PAYMENTS

Wirex Wallet Launches NFT Functionality and New Payment Methods

Wirex | May 18, 2022

Wirex_Wallet_Launches
The Wirex Wallet, hailed as the world's first mass-market non-custodial wallet, has expanded its next generation features and functionality. Users globally can now add NFTs to their wallet, purchase crypto directly on multiple blockchains, and pay via Apple and Google Pay. Customers in India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Portugal will also benefit from new alternative payment methods.

Wirex Wallet holders can now store and hold NFTs on multiple blockchains purchased on popular marketplaces such as OpenSea within the Wallet. In addition to over 100 cryptocurrencies, this feature will allow users to hold all their blockchain-based assets in one place for the ultimate convenience. The Wallet's unique biometric-based security system removes the need for private keys, meaning Wallet users will have straightforward access to their NFTs. Similarly, multi-party computation (MPC) offers unparalleled security by ensuring only authenticated owners can access their assets.

Wirex is also releasing a suite of new features making crypto purchase on the Wallet easier than ever. Users can now directly purchase crypto on multiple blockchains in-app, saving them large amounts in gas fees. Following a partnership with uTorg, this feature will offer an unparalleled user experience by providing a direct on-ramp for purchasing tokens on the Ethereum, Fantom, Avalanche, Polygon, and Binance Smart Chain blockchains.

The company has also expanded the payment methods for users to buy crypto, including Apple and Google Pay, which adds to the debit/credit option already offered globally. They've also launched multiple alternative payment methods popular across the globe in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Portugal.

The Wirex Wallet has already proven popular with hardcore crypto fans as well as mainstream users thanks to its intuitive UX and market-leading security features and technology. With NFT ownership growing at an unprecedented rate, the addition of NFTs to the Wallet will connect NFTs to the real world and give added layers of security and trust like never before to them. Flexibility and choice will be a key component, by expanding the payment methods for multiple blockchains, further widening access and appeal."

The CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex, Pavel Matveev.

The announcement comes following the launch of a strategic partnership with metaverse NFT project, Tori Zero. Having recently released the first NFT collection that utilises motion capture technologies, this will be the first NFT project integrated into the Wirex Wallet.

Last week, we launched our newest NFT collection, which is the first virtual idol project in the blockchain industry. The timing is great since Wirex Wallet users can now store these NFTs within the Wallet. Over the coming months, we have plans to collaborate further in exclusive cross-branded products and payment solutions."

James Wildbore, Co-Founder of Redlab Studio.

About Wirex
Wirex is a worldwide digital payment platform and regulated institution that has forged new rules in the digital payments space. In 2015, the firm developed the world's first crypto-enabled payment card that gives users the ability to seamlessly spend crypto and traditional currencies in real life.

Wirex was created in 2014 by CEOs and co-founders Pavel Matveev and Dmitry Lazarichev, who identified the need to open up the esoteric world of cryptocurrencies and make digital money accessible for everyone. With the core aim of making it as easy as possible to use digital assets in everyday life, Wirex provides a trusted and cost-effective service for crypto and traditional currency transactions by incorporating the next generation of payments infrastructure integrated with cryptocurrency blockchains.

Wirex is based in London, with offices in Singapore, Kyiv, Dallas, Dublin and Atlanta. With over $5bn worth of transactions processed already and rapid expansion into new territories, including the US, Wirex is uniquely placed to support and promote the mass adoption of a cashless society through creative solutions.

Spotlight

For banks and financial services companies in the Middle East, meeting customer expectations and building trust is necessary to remain competitive. As the Middle East becomes one of the world’s fastest growing markets in the banking and capital sector, companies need to make sure to step up their game in order to reduce churn and win new customers. Dubai has even launched the Happiness Index2, a government-led effort to improve customer satisfaction across the public sector, and soon, to select private companies.


Other News
FINTECH

Fintech and Cleantech Win as Global Venture Capital Investments Become More Focused

KPMG International | July 26, 2022

According to the Q2’22 edition of Venture Pulse — a quarterly report, published by KPMG Private Enterprise, that analyzes key VC deals and trends globally — fintech, cybersecurity, supply chain management and alternative energy and energy storage opportunities are continuing to attract significant interest from investors. This is despite global VC investment dropping to $120.2 billion across 8,420 deals in Q2’22. The Americas attracted $66.2 billion in VC investment — over half of the total global VC investment — during Q2’22, with the US accounting for $62.3 billion of this amount. Europe’s market showed strong resilience during the quarter, attracting $27.2 billion in investment during Q2’22. Despite the second successive quarter of decline, VC investment in Europe remained high compared to pre Q2’21. Q2’22 was the most subdued in Asia, dropping to an eight-quarter low of $24.5 billion across 2,206 deals. Investor interest in supply chain and logistics continues to grow as industry challenges continue to have an impact. Soaring global energy prices and increased concerns around energy security has driven investors to look at alternative energy and storage options. Investments in electric vehicles, battery technologies and increasingly hydrogen are becoming more attractive. The US attracted the world’s largest VC deals during Q2’22, including a $2 billion raise by Epic Games, a $1.7 billion raise by Space X, and a $1.5 billion raise by Gopuff. With its $1.2 billion raise, Germany-based fintech company Trade Republic accounted for the fourth spot — the only company outside of the US to raise a $1 billion plus round during the quarter. In Asia, the largest deal of the quarter was an $805 million raise by India-based Dailyhunt. “With valuations declining, many tech companies performing poorly on the public markets, and no end in sight to the level of geopolitical uncertainty, notwithstanding other challenges facing the VC market globally, we’re starting to see investors instructing their portfolio companies to preserve cash,” said Jonathan Lavender, Global Head, KPMG Private Enterprise, KPMG International. “With valuations declining, many tech companies performing poorly on the public markets, and no end in sight to the level of geopolitical uncertainty, notwithstanding other challenges facing the VC market globally, we’re starting to see investors instructing their portfolio companies to preserve cash,” said Jonathan Lavender, Global Head, KPMG Private Enterprise, KPMG International. “Heading into Q3’22, this trend is expected to continue as start-ups look to survive in an increasingly challenging environment where profitability will be of critical importance.” Key Highlights – Q2’22 Global VC investment dropped considerably, from $165.3 billion across 11,468 deals in Q1’22 to $120.2 billion across 8,420 deals in Q2’22. VC investment in the Americas dropped from $89.3 billion across 5,034 deals in Q1’22 to $66.2 billion across 3,778 deals in Q2’22. The US accounted for $62.3 billion of Q2’22 investment in the Americas, down from $81.9 billion in Q1’22. VC investment in Asia sunk to an eight-quarter low of $24.5 billion across 2,206 deals in Q2’22. Despite a drop to $27.2 billion in Q2’22, VC investment in Europe remained quite strong compared to historical trends. Global fundraising remained very strong, with $158.6 billion raised by the end of Q2’22 — well on track to exceed the $$252.2 billion record high set in calendar 2021. After plummeting from $355 billion in Q4’21 to $70 billion in Q1’22, exit value dropped even further to just $50.8 billion in Q2’22. Global CVC-affiliated investment dropped from $76.6 billion in Q1’22 to $49.7 billion in Q2’22. Global fundraising remains on record pace, driven by activity in the US Global fundraising activity remained on record pace at mid-year, with $158.2 billion in fundraising by the end of Q2’22. The US helped buoy global fundraising amounts, accounting for $121.5 billion at mid-year, compared to the $138.9 billion annual record high the region saw in 2021. VC investment in cybersecurity, alternative energy, electric vehicles, and battery storage in the US held strong in Q2’22 and is well-positioned to remain hot heading into Q3’22. Fundraising activity in Europe fell off record pace, with $13.3 billion in fundraising at mid-year, while fundraising in Asia remained very subdued compared to previous highs, with $16.9 billion raised in the first half of 2022. No end in sight to uncertainty but interest in new tech to grow Heading into Q3’22, the global uncertainty plaguing the world is expected to continue, which will likely continue to keep the IPO window shut and VC investment soft. Down rounds could become more common as companies are forced to raise funding rounds despite the challenging fundraising environment. M&A activity globally could increase as investors look for deals among companies experiencing challenges and start-ups in various industries look to consolidate to improve their economies of scale and market positions. In tech, the crypto tide is likely to turn with further consolidation among firms heading into Q3’22 as many try to cope with a major sell-off in assets. “While there’s still dry powder out there, over the next quarter, VC investors are going to become a lot more critical of targets and are likely to place increasing emphasis on profitability,” said Conor Moore, Head of KPMG Private Enterprise in the Americas Region & Partner at KPMG in the US. “We’ve been talking about potential consolidations for a while, particularly in more mature industries like e-commerce. While the top one or two or three companies in a particular space might continue to be attractive to investors, the rest will likely see a pullback. This will likely drive consolidation as companies run out of cash.” About KPMG International KPMG is a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. KPMG is the brand under which the member firms of KPMG International Limited (“KPMG International”) operate and provide professional services. “KPMG” is used to refer to individual member firms within the KPMG organization or to one or more member firms collectively. KPMG firms operate in 144 countries and territories with more than 236,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. Each KPMG member firm is responsible for its own obligations and liabilities. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

KKR Completes Acquisition of Barracuda from Thoma Bravo

Barracuda Networks, KKR and Thoma Bravo | August 18, 2022

KKR, a leading global investment firm, and Barracuda Networks, Inc. (“Barracuda” or the “Company”) a leading provider of cloud-first security solutions, today announced that KKR’s investment funds have completed an acquisition of Barracuda from Thoma Bravo, a leading software investment firm. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Barracuda is a cloud-first provider of cybersecurity solutions for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). More than 200,000 customers worldwide count on Barracuda to protect their email, networks, applications, and data. “We’re ready to deliver on our next phase of growth with KKR and remain dedicated to investing in our team and product portfolio to provide innovative cybersecurity solutions for our customers and partners, We‘re grateful to Thoma Bravo for their valuable strategic and operational support over the last four years.” -Hatem Naguib, CEO of Barracuda We are excited to complete this transaction and begin working with the Barracuda team to support their continued growth and delivery of next generation cloud-first cybersecurity solutions that protect SMEs from an evolving landscape of threats, said John Park, a Partner at KKR. Barracuda has been a tremendous partner over the last four years and has experienced strong product, customer and revenue growth, We have enjoyed working closely with Hatem and his team through multiple acquisitions and operational improvements, and we are confident that the company is well-positioned for continued success,said Chip Virnig, a Partner at Thoma Bravo. J.P. Morgan served as exclusive financial advisor to Thoma Bravo and Barracuda. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Thoma Bravo and Barracuda. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal counsel to KKR. Guggenheim Securities, DBO Partners and Barclays served as financial advisors to KKR. About Barracuda Networks At Barracuda we strive to make the world a safer place. We believe every business deserves access to cloud-first, enterprise-grade security solutions that are easy to buy, deploy, and use. We protect email, networks, data, and applications with innovative solutions that grow and adapt with our customers' journey. More than 200,000 organizations worldwide trust Barracuda to protect them – in ways they may not even know they are at risk — so they can focus on taking their business to the next level. About KKR KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management as well as capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life and reinsurance products under the management of Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries. About Thoma Bravo Thoma Bravo is one of the largest private equity firms in the world, with more than $114 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2022. The firm invests in growth-oriented, innovative companies operating in the software and technology sectors. Leveraging the firm’s deep sector expertise and proven strategic and operational capabilities, Thoma Bravo collaborates with its portfolio companies to implement operating best practices, drive growth initiatives and make accretive acquisitions intended to accelerate revenue and earnings. Over the past 20 years, the firm has acquired or invested in more than 380 companies representing over $190 billion in enterprise value. The firm has offices in Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.

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CORE BANKING

Locality Bank Announces Partnership with Hurdlr to Provide One Stop Shop for Business Banking, Accounting, and Tax Prep

Locality Bank | June 13, 2022

Locality Bank, a digital-first community bank that launched January 12, 2022, has announced it has partnered with Hurdlr, a leading business expense, invoicing and accounting API. The integration on the Bank's mobile application is expected to roll out in 30 to 45 days. Utilizing the Hurdlr API integration with Locality Bank's platform will provide businesses with a way to seamlessly invoice their customers and automatically track expenses, income streams, and tax deductions imperative for accounting purposes. As a de novo bank, we have taken the path less traveled and see great value in building and shaping a digital experience that evolves with the needs of our clients. This means that we seek to partner with tech providers who are nimble and have a like-minded mission of enabling more businesses to thrive, Raj Bhaskar and the team at Hurdlr are invested in this mission, joining the cause with banks like Locality Bank to provide an end-to-end solution that allows us to fully support South Florida businesses." Corey LeBlanc, CTO and Co-Founder of Locality Bank. In partnership with Nymbus, the bank's online platform has been custom built on a modern cloud-native core banking system with an open API architecture providing the seamless integration of innovative features and capabilities, like Hurdlr, among others, supporting Locality Bank's objective of building an ecosystem that empowers local businesses to succeed. We are thrilled at what Locality Bank can do with our technology to create important functionality for local businesses, From sending invoices, and real-time reporting, to bookkeeping and banking, it is all about achieving the business owner's dream of having everything in one place." Raj Bhaskar, CEO and Co-Founder of Hurdlr. In November 2021, Locality Bank received final approval for a state charter and FDIC secure deposit insurance. The bank most recently completed its successful capital raise netting a total of $35 million after increasing the maximum amount from $23 million in subscriptions for stock. It is operating out of General Provision's Downtown Fort Lauderdale location (300 SW 1st Ave, Suite 155, Fort Lauderdale) until renovations of its main office (1400 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale) are completed in Fall 2022. About Locality Bank Locality Bank is a digital-first community bank based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The bank serves local businesses by offering the traditional services of a community bank as well as user-friendly, cutting-edge technology. About Hurdlr Hurdlr is a rapidly growing fintech startup whose APIs, SDKs and apps help small businesses quickly overcome obstacles to year-round accounting, bookkeeping and income taxes. The company's white-label enterprise solutions allow fintechs, financial institutions and other platforms supporting these small businesses to seamlessly embed robust invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, accounting, and income tax features.

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PAYMENTS

PayTabs introduces SwitchOn®, the next generation payment solutions suite

PayTabs | June 07, 2022

PayTabs - MENA's award-winning payment processing powerhouse, made a jump start last year in its pursuit to pioneer next generation payments, by announcing the launch of its new home owned, globally validated unified payments and transaction processing platform, PayTabs SwitchOn®. After multiple launches with clients across the region, the payment card industry (PCI) certified solution, includes a Switching and Authorization System, a Card and Wallet Management System, and the Unified API Gateway. PayTabs SwitchOn® is now available for local deployment, at a fraction of the cost. With its own IP and built upon deep use case expertise, the flexible and compelling solution aims to empower innovation in the region by enabling flexible payment orchestration at scale. As a Fintech enabler for the region, PayTabs' mission is to simplify and yet orchestrate a unified payments experience and value for key players in MENA and beyond. Fintechs will find it particularly suitable to comply with local in-country regulations. Established Financial Institutions and fintechs' specific needs are met via the modular and hybrid deployment modes available. PayTabs SwitchOn® architecture is designed to ensure a unique payment orchestration capability allowing clients from multiple industries and scale to maximise the benefits they get while in conjunction with the legacy systems. From the Card and Wallet Management System to the Unified APM Gateway and passing by the various value-added modules, clients can select what best fits their needs. PayTabs' experts will ensure the right deployment mode is provided, either it is a Hosted Managed Service, On-Premises, or Hybrid. PayTabs also provides custom fit white-label solutions. PayTabs SwitchOn® solution for omni channel payments and its deployment modes provide answers and checks all the boxes to the growing demand for solutions that are compliant with the data localization directives and regulations for each country of operation. Which enables brands and large corporations across countries and regions to manage their payment complexities with a 360-degree view, reducing dependencies with third parties and thus streamlining the speed to market. In the post covid era of emerging payments, this is good news for the region. By orchestrating a groundbreaking technology and as the next generation payment system architects, we have elevated our payment processing capabilities. With PayTabs SwitchOn® we are now able to deliver a 360-degree payment experience in a few weeks, at a fraction of the cost." Johnson S Sasikumar, Group Head of Strategy, PayTabs. About PayTabs PayTabs is an award winning, payments solutions powerhouse founded by Saudi entrepreneur Abdulaziz Al Jouf in 2014. PayTabs processes transactions in multiple currencies and markets, safely and securely. Using API plugins, PayTabs facilitates seamless B2B e-commerce solutions for small and medium enterprises across industries, to 'plug and play' payment features on to their websites. PayTabs prides itself on offering e-invoicing services enabling businesses to enjoy digital invoicing, pay by QR code or secure social media payment links. Originally backed by Saudi Aramco's "Waed" and later by private Saudi investment, over the years, PayTabs has in-built and exported a full stack of game changing solutions. These include mobile applications, hospitality, governmental, education, airline, travel, transport, and biller solutions, to interlink the multi-billion-dollar enterprise market chain in the MENA region. In 2021, PayTabs launched "PT Touch", the first SoftPOS solution in MENA to transform smart phones into merchant POS terminals. Last month, PayTabs launched its own social commerce platform, 'Paymes' to ease payments for micro merchants. A proven game changer in the global payments space, PayTabs has dedicated offices in the UAE and KSA and presence in other locales including Egypt. The company is an equal opportunities employer with a diverse and multi-cultural team from over twenty nationalities.

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Spotlight

For banks and financial services companies in the Middle East, meeting customer expectations and building trust is necessary to remain competitive. As the Middle East becomes one of the world’s fastest growing markets in the banking and capital sector, companies need to make sure to step up their game in order to reduce churn and win new customers. Dubai has even launched the Happiness Index2, a government-led effort to improve customer satisfaction across the public sector, and soon, to select private companies.

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