In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa news, UK investing app Freetrade surpasses funding goal by 800%; Sweden calls on Europe to pull the plug on bitcoin mining. Plus, Kenyan FinTech Asilimia closes $2M pre-seed funding, Pan-African firm M-KOPA’s pay-as-you-go model, and UK lawmaker calls for urgent BNPL regulation.
U.K. investing app Freetrade exceeded its fundraising goal by more than 800% in its first of seven days of fundraising on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, pulling in more than 8.1 million pounds ($10.8 million), according to Freetrade’s investment page. More than 6,100 investors have contributed investments, according to Crowdcube. Freetrade, a commission-free investing app, has more than 1 million users and 1 billion pounds in client assets, according to the company’s crowdfunding video.
Sweden’s financial and environmental regulators have called on the European Union to pull the plug on proof-of-work bitcoin mining due to the negative impact on the environment, according to multiple reports. Erik Thedéen, director general of the Financial Services Authority of Sweden, and Bjorn Risinger, director general of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, are both worried that crypto mining will cause the country to be unable to meet climate obligations.
FinTech startup Asilimia raised $2 million in a pre-seed funding round, with $1 million coming from a wide range of European Angel investors and $1 million in a debt round that included Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners, according to reports. The Kenyan startup said the pre-seed funding will support team growth and expansion while debt funding will enable Asilimia to extend credit to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Mayur Patel, chief commercial officer of M-KOPA tells PYMNTS that the pay-as-you-go model used by the company to finance life-enhancing products for underserved customers in sub-Saharan Africa is more inclusive than the BNPL service provided in more mature credit markets.
The use of buy now, pay later (BNPL) in the United Kingdom nearly quadrupled in 2020 to 2.7 billion pounds (about $3.6 billion) of transactions, according to official data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Stella Creasy, a U.K. MP, has made yet again another urgent call for BNPL regulation that will prevent consumers, especially young people, from taking on more debt than they can afford.