Morning Brief 7.1.20: Societe Generale to buy gig worker fintech Shine

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Societe Generale has agreed to buy Shine, a French challenger bank that offers financial services for contractors and entrepreneurs.

The price is about $112 million, reports TechCrunch, adding Shine's bundle includes a business account, debit card and business services like invoicing and accounting. Shine launched in 2018 and has about 70,000 consumers.

Shine will operate independently and its products will be sold to the bank's business clients. SocGen is interested in expanding relationships with companies that are migrating to a full online model.

Searching for eyewear

Alphabet has acquired North, a Canadian firm that makes smart glasses, suggesting Google is getting ready to move beyond its own Google Glass eyewear. The price of the deal was not disclosed, though The Globe and Mail reports it was about $180 million.

Google Glass, which includes a camera, web access and functions such as the ability to read QR codes, launched earlier in the 2010s. It did not take off with consumers because of its price and unclear use case.

Google still offers Google Glass to businesses, and its announcement said North would contribute to Google's ambient computing strategy, referring to a migration away from traditional computing devices to wearables and IoT.

Cross-border hub

MFS Africa has acquired digital payments firm Beyonic, boosting a menu of payment services for small to mid-sized businesses.

MFS operates an interoperable payments hub across Africa covering 200 million mobile wallets through an API. Beyonic specializes in payment support, collections and front-end business services, reports Finextra.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it's still subject to regulatory approval in Tanzania.

In transit

Smart city venture O-CITY has joined Visa Ready for Transit, which will boost O-CITY's addressable market to hundreds of transit systems globally.

O-CITY is a division of BPC, and uses a SaaS model to quickly update transit networks to support open digital ticketing, moving transit away from closed loop ticketing systems that are unusable outside of the networks.

Transit ridership has suffered during the coronavirus lockdowns, though open loop and contactless technology is expected to play a role in bringing commuters back.

From the Web

Fintech start-up TransferWise is set to launch an investments feature
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Financial technology firm TransferWise plans to launch a service that lets users of the account invest passively in investment funds from third-party providers.

US challenger bank Chime launches Credit Builder, a credit card that works more like debit
TECHCRUNCH | Tue June 30, 2020
With the Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card, users can control how much they want to spend by transferring funds from a “Spending Account” to their Credit Builder Secured Account, and can then charge up to this amount wherever Visa is accepted.

BART Makes Mobile App Parking Payments Available Systemwide
NBC BAY AREA | Tue June 30, 2020
BART announced Monday that the option to pay for parking at its stations through the agency's official smartphone app will now be available at all stations throughout the system.

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