Feb 24, 2021

Citibank Hong Kong debuts new digital platform Citi Plus

Citibank
CitiPlus
Digital
Banking
William Girling
2 min
Citibank Hong Kong debuts new digital platform Citi Plus
Citibank Hong Kong has announced the formal launch of Citi Plus, its new banking platform aimed at capturing digital natives with a new mobile experienc...

Designed to make “managing your money fun”, Citi Plus is a unique venture that proposes to educate and ‘level-up’ younger generations through next-gen money management.

The initial pilot launch took place in December 2020 and drew almost 5,000 people to participate in early stage testing. Exclusive account benefits (‘Team Up’ rewards) include:

  • Up to 6% extra per annum interest
  • A HK$800 coupon on the holder’s Citi Plus Credit Card
  • Up to 1.8% interest on savings per annum

In addition, the integrated app features investment capabilities (Flexi Wealth) free of maintenance/transaction fees. Customers can start investing from as low as $1.

Developing digital banking

Mr Lawrence Lam, Consumer Business Manager of Citibank Hong Kong, described Citi Plus’ development process last year: “Citibank Hong Kong has shown strong determination in the development of digital banking in recent years. Citi Plus is our latest initiative to bring digital natives a banking experience they admire.

"Millennials were invited to participate in research and the co-creation process, through which we could better address target clients' pain points, and help them grow their wealth via the new service."

This growth will be facilitated and encouraged by fostering ‘healthy’ economic habits using the following modules:

  • Wealth Smart: Bite-sized content aimed at educating the user regarding sound financial decision-making
  • Wealth Digest: A personalised stream of news and insight articles to keep users informed about their own topics of interest
  • Money Goal: A tool to help customers define and track their particular financial objectives

Banking for the next generation

Incumbent banks worldwide are recognising that retaining the interest of millennials and other digital natives is dependent on offering a better online/smartphone experience. 

January saw JP Morgan launch its digital brand ‘Chase’ in the UK, which it sees as a “vibrant and highly competitive” financial market. That the UK is also a hub for successful neobanks like Starling and Monzo gives this development the appearance of a direct challenge. 

Banks like JP Morgan and Citibank bring a strong cultural cachet to the digital banking sector that newer organisations simply cannot compete with. If the banking establishment begins to rival challengers in terms of technology and user experience, we could be witnessing the emergence of a victor in this exciting innovation battle. 

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Jun 16, 2021

Origami raises £20mn in Series C round led by Barclays PLC

Barclays
origamienergy
Sustainability
Banking
2 min
The Series C funding drive saw Barclays invest in Origami as part of their Sustainable Impact Capital initiative

The UK-based green energy technology startup, Origami, has raised £20mn in a Series C funding round led by Barclays PLC.

The investment, which saw Barclays take the lead as part of the bank’s Sustainable Impact Capital initiative, is geared to back companies that specialise in sustainability and working towards zero carbon emissions. 

Additional investors in the round were Origami’s existing shareholders, Octopus Ventures, Aggreko, and Cambridge Innovation Capital.

Origami green technology

The Cambridge-based technology company which was founded in 2013, is on a mission to build a green energy world powered by smart technology. It's green energy initiatives focus on transitions to renewables, energy systems, smart and real-time digital solutions. 

Origami's trading and automation software currently provides power traders with real-time data and machine-learning decision support tools to reduce risk, improve visibility and capture valuable opportunities within new and rapidly evolving energy markets.

This new investment will enable the startup to improve its products, serve a growing customer base and scale up for international markets. The success of the funding round, said Origami executives, highlights the increasing investor appetite to back leading tech companies pursuing the reduction of global carbon emissions.

Green energy technology

Peter Bance, CEO, Origami, explained, “This investment recognises that with powerful real-time software solutions underpinning our emerging green energy systems, tackling the world's greatest threat of climate change can also become the world's greatest commercial opportunity. 

“Barclays shares our vision and has a broad customer base in the UK and internationally, which includes many energy businesses. I am looking forward to working with them to help achieve our ambitious goals.”

As part of its broader commitments, Barclays has pledged to invest £175m of its own capital, led by the Principal Investments team, in fast-growing, environmentally-focused companies whose values are aligned with those of Barclays and which target the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement. 

Speaking about the Origami investment drive, Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments, Barclays, said, “It is becoming increasingly clear that powerful digital solutions, like Origami’s, are critical enablers for maximising the potential of green energy assets such as renewables, batteries, and EVs.”

He added, “Their technology is essential for a successful and timely transition to a low-carbon economy, and the opportunity for Barclays to partner with such a compelling business in the world-class Cambridge Greentech ecosystem is an exciting prospect.”

Image credit: Getty

 

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