subscribers can also choose between premium card designs.

Revolut Premium costs £6.99 per month and Revolut Metal costs £12.99 per month (or €7.99 and €13.99, respectively in Europe). You pay a bit less if you pay upfront for a year.

So what is Revolut Plus? It costs £2.99 per month, which makes it a lot more affordable than Revolut Premium. The main selling point is purchase protection provided by Qover. All paid plans now get purchase protection with different limits on damaged or stolen goods (up to £1,000, £2,500 and £10,000 depending on your plan). You can get a refund on purchases up to 90 days after buying eligible products. If you book a ticket and your event is cancelled, you could also get a refund.

In addition to a new card design, Revolut Plus subscribers can also use virtual cards. You can also create junior accounts with the new mid-tier plan.

As you can see, there’s no overseas travel insurance. You also don’t get unlimited free currency exchange (other than spread). Revolut Plus is focused on people who mostly use their Revolut account in their home country.

Revolut is also tweaking other plans, so it’s going to be important to check the terms and conditions before you renew your paid plan. The new Plus plan is available today in the U.K. and will be rolled out next week in the European Economic Area.

Image Credits: Revolut

#challenger-bank, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #neobank, #revolut, #startups, #tc


Revolut lets businesses accept online payments

Fintech startup Revolut is launching its own acquiring solution. With this move, the company is competing directly with Stripe, Adyen, Braintree or This is an in-house product and not just a fresh coat of paint on an existing solution.

As a reminder, Revolut already offers business accounts. It lets you send and receive international payments, exchange funds in multiple currencies. You can also order debit cards to spend money from your Revolut account directly.

With Revolut’s acquiring solution, the company is going one step further as you can now accept card payments from your customers. Revolut supports 14 currencies and settle payments on your Revolut Business account the next day.

When it comes to fees, you get a small allowance of free card payment processing fees depending on your plan. Above that limit, you pay 1.3% on card transactions from customers based in Europe and the U.K. For other cards, you pay 2.8% on all transactions — there’s no free allowance.

This is slightly cheaper than Stripe, which costs 1.4% + £0.20 for European cards and 2.9% + £0.20 for non-European card. Of course, companies like Stripe have been optimizing their payments infrastructure for many years. Right now, Stripe supports more payment methods, more currencies, advanced fraud prevention features, etc.

After you’ve created your merchant account, Revolut offers plugins for WooCommerce, Prestashop and Magento already. You can also use the Merchant API to add a checkout widget on your custom website.

If you’re a freelancer and you just need to send a couple of invoices per month, you can also generate payment links. The recipient can then pay from a web page hosted by Revolut.

The main advantage of Revolut’s acquiring solution is that it’s integrated with Revolut Business. You can see payments and banking in the same interface, you don’t need to alternate between your Stripe account and your bank account to reconcile transaction data.

It could work particularly well for B2B businesses that don’t handle a ton of transactions and don’t want to set up a separate payments solution. Let’s see what customers think of the API when they start using it.

Online payments are available for business customers in the U.K., Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The rest of the European Economic Area should get the feature soon.

#europe, #finance, #fintech, #revolut, #startups


Revolut launches early salary feature in the UK and web app

Fintech startup Revolut has two new features this week. First, the company is launching a web app for its regular users — not just business users. Second, in the U.K., Revolut has partnered with Modulr to let you receive your salary a day early.

Revolut has historically focused its efforts on its mobile app. If you have a business account with Revolut, you know that you can see your past transactions and access your account from a regular web browser. But the company’s 13 million customers couldn’t access their account from a computer.

Everyone can now head over to Revolut’s web app and sign in to view their transaction history and cards. From this interface, you can freeze and unfreeze a debit card and control card features. The web app also supports account top-ups using a bank transfer, a card payment or Apple Pay (in Safari).

By default, Revolut sends a push notification so that you can authorize web browser access. But if you’ve lost your phone, you can also choose to receive a security code via email.

You’ll still have to use the mobile app to access some features, but it’s a start.

As for users living in the U.K., Revolut is doubling down on its partnership with Modulr to send your salary a bit early. Salaries made over the Bacs payment scheme will arrive a day earlier than usual — most people are paid using this method in the U.K. This is all about optimizing payment infrastructure, and it could be particularly helpful before a long holiday weekend.

This should also benefit Revolut directly as many users have been using Revolut in addition to a regular bank account. Adding features that make it easier to ditch your bank account could boost the company’s usage numbers. And that could help the company grow its card interchange fees, subscription revenue and other sources of revenue.

#challenger-bank, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #revolut, #startups


Looking to emulate Venmo, JoomPay preps a Euro launch for easy bill splitting and cash payments

JoomPay, a startup with a similar product to PayPayl-owned Venmo in the US, is set to launch in Europe shortly after being granted a Luxembourg Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license. The app allows people to send and receive money with anyone, instantly and for free. “Venmo me” has become a common phrase in the US, where people use it to split bills in restaurants or similar. Venmo is in common use in the US, but it’s not available in Europe, although dozens of other innovative mobile peer to peer transfer options exist, such as Revolut, N26, Monese and Monzo. The waitlist for the app’s beta is open now.

Europe leads the world’s instant payments industry, with $18 trillion in worldwide volume predicted by 2025 up from $3 trillion in 2020 – a growth of over 500%. Western Europe – and COVID-19 – is now driving that innovation and will account for 38% of instant payment transaction value by 2025. While Europe lacks simple peer-to-peer payments solutions such as Venmo or Square Cash App in the US, challenger banks have stepped up to provide similar kinds of services. JoomPay’s opportunity lies in being able to be a middle-man between these various banking systems.

Shopping app Joom, which has been downloaded 150M times in Europe, has spun-off JoomPay to solve this problem. The app allows users to send and receive money from any person, regardless of whether they use JoomPay or not – and you only need to know their email or the phone number. JoomPay connects to any existing debit/credit card or a bank account. It also provides its users with a European IBAN and an optional free JoomPay card with cashback and bonuses.

Yuri Alekseev, CEO and co-founder of JoomPay, said: “Since COVID-19 started, we’ve seen a significant decline in cash usage. People can’t meet as easily as before but still need to send money, and we offer a viable alternative.”

JoomPay may have an uphill struggle. Its main competitors in Europe are the huge TransferWise, Paysend, and of course PayPal itself.

#banking, #europe, #financial-services, #financial-technology, #mobile-payments, #monzo, #n26, #online-payments, #paypal, #peer-to-peer, #revolut, #tc, #united-states, #up, #venmo


Revolut lets you track your subscriptions, adds savings bonus in the US

Fintech startup Revolut has rolled out a handful of additional features over the past few days. The financial app lets you track all your subscriptions that you pay with your Revolut account or your card. In the U.S., Revolut is adding a savings bonus based on your purchasing habits. Finally, business customers can now order metal cards.

Let’s start with subscription tracking. For customers in Europe, Revolut is trying to make it easier to stay on top of your various subscriptions. Direct debit or card transactions are automatically marked as recurring. You can also manually mark transactions as subscriptions in case they aren’t automatically marked.

After that, you can see all your recurring payments from the app and check how much you’re spending with each merchant. If you spot a subscription that you completely forgot, you can block it — future payments will be declined.

And if you don’t have a lot of money on your account, you receive a notification warning you that a subscription payment is coming up. Subscriptions can be accessed from the Payments tab under Scheduled.

If you have multiple bank accounts, some users might switch their payment information to their Revolut card just to keep all their subscriptions in Revolut. It could boost usage.

4.5% bonus on savings accounts in the U.S.

In some markets, Revolut offers savings vaults. As the name suggests, those sub-accounts let you put some money aside and earn interest. You can round up card transactions and save spare change in a vault, you can set up weekly or monthly transactions or you can transfer money manually whenever you want.

In the U.S., customers earn 0.25% annualized percentage yield (APY) with their savings vaults. If you pay for a premium subscription, you get 0.5% APY with a Revolut Premium or Revolut Metal plan.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you get a generous bonus on top of your normal interest rate. Revolut calculates how much you spent with your Revolut debit card the previous month. That amount is eligible for a 4.5% APY bonus.

For instance, if you spent $400 with your card last month and you have $500 in your savings vault, you’ll receive the 4.5% bonus on $400. You’ll also earn 0.25% to 0.5% on the entire savings vault.

If your savings vault balance is lower than how much you spent with your card last month, your entire vault is eligible for the bonus. Interests are calculated daily using an annualized rate and paid out the first business day of the following month.

Once again, the new feature should boost engagement in the U.S. for both card transactions and savings vaults. Revolut has 13 million customers in total, including 150,000 in the U.S.

Metal cards for business customers

People care about metal cards. That’s why many fintech startups now offer expensive monthly plans with metal cards — N26, Bunq, Curve and Revolut.

But Revolut Business customers have been limited to plastic cards (or virtual cards). If you use Revolut Business for your company, you can now order metal cards depending on your plan.

Revolut Business customers with a free account or a freelancer account can’t order metal cards. Customers on the Grow, Scale or Enterprise plans receive one, two or five metal cards respectively.

And if you want to order more metal cards, it costs £49 per card. You can choose a card among five different colors — black, gold, rose gold, space grey and silver.

Other than a new look, metal cards don’t differ from standard cards. It’s a small perk that you get with a paid plan. Revolut has managed to attract 500,000 customers for its Revolut Business product.

#apps, #challenger-bank, #finance, #fintech, #mobile, #neobank, #revolut, #startups


Crypto exchange Bitpanda closes $52M Series A from Valar Ventures, backed by Peter Thiel

Bitpanda, a crypto assets platform, has closed a $52 million Series A funding round form Valar Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by Peter Thiel. Vienna-based VC Speedinvest also participated, alongside other unnamed investors. Claiming 1.3 million users, Bitpanda has previously been trading digital assets and tokenizing precious metals.

The Vienna-based company will use the cash to expand internationally. It expanded to France, Spain and Turkey in 2020 and plans to enter additional European markets this year and next. It has 300 employees.

Essentially, Bitpanda is a crypto exchange which can support other kinds of assets in a tokenized form. To date, it’s not very well known or used in the Crypto world.

What this represents is an interesting move by a crypto exchange, effectively expanding into real-world assets. At the other end of the spectrum, platforms like eToro, Robinhood and Revolut, which came from traditional assets world, and are now adding Crypto world assets. Eventually, the two will meet, in some shape or form.

Bitpanda is a centralized exchange with its own infrastructure, and is not running on a public blockchain. Other centralized exchanges include Coinbase, Kraken, Binance, Kucoin and Huobi.

As part of the investment, Valar Ventures founding partner, Andrew McCormack, will also join Bitpanda’s board. McCormack was previously with PayPal in its early years and supported Peter Thiel during its IPO and eventual sale to eBay in 2002. Valar has previously invested in European fintechs including Transferwise and the Germany-based digital bank, N26.

#binance, #coinbase, #ebay, #etoro, #europe, #finance, #france, #kraken, #mobile-payments, #money, #n26, #online-payments, #paypal, #peter-thiel, #revolut, #spain, #tc, #transferwise, #turkey, #valar-ventures, #venture-capital, #vienna


Revolut launches its financial app in Japan

Fintech startup Revolut is expanding to Japan. After testing the service with 10,000 users, anybody can now sign up and open an account. The company originally obtained its authorization to operate from Japan’s Finance Service Agency in 2018.

When you open an account, you get an electronic wallet and a Visa debit card. You can top up your account and spend money with your card, a virtual card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. Revolut sends you instant notifications and lets you freeze and unfreeze your card from the app.

You can also send money to other Revolut users or a bank account. Like in other countries, Revolut lets you exchange money in the app and send money in other currencies. Many users have taken advantage of the service to travel and pay less in foreign exchange fees.

Users in Japan will also be able to create vaults and put some money aside by rounding up transactions and creating recurring transactions. And that’s about it for now.

The company has already launched premium plans in Japan, but it doesn’t give you a lot of benefits other than lower fees on foreign exchange, different card designs, better support and the ability to buy airport lounge access with LoungeKey Pass.

Unlike in the U.K. and Europe, you won’t be able to buy cryptocurrencies, trade stocks, buy insurance products, create Revolut Junior accounts for your children, etc. Revolut is really trying to build a super app in its home country and has massively expanded its feature set over the years.

The company promises that some features, such as cryptocurrency and stock trading, will be available globally. But there’s no release date just yet. So let’s see how the product evolves in the coming months.

Revolut is currently available in the U.K., Europe, the U.S., Singapore and Australia. It currently has 13 million customers.

Image Credits: Revolut

#finance, #japan, #revolut, #startups


Revolut loses its head of regulatory compliance, hires two former Amazon execs

More personnel changes at Revolut are in motion, as a key member of the leadership team leaves for Barclays, and two former Amazon staffers join the London-headquartered neoank, including a new chief operating officer.

TechCrunch understands that Chris Sing, Revolut’s head of regulatory compliance is leaving to take up the position as Barclays’s new chief of staff to the group chief compliance officer. He joined Revolut in December 2018 and has spent a little under two years at the multi-unicorn fintech.

In a gamekeeper-turned-poacher styled career move, prior to Revolut, Sing was a manager at U.K. regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). During his long stint at the FCA, he also did a secondment at incumbent bank Santander.

Revolut have confirmed Sing’s departure, whose direct responsibilities are being taken on by group head of compliance assurance, Harinder Gill, until a replacement is recruited.

Noteworthy, though not surprising given that Revolut is no longer an early-stage startup, Sing adds to a number of senior staff that have departed in recent months. Most high profile is Richard Davies, CEO Bankng, who left to join Allica Bank as CEO. Another is Andre Muhammad, head of trading — destination unknown (although we can be sure it isn’t Freetrade).

Meanwhile, Revolut is on the verge of announcing two senior hires from Amazon, TechCrunch has learned. They are Steven Harman, who joins as the neobank’s new group COO; and Jim McDougall, who becomes Revolut’s new chief people officer. Harman was most recently Amazon’s VP of continental europe customer fulfillment, and McDougall held the position of director or HR services transformation.

The key operational hires and departure of Revolut’s head of regulatory compliance come at an interesting time for the neobank. The company raised a $580 million Series D at a $5.5 billion valuation in the spring. It also made some cost cutting measures, including a plethora of layoffs in a bid to shore up finances amid the current economic downturn/coronavirus crisis.

#revolut, #tc


Crowd equity platform Seedrs opens up its existing secondary market to any business

Seedrs — the UK’s first full-function private equity secondary market to launch back in 2017 — is launching its secondary market offering to all private businesses. The idea is that this will allow founders, employees and early investors to realize secondary liquidity without having to wait for an IPO or exit event. Seedrs has offered secondary shares on its platform for the last three years, but previously this was only open to those already working directly with Seedrs .

Investors will now be able to list their shares directly on the Secondary Market in a “direct listing” and sell to the Seedrs investor network; sell their shares via a “secondary campaign” to a community of customers and existing shareholders, or sell via a “private listing” and access the Seedrs network of institutional investors and funds.

To date, Seedrs has raised a total of $40 million in funding from investors, including Augmentum Fintech and Schroders plc (formerly Woodford Investment Management). The platform’s most notable exits include Pod Point, Wealthify, and FreeAgent .

Prior to this opening up, the Seedrs Secondary Market was running at 22,000 secondary transactions and has been averaging £500k/month in secondary trades over the last 6 months. In 2020, Revolut shareholders sold over £1.5m in shares at a 598% average profit on the market. The Secondary Market service has now added dynamic pricing to allow shares to be sold at price premiums and discounts.

Earlier this year Seedrs and Capdesk created a joint initiative whereby any business listed on Capdesk could sell shares and adjust the cap table via Seedrs marketplace.

Jeff Kelisky, CEO at Seedrs said in addition to primary raises, the company is adding 30 new companies to the Secondary Market every month.

“Access to secondary liquidity is increasingly critical in the private company investment ecosystem, especially in the current climate, where we are seeing businesses staying private for longer. As we build out our full-scale marketplace for private equity investment, we see secondaries in private businesses as an essential and expected ingredient in the investment journey,” he said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Seeds says it has seen an increased demand from investors wanting to use the Secondary Market and fielded more inquiries from private businesses and their shareholders wanting to access it.

Online child safety startup SafeToNet, has been the first to launch its secondary campaign. It secured a £2.5M primary funding round from 150 investors, followed by an additional £300,000 in secondaries made available from its founders and employees.

In a statement Richard Pursey, co-Founder of SafeToNet said: “We were delighted after hitting our £2.5M fundraising target so quickly, to be able to offer more investors a chance to join our community via a secondary share sale. It’s really important for us to provide an exit opportunity to some of our existing shareholders, while also continuing the growth journey of SafeToNet as an independent business. This has also been a great way for us to welcome new investors on board, building up our customer community with passionate brand advocates, without having to part with any additional equity.”

Speaking exclusively, co-founder and Chairman Jeff Lynn told Techcrunch: “It’s something we’ve been working on for a while. We were letting people do secondary trading off the back of campaigns where we’d already done the primary. Now we’re starting to work with companies that haven’t done anything with us, to help facilitate secondaries for some of their early investors and employees. The demand and interest has been super high.”

“I think it’s probably indicative of the evolution ecosystem as we now get to the point where a lot of that wave of tech businesses that were funded the first part of 2010 are still growing, doing well, but not necessarily an IPO, so there’s a lot of desire for early investors to get some liquidity and we’re trying to offer that.”

He noted that competitor Crowdcube has been helping companies facilitate secondary offerings, but that Seedrs was also doing direct listings on the secondary market, “so we’re allowing investors from companies to come in and simply sell shares directly through the secondary market without ever doing the full campaign. And we’re also baking it into our institutional product. So bringing, bringing secondary offerings into what we call our anchor investor service, which allows a puts deals in front of a range of about 350 institutional quasi-institutional investors.”

Globally the secondary market, especially for tech companies, has been growing as private equity service providers consolidate.

#ceo, #co-founder, #corporate-finance, #crowdcube, #economy, #europe, #finance, #freeagent, #initial-public-offering, #investor, #money, #private-equity, #revolut, #safetonet, #secondary-market, #seedrs, #startup-company, #tc, #united-kingdom


Revolut extends Series D round to $580 million with $80 million in new funding

Fintech startup Revolut just announced that it has raised $80 million as part of its Series D round that it had already announced in February. The new influx of funding comes from TSG Consumer Partners.

In February, Revolut raised a $500 million led by TCV at a $5.5 billion valuation. Today’s new funding extends that funding round to $580 million — the company says the valuation remains the same.

If you’re not familiar with Revolut, the company is building a financial service to replace traditional bank accounts. You can open an account from an app in just a few minutes. You can then receive, send and spend money from the app or use a debit card. Revolut also lets you exchange currencies.

The startup expanded beyond that simple feature set and now wants to become a financial hub, a super app for all things related to money. For instance, you can insure your phone, get a travel medical insurance package, buy cryptocurrencies, buy shares, donate to charities and save money from Revolut.

The company says it’ll use the investment to add new features in the U.S. and roll out banking operations across Europe — you can expect local banking details in multiple European countries. Eventually, Revolut also plans to offer credit products across Europe.

In addition to that, Revolut is also working on a subscription management tool. It lets you see all your active subscriptions, cancel them from Revolut and receive alert when a free trial ends.

There are now 12 million registered users on Revolut.

#challenger-bank, #europe, #fintech, #fundings-exits, #neobank, #revolut, #startups


Robinhood, the stock trading app, postpones UK launch ‘indefinitely’

Robinhood, the U.S.-based stock trading app, is postponing its U.K. launch “indefinitely,” more than a year and a half after the company begun executing on plans to cross the pond. It now intends to refocus its efforts on its home market.

In November last year, a U.K. waitlist was opened up, garnering 250,000 signups. That’s now in vain, with Robinhood shutting down the U.K. website and promising to delete customer email addresses in line with local privacy regulation. Prospective customers who registered were informed of the decision earlier this morning.

Commenting on the u-turn, a Robinhood spokesperson issued TechCrunch with the following statement:

“A lot has changed in the world over the past few months, and we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our UK launch indefinitely. As a company, we are refocusing our efforts on strengthening our core business in the US. We know many people in the UK were excited to invest through Robinhood, and we regret that we cannot deliver our product to UK customers in 2020. Although our global expansion plans are on hold for now, we’re committed to democratising finance for more people around the world. We look forward to the day when we can bring this mission to the UK.”

I also understand that Robinhood plans to transfer a number of U.K. staff to core U.S. team projects where possible and says it will support others to help transition into new jobs. A core team will remain at Robinhood U.K. for the time being.

Meanwhile, Robinhood’s withdrawal from the U.K. is likely good news for U.K. upstart competitors. They include Freetrade, Bux and Revolut. As Yahoo News notes, it also comes amid a spew of bad publicity for the stock trading app, after the the reported suicide of 20-year-old American Alex Kearns, who mistakingly believed he had run up debt of almost $750,000 trading complex options on Robinhood.

#finance, #revolut, #robinhood, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states


(How to fix) 5 common UX mistakes in online banking

Customer support is a huge part of a user’s experience, and one that every bank likes to say they’re great at. But there is a lot we can learn from the mistakes that U.K. banks have made.

Based on his latest research report into the user experience of a dozen leading British banks — including Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Monzo, Starling and Revolut — Built for Mars founder Peter Ramsey shares his top five UX tips for customer support.

We dive deeper into each tip, including discussing the thorny topic of call decision trees (press 1 for … press 2 for … etc.), which Ramsey advises should be depreciated in the age of mobile apps, how push notifications might be employed to provide a more Disney-like queuing experience, why hold music is bad as a concept and why it’s time to ditch the live chat bait and switch.

Get rid of call decision trees

Call decision trees are annoying to use and unnecessary for users who have access to an app. Instead of asking customers to navigate via their telephone’s numeric keypad, use in-context questions inside the app, and then put the full number, including the correct extension, behind a button.

TechCrunch: Perhaps we should clarify what you mean by “call decision trees” and — considering they’ve been an industry standard for years — why is now the time to get rid of them?

Peter Ramsey: The decision tree is that automated “press 1 for … press 2 for … ” process you sometimes have to go through at the beginning of a call. I should clarify: It’s not time to eradicate them entirely, because it’s pretty useful for people who only use telephone banking. But for anyone who has access to an app, it’s totally unnecessary.

#argos, #barclays, #ecommerce, #europe, #extra-crunch, #finance, #financial-services, #fintech, #hsbc, #market-analysis, #monzo, #peter-ramsey, #revolut, #startups, #tc, #usability, #ux


Revolut partners with Paxos to bring cryptocurrency trading to the US

Neobank Revolut launched in the U.S. a couple of months ago. The startup is slowly catching up with features that are available in the U.K. and Europe. This time, Revolut is adding cryptocurrency trading through a partnership with Paxos.

Users in the U.S. can now buy, hold and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum from the Revolut app. The feature is going to be available in 49 states as there are some regulatory issues in Tennessee. If you have USD or other currencies in your Revolut account, you can exchange manually whenever you want.

You can also set up alerts in case there are some important price changes happening. Optionally, users can also round up card payments to the nearest whole dollar and convert spare change into crypto assets.

If you’re familiar with Revolut’s cryptocurrency feature, you know that the company gives you access to more cryptocurrencies in Europe, such as Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and XRP. The company says it is starting with BTC and ETH in the U.S. but is already working on bringing more cryptocurrencies.

When it comes to fees, users with a free Revolut account will pay 2.5% in conversion fees. Users with a Premium and Metal subscription will pay 1.5% in fees. Revolut is waving fees for the first 30 days.

This is in line with the company’s current fees in Europe. Revolut also has some monthly limits on currency exchange in general for free users as well — it can be fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies. You have to pay a 0.5% fee above that limit or pay for a subscription.

Revolut made some changes to its cryptocurrency feature recently. While you now technically own your cryptocurrencies, you can’t send and receive cryptocurrencies from third-party wallets. The feature is all about trading — buying, holding and selling.

In the U.S., Square’s Cash App and Robinhood also let you buy cryptocurrencies in their respective app. While those features don’t offer the same flexibility as a full-fledged cryptocurrency exchange, it makes it easy to get started with cryptocurrencies.

#blockchain, #cryptocurrency, #distributed-ledger, #europe, #fintech, #revolut, #startups


Revolut expands bank account aggregation to Ireland

Fintech startup Revolut has expanded its open banking feature to Ireland. The feature first launched in the U.K. back in February. Once again, the startup is partnering with TrueLayer to let you add third-party bank accounts to your Revolut account.

The feature launch also marks the launch of TrueLayer in Ireland. For now, Revolut users can only link their Revolut account with AIB, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland. Revolut and TrueLayer will add support to other banks in the future. Revolut currently has 1 million customers in the Republic of Ireland.

The idea behind open banking is quite simple. Many online services rely on application programming interfaces (APIs) to talk to each other. You can connect with your Facebook account on many online services, you can interact with other services from Slack, etc.

Financial institutions have been lagging behind on this front but it is changing thanks to new regulation and technical updates. With open banking, your bank account should work more like a traditional internet service.

When you connect your bank account with Revolut, you can view your balance and past transactions from a separate tab that lists all your linked accounts. Users can also take advantage of Revolut’s budgeting features with their bank accounts.

As TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear noted when he first covered Revolut’s open banking feature, Revolut was originally authorized for Account Information Services (AIS) by the U.K. regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority. It lets you access and display information from other financial institutions.

But the startup now has permission to carry out Payment Initiation Services (PIS). It means that you’ll soon be able to initiate transfers from your bank account directly from Revolut. It should make it much easier to top up your Revolut balance for instance.

While this feature might seem anecdotical, Revolut wants to build a comprehensive financial hub for all your financial needs — a sort of super app for everything related to money. With open banking, you theoretically no longer have to open your traditional banking app.

#apps, #challenger-bank, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #mobile, #neobank, #open-banking, #revolut, #startups, #truelayer


Belvo scores $10M from Founders Fund and Kaszek to scale its API for financial services

Belvo, a Latin American fintech startup which launched just 12 months ago, has already snagged funding from two of the biggest names in North and South American venture capital.

The company is aiming to expand the reach of its service that connects mobile applications in Mexico and Colombia to a customer’s banking information and now has some deep-pocketed investors to support its efforts. 

If the business model sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Belvo is borrowing a page from the Plaid playbook. It’s a strategy that ultimately netted the U.S. startup and its investors $5.3 billion when it was acquired by Visa in January of this year.

Belvo and its backers, who funneled $10 million into the year-old company, want to replicate Plaid’s success and open up an entire new range of financial services companies in Latin America.  

The round was co-led by Silicon Valley’s Founders Fund and Argentina’s Kaszek. With the new arsenal of capital complimented by the Founders Fund’s network and Kaszek’s deep knowledge of the Latin American market, Belvo hopes to triple its current team of 25 that is spread across operations in Mexico City and Barcelona. 

Since its initial establishment in May 2019, the company has raised a total of $13 million from Y Combinator (W20) along with some of the biggest players in Latin America’s startup scene. Those investors include David Velez, the co-founder of Brazil’s multi-billion dollar lending startup, Nubank; MAYA Capital and Venture Friends. 

The company’s co-founders, Pablo Viguera and Oriol Tintoré are no stranger to startups themselves. Viguera served as COO at European payments app Verse, and is a former general manager of one of the big European neo-banks, Revolut. Tintoré is a former NASA aerospace engineer, and while working for his Stanford MBA, founded Capella Space, an information collection startup that went on to raise over $50 million. 

The company said it aims to work with leading fintechs in Latin America, spanning across verticals like the neobanks, credit providers and personal finance products Latin Americans use every day.

Belvo has built a developer-first API platform that can be used to access and interpret end-user financial data to build better, more efficient and more inclusive financial products in Latin America. Developers of popular neobank apps, credit providers and personal finance tools use Belvo’s API to connect bank accounts to their apps to unlock the power of open banking.

Viguera says the capital will be used to open a new office in Sao Paulo, and invest in new product and business development hires. Notably, Belvo is only one year old, having launched in January 2020 and operative in Mexico and Colombia. 

Co-founders Pablo Viguera and Oriol Tintoré are a former Revolut GM and former NASA aerospace engineer.


Belvo’s latest funding also marks another instance of a U.S.-Latin America investment teamup for a Latin American company.

Nuvocargo, a logistics startup that wants to bolster the Mexico – U.S. trade lane with its freight transportation technology, also recently raised a round co-led by Mexico’s ALLVP and Silicon Valley-based NFX. American investors may be starting to take note of the co-investment opportunity of putting capital into startups serving the Latin American market in partnership with successful new wave domestic funds like Mexico’s ALLVP and Argentina’s Kaszek.  

#aerospace, #api, #argentina, #banking, #barcelona, #belvo, #brazil, #capella-space, #co-founder, #colombia, #companies, #coo, #david-velez, #economy, #engineer, #finance, #fintech-startup, #founders-fund, #latin-america, #mexico, #mexico-city, #nubank, #nuvocargo, #revolut, #sao-paulo, #startup-company, #tc, #the-founders-fund, #united-states, #venture-capital, #visa, #y-combinator


This UX specialist opened 12 UK bank accounts and ‘logged everything’

“I’ve got a really high attention to detail, which might sound great, but it’s possibly a curse because I can’t help but spot problems with everything around me,” says Peter Ramsey .

He’s the founder of Built for Mars, a U.K.-based UX advisory, and he has spent the last three months documenting and analyzing the user experience of a dozen leading British banks — both incumbents and challengers — including Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Monzo, Starling and Revolut.

“Quite literally, I opened 12 real bank accounts,” he explains. “You remember the stress of opening one account? I did that 12 times, [and] it was probably a terrible idea. But I really needed to control as many variables as possible, and this was the only way of doing that.”

Next, Ramsey says he “logged everything,” recording every click, screen and action. “I saved every letter, and made a note of when they arrived. I recorded pretty much everything I could,” he recalls. “At one point I even weighed all the debit cards to see if some were heavier. That was a total waste of time though, because they all weighed the same amount. But you see what I mean, I just thought about making it as scientific as possible. Also, UX is really quite subjective, so I wanted to back up my opinions with some more quantifiable metrics.”

The resulting analysis — covering opening an account, making a first payment and freezing your card — supported by individual bank case studies, is being published on the Built for Mars website over the month with a new interactive chapter released weekly.

After being given early access to the first three chapters and an initial series of case studies, I put several questions to Ramsey to understand his motivation, methodology and what he learned. And if you’re wondering which bank came out on top, keep reading.

TechCrunch: Why did you choose to do this on banks?

Peter Ramsey: My background is in fintech, and I think the banks are just in this weird place right now. When they first came out I think consumers were surprised at how much better the apps were. Banking was renowned for having old software, it was almost acceptable for an old bank to be buggy. But now that these challenger banks have been out for five years, I think that perception has changed. So I chose the banks because they represent this industry of “challenger” versus “legacy.” Plus, for billion-dollar companies, you’d expect them all to really care about experience.

#banking, #challenger-bank, #challenger-banks, #design, #europe, #extra-crunch, #finance, #financial-services, #hsbc, #market-analysis, #monzo, #online-banking, #payments, #peter-ramsey, #revolut, #starling, #tc, #user-experience, #user-interaction-design


Fintech startups amass war chests for the economic downturn

Consumer fintech startups were massively successful in 2019, attracting millions of new users and disrupting traditional retail banks and financial services with mobile-first, consumer-oriented products. Despite the economic downturn in public markets and the massive wave of cuts at public and private companies in recent weeks, fintech startups have been raising a ton of money.

It feels like they’re all building a war chest to survive the economic winter as traditional banks continue to iterate so they can catch up and offer more user-friendly services. This is not the time to raise fees, slow down on product development or plans to acquire new users.

Nine-figure rounds

Back in January, I looked at challenger banks and their growth trajectories, but since then, they have managed to attract even more customers. According to the most recent figures:

  • Nubank has 20 million customers;
  • Revolut has 10 million users;
  • Chime has 8 million users;
  • N26 has 5 million users;
  • Monzo has 4 million users.

And that’s without mentioning Starling Bank, Atom Bank, Bunq, Bnext, Paysend, etc. At some point, there will be as many challenger banks as non-challenger banks — perhaps we shouldn’t call them challenger banks anymore.

Beyond these startups, trading app Robinhood recently reached 13 million users, international payments startup TransferWise has 7 million customers and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has 30 million users.

#challenger-bank, #chime, #coinbase, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #extra-crunch, #finance, #fintech, #fundings-exits, #fundraising, #market-analysis, #monzo, #n26, #neobank, #nubank, #revolut, #robinhood, #startups, #transferwise, #venture-capital


Could lessons from the challenger bank revolution kick-start innovation on the climate crisis?

Now that the world is swimming in data we may be able to address the climate and environmental risks to the planet. But while there is plenty of capital to invest in things like ClimateTech, a lot of the data that’s needed to tackle this big issue is badly applied, leading to a big misallocation of resources. So to deal with the climate we have to get the data right. A big part of the solution is open standards and interoperability.

The story of how the Open Banking Standard developed might show a way forward. Its development out of the UK led to regulated sector-wide interoperability (covering a broad range of areas including IP, legal, liability and licensing, and technology to enable data sharing). It’s meant over 300 fintech companies now use the Standard, which has helped to catalyze similar initiatives.

Open Banking has lead to the explosion in tech startups that we see today. Revolut, Monzo, Starling bank—none of them would have existed without Open Banking.

What if someone created something like the Open Banking Standard, but this time to stimulate climate-friendly innovation around financial products. After all, it’s more likely we’ll save the planet if we incentivize firms with financial models to make it work.

Well, it just so happens that one of the key players that developed the Open Banking Standard plans to do the same for data about the climate to allow the insurance industry to engage in the solutions to the climate crisis.

Gavin Starks co-chaired the development of the Open Banking Standard, laying the foundations for regulation and catalyzing international innovation.

But Starks has form in this arena. Prior to co-creating Open Banking, he was the Open Data Institute’s founding CEO, working with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The ODI may not be well known in Silicon Valley, but it’s launched franchises across 20 countries and trained 10,000 people.

Starks’ previous venture was a pioneer in the climate space: AMEE (Avoidance of Mass Extinctions Engine) organized the world’s environmental data and standards into an open web-service, raising $10M and selling in 2015 PredictX.

Starks also chaired the development of the first Gold Standard Carbon Offset.

But what Starks has set himself is a task different to Open Banking.

His new project is Icebreaker One, a new non-profit which last month raised £1m+ investment, largely funded by the UK’s government-backed body UK Research and Innovation. It’s also supported by a consortium of financial and regulatory institutions.

So what’s the big idea this time?

The idea is to develop an open standard for data sharing that will stimulate climate-friendly financial product innovation and deliver new products.

Just like the Open Banking Standard, Icebreaker One will steer the development of the SERI standard. This is the Standard for Environment, Risk and Insurance (SERI) which has been created to design, test and develop financial products with Icebreaker One members ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow later this year.

SERI could provide a framework for an addressable, open marketplace, built around the needs of both the market and the new reality of climate change. If it works, this would enable insurers to share data robustly, legally and securely, driving the use and adoption of artificial intelligence tools within the insurance sector.

It would mean insurers being able to invest in demonstrably low-carbon financial products and services, based on real, hard data.

The current SERI launch partners are Aon, Arup, Agvesto, Bird & Bird, Brit Insurance, Dais LLP, Lloyd’s Register Group and the University of Cambridge.

The thinking behind the initiative is that as large catastrophic climate events occur with higher frequency, the UK’s insurance market is under pressure to evolve.

By creating the data platform, insurers can invest in low-carbon financial products, rather than ignore them because they can’t be priced right.

Starks says: “The time for theory is over—we need rapid and meaningful action. The threat of climate change to the global economy is tangible, and the increase in catastrophic climate events is capable of bankrupting markets and even nation-states. We are already witnessing insurance in some areas becoming untenable – which is a genuine threat to communities and wider society.”

He adds: “We are working with some of the most influential organizations in the world to plan policies and regulation to protect citizens, our environment and our economy; to unlock the power of unused and underutilized data to enable governments and business to respond effectively, responsibly and sustainably to the threats posed by the climate emergency.”

Arup, the multinational professional services firm best known for large engineering projects, is one of those in the SERI consortium.

Volker Buscher, Chief Data Officer at Arup, says: “Responding to climate change and futureproofing the market is vital – and working with Gavin and senior industry figures is a big opportunity to make real-world data work harder, to evolve investment strategies, shine a light on inefficiencies and better understand risk. It’s of benefit to everyone that we create the working blueprint for the freer sharing and licensing of data-at-scale that can be a shot in the arm to climate-affected financial products and services.”

Icebreaker One plans to overcome the locked, legacy culture of the insurance industry.

The task ahead is a big one. Currently, the valuable data needed to unlock this potential is in lately closed-off “data lakes”. The goal is to influence $3.6 trillion of investment.

If the insurance industry can innovate around climate change and the new kinds of risk it creates, then the financial world industry can create the kind of boom Open Banking did.

And that would mean not just brand new insurance products but also new startups in what’s been described as “InsureTech”.

But the greater prize, is of course the planet itself.

#artificial-intelligence, #bank, #bird, #chief-data-officer, #economy, #europe, #finance, #financial-services, #insurance, #money, #monzo, #open-banking, #open-data-institute, #revolut, #sustainability, #tc, #tim-berners-lee, #united-kingdom, #university-of-cambridge