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Hi all, Julie here.

Excited for a weekend of relaxing. We have a pretty busy October with a few little trips and some friends/family visiting, so I’m not taking the time to chill for granted. It’s also supposed to be pretty rainy today and tomorrow, so good weekend to stay in for 75% of it anyways :)

PS: I recorded a podcast with our fabulous producer, Paul, to talk about the origins of Fintech Today and my own background as well :) Take a listen!

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Company News

Google Bails On Banking (Sort Of)

“Banking products are hard.” Google is abandoning plans to pitch bank accounts to its users. I remember hearing about this at Money2020 a couple of years ago (believe it was the last in person Money2020). Google seemed super excited about being able to add bank accounts to Google Pay, but it sounds like this was a lot harder to get off the ground than anticipated. It’s a bummer for Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union too, which Google was set to partner with. Citigroup said it was adding about 10K people a week to the waiting list, which had swelled to around 400K. A Google spokeswoman told the WSJ that it will now focus primarily on “delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial services providers rather than us serving as the provider of these services.” Also interesting, former PayPal exec Bill Ready, who joined Google a little over a year earlier to head up its e-commerce operations, took over and set a new course. I remember he was very much against PayPal becoming more “bank-like” while he was there.

JPM and 10x

We now know that JPM’s recently launched UK digital bank was built with 10x Banking. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s a cloud-native fintech set up by former Barclays chief Antony Jenkins. JPM is also an investor in the company, and has been working with it for the better part of two years in order to get this up and running. It initially launched last month with a current account (like a checking account), but JPM plans to add on loads of other services including personal lending, investment, and even mortgages.

Adam Nash’s New Venture

For the fintech OGs in here, you probably remember Adam Nash from Wealthfront. Well, he’s back with a new startup in the charitable giving space. Called Daffy, the app will let members choose how much money they want to set aside for charity every year and then watch it grow tax-free in one of nine investment portfolios in three categories: standard, ESG or crypto. Members can donate at any time to over 1.5M charities, ranging from national non-profits to their child’s school fundraiser. And given his rep, Nash was able to raise nearly $5M in seed funding from Ribbit Capital, XYZ Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and a number of angels.

Square x TikTok

More news in the creator economy. Square announced that it is partnering with TikTok to make it easier for users to buy and sell products on the platform. Sellers with a business account can send their fans directly from TikTok videos, ads, and shopping tabs to their Square Online store. According to Barrons, nearly 50% of TikTok’s 1B active users say they have purchased something after seeing it on the app. That shows the possibility of huge growth for both Square and the businesses leveraging it and TikTok.

Japan’s Rakuten and Banking

Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten announced this week that it’s getting ready to list its online banking unit to raise funds. Rakuten itself is worth $15B but is under pressure, expanding its mobile network in the face of cash-rich incumbents and investing in logistics to compete with giants like Amazon. The company says it has ambitions to sell its mobile network technology around the world, and that its tech dramatically cuts the cost of building such networks by using cloud-based software.

Funding and Deals

Alloy Raises

Congrats to our friends at Alloy, including FTT Expert Charley Ma and community member Laura Spiekerman! The company is now a unicorn after a $100M funding round led by Lightspeed. Lots of this funding will go towards hiring new employees, and there are some roles from Alloy highlighted on our Fintech Today job board if you wanna check them out :)

LatAm Funding Rounds

Konfio now holds the title of Mexico’s 4th unicorn with a $1.3B valuation after a funding round from Softbank, Tarsadia Capital and QED. Founded in 2013, Konfio is a lending startup that provides credit to smaller companies that are often under-served by traditional banks. If it’s anything like some of the other great bets QED has made in LatAm, this will be one to watch.

Sticking with the LatAm and SMB space, Higo announced it has raised $23M in a round led by Accel, with participation from Tiger, Haystack, Homebrew, and Stripe COO Claire Hughes-Johnson. The startup is hoping to automate the payments processes for SMBs and provide visibility into cash flow. Higo says it has grown to thousands of companies paying and getting paid with its platform compared to just a handful at the beginning of 2021.

Crypto Watch

Visa and CBDCs

First, hopefully you read FTT Exert John Collin’s piece on CBDCs yesterday. Second, Visa said it has developed a concept that shows how various CBDCs can be interoperable with each other to make payments. Called "Universal Payments Channel" (UPC), this new idea outlines how various blockchain networks can be interconnected to allow the transfer of CBDCs. What’s more, Visa said that digital currencies, including CBDCs and stablecoins, will play an essential role in people's financial lives in the future. If this is to be true, a big issue to solve will be how all of these coins operate together.

Biden and Stablecoins

Tough news out of Washington for companies hoping to issue stablecoins. The Biden administration is considering ways to impose bank-like regulation on the cryptocurrency companies that issue stablecoins, according to the WSJ. This would include possibly having the firms register as banks. There has been much fear in the administration, and elsewhere, that stablecoins could cause a financial crisis if not regulated. Tether and Circle are two of the most well-known issuers of stablecoins. The WSJ also said that a Treasury-led group also plans to recommend that a separate panel of senior regulators charged with detecting risks to the financial system consider whether to designate stablecoin activities as systemically important. If this were to happen, it could mean that the Fed starts writing more-stringent risk-management standards for crypto companies.

Together With Fintech Meetup

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

​Career Corner

Portfolio Analyst at True Link

True Link is a fast-growing, mission-driven fintech company that provides quality financial services for people whose needs go unmet by traditional institutions. The Portfolio Analyst is a key member of the portfolio management team and plays a critical role in supporting the portfolio management function. The primary responsibility of the Portfolio Analyst is to implement and maintain adherence to stated investment strategies by client.

The Portfolio Analyst will work closely and collaboratively with the Investment Associates within the organization to support day-to-day asset management responsibilities. This includes owning the responsibility for collecting, managing and analyzing data to facilitate portfolio management functions such as rebalancing, managing liquidity, and reporting on performance.

Community Highlights

Love this news out of Finix! In just 100 days, the Cap Table Coalition has helped nearly 200 Black, Latino/a, LGBTQ+, Native American, and women investors deploy $16M of capital into some of today's most exciting startups. This makes me smile :)

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