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Hi all, Julie here.

Finally have a good amount of funding news to talk about today. I was worried there for a sec....


Today's Partner, Kunai

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Kunai has been on the forefront of Digital and Financial Services for years, and believes customers want what they want, when and how they want it. It exists to cut through the noise and consider how FinTech and FinServ are delivering for customers.

Today, Kunai partners with leading companies including Mastercard and Visa to build seamless customer experiences that unite digital products with FinTech. It promises to deliver digital experiences your customers will love while reducing time to value through Kunai’s implementation knowledge and IP. Interested in partnering with Kunai? Get in touch!


Company News

Mastercard Rolls Out New BNPL Product

Mastercard is getting into the Buy Now Pay Later space with a new program called “Mastercard Installments” for U.S., Australian and U.K. markets, enabling banks and fintech companies to “plug in” to the Mastercard program and offer loans directly to their customers. Initial partners include Barclays U.S. consumer bank, SoFi, Synchrony and Marqeta. There will be various types of plans and interest rates, which will be as low as 0%.

Funding and Deals

Betterment’s Funding Round

It had been awhile since we’d seen a robo advisor raise, and we finally got a new round from Betterment. The round included $60M in equity, a $100M credit facility, and a $1.3B valuation. I remember first covering robos when it was a big deal that Betterment, Wealthfront and others reached $1B in AUM and $100K customers. Today, Betterment says it has around 700K clients and oversees $32B.

Rize’s New Funding

Congrats to our friends at Rize on their $11.4M funding round! I interviewed Co-Founder and CEO Justin Howell on the podcast earlier this year - definitely take a listen. The banking-as-a-service company allows its customers to use a single API for more than one account type, unifying its offering to a single developer hook. Rize has also built something that it calls “synthetic accounts,” which allow Rize to offer end users the ability to combine different custodial accounts (checking, brokerage) into a single experience.

Aspiring Valuations

Singapore-based neobank Aspire, which focuses on business banking, announced a $158M funding round, which consisted of $58M in equity and $100M in debt. Founded in 2018, Aspire started out as a way for SMBs to get working capital loans. Not too long after, it started adding other products rather than simply focusing on lending. It now offers bank accounts for cross-border businesses, corporate cards and automated invoice processing. The company says that more than 10K business accounts have been opened on Aspire, and in total they transact about $2B annually.

Ascending Valuations

Thailand-based fintech startup Ascend Money announced a $150M round at a $1.5B valuation. The company said it plans to use the fresh capital to grow its e-wallet application TrueMoney Wallet, as well as expand its digital financial services ranging from digital lending and digital investment to cross border remittances in Southeast Asia. Like many payments companies, growth was wild during the pandemic for Ascend. The company said that its users in Thailand have grown from 17M in early 2021 to 20M today, and the transactions of its online payment use case surged over 75%. The company also said that its total payment volume stood at $14B in 2020 across the six countries in Southeast Asia, representing 84% growth between 2019 and 2020.

Helping Women In Pakistan

Oraan, a startup focused on bettering the financial lives of women in Pakistan, raised $3M in funding. Its first product is something called a ROSCAs, or rotating credit and savings associations. This is a group of people who contribute money to a pool that is distributed to a member each month. Based on Oraan’s research, about 41% of the Pakistani population has participated in a ROSCA, and $5B gets rotated through them on an annual basis. By participating in ROSCAs through Oraan, users have the opportunity to join committees with people outside of their communities and social networks. The startup’s ultimate goal is to become an online bank.

More International Funding

First up, India. Amazon backed BNPL startup Capital Float announced a $50M round. The company uses partnerships with other firms for its offering, including Amazon India, online learning service Unacademy, airline Spicejet, direct-to-consumers lifestyle and electronics brand Boat and travel booking firm MakeMyTrip. Their customers can make their purchases via a loan at the time of check out. It has amassed over 2.5M customers using the service to finance over $271M a year.

French startup Swan, another banking-as-a-service provider, announced an $18.7M round. It partners with SaaS companies, marketplaces and even other fintech startups so they can offer white-labeled banking features. The startup plans to use the funding to expand into Germany and tailor its products based on geography.

Crypto Watch

I Knew Gas Fees Were High, But...

Crypto exchange Bitfinex paid $23.7M in transaction fees to deposit $100K on the blockchain. No, this is not a typo. The company was moving that amount in Tether to the decentralized exchange DeversiFi at 7:10 am ET on Monday, recordson blockchain tracker Etherscan show. As Jordan, Charley and others have explained to me, anyone transacting on the Ethereum blockchain pays what is known as a gas fee in exchange for incorporating their trades onto the digital ledger. This amount varies depending on supply and demand for computing power at any time. The $24M price tag is almost certainly a massive mistake. The extra bad news is that blockchain transactions are supposedly irreversible. Whoops!


Together With Fintech Meetup

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Fintech Meetup is the easiest way to meet new partners and customers! We’re facilitating 30,000+ 15-minute meetings so you can meet decision-makers and create new opportunities. Fintech Meetup is the world’s largest fintech meetings event--there is no better way to fill your pipeline with qualified leads.

Meet fintechs including Agora Services, Atomic, BillGo, BlueSnap, FISPAN, Synctera (and hundreds more!), banks including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, Investors, Networks, Processors, Solution Providers, Credit Unions & CUSOs, Community Banks and many, many more!

Qualifying Startups get special startup rate tickets, qualifying Banks & Credit Unions eligible for FREE tickets. GET YOURS HERE!


Career Corner

Account Executive at Argyle:

Argyle is a fun and passionate group of people, all working remotely across 19 different countries and counting. As a fast-growing Series-A, we are now looking for our next Account Executive to join our Sales team. The Sales team at Argyle combines product, technical, and industry knowledge to help its customers build amazing products. It believes that there is incredible value in harnessing payroll information, and it helps create and implement solutions for its clients to leverage that data. You will be the primary point of contact for its enterprise customers and will work with them on all stages of sales, integrations, scaling, product expansion, and account management. If this sounds like you, apply above!

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