Hi all, Julie here.
Still in Michigan hanging with the fam until I head back to Austin on Friday. Wish me luck in my first time flying with a puppy. 🙏🏻
There’s been a decent amount of fintech news over the past few days as well that we need to get to. Even some big ones that we don’t have time to cover like AmEx starting BNPL for travel, PPP loans going to random melon farmers, and Australians on pace to choose digital wallets over contactless cards as their in-store payment of choice in the near future.
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BlockFi's Bitcoin Trouble
Ugh, I knew I should have been using BlockFi to buy and sell crypto. Some customers of the platform were accidentally given large amounts of crypto in recent days. And, like any smart customer would do, quickly withdrew those funds into hard wallets. This also means they missed the recent selloff, which increases my jealousy. Anyways, the payments were associated with a promotion it was running, in which users would receive bonuses in USD stablecoins. But instead of receiving stablecoins, some received amounts denominated in Bitcoin, with some receiving over 700 BTC. Of course people are posting about this on Reddit, and BlockFi is offering rewards for users returning the funds and legal action for those that don’t. What an absolute nightmare.
In case you missed it, the last three newsletters have all featured a new IPO in them. This time it’s billing and payments network Paymentus. The company is looking to go public around a $2.5B valuation.
According to regulatory filings, the company’s revenue rose 32% to $92.2M in the quarter ended March 31. The other two companies going public soon are Marqeta (confirmed) and NerdWallet (rumor).
Goldman's Big Hire
There may be executives leaving Marcus, but there are big names coming in as well. Uber exec Peeyush Nahar is joining to lead the digital banking unit. This fills the role of Omer Ismail, who left to join Walmart’s fintech startup. At Uber, Nahar worked on payments, risk, and more in various roles. Here’s a screenshot of the memo Goldman management sent to staff announcing the hire.
Amount Becomes A Unicorn
Speaking of Goldman, one of the startups it has invested in, Amount, is now a unicorn just like every other pre-seed fintech startup (sarcasm, guys, sarcasm). The company, which offers retail banking and point-of-sale technology to large clients like HSBC, Regions Bank and TD Bank, was previously valued at half that in a late 2020 funding round led by Goldman.
Pipe and Vise Funding
Couple of funding rounds worth talking about here. The first is Vise, which just raised $65M in a round led by Ribbit. The company uses an AI-powered platform to help independent financial advisors, aiming to give them more time to build client relationships rather than doing the hard math of building out portfolios (which is where Vise comes into play).
The second round worth talking about is Pipe, which raised $250M at a $2B valuation. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Pipe raised a mere two months ago. Founded in late 2019, Pipe’s goal is to give SaaS companies and others with predictable revenues a way to get revenue upfront. It’s a way for customers to access capital without diluting their ownership. Pipe says more than 4,000 companies have signed up on its trading platform and that it’s had more than $1B in tradable annual recurring revenue (ARR).