In today’s top Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) news, Israel’s Fiverr pays $95 million for Stoke, and Swiss firm Aktiia raises $17.5 million in a Series A round. Plus, Swedish buy now, pay later (BNPL) giant Klarna acquires U.K.-based price comparison service PriceRunner, B2B firm VertoFX teams up with ClearBank for enhanced small- to medium-sized business (SMB) cross-border payments, and Updraft uses open banking to help U.K. consumers manage credit.
Israeli freelance services platform Fiverr International has acquired online freelance management platform Stoke Talent for $95 million. Tel Aviv-based Stoke lets companies build a directory of online and offline talent and track their budgets and work-related milestones. It also offers guidance on tax, legal and workforce classification compliance.
Swiss health-tech startup Aktiia has raised $17.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Venture capital firm Draper Esprit with participation from 415 Capital, Redalpine Venture Partners, Verve Ventures and Translink Capital. The money will be used to hire additional staff and expand the blood pressure monitoring company across European markets, as well as secure Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance to enable expansion to the U.S. market.
Updraft, which targets millennials and Generation Z, has raised 72 million pounds ($98.6 million) in a round led by one of the U.K.’s biggest banks, NatWest. In an interview with PYMNTS, Founder and CEO Aseem Munshi said the startup is helping to lift the burden of sticky credit card debt and BNPL off consumers in the U.K., where the growth of consented data through the open banking regulation is driving innovation in the FinTech space.
Klarna has announced plans to acquire U.K.-based price comparison service PriceRunner for about $124.36 million in a deal that expands the functionality for users of Klarna’s BNPL service. Klarna Chief Product Officer David Fock said “the acquisition will serve to strengthen our bank, card and payment services and support a competitive global landscape. It also further cements that Klarna will not be a marketplace, but a viable and competitive alternative for retail partners versus Amazon, Google and Facebook.”
B2B payments firm VertoFX has joined forces with cloud-based clearing company ClearBank to extend comprehensive solutions for cross-border payments to underserved businesses in Europe. Despite representing 99% of all businesses in the European Union, SMBs usually face high foreign exchange (FX) charges and transaction costs in addition to dealing with a slower process when paying for goods and services abroad.
Telemedicine, and telehealth more broadly, have soared in the wake of the pandemic, and patient adoption has increased from below 40% prior to the start of the crisis to over 60% of patients seeking digital doctor visits today. Three health tech startups — Babylon Health, Doctolib and mPharma — have made major moves in the U.K., Europe and Africa in recent weeks, all indicating that the telehealth boom is being felt in several areas across the globe.