Hi all, Julie here.
It’s Friday again! And there are only 7 of them left in 2021. Still plenty of time for fintech news and billion dollar Series A rounds. Also plenty of time for more podcasts! This week we had episodes with LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn and Maria Gotsch, President/CEO of the Partnership Fund for NYC. I still can’t believe that shares of LendingClub have gone from $5 to $50 over the past year (yes, you read that right and yes it is the LendingClub you are thinking of).
Today's Partner, ComplyAdvantage
From the Biden administration's sanctions reset to the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the ongoing debate surrounding Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), 2021 has been a year of dizzying change. ComplyAdvantage developed this report to capture all the key developments you need to know about, so you can analyze with confidence everything from DeFi to the latest announcements from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Get your copy here!
The Senate Banking Committee is looking into how Zillow’s property buying might have impacted the US residential real-estate market. Here’s the intro to the filing:
Fintech In Africa
Remember all the African funding rounds we’ve covered in this newsletter? Well, in 2021, AfricaArena predicts VC funding in African startups will top $2.3B, compared to $130M in 2016. I have a feeling things are only going up in the coming years too. Thoughts on which sectors will see the most growth? Tweet me.
The environment continues to be a growing theme in our space. This week, Visa unveiled a package of sustainability-focused benefits for account issuers designed to not only allow, but encourage their cardholders to make better decisions for the planet. Starting in Europe next year, the Visa Eco Benefits bundle is designed to help cardholders understand the environmental impact of their spending and to encourage sustainable behaviour. This includes a carbon footprint calculator, letting cardholders offset their carbon, educational tools, cardholder rewards for sustainable behaviour and more.
Funding and Deals
Much like Africa, LatAm is hot right now. This week, credit card fintech Stori announced that it has closed one of the largest Series C equity financing rounds in the region to date, accompanied by a debt raise. The $125M round was co-led by global VC GGV Capital and growth-stage investor GIC, as well as $75M in debt financing from impact-focused, debt capital provider Community Investment Management. The company says that more than 2M Mexicans have applied for its credit card, and that number has grown by more than 10 times in the last twelve months. In the following year, the company plans to use the funding to triple in size and broaden its suite of products.
Fintech For Entertainment
Wrapbook, which provides technology solutions for the entertainment industry, announced a $100M round led by Tiger Global. The company has been focusing on helping the project-based work category in the entertainment sector. Its platform offers production companies of any size easy-to-use employer software, and workers a portable profile. This makes onboarding cast and crew much faster and easier. The company says it currently supports over 1,000 projects per month nationwide and has seen the number of workers reusing their profile across more than two employers doubling to 23% in 2021, up from 12% in 2020.
Update On More Oversight For Crypto
The Biden team took the first big step to impose banklike oversight on the cryptocurrency companies involved in the issuance of stablecoins. A Treasury-led panel outlined a process that could shape the future of that digital money, with focus on stablecoins. The group recommended that Congress impose a new regulatory framework around stablecoins and limit the issuance of these digital assets to banks. If Congress doesn’t act, the group said that the Financial Stability Oversight Council should look at potentially designating certain stablecoin activities as systemically important. Some big names in the crypto world seemed to approve of the report, with Circle Founder Jeremy Allaire saying “This is huge progress in the acceptance of stablecoins and provides a path for their adoption as fundamental infrastructure for financial and economic activity in the coming decade.”
More Miami Crypto
The City of Miami has been a first mover when it comes to crypto in the US. Now, the city says it will soon give out a “Bitcoin yield” from the staking of its cryptocurrency to its citizens. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the yield comes from the staking of the city’s own cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin, which was introduced early this year and has already earned over $21M in the past three months for Miami. On an annualized basis, that’s equal to roughly one-fifth of Miami’s total annual tax revenue of $400M. The city will make the payments through a digital wallet and will work with a variety of cryptocurrency exchanges to allow its residents to acquire a wallet, register and get verified.
Crypto Compliance Funding
Crypto compliance SaaS startup Notabene announced a $10.2M funding round co-led by F-Prime Capital and Jump Capital. The company’s software helps its customers, many of which are crypto exchanges, comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “travel rule” imposed in 2019. This rule requires crypto exchanges in FATF member countries to exchange customer-identifying information for transfers above $1,000 to ensure compliance with know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. FATF issued new guidance around the travel rule in October, clarifying the specifics around what exchanges need to do in order to comply. Notabene helps exchanges transfer information between parties in a transaction while preserving user privacy.
Together With Fintech Meetup
Fintech Meetup is the industry’s next can’t-miss event! It’s the easiest and most efficient way to find new solutions, partners and customers. No speakers. No content. Just 30,000+ online speed date meetings with 3,000+ participants, so you can meet the people and organizations who will help drive your business forward.
Join hundreds of organizations already signed up, including:
- Fintechs including Akoya, Alliance Data, Alloy, Alviere, Argyle, Autobooks, Azimuth, Botdoc, Certa, Checkout.com, Dave, FISPAN, MANTL, Nuance, Nymbus, PPRO, Revolut, Ripple, Signal Intent, Sila, Socure, Synctera, Urban FT (to name just a few!)
- Banks including Bank of America, Citi, Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Santander, Wells Fargo & more
- Networks including American Express, Discover, Mastercard & Visa
- Investors including Bain Capital, General Atlantic, Mosaik Partners, Next Level, Point 72, Vestigo & more
- Plus Credit Unions, CUSOs, Community Banks, Tech Cos and more!
Online, March 22-24. Qualifying Startups get special startup rate tickets, qualifying Banks & Credit Unions eligible for FREE tickets. Get Your Ticket
One of the aspects of fintech we love the most is its ability to help the lower income and underbanked. Propel’s mission is just that: to build modern, respectful, and effective financial tools for low-income Americans. Over 5M people currently use its app, Providers, to manage the benefits they use to keep their family well-fed and healthy, stay up to date on critical government programs, save money and earn income. Now, Propel has also expanded further into financial services for lower income Americans and is looking to make two key hires. If you want to be a part of a company that holds its social mission at its core, apply above!