European venture capital giant Lakestar, an early supporter of fintech unicorn Revolut, has emerged as a prominent backer of French fintech startup Swan.
Swan raised the funds in a series B investment led by European venture capital giant Lakestar. The latest fundraise takes Swan’s total money raised to 58 million euros. Accel, another venture capital firm, previously led Swan’s series A round in 2021.
Swan CEO and co-founder Nicolas Benady said that, when he started out, it was “incredibly complex” to integrate banking and other financial services into existing platforms that didn’t have any financial components.
“What we had in mind with our co-founders was that it shouldn’t be that complex,” he told CNBC. “If it’s easy to accept payments — like the Stripes the Adyens, the Mollies of this world enable — it should be as easy to set up banking.”
“If you develop a big idea … at 2 a.m., it should be possible to come onto our website and have something up and running in the morning,” Benady added.
Swan will initially use the money to expand its operations in the Netherlands in the coming months, before later expanding its operations in the Italian market in 2024.
Benady said the Dutch market has unique features that set it apart from other European countries, making it more complex as a country to launch digital banking and payment capabilities in for its customers.
For example, the Netherlands has its own payments system, called iDEAL, which lets consumers pay online through their own bank and is supported by all the country’s major lenders including ABN Amro and ING Group.
Georgia Watson, a principal at Lakestar based in the firm’s London office, said the firm had been tracking Swan “for about a year.”
“We really like that they’re giving their clients the ability to create new product lines, new revenue lines, with attention for their end users,” she told CNBC.
She added that Swan’s clients “don’t have to think about the regulatory aspects when they want to add on new products, which can be very time consuming and create additional risk for the company.”
Swan is able to set up embedded financial solutions with businesses in as little as two weeks compared to many months for other competitors, according to Watson, who was previously with Goldman Sachs as a vice president managing the investment bank’s growth and venture deals.
Plans to forge partnerships
Luca Bocchio, partner at Accel, said Swan had proven its model was more scalable than competitors in the embedded finance world, such as Railsr and Solarisbank, which have faced struggles in their mission to plug payments and other financial products directly into companies’ platforms. Railsr earlier this year entered bankruptcy protection via a sale to a consortium of investors led by D Squared Capital.
Swan is able to handle large volumes of payments and run know-your-customer (KYC) checks with “very few people,” Bocchio told CNBC.
“Banking-as-a-service providers usually need to take care of many of their customers, who piggyback on their licenses. They need to take care of anti-money laundering, KYC and compliance costs for their customers.”
“Depending on what they’re serving, it means a high volume of requests if you’ve not created a fully automated platform,” Bocchio said. “It requires you to have lots of manual processes.”
Bocchio said that, where Swan differed to competitors was with its ability to process lots of tractions with more automated compliance processes. Railsr, he said, struggled to allocate the right number of people to figure out the challenge of developing an embedded finance experience while also considering how to scale it with compliance in mind.
Railsr, at the time of its restructuring announcement, said that it had “best-in-class technology” and would “get back to basics and manage the business methodically and constructively.”
Swan will also look to forge partnerships with more large, multinational corporates with an aggressive sales strategy following the fundraise. The company already works with the French retail chain Carrefour, which used its technology to develop a cashback project.
Swan plans to broaden its product offering out to include more payment collection methods such as direct debit and card payments, as well as new lending capabilities. As it rolls out these new products, Swan anticipates it’ll begin to serve new industries like travel, insurance and business-to-business marketplaces.
The proportion of payments that are embedded in platforms is expected to grow to 40% in the next few years, according to a note from Bain Capital Ventures. Embedded finance is expected to become a $384.8 billion market by 2029, according to data from Reportlinker.
Tense diplomatic relations may not impact trade, investment ties between India, Canada: Experts
NEW DELHI: The tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada are unlikely to impact trade and investments between the two countries as economic ties are driven by commercial considerations, according to experts. Both India and Canada trade in complementary products and do not compete on similar products.
“Hence, the trade relationship will continue to grow and not be affected by day-to-day events,” Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava said.
Certain political developments have led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
On September 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.
India on Tuesday announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat hours after Canada asked an Indian official to leave that country, citing a “potential” Indian link to the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in June.
Srivastava said these recent events are unlikely to affect the deep-rooted people-to-people connections, trade, and economic ties between the two nations.
Bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown significantly in recent years, reaching USD 8.16 billion in 2022-23.
India’s exports (USD 4.1 billion) to Canada include pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, and machinery, while Canada’s exports to India (USD 4.06 billion) include pulses, timber, pulp and paper, and mining products.
On investments, he said that Canadian pension funds will continue investing in India on grounds of India’s large market and good return on money invested.
Canadian pension funds, by the end of 2022, had invested over USD 45 billion in India, making it the fourth-largest recipient of Canadian FDI in the world.
The top sectors for Canadian pension fund investment in India include infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, and financial services.
Mumbai-based exporter and Chairman of Technocraft Industries Sharad Kumar Saraf said the present frosty relations between India and Canada are certainly a cause for concern.
“However, the bilateral trade is entirely driven by commercial considerations. Political turmoil is of a temporary nature and should not be a reason to affect trade relations,” Saraf said.
He added that even with China, India has acrimonious relations but bilateral trade continues to remain healthy.
“In fact, bilateral trade is an effective tool to improve political relations. India must make special efforts to increase our bilateral trade with Canada,” Saraf said.
India and Canada have a strong education partnership. There are over 200 educational partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
In addition, over 3,19,000 Indian students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada, according to GTRI.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.
Indian students are the largest international student group in Canada, accounting for 20 per cent of all international students in 2021.
Benefits of educational partnerships are mutual and hence the current situation may have no impact on the relationship, Srivastava said.
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double India jobs and investment
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double its workforce and investment in India by next year, a company executive said on Sunday.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has rapidly expanded its presence in India by investing in manufacturing facilities in the south of the country as the company seeks to move away from China.
V Lee, Foxconn’s representative in India, in a LinkedIn post to mark Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday, said the company was “aiming for another doubling of employment, FDI (foreign direct investment), and business size in India” by this time next year.
He did not give more details.
Foxconn already has an iPhone factory employing 40,000 people in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In August, the state of Karnataka said the firm will invest US$600 million for two projects to make casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment.
The company’s Chairman Liu Young-way said in an earnings briefing last month that he sees a lot of potential in India, adding: “several billion dollars in investment is only a beginning”.
Taiwan election: Foxconn’s Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate
Last month, Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou said he would run for the Taiwanese presidency in next year’s election, as an independent candidate.
He said the ruling and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was unable to offer a bright future for the island and left Foxconn’s board following his decision to run.
The firm operates the world’s largest iPhone plant, in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province.
Foxconn to double workforce, investment in India by ‘this time next year’
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