ECONOMÍA ABIERTA

FINNISH FINANCIAL SERVICES PROVIDER FOR SMBS PARTNERS WITH UBER: Finland-based banking service provider for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) Holvi — which was acquired by Spanish bank BBVA in 2016 — has partnered with ride-hailing giant Uber to provide its gig economy workers with access to financial services. This will allow Uber drivers to open business current accounts and use Holvi’s banking tools such as automatic invoice management and accounting services. This partnership aims to help Uber’s employees manage their finances more efficiently, enabling them to drive more and increase their income.

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FINTECH TRANSFERGO BANKS ON ONFIDO FOR ONBOARDING: London-based remittance fintech TransferGo has partnered with leading identity verification provider Onfido to help it accelerate its global expansion. Onfido, which provides machine learning-based identity verification technology, will allow TransferGo to onboard new users securely with its selfie-based biometric enrollment. Founded in 2012, TransferGo has amassed more than 650,000 users and continues to add 1,000 new customers each day. Onfido’s simple and effective onboarding solution will not only allow TransferGo to sign up newcomers efficiently, but also will allow it to ensure compliance with know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering requirements. Given that TransferGo claims to be the only remittance company in Europe that can guarantee transfers within 30 minutes, Onfido’s automated, biometric onboarding system points to a good fit. The partnership is also indicative of the broader interest within the financial services industry in biometric enrollment technologies, as Onfido and others in this segment become increasingly in demand for their self-service solutions.

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JPMORGAN INVESTS IN INDIA: JPMorgan is partnering with the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship to open a $9.5 million financial inclusion lab in India, according to PYMNTS. The lab will help fintech startups that focus on helping lower- and middle-income consumers throughout the country by identifying solutions for specific financial challenges those consumers face. The fintechs that develop the best solutions will receive startup capital, assistance with their technical features, and mentoring. JPMorgan is investing $7 million over the next four years in this initiative, marking its largest philanthropic commitment outside of the US. The firm launched its Financial Solutions Lab in 2014, a similar initiative to support the development of fintechs for underserved communities in the US. India represents a significant opportunity for payments firms, and many have been moving in on that opportunity by launching mobile wallets and other digital solutions. But there’s still a major runway for innovation, as only 14% of adults in India make mobile payments weekly, and 6% do so daily, demonstrating a lot of room for new solutions. Investing in startups that can develop these much-needed solutions can give JPMorgan a good look into the space, and set it up for future success if it opts to move into the Indian market through companies in its payments portfolio.

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ZOPA TEAMS UP WITH COMMUTERCLUB TO MAKE TRAVEL MORE AFFORDABLE: UK-based alt lender Zopa has partnered with CommuterClub to enable customers to save money when traveling through the country. CommuterClub offers customers annual travel passes that they pay for on a monthly basis, and it then finds the cheapest travel available for each user. The pass costs £1,999 ($2592) per year, compared with the £2,460 ($3190) a consumer would have to pay when buying conventional weekly tickets. Via the partnership, Zopa will finance CommuterClub’s annual travel passes to help consumers save more money when traveling. Zopa recently secured a £44 million ($57 million) funding round to launch its own digital bank, and partnering with other fintechs like CommuterClub will likely help the alt lender to further diversify its services. Additionally, if Zopa users are able to save more money on travel, they may have more money left to invest with the alt lender, which would further boost its lending platform.

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THOMSON REUTERS PARTNERS DATA AGGREGATOR TO TRACK CRYPTOS: Thomson Reuters has struck a partnership with CryptoCompare, a market data aggregator, that will enable the data and news provider to begin tracking crypto assets on one of its desktop feeds. Per the agreement, CryptoCompare will provide order book and trading data for 50 crypto tokens sourced from a variety of “trusted” exchanges, which will be integrated into Thomson Reuters’ financial desktop platform, Eikon. The aim of this integration is to afford institutional investors access to crypto market insights that can be used to predict price movements and inform trading decisions — Eikon users will be able to see data for actively trading coins, and thereby identify specific buy and sell opportunities, according to the press release. Thomson Reuters also launched a Bitcoin “sentiment” feed in May with similar intent. Despite recent price volatility, interest in cryptos on the institutional side has been gaining steam lately. In fact, we reported in April that around one in five financial firms surveyed by Thomson Reuters were considering launching crypto trading services in the next year. This suggests interest in the new feature will likely be high, and it could bring more institutional investors into the crypto space.

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“El comercio ‘online’ no va a acabar con la tienda física”

El director general de Alibaba en Europa, Terry von Bibra, considera que “simplemente hay que transformarse” para combinar lo mejor de los dos mundos. Para ello, la empresa está implementando la estrategia del nuevo ‘retail’ en las tiendas físicas.

“Mucha gente pensaba que los principales afectados de la transformación digital iban a ser los pequeños negocios, los comercios de barrio. Sin embargo, es justo lo contrario”, sentencia el director general de Alibaba en Europa, Terry von Bibra. El gigante chino del comercio electrónico quiere alejarse de la imagen de empresa que domina el mundo. Por eso, en su discurso no olvida destacar la capacidad de la compañía de asesorar a las pequeñas y medianas empresas para que aprovechen al máximo los beneficios de la transformación digital.

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SQUARE AND EBAY PARTNER ON MERCHANT FINANCING: Square and eBay are partnering to offer loans of up to $100,000 to eBay’s online sellers through Square Capital, Square’s lending segment, according to Bloomberg. This partnership marks a significant opportunity for Square to bolster Square Capital, which is becoming an increasingly important division for the firm — Square Capital issued 50,000 loans totaling $339 million in Q1 2018 alone, a 35% annual increase — as it’s a top driver of the firm’s subscription- and services-based segment. Square’s been working to build out this segment because it’s an important profit driver for the company, even as it scales. And pursuing high-volume partnerships like this, where the firm can leverage a large network of potential sellers that might have previously lacked financing, is an effective way for Square Capital to grow. Small business loans are at an all-time high, and other major players have moved into the space — Amazon has provided more than $3 billion in loans to more than 20,000 small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that sell on its website since it began offering loans in 2011 — so pushing into the space could help keep Square competitive. Sigue leyendo