Vantiv to Acquire Paymetric


Vantiv, Inc. (VNTV), a leading provider of payments processing services and related technology solutions for merchants and financial institutions, announced today its agreement to acquire Paymetric, a portfolio company of Francisco Partners.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Paymetric automates B2B payment workflows within enterprise systems, including SAP, Oracle, Hybris, Salesforce and more. Paymetric also tokenizes payments data within these systems in order to enable secure storage of customer information and history.

Card-based transactions are the fastest growing segment within the $30 trillion B2B payments vertical1, whether acquired through the web, a mobile device or a customer service center. Yet nearly 70% of companies lack the back-office capabilities and systems integration necessary to efficiently accept these transactions2. By integrating leading ERP and CRM systems with robust payments capabilities, Paymetric helps the world’s most recognized companies optimize workflows, save time and reduce costs.

“Acquiring Paymetric builds upon our strategy to expand into high-growth channels and verticals,” said Charles Drucker, president and chief executive officer of Vantiv. “Paymetric’s deep system integration and workflow automation expertise will enhance our already-leading ecommerce technology capabilities. Paymetric’s B2B focus will also enable us to enter this fast-growing vertical in a unique and differentiated way. I am pleased to welcome Paymetric’s employees to the Vantiv team, and I am excited about all of the great things that we will be able to do together.”

The acquisition continues Vantiv’s M&A strategy to leverage its platform and expand and diversify the channels and clients it serves.

“By becoming part of Vantiv, we will be able to accelerate the development of our advanced payments integration and security solutions,” said Asif Ramji, president and chief executive officer of Paymetric. “Together, Paymetric and Vantiv will now both be able to offer an expanded suite of services to our clients and partners. We are excited to become part of Vantiv.”

“Where Asif and the team at Paymetric have taken the business over the past several years is truly exceptional,” said Peter Christodoulo, partner at Francisco Partners. “Paymetric has become the clear leader in providing critical electronic payments infrastructure and security into enterprise environments, and we are proud to have helped play a role in building this enduring platform. We wish the team continued success as part of Vantiv, where we know they will continue to do great things.”

The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2017, subject to required U.S. antitrust clearance and other customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Credit Suisse acted as the lead financial advisor to Vantiv, and Benesch served as its legal advisor. William Blair & Company acted as the exclusive financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to Paymetric.

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DBS and OCBC push QR codes for mobile payments


Singaporean banks DBS and OCBC are to introduce QR code-based payments at offline stores in a joint project with national payments processor Nets.

Over the coming months, some 2,000 Nets terminals will be enabled for QR code-based payments, rising to 10,000 by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, users of the DBS PayLah! app will be able to generate their own QR code, which they can display at their premises or send to others via social or online channels for payments. And from next month onwards, OCBC Pay Anyone customers will be able to scan a merchant’s QR code and proceed to make payments of up to $1000 a day, without the need for a card and PIN.

In Singapore, it is estimated that more than 80% of payments made at small shops are in cash. At hawker centres and wet markets, this rises to 90%.

Jeremy Soo, head of consumer banking group (Singapore), DBS Bank, says: “We believe that cashless payments in Singapore is ripe for disruption. Singapore has one of the world’s highest smartphone penetration and surveys have indicated that the majority of consumers here are open to making payments with their mobile devices. All we need is a solution that has a low barrier to entry, is easy for merchants to implement, and for consumers to use. The DBS PayLah! QR code payment solution ticks all the boxes and is well positioned to drive cashless payment behaviour in Singapore, taking us one step closer to our nation’s vision of being a Smart Nation.”

Singapore is hoping to mimic the success of mobile payments in China, where QR code-based payments from the likes of AliPay have laid the groundwork for a move to a cashless society.

To help spur adoption, DBS will be holding a QR code bazaar from 5 to 7 May, which will see 200 vendors setting up shop at youth-oriented non-profit Scape, each equipped with DBS PayLah!’s QR code payment function.

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Financial API manager Quovo raises $10 million

Quovo, a data platform providing insights and connectivity for financial accounts, today announced it has raised $10 million in Series B funding.

F-Prime Capital and Napier Park Financial Partners co-led the round and were joined by existing investors, FinTech Collective and Long Light Capital. Quovo will use the funds to accelerate the growth of its suite of data analytics offerings, which include the company’s recently launched bank authentication API and Quovo Connect module.

By providing efficient access to financial account aggregation and analytics via APIs and front-end dashboards, Quovo has played a key role in driving the ongoing digital transformation in wealth management. Demand for high-quality financial account data is rapidly growing as the broader financial services industry turns to data to optimize their client relationships and drive valuable insights. Leading this trend, Quovo has expanded across multiple financial services verticals, offering solutions for banking, lending, insurance, and more.

This expansion has most recently led to the launch and growth of Quovo’s Bank Authentication API and the launch of Quovo Connect, an easy-to-use module that offers an elegant user experience for adding financial accounts from thousands of institutions. The new Bank API and Quovo Connect are both easily embedded into any website or mobile app with just a few lines of code.

“We’re excited to see the continued traction and adoption of our services across the financial services and FinTech space,” said Lowell Putnam, CEO and co-founder of Quovo. “Our mission to help firms build strong, data-driven client relationships is shared by the smallest startups and some of the country’s largest institutions. Investors are committed to helping Quovo flourish, validating our success to-date and helping us drive the innovation our customers demand. This new funding will enable us to build upon our success and help anyone trying to innovate or disrupt within financial services.”

“Quovo has a role to play wherever data is being used to build stronger financial relationships. We are impressed with Quovo’s adoption within the wealth management industry and are excited to see what they can accomplish as they expand more broadly across financial services,” said David Jegen, a partner at F-Prime Capital, who will be joining Quovo’s board.

Ned May, a principal at Napier Park Financial Partners, will also be joining Quovo’s board of directors. “We seek to back differentiated platforms with leading management teams and provide the resources and deep financial services expertise to help innovative companies reach their full potential,” said May. “Quovo’s rapid growth across multiple industry verticals underscores the strength and importance of its platform, and we are thrilled to partner with Lowell and the entire team to support Quovo’s next phase of growth.”

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Korean mobile commerce company Tmon raises $115 million, now valued at $1.2 billion



Tmon, a mobile ecommerce company based in Korea, has closed a $115 million funding round from new investor Simone Investment Managers, with participation from existing shareholders, including a number of sovereign wealth funds.

The latest tranche of funding elevates Tmon into the much-coveted “unicorn” brigade, with an estimated value of around $1.2 billion.

Founded in 2010 as Ticket Monster, Tmon, as it’s known locally, was acquired by former daily deals darling LivingSocial in 2011, which sold the company to Groupon two years later, which in turn sold a controlling stake in Tmon to global investment firm KKR, Hong Kong’s Anchor Equity Partners, and Tmon’s management. Groupon retains a 41 percent stake in the company.

Above: Tmon

Today, Tmon operates across a handful of core verticals, including a mobile grocery shopping service and an online travel meta-search platform. Its latest cash injection comes just eight months after it raised $40 million in funding.

“This is a significant milestone for Tmon because our new and existing partners have affirmed their confidence in our business and support our vision to change the e-commerce customer experience through our ‘technology and platform’ approach,” said Tmon CEO Daniel Shin.

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TradAir deploys trading platform at Amazon AWS London Region


TradAir, the global provider of trading technology solutions for banks, brokers, prime of primes and regulated marketplaces, is using AWS’s London Region to reduce round-trip latency and improve its execution performance.

TradAir’s fully managed low-latency trading technology solutions hosted in Equinix LD4, are now also hosted in the AWS London Region. The new AWS UK Region provides the scale, reach and high-availability critical for TradAir’s cloud-based trading platform.

The AWS London Region’s proximity to TradAir’s industry-leading selection of primary FX liquidity providers and trading venues helps reduce round trip order latency, which results in higher fill ratios and reduced slippage. This has resulted in improved execution performance and an outstanding trading experience for TradAir clients and their customers.

TradAir live in the AWS London Region delivers significant benefits to TradAir clients:

 Robust, futureproof FX trading platform: Latest in high-performance, scalable and fully managed Web, Cloud, BigData, and HTML5 technology, with superior customer support

 Security, scalability, and high-availability: AWS provides the security, scalability, reach and high-availability required to support our high-performance trading platform

 Improved execution and performance: Servers being deployed in proximity to LPs and trading venues, helping to reduce trip trade latency and improve execution performance

 Outstanding trading experience: Fully customizable, zero install HTML5 trading platform, delivers high-performance, and ease of deployment with global reach

 Advanced trading analytic engine: Deep, actionable insight across platform, to optimize liquidity provision, client pricing and risk management

David Elliot, Solutions Architecture Manager, Financial Services, Amazon Web Services, commented on TradAir’s deployment:

“We are delighted that TradAir is now live in the AWS London Region, they have been a customer for many years.
By leveraging AWS, TradAir benefits from lower latency with servers deployed in proximity to key FX liquidity providers and trading venues in the city of London.”

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SeedPlus raises over $18m for its first seed-stage fund


By Michael Tegos for tech in Asia

Seed-stage startup investor SeedPlus has raised over US$18 million for its first fund, it announced today. This was the targeted amount but was oversubscribed, partner Michael Smith Jr. tells Tech in Asia.

SeedPlus launched in May last year, when investment firms Jungle Ventures, Infocomm Investments (now SGInnovate), Accel Partners, and Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates came together to invest in seed-stage startups in Singapore.

The fund has made five deals so far, including AI assistant maker, mobile app security startup Appknox, and marketplace for elderly care Homage. The team doesn’t share its expected returns or what the timeframe for those returns is.

It targets early-stage local and regional startups that focus on large, cross-border markets both in Asia and internationally.

SeedPlus feels good about its focus one year in. “We have settled on the themes for the fund but of course we continue to look back at our operations quarter by quarter and evaluate and alter our course as needed,” Michael muses.

Finding the right focus

SeedPlus’ fundraise comes in a challenging environment for startup investments in Southeast Asia, which dropped significantly in the first quarter of 2017.

Managing partner at Tri5 Ventures, Christopher Quek, also a seed-stage investor, feels that investors looking at young companies in the region need to figure out two things: the right verticals and startups to bring up to series A investors; and the right entrepreneurs and tech talent to develop solid intellectual property and go-to-market strategies.

“The trend of marketplaces and Uber-like verticals is beginning to slow as series A investors already have sufficient exposure to such verticals with their current portfolio,” Christopher tells Tech in Asia. “Investors need to go back to basics. Currently it is still all about infrastructure for a developing Asia. The change in investing style is that these infrastructural plays take much longer to commercialize.”

SeedPlus is focusing primarily on business-to-business products. Opportunities for task automation are particularly exciting, highlighted by the fund’s investment in Mimetic, Michael says.

The team is helped along by a select group of limited partners. Last month, the International Financial Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, poured US$2 million into the fund. Today, SeedPlus announced that Cisco Investments, Cisco’s investment vehicle, and Eight Roads Ventures are also limited partners.

Michael says both new partners see startups as a key part of their own future growth and success in Asia. Cisco’s focus on infrastructure and internet of things projects means the company’s investment arm is eager to find deals that help the mothership. Eight Roads Ventures, the investment arm of financial services and management firm Fidelity International, is making inroads into Southeast Asia where SeedPlus’ local expertise comes in handy.

SeedPlus is also supported by Google and PwC Singapore.

“We find that the region has plenty of good seed stage companies that are looking for money and support. This is an exciting time and Singapore is a perfect place to headquarter a regional seed stage fund,” says Michael.

Converted from Singapore dollars. US$1 = S$1.39

Update, 2:10pm SGT: The initial press release mentioned SeedPlus had closed its first fund at over US$18 million. An amended press release corrected this and a spokesperson confirmed the fund can continue raising money. We have amended our story accordingly.

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