Hello Fintech Friends,
I need a break. Please send me your best non-fintech news so I can read about... honestly, anything else.
Thank you to those of you who came out to our Mexico City meetup last night 🙌
ps: We’re still looking for someone to take over our Twitter + LinkedIn and go wild. Let us know if it you.
Please enjoy another week of fintech and banking news below.
💬 Quote of the Week
“Very briefly rights to 17% of the Empire State Building were stolen by North Korea, leading to a frantic phone call by New York’s governor to the head of the foundation running the blockchain that held the smart contract.”
- Kyle Downey (What If: The Blockchain Economy)
📖 Read of the Week
This week, Metromile was acquired by Lemonade for $500 million, in a mostly stock transaction, which excluding cash on-hand implied a valuation of ~$200 million. This was notably less than the firm’s $1.3 billion SPAC valuation. This is a good reminder that tech SPACs are generally an adverse selection machine. Retail investors should always be asking themselves why a company prefers a SPAC to a direct listing or IPO. The reasons will vary, but frequently over the last year, a deciding factor is the strength (or lack thereof) of that company’s fundamentals. Read more in our fintech SPAC breakdown here.
📊 Stat of the Week
“In the last six months, companies like FlutterWave, FairMoney, MaxAB and Lidya together raised more than $250 million – that’s more than the total raised by all technology companies in Africa five years ago. In 2021, AfricaArena predicts VC funding in African startups will top $2.3 billion, compared to $130 million in 2016.” (Tilman Ehrbeck, Managing Partner at Flourish Ventures)
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💼 Open Role Spotlight
Baselane, a financial dashboard for independent landlords, is hiring a Business Operations Lead.
🏦 Financial Services & Banking
🚀 Product Launches
Mastercard launched crypto-to-fiat payment cards across Southeast Asia in partnership with Amber Group, Bitkub and CoinJar, and also partnered with RailsBank and Toqio to launch corporate debit cards tied to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Danske Bank launched a business banking platform in partnership with fintech Aiia.
Visa launched a bundle of sustainability-focused benefits for cardholders.
📰 Other News
Pension funds are experiencing record inflows, but having difficulty deciding what assets to invest their money in. Three out of four fraud cases that banks declined to compensate were overturned on review.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia will become the country’s first retail bank to offer cryptocurrency trading to customers.
MTN and Airtel both received “approval in principle” from the Nigerian central bank to launch mobile money services in the country. The country’s eNaira is also rolling out again, after some initial stumbles, and the central bank is freezing accounts suspected of trading crypto.
Southeast Asia leads: the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) agreed to facilitate payments interoperability between the regions.
The CBOE options exchange is working on a US Treasuries trading platform.
Strive is Mastercard’s small business economic recovery initiative.
The US Treasury is warning that Chinese POS maker PAX sent US payments data to Chinese third parties. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority picked fintech Aiimi’s Insight Engine to improve its data analytics.
🚀 Product Launches
African B2B e-commerce firm OmniBiz launched buy-now-pay-later and bookkeeping.
📰 Other News
MX announced an integration with Q2’s banking platform. Ocrolus and Blend partnered to build an end-to-end mortgage platform. Indonesian open banking platform Ayoconnect announced a partnership with the country’s largest bank by assets, Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
B2B banking app Banking Circle joined the Danish national clearing system.
Robinhood is now letting companies set aside “friends and family” shares in IPOs.
Everybody’s doing it: Virgin Money is coming out with buy-now-pay-later.
Investing platform Republic is planning to expand to the UK, Europe, and Asia. Klarna came to Ireland. Railsbank and Douugh partnered to expand the neobank into Australia, the UK, Europe, and Southeast Asia. South African fintech Finclusion is expanding to Mozambique and Uganda.
The ASEAN Financial Innovation Network released a global fintech registry for partnerships.
The Financial Solutions Lab launched their accelerator challenge, focused on the racial wealth gap.
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- Tech and gadget subscription platform Grover is partnering with BaaS platform Solarisbank to issue a Visa debit card for cashback and rewards.
- France Fintech and Binance have launched a €100m initiative to accelerate the growth of the European crypto space.
- Financial infrastructure platform Railsbank has pivoted its strategy and marketing to focus on “experiences” of embedded finance, betting that this is the next phase of growth for embedded finance.
- RBI, India's central bank, lifted the ban on Diners Club to start issuing new cards.
- Tiki, Vietnam's largest ecommerce company, raised $258 million led by AIA Insurance to launch insurance products and financial services.
- Southeast Asia's internet economy is forecast to reach $1 trillion by 2030 as per a report by Google, Temasek and Bain.
In collaboration with Ben White.
- The Brookings Institution published a research paper on the challenges black people have accessing financial services.
- The Basel Committee said it plans to release capital rules for bank crypto holdings by mid-2022.
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed the House, including requirements for crypto tax reporting.
- The Financial Stability Board published a progress report on their roadmap for enhancing cross-border payments.
- Innovate Finance, a UK fintech lobby, called out the government’s inaction on a comprehensive fintech strategy.
- The UK Finance Minister outlined plans for a Central Bank Digital Currency to arrive by the end of the decade.
- Monetary Authority of Singapore is launching four platforms to support data gathering on sustainability.
- The New York Department of Financial Services announced a climate risk division at the COP26.
- The Biden Administration’s stablecoin group called for bank-like oversight of the digital currencies.
- The Senate Banking Committee is looking into the effects of Zillow’s property buying on the US residential real-estate market.