Category: mastercard

Synctera raises $33M Series A to pair fintechs with banks



Synctera, which aims to serve as a matchmaker for community banks and fintechs, has raised $33 million in a Series A round of funding led by Fin VC.

The raise comes just under six months after the fintech raised $12.4 million in a seed round of funding.

New investors Mastercard and Gaingels also participated in the latest round, which included follow-on investments from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Diagram Ventures, SciFi Ventures and Scribble Ventures. Several angel investors put money in the Series A including Omri Dahan, Marqeta’s Chief Revenue Officer, Feedzai Chairman and CEO Nuno Sebastiao and Greenlight co-founder and CEO Tim Sheehan. 

Alongside the Series A, Synctera is also announcing its commitment to the new Cap Table Coalition – which includes funding from Gaingels, Neythri Futures Fund, Plexo Capital and over 20 angels – alongside other startups by allocating 10% of all funding rounds to “traditionally marginalized,” or underrepresented, investors via an SPV. (Fellow fintech Finix led the initiative earlier this year before forming this coalition but more on that later).

“This has exposed us to find great folks who we otherwise might not have known,” said Synctera’s co-founder and CEO Peter Hazlehurst. “That’s why we pledge to reserve 10% of this round and all future rounds to diverse investors.”

In a nutshell, San Francisco-based Synctera has developed a platform designed to help facilitate partnership banking. It was founded on the premise that some community banks and (Read more...)

Mastercard is acquiring identity verification company Ekata for $850M



As online identity management grows in importance, Mastercard swooped in this morning and bought identity verification company Ekata for $850 million.

Mastercard certainly sees the rapid digital transformation that is happening in online commerce, a move that was accelerated by COVID. It’s a transformation that once started isn’t likely to change back to the old ways of doing business, even when we get past the pandemic.

With Ekata, the company gets a solution that can verify the online identity of a person making the transaction in real time using various signals that can indicate if this is fraudulent or true as they open an account or transact business. The company provides a score and other data that predicts the likelihood this person is who they say they are. It’s not unlike a credit risk score, except for identity.

That was one of the primary reasons Mastercard decided to acquire Ekata, according to Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence solutions at the company. “With the addition of Ekata, we will advance our identity capabilities and create a safer, seamless way for consumers to prove who they say they are in the new digital economy,” Bhalla said in a statement.

The two companies believe that by combining Mastercard’s fraud detection solutions with Ekata’s scoring approach, they will help prevent bad actors from using online platforms to conduct business. “The acceleration of online transactions has thrust global digital identity verification to (Read more...)

Cheese raises $3.6M for its digital bank aimed at the Asian-American community



Many things have accelerated in the world of fintech over the past year, not the least of which is the trend of digital banks aimed at specific communities in the U.S.

In the past few months alone, a number of neobanks targeting the Black and Latinx communities have emerged. Most recently, we covered the $5 million raise of one such bank — First Boulevard.

Today, Cheese announced the launch of its digital banking platform that is aimed at primarily serving the Asian-American community. Co-founder and CEO Ken Lian came to the United States from China in 2008 to attend college. In the years after his move, Lian said he paid thousands of dollars in bank fees and got rejected “multiple times” for basic bank accounts, despite having a FICO score over 800.

Those experiences led him to come up with the concept behind Cheese, which he said will offer its banking services via a multi-language platform. The one-year-old startup also has a social component, giving customers a way to support Asian-American businesses and organizations. Lian is no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship, having also founded Moolah Science, a startup that helped consumers find out if online stores owed them a refund that got acquired by a Fortune 500 company in 2019.

Lian founded Cheese along with Zhen Wang and Qingyi Li under the premise that Asian-Americans are often subject to discrimination and “an unequal playing field” in America (Read more...)