Two from Down Under: Hello Clever Raises Seed Funding; Heritage Bank Launches International Payments Solution – Finovate

  • Australia’s Heritage Bank teamed up with Convera to launch its new online international payments solution.
  • Convera was formerly known as Western Union Business Solutions (WUBS) and was acquired for $910 million in 2021 and subsequently established as a standalone company.
  • Hello Clever raised $3.1 million (A$4.5 million) in seed funding in a round led by Vectr Fintech Partners. The company enables shoppers to get real-time cash back from participating merchants.

A pair of fintech headlines out of Australia have caught our eye at mid-week. First up, Heritage Bank, a financial institution based in Queensland and serving customers across the country, announced the launch of its new online international payments offering, courtesy of a partnership with Convera. The new service will enable Heritage Bank customers to send and receive money to locations around the world directly from their online and mobile bank accounts. The service will be available 24 hours a day, regardless of where the banking customer lives, and operates in near real-time.

“With the explosion of online purchases now taking place across international marketplaces, our new international payments service provides a seamless facility for our members,” Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock said. “This fantastic new service allows our members to send and receive money internationally, direct from our online and mobile banking system, in close to real time and around the clock no matter where they are.”

The new service is made possible thanks to a partnership with Convera, a payments technology solution provider known up until recently as Western Union Business Solutions (WUBS). Western Union sold WUBS to Goldfinch Partners and The Baupost Group for $910 million last year, and the company subsequently was set up as a standalone entity – Convera. Processing more than $110 billion in total payments volume in 2020 and more than $170 billion in 2021, WUBS represented 7% of Western Union’s revenues in 2021.

On its own, Convera is the largest non-bank fintech in the international B2B payments industry with capabilities in more than 140 currencies across 200+ countries and territories, and more than 60 international banking partners. The company also has more than 30,000 SMBs, financial and educational institutions, law firms, and NGOs among its customers.

“Our research forecasts that one-third of post-COVID economic recovery in Australia will come from modern, digital, deliverable services which is why we’re committed to supporting and implementing the digital transformation of financial institutions and providing the tools and solutions to do so,” Convera Regional Vice President and Head of APAC Sam Fitzpatrick said.

Second up: Hello Clever, an Australia-based fintech that gives consumer’s real-time cash back, has raised $3.1 million (A$4.5 million) in seed funding. The round was led by Vectr Fintech Partners and featured participation from CrossFund, Yolo Investments, Magnivia Ventures, Son Tech Ventures, Boston Ventures, and others.

“2022 has been an exciting year,” Hello Clever co-founder and CEO Caroline Tran wrote on the company’s blog this week. “We have been working diligently to launch our full suite of products and now we have achieved a significant milestone – being the first company to pioneer ‘Buy to Earn’ or a new category in payments that democratizes rewards in a different way.”

Hello Clever’s “buy-to-earn” ecosystem connects shoppers and businesses to make shopping and payments an easier, more seamless process for all involved. Offering itself as an alternative to Buy Now, Pay Later platforms, Hello Clever leverages open banking, fast payments, and AI to help consumers locate the best merchants for their shopping preferences and then provides cash back in real time when consumers shop at participating retailers. Hello Clever also gives consumers the ability to track their spending in real-time across bank accounts. The company’s real-time payment API is powered by the New Payments Platform (NPP), PayTo, and PayID.

“We want to introduce a new ecosystem that allows consumers to be financially healthier and our merchant partners to increase sales (and) reduce operating costs,” Tran wrote. “That’s why we are not a single product – it’s a ‘Clever way’ of executing payment strategies to achieve better business outcomes. From Hello Clever as a consumer facing app, we know have evolved into building Hello Clever Business, Hello Clever Business API, and Hello Clever Yield – which is our path into financial investing for Gen Zs.”

Founded in 2021, Hello Clever is headquartered in Surry Hills, New South Wales.

Photo by Ben Mack

Go to Publisher: Finovate
Author: David Penn