PM’s fintech adviser eyes $50m Pollinate funding boost

·2-min read

A start-up created by a fintech adviser to Boris Johnson is in talks to raise $50m to accelerate the international rollout of its cloud technology platform.

Sky News has learnt that Pollinate, a merchant acquiring business which was the brainchild of the entrepreneur Alastair Lukies, is in advanced negotiations with blue-chip investors about backing its latest funding round.

Pollinate allows banks to compete with payments groups such as Worldpay by upgrading their tech capabilities to serve SME clients more effectively.

Established in the autumn of 2019, it represents Mr Lukies' latest successful fintech venture, having founded the payments business Monitise in 2003 and growing it into a London-listed company worth at its peak well over £1bn.

Mr Lukies was appointed as a business ambassador by David Cameron in 2014, and has also chaired Innovate Finance, the trade body for the UK fintech sector.

He now chairs the Fintech Alliance and is a member of Mr Johnson's newly formed council of business advisors.

Sources said that Pollinate, which sold a stake to National Australia Bank last year, was expected to announce the conclusion of its fundraising talks in the coming weeks.

A number of new bank partnerships are expected to bear fruit this year.

To date, the company has raised approximately $100m from investors including NatWest Group, the state-backed bank, which launched a new merchant acquiring business called Tyl just under two years ago.

Simon McNamara, NatWest's chief administrative officer, is Pollinate's chairman.

One insider described Pollinate as helping banks to "fight back against the disruptors".

"Before 2008, banks gave up their merchant acquiring businesses, but they have now realised that not having that direct relationship means that lending decisions are easier for modern tech companies than traditional banks, many of which still rely on legacy systems," the insider added.

Pollinate declined to comment on Tuesday.