Tech matters are moving well in Loughborough, London and Wales with The Access Group, Bud, LHV UK and FinTech Wales securing funding.
The Access Group, a provider of business management software to mid-market organisations in the UK, Ireland and Asia Pacific, has revealed a £1 billion investment from its shareholders, Hg and TA Associates, to give it a valuation of £9.2 billion.
Open banking company Bud has been bolstered by a brigade of benign buddies with an $80 million (£64 million) Series B funding round, led by Bellis Phantom Holdco.
LHV UK, a banking services provider, has revealed its parent company, LHV Group, has raised €35 million (£30 million) via an oversubscribed rights issue.
Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) has announced a five-year investment of £1.6 million in FinTech Wales, an independent not for profit membership association.
The Access Group is headquartered in Loughborough and has been around since ye olde 1991. Customers named on its website include Cineworld, Hamleys, Domino’s Pizza and Screwfix.
Things seem to be pretty good. Since 2020, Access says it has more than doubled in size driven by double-digit organic growth, combined with M&A in the UK, Ireland and Asia Pacific. Access has grown its customer base to more than 60,000 and its employees to approximately 5,000, expanding internationally with offices in nine countries.
GIC, an institutional investor, has also confirmed a new investment in Access and it will become a minority shareholder in the company. The transaction, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second half of 2022.
Chris Bayne, CEO of The Access Group, explains: “Over the next few years, the management team and I will continue to focus on our growth strategy and our products and solutions, especially Access Workspace, our SaaS platform.”
London-based Bud says the funding round included existing investor Outward VC. The fintech firm will use the investment for development and unspecified international expansion.
Bud offers a data aggregation gateway that combines a client’s own customer data with customer relationship analysis data and open banking.
The firm was founded in 2015. Clients listed on its website include ANZ, HSBC, TotallyMoney and Credit Karma.
The Series B follows its $20 million (£16 million) Series A investment in 2019, which saw backing from ANZ, HSBC and Goldman Sachs.
Glee for LHV
LHV UK is based in London, while LHV Group is listed on the Nasdaq Baltic and is the “largest domestic financial group” in Estonia.
A portion of the proceeds of the fundraising will be used to capitalise the new UK bank, which is a step in the banking licence application process. It was way back in November 2020 that LHV Group announced its intentions to found a “new fintech focused bank” in the UK.
LHV UK currently operates across its offices in London, Leeds (where it officially opened a new hub last month) and Tallinn.
LHV UK says it works with 200+ fintech companies, including Paysafe, Blockchain, Currencycloud, Coinbase, Trustly, Monese and Wise. Its clients vary from fintech unicorns and digital asset companies to established financial institutions.
The fintech firm offers several banking services, including EUR and GBP payments, agency banking, virtual IBANs, safeguarding accounts, multicurrency accounts and FX.
In March, LHV UK turned to Tuum (fka Modularbank) to provide core infrastructure support for its banking endeavour.
Making Wales Wonderful
CCR and FinTech Wales will work together to boost the Welsh fintech scene. It is a lively place already as eWeek UK has previously looked at notable fintech companies in Cardiff.
As part of its overall strategy, CCR explains that it previously set out its ‘Competitive Clusters’ goal, which is focused on investing in their development. Fintech is one of CCR’s five key clusters, which also include compound semiconductors, creative industries, medtech and cyber.
Wales Office Minister David TC Davies states: “The UK government has invested £375 million in the Cardiff Capital Region to grow a vibrant, modern economy and boost skills and well-paid jobs. This particular investment will help ensure the region becomes a centre of excellence in the fast-growing financial technology sector, with the aim of creating 500 jobs over the next five years.”
Founded in July 2019, FinTech Wales is naturally about helping businesses in the region. In its first year, the association established an Advisory Board of 20 people including representation from Welsh companies such as Confused.com, Admiral, The Principality, Capital Law and Acquis Insurance.