Hi all, Julie here.
Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! While the weather was great here in Texas and Jordan and I were able to attend a BBQ with some friends, we are now both fully aware of how terrible the home buying process is. More coming on this in a detailed FTT+ piece soon.
Today's Partner, Kunai
Kunai partners with leading fintech infrastructure companies to enable their customers to reduce time to value through Kunai’s implementation knowledge and IP. Interested in partnering with Kunai? Get in touch!
Wise Goes Public
Happy Direct Listing Day to our friends at Wise/Trasnferwise! The company went public in the UK at a valuation of roughly $11B, making it the largest ever tech listing in London and the first ever direct listing on the London Stock Exchange. The company recently rebranded to remind users that it offers a lot more than just a way to transfer money across borders these days. It will be interesting to follow not only Wise’s journey as a public company, but if their listing encourages other startups in the region to explore going public as well.
Chinese IPO Rules
Regulators in Beijing are planning new regulations that would permit them to block a Chinese company from listing overseas even if the unit selling shares is incorporated outside China, according to Bloomberg. The current rules have been in place for nearly 30 years, but the China Securities Regulatory Commission is leading efforts to revise them. The new regulations would require companies to get approval first. This could be a big hit to capital raising, with Chinese firms having raised about $76B through first-time share sales in the U.S. over the past decade.
Schwab Fined How Much?!
Charles Schwab disclosed in a filing that it might have to pay a whopping $200M related to its robo advisor. There isn’t much in the way of information as to what exactly the fine is over, but it’s pretty big. Robinhood’s fine last week was for $70M, for instance. We also don’t know exactly when the investigation began. If anyone has heard anything more on this, would love to know more!
Funding and Deals
Unit21 Catches a 🐯
Congratulations to our friends over at Unit21, who have just raised a $34M round, led by none other than Tiger Global. This raise, which comes only 9 months after they raised a $13M Series A, values the startup at $300M. Unit21 was founded in 2018 with the goal of giving risk, compliance and fraud teams a way to fight financial crime via a “secure, integrated, no-code platform.” To learn more about this startup, tune in next Tuesday as we take a deep dive into the world of anti money laundering, fraud, and how Unit21 is enabling compliance teams to combat these ongoing issues.
Lidya Funding Round
More funding news out of Africa. Nigeria-based fintech Lidya announced an $8.3M funding round, bringing its total funding to $16.5M. The lending company said it will use the new capital to continue to hire and grow. The digital SME lending platform allows businesses to create accounts and apply for loans ranging from $500 to $50,000, with decisions made within 24 hours. The company says it has disbursed over 25,000 loans since it was founded in 2016.
Visa Bets On Crypto
Back in 2017-2018, loads of credit cards were banning people from buying crypto. Fast forward to today, and wow, how different things are. Visa has a new report out talking about the rapid growth crypto linked cards have seen. Visa itself has now partnered with 50 of the leading crypto platforms on card programs that make it easy to convert and spend digital currency at 70M merchants worldwide. Visa added that more than $1B was spent on crypto-linked Visa cards in the first half of 2021. Hoping to get some folks from this team on the podcast soon. Stay tuned :)
Binance Needs Help
Binance has been encountering some regulatory issues in a few countries (the UK, Japan and Thailand), and now it’s seeking help in the form of eToro's Jonathan Farnell as director of compliance. In case you missed it, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority issued a consumer warning last month, barring Binance from carrying out any regulated activity in the country. Japan accused Binance of operating illegally and Thailand has filed a complaint as well. Sounds like Farnell will be busy.
Congrats to our friends at Bloom Credit on hiring Christian Widhalm of Lendkey as CEO and Founder Matt Harris’ move to Executive Chairman! Will continue closely following how you guys are changing the underwriting space.
And huge moves being made by Fintech Today Community Member Justin Overdorff! After years high up at Stripe, Justin is officially joining the Lightspeed team. Will be watching your investments for sure! Hope your dog lets you borrow the FTT hat for your first day of work.