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Global fintech funding falls in 2023 - Industry roundup: 2 August

HSBC and Tradeshift plan new joint venture

HSBC and B2B fintech Tradeshift have agreed to launch a jointly-owned business focused on developing embedded finance solutions and financial services apps. As part of this agreement, HSBC will make a US$35m investment into Tradeshift in two stages and join its board. The agreement is part of a funding round expected to raise a minimum of US$70m overall. 

The joint venture will allow HSBC and Tradeshift to deploy various digital solutions across Tradeshift and other platforms. This will include payment and fintech services embedded into trade, e-commerce and marketplace experiences, and will help Tradeshift scale its business commerce proposition globally. More details about the joint venture will be announced ahead of its planned launch in early 2024.

“The world’s biggest trade bank and the world’s largest trade network are joining forces,” said Christian Lanng, CEO and Co-founder of Tradeshift. “Our deepening partnership with HSBC delivers a strong foundation from which to scale and accelerate our vision of a trade network that creates economic opportunity for businesses everywhere.”

Global fintech funding falls in 2023

The first six months of 2023 were difficult for the global fintech market, with total funding and deals dropping. According to the H1’23 edition of KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech, activity fell from US$63.2bn across 2,885 deals in H2’22 to US$52.4bn across 2,153 deals in H1’23.

The cloud of uncertainty permeating the market continued to wear on investors, driven by factors including global macroeconomic concerns (high inflation and rising interest rates), geopolitical tensions (the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine), and tech sector challenges (depressed valuations and a continued lack of exits). The collapse of several US banks early in 2023 likely kept many investors in wait-and-see mode during H1’23.

But not all the news was negative in H1’23. Several sectors attracted robust funding during the first half of 2023. Supply chain and logistics-focused fintechs attracted US$8.2bn in funding in H1’23 — well above the space’s 2019 annual record of US$5.5bn. Green fintech also had robust interest, with US$1.7bn of funding in the first six months of the year, already slightly ahead of its 2022 results (US$1.5bn).

At a regional level, the Americas saw fintech funding grow — from US$28.9bn to US$36.1bn — despite deal volumes declining from 1,323 to 1,011. In EMEA, fintech funding dropped by more than 50%, falling from US$27.3bn across 963 deals to US$11.2bn across 702 deals. Fintech funding also dropped in the ASPAC region, from US$6.8bn across 583 deals in H2’22 to US$5.1bn across 432 deals in H1’23.


Gunvor increases OBSI facility to US$1.37bn

Energy trader Gunvor Group has refinanced and increased its off balance sheet instruments (OBSI) revolving credit facility to US$1.37bn, up from US$990m in 2022, in favour of Gunvor SA and Gunvor International B.V.

The facility received strong support from Gunvor’s existing banking and institutional partners and welcomed four new participants. The Facility will support Gunvor in connection with its obligations to issue directly or indirectly off-balance sheet instruments as part of its business in the form of standby letters of credit, bid bonds, performance bonds, and various other types of guarantee instruments.

ING Bank N.V. acted as sole coordinator and documentation agent in the facility. Société Générale will continue its role as the facility agent and Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., ING Bank N.V., Amsterdam, Lancy/Geneva Branch, Natixis, Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Société Générale and SMBC Bank International Plc are the issuing banks.

“The sizeable increase in the facility reflects Gunvor’s growth over the past two years and our desire to expand globally,” said Jeff Webster, Chief Financial Officer at Gunvor. “This is a clear demonstration of the commitment of our banking and insurance partners to support our strategy.”


Standard Chartered and Ant Group strengthen partnership to promote global sustainable development

Standard Chartered and Ant Group have agreed to deepen their partnership in driving green and inclusive finance, global fund management and sustainable development. Both parties will jointly contribute to tackling global issues such as climate change and ocean protection. 

Since the first signing of an MOU between the two parties in 2017, Standard Chartered and Ant Group have conducted extensive cooperation in China and multiple markets globally. In the field of green and sustainable finance, Standard Chartered is one of the joint-mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners of Ant Group’s sustainability-linked syndicated loan and has carried out cooperation with Ant Group in sustainable deposit and other areas. 

In addition, the two parties have also successfully cooperated in the digital innovation of global fund management and in proliferating inclusive finance for SMEs. Under the expanded cooperation framework, Standard Chartered will support Ant Group to build a global liquidity and foreign exchange management structure and further strengthen their collaboration in ESG, digital innovation and inclusive finance.

“Ant Group and Standard Chartered are long-term partners,” commented Eric Jing, Chairman and CEO of Ant Group. “We have always been committed to using technology to assist SMEs in their digital transformation journeys, and jointly promoting global sustainable and inclusive development. Together with our ecosystem partners, we look forward to expanding our cooperation with Standard Chartered, and further leveraging the expertise from both sides in digital technology, green finance and inclusive finance, to make greater contributions to global sustainable development.”


EBRD expands cooperation with Ukraine’s KredoBank

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says it is supporting food security and other critical industries in wartime Ukraine with a new risk-sharing agreement for KredoBank, a subsidiary of PKO Bank Polski, as well as opening a trade finance programme limit for guarantees and cash advances to enhance the Ukrainian bank’s product offer.

Under the risk-sharing agreement, the EBRD provides a €25m unfunded risk-sharing instrument, which covers 50% of the credit risk of newly originated financing provided by KredoBank up to a total value of €100m, subject to a portfolio cap of 50%. The EBRD’s facility is provided in two equal tranches.

The risk-sharing facility should help KredoBank provide finance access for Ukrainian companies operating in critical industries such as primary agriculture and agricultural services, food processing, transport and logistics, retail and pharmaceuticals. It will also help safeguard food security and preserve livelihoods in Ukraine, where core economic sectors have been severely impacted by Russia’s invasion last February.

In addition, €15 million of the total €100 million covered portfolio will be available to finance long-term investments of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in technologies and equipment to EU standards, including investments in sustainable and green technologies, under the SME Competitiveness Programme in the European Union's (EU) Eastern Partnership (EaP SMEC).


CommBank aims to help commercial building owners’ sustainability efforts

Commonwealth Bank and Netherlands-based company CFP Green Buildings have worked together to help commercial property customers identify and implement meaningful, strategic actions to improve the environmental outcomes of their building operations through a new Green Buildings Tool.

In what the bank says is an Australian first, the interactive digital tool uses a data-driven approach to allow commercial property customers to understand their building’s baseline predicted emissions footprint based on third-party benchmarking data and provides insights about the potential decarbonisation impact of retrofitting. The tool also estimates the scope of investments required to achieve a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy rating improvement and energy cost savings.

Commercial buildings account for 24% of Australia’s national electricity consumption and 10% of national greenhouse gas production, presenting a solid opportunity for national emissions reduction. For the past 18 years, CFP has been helping commercial property owners in Europe and UK to make their properties greener, with more than 1,500,000 buildings in Europe analysed each year.

Commonwealth Bank and CFP have worked closely with the Green Building Council of Australia and NABERS. The Green Buildings Tool aims to help buildings reduce energy use and carbon emissions and to verify these sustainability achievements through a certified NABERS rating.


Treasury Prime and Academy Bank form BaaS partnership

Treasury Prime has announced it is partnering with Academy Bank to bring embedded finance services to its customers in the financial services industry. This partnership aims to address the increasing demand for flexible and scalable solutions that effectively meet the evolving needs of businesses and customers.

This partnership aims to provide businesses with seamless access to Academy Bank’s deposit services, enabling them to offer FDIC-insured accounts to their customers while staying fully compliant with regulatory requirements. 

Treasury Prime’s banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, coupled with Academy Bank's established banking infrastructure, is designed to support businesses to rapidly launch and scale their payment and deposit products, driving strong customer engagement and retention.


FinClear acquires cash investment platform Transact1

FinClear has announced its acquisition of Transact1, a cash investment technology provider for wholesale and institutional customers. Transact1 operates a cloud-based platform that hosts most of Australia’s deposit-taking financial institutions, including the Big Four. It also hosts numerous international banks. 

Transact1 offers institutional and wholesale investors an aggregated range of cash investment products and provides automated price discovery, portfolio optimisation, administration, and compliance services to meet regulatory demands and ongoing risk management. FinClear says the strategic acquisition positions it to take advantage of the growing demand for cash investment products among clients and the broader market and meet the more comprehensive market demand for cash products expected over the coming years.

Transact1 also offers institutional and wholesale investors the Wealth Cash Income Fund,  a term deposit managed fund for smaller cash investments which Transact1 then diversifies across numerous banks to meet necessary compliance requirements and risk profiles. This will allow FinClear customers to readily access a portfolio of high-interest earning term deposits without the administration burden.

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