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FinTech: Checkout.com and Pakistan Payment Gateway NIFT Sign Deal

The Memorandum of Understanding is for collaboration between the two entities for Pakistan’s payment systems. National Institutional Facilitation Technologies, Pakistan (NIFT), and checkout.com have agreed to collaborate on cross-border payment solutions. (ProPakistani) Incorporated in September 1995 as a joint venture between a consortium of six major Pakistani banks and entrepreneurs from the private sector, NIFT …

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FinTech: Checkout.com and Pakistan Payment Gateway NIFT Sign Deal

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The Memorandum of Understanding is for collaboration between the two entities for Pakistan’s payment systems.

National Institutional Facilitation Technologies, Pakistan (NIFT), and checkout.com have agreed to collaborate on cross-border payment solutions. (ProPakistani)

Incorporated in September 1995 as a joint venture between a consortium of six major Pakistani banks and entrepreneurs from the private sector, NIFT operates the first domestic payment gateway for Pakistan. Its NIFT ePay service allows for the aggregation of all different digital payment instruments available in Pakistan. It also enables consumers to pay for eCommerce purchases or against business invoices digitally.

Meanwhile, checkout.com is a global payment provider offering transactions in more than 150 different currencies. It accepts payments from all major international cards, and other digital methods such as PayPal, Wechat, Apple Pay, and Google pay to facilitate payments to and from Pakistani merchants and businesses.

Unaddressed opportunity in Pakistan

Under the agreement, the two partners will leverage each other’s infrastructure to provide digital payment services in Pakistan. The country’s residents mostly lack access to modern, digital financial services, while the informal economy is widely prevalent.

The arrangement will provide better payment options to Pakistani businesses and firms, particularly Pakistani exporters.

Pakistan has one of the lowest financial inclusion ratios in the world. Currently, only 21% of the population has access to traditional banking services in the country, just 7% of whom are women.  One reason for this is financial literacy, which stands at a low 13% according to the Tribune, Pakistan.

In fact, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Patchamuthu Illangovan claims that an average Pakistani citizen performs just one digital transaction every year.

According to McKinsey Consulting, the potential size of Pakistan’s digital financial market could be as large as $36 billion. Encouraging the countrywide use of digital payments could improve the country’s GDP by 7%. In the process, it would create 4 million jobs and draw more than $250 billion worth of deposits into circulation.

“Pakistan represents one of the biggest opportunities for global enterprise companies and is home to some of the most innovative businesses in the region,” said Guillaume Pousaz, CEO at Checkout.com. “Together with NIFT, we’ll offer seamless localized payments, supporting merchants with better customer experiences and more revenue opportunities.”

A boost to Pakistan’s digital payment landscape

“This would strongly support the vision of allowing Pakistani exporters to collect payments through different local and international payment instruments,” said Haider Wahab – CEO NIFT. “The collaboration is not only important for NIFT but also creates value for a new Pakistan’s digital payment landscape.”

Related Story:    UK-based Checkout.com Lands $150M at a $5.5B Valuation

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/fintech-checkout-com-and-pakistan-payment-gateway-nift-sign-deal/

Private Equity

Boston startups expand region’s venture capital footprint

This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth […]

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This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth mode, and investors back into the check-writing arena.

Boston has been an exemplar of the trend, with early pandemic caution dissolving into rapid-fire dealmaking as summer rolled into fall.

We collated new data that underscores the trend, showing that Boston’s third quarter looks very solid compared to its peer groups, and leads greater New England’s share of American venture capital higher during the three-month period.

For our October look at Boston and its startup scene, let’s get into the data and then understand how a new cohort of founders is cropping up among the city’s educational network.

A strong Q3, a strong 2020

Boston’s third quarter was strong, effectively matching the capital raised in New York City during the three-month period. As we head into the fourth quarter, it appears that the silver medal in American startup ecosystems is up for grabs based on what happens in Q4.

Boston could start 2021 as the number-two place to raise venture capital in the country. Or New York City could pip it at the finish line. Let’s check the numbers.

According to PitchBook data shared with TechCrunch, the metro Boston area raised $4.34 billion in venture capital during the third quarter. New York City and its metro area managed $4.45 billion during the same time period, an effective tie. Los Angeles and its own metro area managed just $3.90 billion.

In 2020 the numbers tilt in Boston’s favor, with the city and surrounding area collecting $12.83 billion in venture capital. New York City came in second through Q3, with $12.30 billion in venture capital. Los Angeles was a distant third at $8.66 billion for the year through Q3.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/23/boston-startups-expand-regions-venture-capital-footprint/

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Private Equity

Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election.

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Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

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Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman says the boom could last into next year.

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election. (CNBC)

Kelman: Too good to last forever

“This level of demand is absolutely insane. I would expect it to last into 2021, at least,” Kelman said.

Recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows up the strength in the housing market.

Existing home sales shot up 9.4% in September beating expectations. Even though the median purchase price of a home rose approximately 15% year over year, there is just a 2.7-month supply of for-sale homes, showing tight market inventory conditions.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.80% for the week ending Oct. 22, down from 2.81% in the previous week and 3.75% a year ago, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Therefore, mortgage rates crept even lower in the latest week.

However, “there’s no way it can last forever,” Kelman warned of the bullish conditions.

Canada: Off the charts

Meanwhile, at the northern neighbor, home sales activity in September is described as “off-the-charts.”

Housing data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) last week showed a nationwide year-over-year increase in sales of 45.6%.

This was a new all-time monthly record for the third month in a row.

“This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September … as they did in July and August,” said Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA, in a statement.

Real Estate ETFs in the U.S.

The year-to-date performance of some real estate ETFs is shown below:

iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB)              +24.61%

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)                          +20.83%

Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund ETF                      -13.91%

It may be noted that despite the boom conditions in housing, real estate ETFs and stocks have declined in recent days.

According to Barron’s, this may be due to yields on the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries moving higher in recent weeks.

Other reasons could be fears of inflation ticking up in the future amidst an improving economic situation.

Nevertheless, the view is that interest rates are likely to remain low for longer. So demand may remain strong.

“Part of what is fueling this boom is that the economy has just split into two and rich people are able to access capital almost for free, so, of course, they’re going to use that money to buy homes,” said Redfin’s Kelman.

Related Story:   Mortgage Rates Set Another Record Low; Real Estate ETFs Could Benefit

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alternative-investments-real-estate-housing-market-demand-is-insane/

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Private Equity

Asda’s new owner EG Group seeks new leadership ahead of IPO – report

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month

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UK grocer Asda Group’s new owner EG Group is looking for a new chairman and independent directors as it prepares for a £10bn initial public offering, The Timesreports.

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month.

The move comes after Deloitte resigned last week as the company’s auditor because of concerns over the group’s governance and lack of internal controls, according to the publication.

A decision on candidates will be taken before the end of this year, although roles haven’t been finalised yet as the company is in the process of deciding whether to float in the UK or the US, The Times reports.

Write to Barcelona editors at barcelonaeditors@dowjones.com

From Dow Jones Newswires

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/asdas-new-owner-eg-group-seeks-new-leadership-ahead-of-ipo-reports-20201023

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