Sonovate, YuLife, Iceotope and Griffin Grab Tech Funding

Fintech firms and a cooling technology provider chill out thanks to their positive developments.

Business is booming in London and Sheffield with Sonovate, YuLife, Iceotope Technologies and Griffin revealing their latest funding.

Sonovate, a provider of embedded finance and payment solutions, has completed a new securitisation deal with BNP Paribas and M&G Investments, adding £165 million to its funding structure.

Insurance company YuLife has raised $120 million (£100 million) in a Series C led by Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company.

Iceotope, a precision immersion cooling technology provider, has closed a £30 million funding round from an investment syndicate led by Singaporean firm ABC Impact.

Griffin – a Banking as a Service (BaaS) fintech firm – has raised $15.5 million (£13 million) in funding to launch its operating system for embedded finance.

Sonovate Shares Stats

London-based Sonovate says Demica, a working capital-focused fintech, acted as adviser and reporting agent on the transaction. M&G Investments, Sonovate’s “long term funding partner”, provided £15 million in investment.

According to stat-loving Sonovate, it has lent over £1.3 billion in invoices this year. The company is projected to fund another £2 billion in 2023.

The fintech firm focuses on the contingent labour market. It cites a report in March 2022 by the Staffing Industry Associates, which says annual sales revenue is up by 80% for contract placements.

Sonovate has funded more than £2.75 billion in invoices to date. Last year, the company recorded a 58% year-on-year increase in total funding. Its enterprise lending volume increased by 144% year on year, and enterprise customers now account for about one-third of its total lending volume. More than 3,300 businesses funded by Sonovate have paid more than 30,000 freelancers, contractors and gig workers in over 40 countries.

YuLife in Charitable Mood

YuLife sees itself as a “tech-driven” insurance firm. The funding round, which was supported by its existing investors, takes YuLife’s total funding to $206 million (£171 million) since the company was founded in 2016, having raised capital from investors including Creandum, LocalGlobe, Target Global, Latitude, Anthemis, OurCrowd, Notion, MMC and Eurazeo.

London-based YuLife will use the capital to scale its product range. It offers a “game-like” app which enables YuLife policyholders to complete everyday wellness activities in order to earn YuCoin, which they can use to buy gifts for themselves, friends or family, or to plant trees and donate to charity.

In July 2021, YuLife raised a $70 million (£58 million) Series B. The firm is doing well as it now covers 500,000+ policyholders across small to large businesses, with over $50 billion (£41 billion) of cover in place.

Clients listed on its website include Capital One, Co-operative Group, Del Monte, Elvie, Santander and Zego.

Iceotope’s Cool World

Yo VIP, let’s kick it, ice, ice baby. Apologies for rekindling awful memories of the dire music and lyrics of Vanilla Ice, but Iceotope is all about providing technology that reduces the energy and water required to cool data centre servers.

According to the Sheffield-headquartered company, the syndicate includes investments from nVent – a provider of electrical connection and protection solutions, as well as FTSE 250 investment company, SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust. Other investors in this round include Northern Gritstone, British Patient Capital, Pavilion Capital and existing investor, Edinv.

As part of an alliance with Iceotope, nVent will offer new modular integrated solutions for data centres, edge facilities and computing applications.

Tan Shao Ming, Chief Investment Officer at ABC Impact, explains: “Given that a large share of data growth in the coming years is expected to come from Asia with the advent of IoT and the 5G rollout, data centres in the region are set to proliferate [and] we see vast potential to deploy this technology in Asia, especially regions with tropical climates.”

Engineered to cool the whole IT stack, Iceotope provides patented chassis-level precision immersion cooling that offers up to 96% water reduction, up to 40% power reduction and up to 40% carbon emissions reduction per kW of ITE.

The concept of cool data centres is popular in the UK. Examples include Kao Data and Digital 9 Infrastructure. In a scoop in January, eWeek UK reported on Bournemouth-based Celestro as it preps for launch.

Griffin Aware of Middleware

Griffin, which recently announced its plans to get a banking licence, says the funding round was led by Notion Capital, with participation from existing investor EQT Ventures as well as several fintech angels.

The London-based fintech entity is building a “full-stack vertically integrated” BaaS platform. The company has raised $27 million (£22 million) of funding to date.

Griffin says becoming a bank would enable it to offer banking services and “a more comprehensive BaaS platform than middleware competitors”.

We’ll see, but it will have a lot of rivals. To keep it brief, names include Bond (a scoop by eWeek UK), Leatherback, Allica, GB Bank, The Bank of London and Recognise. Not all make it. In February, due to a lack of investment, Masthaven said it will be withdrawing from the UK banking market over the next two years.

Since its last funding announcement in November 2020, Griffin has tripled in size (it has 44 employees listed on LinkedIn) and begun commercialising its platform, currently available for exclusive early access. This new round of investment will be used for recruitment and to continue the build of its core banking platform.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.
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