British fintech platform PrimaryBid raises €42.2M from global investors for international expansion


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant troubles in equity capital markets in 2020, but stocks are recovering as economies reopen globally. In a recent development, a UK-based fintech company PrimaryBid, an online funding platform that enables investors to gain access to placings and fundraisings of listed companies, has raised $ 50M (approx €42.2M) in its Series B investment round.

Investors in this round include the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE), Draper Esprit, OMERS Ventures, ABN AMRO Ventures, and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures. Existing investors Pentech and Outward Ventures also invested in this round.

The raised capital will be used to build-out PrimaryBid’s team as well as its technology platform. Besides, the company will also expand into Europe where it has an exclusive commercial agreement with Euronext – the largest stock exchange in Europe, operating markets in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Milan, Oslo, and Paris.

About PrimaryBid

Founded in 2015 by Anand Sambasivan and Kieran D’Silva, PrimaryBid is a fintech platform that enables investors to gain access to placings and fundraisings of listed companies. The platform ensures that retail investors transact at the same time and at the same price as institutional investors.

Through a long-term agreement with the London Stock Exchange, PrimaryBid has created the infrastructure to connect everyday investors with public companies seamlessly.

The company has completed over 41 capital raisings for the U.K. listed companies and investment trusts since April 2020, working alongside global investment banks to broaden investor access as companies recapitalised their balance sheets and raised growth capital.

According to the company, retail investors directly own 13.5% of the U.K. market, while additionally holding approximately £269B (approx €296B) in cash ISAs, making them a vital constituency in any capital raising activity.

Cash ISAs (sometimes called NISAs) are savings accounts that pay interest that is free of income tax.

Anand Sambasivan, CEO of PrimaryBid, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the effectiveness of the public markets, with companies recapitalising quickly and efficiently. Our technology has allowed thousands of retail investors to participate on equal terms with institutional investors, unlocking a large and important source of liquidity and long-term share ownership for corporate issuers. The Boards recognise our digital solution for retail inclusion brings together both good governance and best execution.

He further added, “Our mission is to enhance fairness, inclusivity, and transparency in capital markets, and these investors all share that commitment and global ambition.”

PrimaryBid completed an $ 8.6M (approx €7.2M) Series A funding in September 2019 and signed a commercial agreement with the London Stock Exchange in November 2019 to broaden its access to U.K. equity offerings. 

In April 2020, PrimaryBid co-ordinated an open letter signed by prominent retail investors, fund managers, and senior City stakeholders. The letter called on the boards and management teams of the U.K.’s listed companies with concerns that ordinary savers were denied the chance to participate in heavily discounted share sales.

The letter also mentioned respecting the pre-emption rights of retail shareholders by including them in any future equity fundraisings.

The signed letter included the likes of Anne Richards, Fidelity International’s chief executive, and Peter Hargreaves, a co-founder of the retail investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown.

The full letter can be found here.

PrimaryBid has been involved in capital-raisings including the online grocer Ocado and SSP Group, the transport food concessions operator behind the Ritazza brand.

Image credit: PrimaryBid

Startups – Silicon Canals

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The Central Bank of Ireland grants an EMI licence to UK fintech startup Modulr


Modulr, a UK and Ireland-based fintech startup has secured an electronic money institution (EMI) licence from the Central Bank of Ireland for its Dublin-based entity, Modulr FS Europe Limited, (hereafter referred to as Modulr Europe).

The newly granted EMI licence will help Modulr Europe to offer an extensive suite of payments products, through its API to European Union markets.

About Modulr Europe

The company was founded in 2015 by Cyrus Wadia, Jakub Zmuda, Martin Threakall, Myles Stephenson, and Ritesh Tendulkar. 

Modulr is the Payments-as-a-Service API platform for digital businesses that can integrate into any product or system. According to the company, its new type of payment accounts is built for businesses that need a faster, easier, and reliable way to move money. 

Businesses can automate payment flows, embed payments into their platforms, and build new payment products and services themselves, as well as manage it in real-time, 24/7 from one API. 

Authorised, regulated, and secure

The team at Modulr brings its expertise in real-time payments to SEPA Instant, the euro’s instant payments scheme. Its accounts have access to existing payments services including Bacs, CHAPS, Faster Payments, Visa, and Mastercard.

The potential of a digital API-led alternative to commercial payments will rely upon an agile and efficient ‘behind the scenes’ payments process, which has historically been inaccessible and unaffordable to SMEs and enterprises alike.

This information comes from soon to be published research commissioned by Modulr, which reveals contemporary insight not only into the hard cost of payment processes but the hidden impact on customer experience as well.

“We plan to build a truly digital, frictionless payments infrastructure for software platform partners to provide new payment experiences to more than 500 million people,” says Myles Stephenson, CEO of Modulr Europe.

Leading the new European push is John Irwin, now general manager of Modulr Europe in Dublin. Irwin says, “We look forward to automating payment flows, embedding payments within customers platforms, and enabling them to focus on their core business.”

Modulr has grown to process more than £40B (approx €44.29B) worth of payments for customers including Sage, Revolut, and Paxport through its platform which has an uptime of 99.999%. The company provides this scale, reliability, and premium service by investing in its own financial access and achieving principal and direct access to critical payments infrastructure where possible.

Earlier in May this year, Modulr had secured £18.9M (approx €20.9M) in growth capital led by Highland Europe, and existing investor Frog Capital, and partner Blenheim Chalcot. To further develop its platform and expand into new products and markets, this fintech company claims it was one of the few to raise cash during the lockdown.

Image credit: Modulr

Startups – Silicon Canals

Dutch fintech Silverflow nabs €2.6 million to launch its cloud-native card payments platform in early 2021

Silverflow, a global payment technology company, is announcing a €2.6 million seed funding round, led by UK-based seed-stage investor Crane Venture Partners, with participation from INKEF Capital and notable angel investors and industry leaders from Pay.On, First Data, and Adyen. With this seed round, Silverflow has now raised €3 million in total funding. Founded…

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