Deutsche Börse leads $15m round for sustainability start-up Clarity AI

Deutsche Börse has led a $15 million investment in Clarity AI, an environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investment platform.

The start-up says Deutsche Börse approached its CEO, Santander’s former digital transformation head, Rebeca Minguela, on LinkedIn to initiate the deal.

Co-investor, Mundi Ventures’, a Madrid-based fund, also took part in the round.

“Our purpose is simple: to measure the impact of companies on our society and planet.”

In the last six months, the start-up claims it has seen a “significant increase in demand” for its services. This includes signing clients with eight times the assets under management as clients it’s signed previously.

The fresh funding will be used to scale-up Clarity AI’s investments in proprietary and artificial intelligence technology. As well as to integrate with “the world’s largest financial services platforms”.

This, the company says, will help to speed up the time it takes investment firms and corporates to … Read the rest

Don't cry to mother if rates freebie comes back to bite

Pets at Home joins supermarkets and B&M in opting not to repay rates relief despite staying open during Covid crisis

Here’s another name to add to the list of retailers who will keep their relief on business rates – thanks very much, dear chancellor – even though their stores were open during lockdown.

It’s Pets at Home, which joins all the big supermarket chains and discount merchant B&M in the brazen bracket. There were mitigating factors in Pets at Home’s case – for example, it stopped the sale of pets for a while to discourage outings to its “free zoos” – but a 5% rise in half-year revenues says help from the public purse wasn’t necessary.

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Starling Bank claims to be UK’s first profitable challenger bank

UK challenger Starling Bank claims to have become the first among its peers to break even, posting £9 million in revenue and £800,000 in profit for October.

Starling claims to have doubled its business accounts in the last year

The figure represents a landmark moment for a handful of neobanks in the UK market.

The Bank of England says prospective banks must prepare for a “sizeable step-up” in capital requirements.

The regulator operates a path of incremental rises for new banks. Despite this, it stresses that a “clear path to profitability” is “necessary condition for success”.

Founded by Anne Boden in 2014, and launched in 2017, Starling is part of a leading group of challengers in the UK market.

Its contemporaries and competitors – challenger bank Monzo and fintech unicorn Revolut – have yet to make a profit.

Monzo recently reported losses of £115 million, while Revolut’s grew to … Read the rest

Bank of England policymaker warns of 'pandemic hangovers', as private sector shrinks – as it happened

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as the UK Treasury Committee questions the Bank of England

Earlier:

7.04pm GMT

Time to wrap up.

MPs have heard that the UK economy risks a ‘pandemic hangover’, even once Covid-19 vaccines are deployed.

Obviously it’s better to have a vaccine than not, but those are hangovers from the pandemic even as and when there is an effective vaccine, which I suspect will weigh on the economy for some time.

Speaking personally, it felt like the first time in eight or nine months that there is some lights coming at the end of the tunnel.

I have … Read the rest