F|T: The FinTech Times – Float expands with $50M debt financing from SVB

Plus: What a crumbling Brex says about the FinTech sector.

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Float secures $50-million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank to expand its financial products

Toronto-based corporate card and expense management technology startup Float has secured a $50-million CAD credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank, now a division of United States-based First Citizens Bank.

In today’s challenging economic environment, many companies are struggling to access the funding they need, which has been reflected in the 300 percent year-over-year payment volume growth in 2023 of its Visa-issued Charge Card. Float plans to double down on the offering with the new funding. 

“We see it as a key need for businesses, we’ve definitely seen demand for the product, and we were able—after a pretty long and exhaustive search—to find a partner that we thought could provide a really compelling partnership and fuel this growth,” Float co-founder and CEO Rob Khazzam told BetaKit.


Crypto Infrastructure Firm Aquanow Obtains VASP License in Dubai

Canadian-based crypto infrastructure firm Aquanow acquired a Virtual Asset Service Provider license from financial authorities in Dubai.

This first step to securing full regulatory compliance in Dubai shows Aquanow’s commitment to international expansion and its plans to onboard new users to the platform.

The license will allow Aquanow to offer investment, management, lending, borrowing, and broker-dealer services in the jurisdiction.


Bank modernization software provider Zafin to be acquired by Nordic Capital

Vancouver-based Zafin, which provides modernization software for traditional banks, has entered an agreement that will see Swedish private equity firm Nordic Capital acquire a majority stake of its business.

Nordic said that the investment is made by Nordic Capital XI, which typically invests in companies with an estimated valuation over €300 million ($321 million USD). It was done in partnership with Zafin’s founders and management, who will reinvest in the company and join Nordic as “significant minority owners” following the deal.


The Brex Boys’ Uncomfortable Reckoning

The Brex cuts were an acknowledgment that the fintech, which had bragged publicly about downing giant rivals like American Express, had simply grown too big in recent years.

Two years into the tech recession, venture funding has turned into a trickle. That means startups aren’t spending like drunken sailors any longer—a bad thing for Brex, which had built much of its business on their free-spending ways.

(The Information)

Staircase Ventures bets on Sibli as VC firm reveals first four investments

Early-stage venture capital firm Staircase Ventures has made one of its first bets on Montréal-based artificial intelligence startup Sibli, which today announced $6 million CAD ($4.5 million USD) in seed funding.

Sibli, which applies AI to investment research, is one of the first four investments that Toronto’s Staircase—led by former Real Ventures managing partner Janet Bannister—has made since closing its first VC fund in September.


Finom, a European challenger bank for SMEs, raises $54M

Finom, a European challenger bank aimed at SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and freelancers, has raised €50 million ($54 million) in a Series B equity round of funding.

Finom lets businesses open up an online bank account in minutes and receive an IBAN (international bank account number) to support cross-border transactions.


Visa Canada, Plug and Play host Toronto FinTech Innovation Showcase to spotlight Canadian startup ecosystem

Earlier this month in Toronto, leaders from across Canada’s financial sector convened at the Plug and Play Toronto FinTech Innovation Showcase to highlight the tech set to transform Canada’s financial services ecosystem.

The event looked to explore opportunities for collaboration among members of the Canadian financial services community, to spotlight leading companies, and to discuss how Canada can accelerate the momentum of its FinTech sector.


Why this Canadian VC strongly recommends SR&ED financing to his portfolio companies

In a funding landscape growing increasingly challenging for tech startups, the quest for capital has led many to explore alternatives to traditional equity investment, such as government tax incentives and grants.

While it’s a common belief that chasing this type of funding can be a time-intensive distraction for founders, Jason Robertson, co-founder and partner of Nimbus Synergies, an early-stage, healthtech-focused venture capital firm headquartered in Vancouver, has a different perspective.


Criminal sentencing of Binance founder CZ postponed to late April

The criminal sentencing of Binance founder Changpeng Zhao on a money laundering rule charge has been postponed until April 30, according to a notice Monday in Seattle federal court.

That docket entry did not explain what would be a two-month delay in sentencing Zhao, a Canadian national widely known as “CZ” who is free on a $175 million release bond in the United States.


Professor Esma Aïmeur discusses the double-edged sword of GenAI ahead of the World AI Cannes Festival

Esma Aïmeur, a professor at the computer science department of Université de Montréal (Canada), focuses her academic body of work on how humans interact with and are impacted by AI.

Speaking with BetaKit ahead of her talk at the World AI Cannes Festival (WAICF), Aïmeur shared more about the explosive power of GenAI and why she calls it a double-edged sword.


As Sam Bankman-Fried awaits prison sentence, FTX customers await a surprise: Full repayment

As Sam Bankman-Fried prepares to face sentencing next month for his criminal fraud conviction tied to the epic collapse of FTX in 2022, former customers of the crypto exchange have reasons to believe they could actually recoup their money.

Lawyers representing the bankruptcy estate of FTX told a judge in Delaware last week that they expect to fully repay customers and creditors with legitimate claims.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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