Wrexham-based digital bank Chetwood Financial has bought core banking provider Yobota for an undisclosed sum.
The company hopes Yobota’s addition to the fold will upgrade its Banking as a Service (BaaS) capabilities. Yobota co-founder and CEO Ammar Akhtar will be stepping down and pursuing “new challenges” as a result of the fintech acquisition.
BaaS allows third parties and digital banks to access a bank’s systems via APIs and build products on top of the bank’s pre-existing infrastructure. Walmart, Uber, the UK Department for Work and Pensions, and PayPal are just some of the notable names using BaaS to develop and offer new services to their customers.
This move doesn’t come as a total surprise. The two fintech firms have been closely linked since at least 2018, when Chetwood launched its first LiveLend product, the tech for which was provided by London-based Yobota.
Chetwood CEO and Founder Andy Mielczarek explains: “Chetwood and Yobota have common shareholders and shared purpose.” The two companies were even both founded in 2016.
Despite coming under the Chetwood umbrella, Yobota will be pressing on as a separate brand. Relationships with partners and clients like Fronted, who struck a deal to utilise Yobota’s core banking platform in October 2021, will continue as usual.
Chetwood will continue offering its line of customer-facing products including LiveLend and BetterBorrow.
As noted above, the only significant change in the short term is the departure of Akhtar, who leaves after six years of service.
Mielczarek addressed his fellow CEO’s departure by saying: “It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Ammar, whose energy, experience and creativity were essential to launching Chetwood and Yobota, as well as driving many of our subsequent successes. He is a founder across our group and has always propelled us forward with enthusiasm and dedication. He will be missed and we wish him all the best in his next chapter.”
Akhtar adds: “I’m very grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I’ve had during this time and incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together. I look forward to following the successes of our current and future clients as I move on to my next challenge.”
Given the intention to continue Yobota’s business seemingly as usual, these sentiments might ring a little hollow to some.
As for what new challenges await Akhtar, a recent post on his LinkedIn page shows him having an enthusiastic interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency. If he finds his way into that space, it would not be surprising.