Welcome to FinTech Monthly for August 2016 – your monthly round up of the top financial technology news. In this episode, we have Pritivar’s funding round, The Pulse of FinTech Report by KPMG and CB Insights, Barclays voice recognition and more.
This month, we filmed from the Funding Circle office in London. Funding Circle is an online marketplace for business loans, where people and organisations can directly lend to small businesses. Through the platform, more than 15,000 businesses have borrowed over £1.3bn, with around £65m now lent to small businesses every month.
Privitar landed £3m in a round led by venture capital firm Illuminate Financial Management. Founded in 2014, the London-based firm provides privacy-enhancing software to the financial services sector. Privitar says it’ll use the funds to accelerate growth in the UK and expand its European footprint.
The Pulse of FinTech
KPMG and CB Insights published their Q2 2016 The Pulse of FinTech report. The report found UK-based FinTech firms received 80% less VC funding than their German counterparts in the quarter.
The 30 largest FinTech funding rounds during the first half of 2016 totalled over $4.6bn. North America accounted for 19 of these rounds, while Asia accounted for eight.
On the third of August, Hackers stole $50m worth of bitcoin from Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. The exchange lost nearly 120,000 bitcoin in the incident and is offering a 5% reward for the recovery of the funds.
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This is the largest loss of bitcoin by an exchange since Mt Gox lost $350m-worth in early 2014.
Barclays voice recognition
Barclays announced its customers will soon be able to access their telephone banking accounts using voice recognition instead of a password. The Voice Security technology will replace passwords and pins with a customer’s voice print, which will be collected over the course of approximately three phone calls.
It’s an opt-in service, meaning customers can can continue with a password or pin if they’d prefer. FinTech innovations like this are taking place regularly, meaning privacy and security risks are becoming a concern.
The World Economic Forum released a new report on the future of financial infrastructure and how blockchain can reshape financial services. Their findings suggest Distributed Ledger Technology can drive simplicity and efficiency, but requires continued collaboration between innovators and regulators.
August also saw the launch of Octopus Labs – a corporate FinTech incubator and accelerator that’s on a mission to rebuild financial services. It aims to fix the broken sector by creating tech-enabled financial solutions that are fit for the mainstream market.