Welcome to FinTech Monthly, your round up of the past month’s top financial technology news, brought to you by Tech City News and law firm Gowling WLG. This episode, we have £108m in UK FinTech investment, Square’s UK launch, Monzo news, smart contracts and more.

Investments

The Tech City News Investment Tracker recorded five rounds raised by UK FinTech companies in the past month totalling more than £108m.

Atom Bank kicked off the month of March with an £83m investment. Investors included Spanish bank BBVA, fund manager Neil Woodford and Toscafund Asset Management.

Currencycloud, the cross-border payment platform, closed a £20m Series D round from investors including GV, formerly Google Ventures. The company also received funding from existing investors Notion Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Rakuten FinTech Fund and Anthemis.

Quantexa Limited raised a $3.3m Series A round led by Albion Ventures and HSBC. Founded in March 2016, the London-based company uses big data analytics to tackle complex financial crime.

Other UK FinTech investments include the $1m raised by savings app Oinky, the €1.2m raised by another savings app, Oval Money, and the £7.5m raised by Neyber.

Square’s UK launch

Payment company Square launched in the UK enabling independent traders to take card payments with no monthly contracts. This is the fifth country in which Square is available, joining existing markets Canada, Japan, Australia and the US.

Smart contracts

Jocelyn Paulley, director at Gowling WLG, joined us earlier to talk about a strong area of FinTech innovation: smart contracts.

She said: “Smart contracts, built on blockchain technology, facilitate peer to peer exchanges as their publically available records create trust between individuals, where previously middle-men fulfilled this role for a fee. By removing the middle-men, it becomes feasible to invest and deal with much smaller amounts of capital which would previously have been prohibitive due to the cost of effecting the transaction itself, which opens up financial markets to a whole new category of investors.

“Banks are also faced with the huge challenge of maintaining their massive, ageing banking systems, which becomes ever harder and more risky where new functionality is added. Using new technologies like smart contracts on the blockchain gives banks a fresh route to effect payments without needing to rely on those creaky mainframe systems.”

Monzo banking licence

UK challenger bank Monzo had the “restrictions” on its banking licence lifted and plans to start rolling out full current accounts to its pre-paid card and beta app users. Earlier this year, Monzo closed a Series C funding round of £22m.

FinTech week

Last week was FinTech Week, a programme of events including the Innovate Finance Global Summit and the Financial Conduct Authority’s International Innovate Seminar. At the government’s first International FinTech Conference, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced Barclays is to open a FinTech accelerator called London Rise, offering over 500 workspaces for startups.

That’s all for this roundup. For more FinTech news, check out our website and follow us on Twitter.

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