In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) news, Nexo launches a cryptocurrency Mastercard, while Umba closes a $15 million Series A fundraising round. Plus, French B2B payments firm Libeo launches in the U.K., crypto wallet startup Dfns raises $13.5 million, and Microsoft Corp. faces allegations of undermining its competition and limiting consumers’ cloud computing.
Nexo, a Swiss platform that provides instant cryptocurrency-backed loans, has launched a cryptocurrency Mastercard in some European markets. Nexo Card partnered with Mastercard and DiPocket, a London-based eWallet, providing customers with access to crypto-powered liquidity at more than 92 million eCommerce sites around the globe. The card allows users to spend without selling their digital assets.
African digital bank Umba has closed a $15 million Series A fundraising round that will help the platform continue its growth in existing African markets and allow it to expand into new ones, with an eye on meeting the needs of underserved customers. Umba has raised a total of $17.5 million to date, including its seed round in late 2020, and has doubled its revenue every three months while growing its team across four locations. The new funding will allow Umba to expand its operations and product offerings, as well as launch in new markets.
After years of operating in France and mainland Europe, B2B payments firm Libeo has launched in the U.K. The move marks a shift into “a more mature market in the realm of digital transformation,” shepherded by new Managing Director for the U.K. and Northern Europe Glen Foster. Libeo’s offerings include accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) capabilities, and it allows users to make payments on all major payment rails.
Dfns, a crypto wallet startup, raised $13.5 million in seed funding to expand its services that help secure the digital assets of FinTech companies and banks by safeguarding cryptocurrency passwords. The French startup splits a digital wallet’s password, known as a private key, so it no longer exists in a single place. Funding was led by White Star Capital with participation from Hashed, Susquehanna and the venture arms of crypto exchange Coinbase and Dutch bank ABN AMRO.
Italian cloud provider Aruba SpA and several Denmark-based cloud providers have filed a complaint against Microsoft Corp. with the European Union’s antitrust watchdog, charging Microsoft with undermining its competition and limiting consumers’ cloud computing services choice. France’s OVH was the only one of the three cloud providers named when the consortium filed the complaint last year.
For Deliveroo, profitability often comes at the expense of growth. The food delivery firm based in the U.K., where it gets more than half of its sales, said in its first-quarter earnings report this week that “consumer behavior may moderate during the year.”
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton saw a 29% increase in its 2022 first-quarter revenue, hitting 18 billion euros (about $19.5 billion) for the first three months of the year. The Fashion and Leather Goods business group led the way for LVMH with 30% organic revenue growth in Q1, followed by Selective Retailing at 24%, Watches and Jewelry at 19%, Perfumes and Cosmetics at 17% and Wines and Spirits at 2%.
The European Parliament (EP), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the industry are backing the EU’s efforts to create a pilot regime for financial market infrastructures based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). This pilot regime aims to develop the trading and settlement of tokenized securities. It will also create a testing ground for the use of blockchain technology in the field of financial instruments for three years, which may be extended for another three years.
Wagestream, a flexible pay and financial well-being app, has closed a Series C funding round for $175 million. This comes as the company prepares to scale up for the undeserved, financially stressed workers in the U.S. The capital will mostly be used to expand Wagestream’s presence in the U.S., which is the quickest growing market for the company. Frontline workers have often been excluded from financial services, or forced to pay more, in contrast to those who earn a set salary or higher wages.