The FinTech Five – 20th October 2023
20 October, 2023
Welcome to the FinTech Five, where we take a fortnightly look at the best articles, news, insights and features from our FinTech Wales members and the Financial Services industry in the UK.
1. Ogi: New digital superhighway set to benefit Wales
A new concession agreement held between the Welsh Government and Ogi is set to see the Welsh infrastructure provider bring new dark fibre and microduct products into the south east region of Wales, boosting capacity and resilience for the likes of carriers, hyper-scalers, datacentres and Internet Service Providers looking to expand across Wales, England and Ireland.
Once finished early next year  the new network will be capable of moving Petabits (millions of Gigabits) of data, boosting Wales’s economic offer, as emerging sectors like fintech, cyber security, film, broadcasting, game development and datacentres look to expand along the M4 corridor.
Once in operation, the dark fibre and microduct network will provide a new route into Europe’s largest datacentre campus – Vantage in Newport – improving the resilience and diversity available in and out of Wales.
2. Sonovate increases securitisation to £240M, bolstering its lending capabilities and international reach
Sonovate, the leading provider of finance and payment solutions for the contingent workforce, has announced a significant increase in its securitisation to £240 million from the £165 million announced last year. This latest development comes with the strategic addition of Lloyds Bank to its group of finance providers.
In joining Sonovate’s finance providers, Lloyds Bank has committed to providing £100 million as part of the senior tranche. BNP Paribas, which was already a participant in the first round of securitisation, continues its support with £100 million, and M&G, Sonovate’s long-term funding partner, has also increased its overall contribution to £40 million.
This boosted securitisation and diversified funding expands Sonovate’s capabilities by enhancing the pool of the company’s lenders, thereby increasing capital efficiency. It also bolsters its capacity to broaden its customer base, particularly in the enterprise sector, and enables Sonovate to increase its funding to companies headquartered outside the UK, particularly in the Netherlands, where it opened its first international office earlier this year.
3. Puma Private Equity leads £3.4 million funding round for specialist bike insurer, Bikmo
Puma Private Equity has led the £3.4 million Series A extension round into specialist cycle and e-mobility insurer, Bikmo to accelerate European expansion and drive product innovation. With the European cycling market growing rapidly, the B Corp certified specialist insurer protects over 75,000 riders in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria and is currently focusing on expanding into other European markets and supporting multinational partners.
As the cycle market grows, the European Parliament has called for 2024 to be the ‘Year of Cycling’ to double the distance covered by cyclists by 2030. E-bike adoption is also rising significantly with UK electric bike sales growing by over 40% in 2020 while 50% of bike sales in Germany were e-bike sales in 2022. Bikmo has capitalised on this trend, 40% of new policyholders insure e-bikes and the company offers a range of insurance products to protect every type of cyclist from road cyclists and triathletes to daily commuters. It covers both individuals and commercial risks for brands including Deliveroo, plus it offers extras to protect cyclists such as legal protection and breakdown assistance.
4. Shoal is a Certified B-Corp™
To be awarded the B-Corp label, Shoal must demonstrate that our business is a force for good, not just today but for the future. Becoming and staying a B-Corp is a journey of continuous improvement.
That means when Shoal launches and you save through us, you are engaging with a company that meets high environmental, social and governance standards. Put another way, you’re dealing with a company that considers its impact on the world, and the way it treats its people and customers to be just as important as turning a profit.
5. Cardiff Startups 2.0 List Celebrates Under-the-Radar Tech Companies
Cardiff’s most promising early-stage technology startups have been celebrated in the first Cardiff Startups 2.0 list.
These founder-led startups are all bootstrapped, grant-funded, pre-seed or angel-backed and either building or harnessing a unique technology. They are all less than four years old.
A huge congratulations to everyone who featured on the list, especially the following FinTech Wales members:
Driverly – A flexible monthly subscription car insurance platform, Driverly allows users to earn ‘acorns’ for good driving which can then be turned into vouchers or discounts. Utilising AI and machine learning to provide competitive quotes, the app-only platform doesn’t just look at the driver’s demographic – but how they drive.
EverKnock – Described as ‘a wedding planner for your home move’, EverKnock aims to reduce the stress of buying or selling a home. It does this through a homemover pack which includes information around legal fees, mortgage, survey, removals and insurance, and also offers support via a ‘personal assistant’ concierge.
Identitech – A ‘know your customer’ platform, Identitech claims to allow new clients to onboard in just 60 seconds without risking typical due diligence processes. It also verifies the identity of clients remotely and builds a risk profile – protecting businesses from fraud, bad actors and malicious activity.
Until Next Time
That’s it for the FinTech Five this week. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to join us fortnightly for more of the best news highlights from across our FinTech Wales membership.