HearstLab UK Launches With Investment in London-Based Cash Management Platform Akoni
NEW YORK and LONDON, June 29, 2020 – HearstLab, an investor in women-led startups, today announced its investment in London-based financial technology (fintech) company Akoni. This is the first investment for HearstLab’s U.K. location, which aims to close the gender gap in venture capital funding. The announcement was made by HearstLab Chairwoman Eve Burton and Akoni Chief Executive Officer Felicia Meyerowitz Singh and Chief Technology Officer Panos Savvas.
Akoni provides easy to use cash management tools for individuals and small and mid-size enterprises. The company has developed a range of features for personalizing cash solutions using multiple data sources and data science to enable multi-bank management and increasing returns on cash. Akoni works with a variety of U.K. financial institutions, including wealth managers, wealth platforms and charities.
“We are excited to announce that Akoni will be our first investment in the U.K. Their digital tools and customer-centric experience are unmatched, and we look forward to helping them continue to grow and innovate,” Burton said.
HearstLab works with female founders to build sustainable and highly scalable businesses. In addition to financial investment, the startups gain unrivalled access to the expertise within Hearst-owned Fitch Group, a global leader in financial information services, and Hearst across its U.S., U.K. and Netherlands operations. Startups will be given expertise in financial services and assistance with privacy and security; legal services; and branding, marketing, advertising and editorial support. They will also benefit from the guidance and support of HearstLab Scouts, women leaders across Hearst’s global businesses and Fitch. HearstLab has a full-time dedicated team assisting with UI/UX, DevOps engineering, data security, data science, business development, market research and recruiting.
“We look forward to working with Hearst, whose deep industry knowledge and startup experience will be crucial in navigating the sweeping changes taking place across the fintech sector,” Meyerowitz said. “This support will allow us to drive our vision forward and increase the impact we can have across the business and retail sectors.”
“With Hearst’s investment, we have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the U.K. fintech ecosystem,” Savvas said. “It will enable us to achieve our goal of providing a level of service to individuals and small businesses that traditionally only big-box corporations have received.”
Prior to becoming a HearstLab investment, Akoni launched a partnership with Fitch Solutions, a Fitch Group and Hearst business, which helps clients manage credit risk and provides in-depth insights into the debt investment market as well as comprehensive intelligence about the macroeconomic environment. By joining together, Fitch Solutions enabled Akoni to distribute its Financial Implied Credit Scores to help individual and small and mid-size clients make important banking decisions.
Karen Skinner, chief operating officer of Fitch Ratings and also a member of the HearstLab Scout Advisory Group, said: “After considerable success in the U.S., it’s really exciting to expand HearstLab into the U.K. We look forward to seeing how Akoni grows with the backing of Hearst’s global network and resources, particularly the range of expertise available from across the Fitch Group of companies.”
HearstLab is a greenhouse for early-stage, women-led startups that innovate across fintech, data services, health, transportation, enterprise technology and media. Based at the Hearst offices in New York, London, and Amsterdam, HearstLab invests cash and assists these companies in expanding their businesses, refining products and building teams. A diverse group of business leaders and operators from across Hearst’s 360+ businesses support HearstLab companies.
Akoni is a multi-currency cash deposit management platform, providing specialist white-label portal and API solutions to the wealth sector and small and medium businesses, as well as marketplace cash solutions to banks and other enterprise clients for their end customers. Akoni uses multiple data sources, including open banking and open data, to personalize financial products, provide nudges and prompts, remove barriers to transparency and create hassle-free movement of funds. The company is an award-winning and Financial Conduct Authority regulated partner with various banks, wealth platforms and financial institutions, in addition to channel partners, providing a marketplace within marketplace solution for white-label API or portal solution for B2B2x.