April 17, 2018
Consolidation of resources and entities in the financial services industry is inevitable and has long been a natural tendency. Only the hallmark of consolidation changes over time. Today, all attention is tied to the most promising bank-startup partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. The evolution of bank-FinTech narrative led relationships between all parties from competition to a beautiful friendship, bringing out the best and accelerating innovation adoption.
Significant capital allocations into strategic acquisitions are followed by the stage of active learning, and institutional players rapidly turning competition into the way to reinvent own operations and leadership.
The relationship between banks and FinTech firms has evolved over a period of time from that of being competitors, to that of being collaborators. In 2018, we think banks will require a hybrid strategy that will be a combination of innovation programs and acquisitions. This will ensure that banks’ entire gamut of needs and objectives are met – short-term gains in terms of ROI; long-term bets on specific technologies; the FinTech product roadmap being in line with the bank’s own roadmap, etc. – State of FinTech Report 2018, MEDICI
Goldman Sachs Bank USA acquired Clarity Money and welcomed the startups’ over one million customers to Marcus. Clarity Money is an app that helps consumers better manage their personal finances by leveraging ML and intuitive design to provide actionable insights. Clarity Money is free to use and over time, will be branded ‘Marcus by Goldman Sachs.’
Marcus also welcomed Clarity Money’s team of engineers, designers, and marketers, led by its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Adam Dell, who will join Goldman Sachs as a partner.
United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) and Pintec Technology Holdings Limited (PINTEC) announced the launch of their joint venture, Avatec.ai. Avatec aims to help banks and finance companies to be more efficient and more accurate when assessing the credit quality of potential customers, including those who are new to credit. The digital solution can also be extended to companies in sectors such as e-commerce, retail, and travel that offer financial products such as point-of-sale financing.
Avatec provides companies offering financial products with a credit assessment solution that analyses a broader set of digitized data beyond that which is traditionally used in evaluating personal or business credit applications. Avatec’s credit assessment tool uses AI, ML, and anti-fraud algorithms to determine an applicant’s credit quality within seconds.
Avatec is incorporated as a subsidiary company of UOB, with UOB owning the majority stake (60%) and PINTEC the minority stake (40%). The Bank will invest up to S$12 million in Avatec over the next two years. Avatec will launch its digital credit assessment solution in Indonesia, followed by other Southeast Asian markets within the next two years.
Sowa Labs, a subsidiary of Germany’s second-largest stock exchange Börse Stuttgart, will release a cryptocurrency trading app later this year. The app, called Bison, will be available in September and will initially support trading of BTC, ETC, LTC, and XRP.
Börse Stuttgart acquired a 100% stake in Sowa Labs when it purchased the FinTech startup last December.