Tech & Tonic: happy b-day to Open Banking, data debacles and gold in your smartphone

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Get on your goggles, lift up your laptop and turn on your tech gland. As the Cure's Robert Smith very definitely never sang, "It's Friday, I'm in...terested in reading about fintech in Foco's weekly news digest."

The Joy of Six for Open Banking!

It's not quite "happy birthday" but let's all doff a cap, raise a glass and shake a smartphone to Open Banking as it reaches its six month anniversary. Predictably, the milestone has inspired a slew of reviews.

Gianluca Corradi, the head of the UK banking practice at pricing specialists Simon-Kucher, gave our subject several gold stars. "I am sure over the coming years its impact on customers will be profound and positive, the biggest improvement for bank customers since the introduction of the first cashpoint in 1967… and maybe it will prove even more profound.” 

Equifax celebrated by conducting research that revealed two fifths of bank customers are now willing to share their transaction data with a new lender if it provided product recommendations which save them money. 

And Zopa's Marie Steinthaler, writing at City AM, said the innovation is promising lots, despite a slow start. "Six months in, I am excited for that future, and I hope my counterparts within the incumbents will join me."

So well done-ish, OB. But here's hoping for a stronger H2.

GDP Arse!

Okay, this isn't strictly about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but it concerns data and that's good enough to justify our vulgar but playful headline. Sort of.

So what gives? Well, Emma's Diary, the company used by the NHS to give advice to new mothers, is facing a £140,000 fine for allegedly selling a million people’s personal data without their knowledge to the Labour Party. Names, addresses and children’s dates of birth were sold by Emma’s Diary to help with Labour’s marketing at last year’s general election, according to the Financial Times.

The Information Commissioner’s Office called it a “serious contravention” of data protection law. Lifecycle Marketing, which owns Emma’s Diary, disputes the findings and has until the end of the month to argue its case before a final decision is made.

Money management app raises funds

It's not all bad news among the Emmas! [This is a terrible segue – Ed.] Emma, the money management app for millennials, has secured Seed funding amounting to £420,000.

The service helps users avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions and track debt and save money. The round was led by Kima Ventures, who were the first investors in Transferwise; and Aglae Ventures, which is part of the Group Arnault. Well done chaps – definitely one to watch.

Thar's gold in tham there smartphones!

In other fundraising news, UK fintech startup Glint is targeting £1.25 million in crowdfunding as part of a larger Series A funding round of £15 million, according to Growthbusiness.co.uk.

The digital payments app allows gold to be used as a global currency with Mastercard’s global payment system. Glint has already secured over £7.5 million from investors including Hugh Sloane, co-founder of Sloane Robinson, Haruko Fukuda, former CEO of the World Gold Council and Lord Flight of Worcester, formerly of Guinness Flight Global Asset Management.

Did we miss anything? Holler at us on Twitter over at @foco_global

Michael Taggart

Co-founder of Foco, the fintech content marketing agency