Hi all, Julie here. 

Like I said on Friday, it’s so weird to have it be so warm in December. I’m used to big puffer jackets and I haven’t even had to wear a jacket yet! We’re doing a Christmas dinner party at our place on Friday, and it’s supposed to be 80 that day so I’m now debating on putting our tables and chairs outside for it. 

On a completely different note, I got to interview my friend Devin for the podcast last week. He’s covered fintech on Wall Street longer than maybe any other analyst has, so I loved getting his thoughts on how things have changed and what he’s watching for in 2022. Take a listen :) 

Today's Partner, FintechMeetup

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  • Banks including Bank of America, Citi, Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Santander, Wells Fargo & more
  • Neobanks including Dave, First Boulevard, Revolut & Varo Bank and more
  • Credit Unions representing 13m members & $210b assets
  • Investors including Bain Capital, Commerce Ventures, General Atlantic, Mosaik Partners, Next Level Ventures, Point 72 Ventures, Tribeca Venture Partners, Vestigo Ventures & more
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Online, March 22-24. Startup rate available for qualifying cos. Get Ticket Now!

Company News

Fast Nabs Venmo CFO

The payments/hoodie company announced Venmo CFO Robert Mitchell is joining the startup as its CFO. It’s pretty interesting that it's hiring a CFO so early, since this is usually a role that (if not taken by a founder) is added a few years down the road. Robinhood, for instance, didn’t hire a CFO until 2018, 5 years after it was founded.

Funding and Deals

TradeDepot Raises $110M

Nigeria and U.S.based TradeDepot announced $110M in new equity and debt funding, one of the largest ever for a B2B company in the region. The company runs a marketplace that connects small shops, kiosks, retailers with wholesalers of global consumer brands who have access to food, beverages and personal care products. Since launching, it has added on other services such as BNPL, digital wallets and more. Last year, the company had over 40k merchants on its platform; now, it is servicing more than 100k merchants, according to its CEO.

SMB Banking Funding

Nearside, an online bank for SMBs (formerly called Hatch), announced $58M in new funding led by Valar Ventures. The company offers business checking accounts with no monthly, overdraft or ATM fees, as well as a universal 1% cashback reward program that it says is a first in the SMB online banking space. It’s product roadmap for 2022 includes adding a Term Loan product and Sprout, which will allow SMB owners to incorporate their businesses from their Nearside Dashboards.

Home Equity Funding

I guess Mike Cagney was onto something with home equity a few years ago. A separate startup, Hometap, announced $60M in new funding. The company offers people a way to borrow against the equity in their homes without taking out loans by letting them take on an investor in their property. That investor is essentially providing cash in exchange for a share of their home’s future value. When the home sells or the homeowner “settles” the investment, Hometap is paid an agreed-upon percentage of the sale price or current appraised value. American Family Ventures led the investment, and Bain Capital, Iconiq Capital, General Catalyst and others also invested.

Crypto Watch


Big scoop if true. According to The Information, FTX co-founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has told investors he is seeking a new round of funding for the global crypto exchange and he is also asking investors to buy shares in its U.S. affiliate. The new fundraising aims to value FTX at $32B and FTX’s U.S. affiliate at $8B, with a goal of raising a combined $1.5B.

BIS Talks DeFi

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) published its latest quarterly review on Monday, and it dedicated the first of its five special features to discussing DeFi and implications for financial stability. Some people aren’t going to be happywith this, but the BIS said that DeFi has an “inescapable need” for centralized governance. “DeFi’s inherent governance structures are the natural entry points for public policy,” it says. The report added that if DeFi were to become widespread, its “severe” vulnerabilities could undermine financial stability.

Funding For Crypto Trading Tools

Stacked, a web-based platform that provides passive investment tools for retail investors interested in crypto, announced $35M in new funding. The company says it has now automated more than $10B worth of transactions for tens of thousands of new investors in 2021. It also secured status as a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the SEC. The company offers stacks of prebuilt portfolios based on a user’s risk profile and allows users to manage portfolios across multiple crypto exchanges, auto-rebalance and compound their portfolios, and lend cryptocurrency through FTX’s exchange. Its revenue comes from a fee on transactions in its two-sided open marketplace, which sells automated trading strategies. Stacked also said it’s launching a new product in the coming weeks that will allow users to copy any “stack” as a template and customize it by making direct edits.

More Crypto Hacks

Crypto exchange BitMart said late Saturday that it suffered a hack that resulted in the loss of $150M worth of crypto. The company said it is doing a thorough security review and that all withdrawals are suspended until "further notice." Others have pointed out that funds have also been removed on the Binance Smart Chain blockchain, which could raise the amount of funds that have been taken. Founder and CEO Sheldon Xia wrote on Twitter:

"We have identified a large-scale security breach related to one of our ETH hot wallets and one of our BSC hot wallets. At this moment we are still concluding the possible methods used. The hackers were able to withdraw assets of the value of approximately USD 150 millions."

Polygon Might Get New Funding Soon

Sequoia Capital India and others are talking to Polygon about a possible new funding round, according to TechCrunch. The company operates a framework for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. The investors are looking to purchase tokens worth $50M to $150M. Polygon, formerly known as Matic, has established itself as one of the most popular layer two solutions. It processes over 7.5M transactions a day and allows thousands of decentralized apps to continue to use Ethereum as the settling layer but avoid the increasingly pricey gas fee.

Career Corner

Today, we have two roles we’re very excited about from Pilot. Backed by the likes of Index and Stripe, Pilot is building a first-of-its-kind, software-centric solution to tackle the financial back office (bookkeeping, tax, CFO, etc) so that founders and business owners don't have to. Check out the roles below and join this rapidly expanding team!

Account Executive

Sales Development Representative, Outbound

Community Highlights

Another engagement! Congrats to Jillian Williams of Cowboy Ventures!

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FTT Update:

More Crypto Hacks to End 2021

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