Boris Johnson

Twitter backer invests $50M in Boris Johnson’s fintech advisors’ startup, Pollinate

The UK-based startup created by a fintech adviser to Boris Johnson – Pollinate – the software business reinventing merchant acquiring for banks has just closed a $50 million Series C funding round. The round was led by Twitter, Trivago and Delivery Hero backer VC – Insight Partners. Further, NatWest Group, Mastercard, National Australia Bank (NAB), EFM Asset Management, and Motive Partners, all existing investors also participated in the round.

The investment signals Pollinate’s further global expansion and move into North America, where it is in advanced conversations with a number of banks. Additionally, the funding seeks to accelerate the expansion of Pollinate’s white-label marketplace offering to meet the needs of banks’ small and medium-sized business customers.

“At Insight Partners, we invest in fast-scaling software companies. The Pollinate platform creates white-labelled digital marketplaces for the business customers of the world’s largest banks,” said Emmet B. Keeffe III, Operating Partner at Insight Partners and Founder of Insight IGNITE. “Following the pandemic, the banks have the opportunity to lead the regeneration of the SME economy but they must move quickly. We’re proud to support Pollinate as they develop their global alliance of non-competing banks, and look forward to seeing the company continue its impressive growth in the years ahead.”

“SMEs are the lifeblood of economies globally. They are the job creators, the innovators, and the brave explorers that simply find a way to make things work. Access to capital, intuitive banking services and a broad ecosystem of value-added solutions and partners are critical to the journey of a small business owner”, said Al Lukies CBE, CEO and Founder of Pollinate. “It is our passion to work with leading banks and dynamic merchants around the world. This investment round, led by the outstanding team at Insight Partners and supported by our existing shareholders, validates our mission, and is a statement of confidence in the banks – that they can fight back against new entrants and win, all while supporting the vital work of SMEs.”

Pollinate – the business behind Tyl by NatWest – was formed to help banks across the world to digitally transform their offering for business customers and keep pace with new entrants looking to take market share or to push them down the value chain. The Pollinate platform allows banks to offer a one-stop-shop for SMEs, from access to capital, the ability to take payment, digital loyalty schemes, marketing tools and insights. This gives SMEs a single place to understand, manage, and grow their business.

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation for SMEs, forcing banks to move quickly to support their business customers. We have been doing everything in our power to support their recovery, in the UK, including approving over £14 billion of loans under government lending schemes, offering mortgage and capital repayment holidays and waiving monthly terminal fees for Tyl customers. We are delighted to also support SMEs on a global basis through our investment in Pollinate,” said Simon McNamara, Chief Administrative Officer at NatWest Group.

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The regeneration of SMEs may result in a high rise and burn rate. It is imperative that banks can keep up with their expectations, and offer swift and effective support as they re-build. Pollinate works in collaboration with banks to help them with that agility.

“Small businesses are vital to the Australian economy, driving half of our economic output and employing two in every three Australian workers,” said Nathan Goonan, Group Executive, Strategy and Innovation at NAB. “We’re looking forward to working with Pollinate as we continue to work to bring the best of digital innovation to NAB’s business bank customers.”

Moelis & Company and White & Case acted as exclusive financial advisor and legal counsel respectively to Pollinate on the transaction.

— Press release

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