Hi all, Julie here.
Quick intro today: check out the latest episode of the Policy Podcast that I do with Plaid’s John Pitts. We took a look at FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams’ departure and what other surprises we should be on the lookout for in 2022. John and I also simply like to have fun, so our 20 minute convos are always entertaining ;)
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Ken Griffin IPO 2023?
Citadel (yes, that Citadel) is partnering with Sequoia and Paradigm in a deal that values the firm at $22B. It’s the first outside investment in Ken Griffin’s business. In yet another twist, the $1.15B cash injection could lead to an IPO. Wonder how Reddit will feel about that…
The business has been particularly strong in the trading boom of the past two years. Citadel posted $6.7B of net trading revenue in 2020, almost double the previous high in 2018, and saw $4.1B of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, also a record. The company estimates that it commands 27% of equity volume market share in the U.S.
Funding and Deals
Big Round for Checkout.com
London’s Checkout.com, which didn’t raise money from outside investors until 2019, is now one of the world’s most valuable startups at $40B. The digital-payments processor announced that it raised $1B in a recent share sale that valued it at $40B. Since it’s in the payments space, you won’t be surprised to hear that its payment volume tripled in both 2020 and 2021. The company said it plans to use the funding to expand more in the US and explore more crypto offerings.
Brex’s New Round
Business banking startup Brex announced a $300M Series D-2 round that ups its valuation to $12.3B, co-led by Greenoaks Capital and TCV. Like many in the space, it started as a corporate card and has since expanded into a full suite of offerings for CFOs. Last April, Brex said it had combined credit cards, business cash accounts and new spend management and bill pay software “together in a single dashboard” as part of a service called Brex Premium that cost $49 per month. Interesting aside here from Co-Founder Henrique Dubugras:
Inspired me to do the same! For @brexhq Q1 2019 was 0% outside of the Bay Area, Q4 2021 was 73% outside of the Bay Area. Silicon Valley is in the cloud indeed. https://t.co/M5hpcHGmZh— Henrique Dubugras (@hdubugras) January 12, 2022
More Business Banking Rounds
Novo also closed a $90M round of funding that values the Miami-based startup at $700M. The company said it plans to use the fresh capital to build out its infrastructure and add in new products, specifically around lending. The company said it has 150k SMB customers in the U.S., up 50k from last June’s figures.
Even More Business Banking Rounds
This time it’s not a US startup though. French fintech Qonto has raised a $552M Series D valuing the company at $5B. This is one of the largest rounds in the French tech ecosystem. The startup focuses primarily on SMBs and freelancers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The company says it currently has around 220k clients. And in true fintech fashion, Tiger is leading the round with TCV.
Zero Hash’s New Round
The crypto services startup announced $105M in a Series D funding round (no valuation disclosed). The company offers tech to third-party retail brokers and fintech firms and now works with Ramp, MoneyLion, TradeStation and more. The company says it’s using the new funds to expand its compliance, marketing, product, and engineering teams as well as enhance support for Layer 2 protocols.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians
You probably hear about her everyday, but it’s typically not in this light. Bloomberg has reported that Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather are being sued by investors for their role in a scam involving the shit coin EthereumMax. Floyd may be undefeated in boxing, but he keeps getting pummeled for his roles in promoting crypto - you may remember that he was fined by the SEC in 2018 for his role in an ICO. Here’s Jordan's favorite line from the piece:
“EthereumMax has no connection to the second-largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum,” according to a footnote in the complaint. “It would be akin to marketing a restaurant as ‘McDonald’sMax’ when it had no affiliation with McDonald’s other than the name similarity and the fact that both companies sell food products.” Guess Kim should stick to her new role in marketing Staten Island as the new BK.
Bitcoin Mining Funding Round
NYDIG backed Luxor, a Washington-based Bitcoin mining company, has launched a new service for buying and selling Bitcoin mining machines. The company will purchase and sell specialized Bitcoin mining hardware on behalf of the Luxor team, miners, and investors. Now, bear with me for a sec cause this gets a little wonky. Basically, an application-specific integrated circuit or “ASIC” is a chip customized for a specific purpose. An ASIC miner is a piece of hardware that uses these specialized chips for the purpose of mining digital currency. Much like the price of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin mining machine prices are volatile. The Luxor ASIC Trading Desk will trade in these opaque markets, taking principal positions to help miners gain access to at fair market prices.
Together With Fintech Meetup
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Corporate Development at Plaid
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Casually dropped in the 'About Sequoia' section of a press release...— Will Quist (@wquist) January 11, 2022
"In aggregate, Sequoia-backed companies account for more than 25% of NASDAQ’s total value"
That is mind blowing and under-appreciated.
As good as you think @sequoia is, they are better than that.