EMEA Daily: Doctolib Raises $550 Million; HSBC in the Metaverse

In today’s major Europe, Middle East and Africa news, Paris-based Doctolib, an online management software provider for European doctors, has secured $550 million; Banking giant HSBC is embracing Web3 by building a virtual stadium in The Sandbox, a leading blockchain-based metaverse.

Plus, Bank Finance Startup as a Service Treezor in France will receive eight payment authorizations from the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority; B2B e-commerce startup Sokowatch has changed its name to Wasoko after a Series B fundraising of $125 million; and global cryptocurrency exchange FTX is partnering with AZA Finance to drive adoption of Web3 and digital currencies across Africa.

Health Tech Specialist Doctolib Raises $550M, Valuation Jumps to $6.4B

Paris-based Doctolib, a provider of online booking management software for European doctors, has secured 500 million euros ($550 million) in funding that brings the company’s value to 5.8 billion euros ($6.4 billion).

The latest funding will be used to create 3,500 jobs by 2027, which would increase its workforce to 6,000 employees, the company said. Additionally, Doctolib said it plans to expand beyond appointment booking and introduce an instant messaging service for the healthcare community and a platform to consolidate medical documents. .

HSBC becomes the latest brand to enter the metaverse

Global banking giant HSBC announcement it’s embracing Web3 by building a virtual stadium in The Sandbox, a leading blockchain-based metaverse, to “interact and connect with sports, eSports, and gaming enthusiasts.”

With the Wednesday March 16 announcement of its foray into the metaverse, the world’s seventh-largest bank, with assets totaling $3 trillion, has become the latest major brand and the first global bank to embrace the booming market. but still somewhat theoretical and hyper-heavy, virtual reality world.

Treezor is the first FinTech to obtain all payment licenses in France

Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) and integrated finance start-ups Treezor is the first FinTech in France to receive the eight payment licenses from the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority.

The additional licenses mean that Treezor can offer several new services, including cash deposits with a network, payments or transfers with a credit card or facility, payment initiation services, information services on accounts and fund transfers.

Sokowatch Announces Rebrand to Wasoko After $125M Series B Funding Round

B2B e-commerce startup Sokowatch announced on Wednesday that the company is rebranding to Wasoko after raising $125 million in Series B funding, according to a LinkedIn position. The cycle valued the company at $625 million, according to a TechCrunch report.

Founder and CEO Daniel You launched Sokowatch in Kenya in 2015 as an asset-light platform and marketplace for the distribution of fast-moving consumer goods to retailers, but said this model was unsustainable as the company could not guarantee the delivery of goods once orders have been placed.

FTX teams up with AZA Finance to advance the Web3 economy in Africa

Global cryptocurrency exchange FTX is teaming up with digital currency exchange AZA Finance to boost adoption of Web3 and digital currencies across Africa, according to a Press release Wednesday.

Co-founded in 2019 by CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang, FTX is headquartered in Nassau, Bahamas, and recently closed a $400 million Series C funding round that gave FTX the startup has a valuation of $32 billion.

B2B payment platform VertoFX adds 12 new currencies

Cross-border B2B payments and exchange platform VertoFX increased the number of currencies in which its customers can convert and make payments.

IBS Intelligence reported that VertoFX clients can now accept and send payments instantly in 12 new currencies using a single platform, expanding the firm’s available currencies to 51 from 39.

Klarna offers BNPL to German eBay buyers

Online marketplace eBay and Swedish buy now, pay later (BNPL) Klarna have joined forces to offer German buyers more flexible payment options.

Alt FI announced on Wednesday that new payment options added to eBay’s German site will complement existing payment methods like Klarna’s Pay Now service. The new features give customers access to subsequent payment and financing.

JP Morgan to acquire Irish-based global stocks

JPMorgan Chase agreed to acquire Global sharesthe Irish cloud-based provider of share plan management software, the New York-based global financial services company announcement. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close later this year, were not disclosed. It is subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition is expected to strengthen JP Morgan’s services to corporate clients and create a wealth management business by client acquisition channel.

Zara Parent Inditex continues its digital transition and plans 30% e-commerce in 2024

Global clothing retailer Inditex, parent company of Zara, in its full year and fourth quarter of 2021 presentation of the results said it expects 30% of its revenue to come from online sales in 2024, continuing a transition to a heavier e-commerce business that began during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Inditex reported online sales of 7.5 billion euros ($8.25 billion) in 2021, an increase of 14% over 2020. Online revenues increased by 77% from 2019 to 2020 , starting at 14% of the company’s revenue in 2019, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Neobank 4G Capital Closes $18.5M Series C Funding

African neobank Capital 4G raised $18.5 million in a Series C funding round, Kenyan Wall Street reported on Wednesday. The new cash will allow the company to scale up its financing and training solutions for small businesses in Uganda and Kenya and expand digital channels and data science to complement its hybrid approach, 4G said.

Additionally, the investment will allow them to expand their retail financing service to help retailers and distributors increase sales. The company said it uses Kuza, a FinTech feature that allows distributors to provide entrepreneurs with credit from 4G Capital, rather than traditional cash on delivery.

EU clears Amazon for $6.5 billion MGM deal

European Union antitrust authorities have given the green light to Amazon’s proposal to buy famed movie studio MGM, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (March 15).

This marks an important step in Amazon’s quest to buy the studio, with the deadline fast approaching for the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to make its decision as well.

Coworking company IWG and Instant Group Eye create Airbnb for office space

IWG, a flexible office operator, is considering a $350 million venture with Instant Group, which has an online listing site for office space, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The vision would be similar to how Booking.com or Airbnb offer accommodation options. Companies are touting this as the world’s largest market for flexible office space.

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