Hello Fintech Friends,
August, normally a sleepy corporate month, has come at a torrid pace this year for early-stage investors. It feels like we’re in a uniquely founder-friendly time for fintech entrepreneurs judging by the sheer volume and pace of deals.
Separately, in Signals 2.4 this week, we broke out the 72 fintech product launches that happened over Q2 2020.
Please find another week of fintech and banking news below.
Quote of the week
“To assist struggling communities to develop and prosper economically, it is essential to increase their access to capital. Revising the law governing Opportunity Zones to allow investments in MDIs and CDFIs is a simple, easy-to-implement solution that would have an immediate impact.”
- Clay Wilkes, CEO, Galileo (source)
Open Role Spotlight
There is an opportunity to join the Google Pay org (on which I work) as a Product Strategy Lead.
Read of the Week
Sifted provides an interesting breakdown of the three largest UK neobanks, Monzo, Revolut, and Starling, all of which are required to release financials. Though all three are loss-making, they differ in that Revolut earns the most per customer, Starling has the most diversified revenues and highest per-customer AUM, and Monzo is tracking the fastest towards profitability.
Financial Services & Banking
Bank of Montreal launched a Quickbooks integration.
Nationwide added Apple Business Chat for consumers as an alternative to its call center.
Deutsche Bank launched a carbon-tracking app.
The pandemic has acted as an accelerant in US consumers’ transition to contactless payments. Even so, in-person contactless is estimated to account for just 5% of retail transactions. Meanwhile, American Express partnered with Yapily to facilitate its Pay With Bank account-to-account transfer service, and Pasadena retailers released “pay by face” tech.
Standard Chartered partnered with Airtel Africa to facilitate mobile deposits and transfers and real-time payments and payroll for account-holders. JPMorgan Chase and Commonwealth, a financial inclusion non-profit, will partner to research how technology helps vulnerable consumers.
Paytm launched a new Android mobile PoS for ordering and accepting payments in-person.
Zambian digital wallet and payment provider Zazu launched Union54, a “digital correspondent banking” project to standardize payment rails across Africa.
Sootchy App launched a friends-and-family 529 Plan app to replace student loans.
SoFi will offer $200 to new Sofi Money account-holders. Revolut is expanding into payroll and insurance. Monzo continues to face challenges as the bank looks to improve unit economics. In the latest shake-up, its CMO will step down at the end of the year.
Australian neobank Xinja contracted Siss Data Services for its open banking API. UAE processor and card issuer NymCard received approval from the Abu Dhabi financial regulator to be a money holder and transmitter.
The Indian competition watchdog dismissed the case against WhatsApp Pay, clearing the way for the platform’s continued expansion in India. The state of Colorado settled with Avant and Marlette Funding (and out-of-state bank sponsors WebBank and Crossriver) to cap interest rates in the state at 36%.
Funding Xchange, Onfido, Codat, ezbob, Fractal Labs and Previse were granted £20 million from the UK’s RBS bail out fund. Fintechs including Credit Karma, Monzo, and Varo formed a coalition to fight racial inequality in financial services.
- Robinhood added $200 million in new funding at a valuation increase from $8.6 billion to $11.2 billion.
- Blockfi, a financial services company focused on crypto assets, raised a $50 million Series C.
- Form3, a cloud-based payments technology firm, raised £33 million in new funding.
- Lana, a Madrid-based personal finance platform for underbanked consumers in Latin America, raised a $12 million Series A.
- FPL Technologies, the mobile-first credit card issuer of India’s OneCard, raised a $10 million Series A.
- Singaporean digital risk startup CredoLab raised $7 million.
- SuperSim, a Brazilian microlending fintech, raised a $5.6 million Series B.
- Moov, which is building an open-source embedded banking platform, raised $5.5 million in seed funding.
- Cube, a financial planning software, raised a $5 million combined seed and pre-seed.
- Hong Kong business banking platform Neat added a $4 million extension to its $11 million Series A.
- Spenmo, a Singaporean platform to help businesses manage their spending, raised $2 million in seed funding.
- Hammock, a neobank built for landlords, raised £1 million in seed funding.
- Propeller Industries, a financial planning and accounting software, received an undisclosed investment.
- Viva Wallet, a Greek payments firm that recently acquired the banking license of Praxia Bank to build a neobank, is looking to raise €500 million to build a neobank.
Exits and M&A
- The European Union approved Mastercard’s €2.85 billion acquisition of the assets of Nordic payment processor Nets.
- StoneCo, the publicly-listed Brazilian merchant financial solutions provider, will acquire Brazilian business management software provider Linx for $1.1 billion.
- American Express confirmed that it will acquire small business lender Kabbage. While AmEx is acquiring Kabbage's team, products, data platform, and intellectual property, it will not take on the lender’s existing portfolio. The deal reportedly valued Kabbage at $850 million.
- Citi took a stake in enterprise data management solution Solidatus Technology.
- Puerto Rican payments processor Evertec is exploring a sale in a deal that could value the company at $2.4 billion.