Hi all, Julie here.
Two weeks until the long awaited honeymoon! Fingers crossed nothing crazier happens with Covid and Maui still lets vaccinated travelers in. I’ve been podcasting like crazy the past couple of weeks to make sure we’re all covered until after I get back. You’ll hear from Credit Karma, Howard Lindzon, Vinovest, Peachy Pay and more. I honestly can’t wait :)
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Affirm x Amazon
Huge news for Affirm came out late Friday, with the BNPL giant striking a relationship with Amazon. This now makes it the partner for two of the largest retail platforms in the world (Shopify too). Amazon kinda had a BNPL offering prior to this, but Jordan used it once and it kinda sucked. Sounds like this will be replacing it.
PayPal Follows CashApp Again
It actually amazes me how often PayPal ends up following CashApp years later. Debit card, crypto, and now stock trading. CNBC had the scoop that PayPal is getting ready to launch a stock trading product. Better late than never I guess?
SEC Making Waves
The SEC sure isn’t afraid to start shaking things up. Late last week, the regulator said it’s diving into “digital engagement practices” that are closely associated with the mobile phone apps offered by brokers such as Robinhood. It said it’s worried that such technologies are putting investors at risk by encouraging excessive trading (gamification etc). John and I are definitely going to have to dive into this on our new podcast soon. Here’s more from SEC Chair Gary Gensler:
“While new technologies can bring us greater access and product choice, they also raise questions as to whether we as investors are appropriately protected when we trade and get financial advice...In many cases, these features may encourage investors to trade more often, invest in different products, or change their investment strategy.”
Funding and Deals
More B2B Funding
Digital checkout platform Balance announced a new $25M round led by Ribbit with participation from Stripe. The startup, which focuses on B2B businesses, only officially launched its self-serve digital checkout platform earlier this year. The idea was to make the online payments experience for B2B companies much easier. Rather than offline, like much of the industry remains, Balance’s platform lets any merchant, marketplace or SaaS company that sells goods and services online and offline offer their buyers a wide array of payment methods/terms and get paid instantly.
APIs for Trading
Alpaca, which offers equities trading software via an API, said this morning that it has closed a $50M round of capital. The company is a lot like Drive Wealth, which also raised funding recently. Alpaca started out by allowing firms to plug into its technology, powering the trading capabilities of investing groups. More recently, it began allowing other fintech companies to offer equities trading through its service to their consumer user bases. According to the company, the number of brokerage accounts it supports has risen some 1,500% this year to more than 100K and it expects to secure 100 partners for its equities trading tech by the end of 2021. It also announced that it is getting into the cryptocurrency market, which isn’t surprising given how much crypto drove up Robinhood’s earnings the past couple of quarters.
Simone Biles Creates NFT
Are NFTs the new baseball cards? US gymnast extraordinaire Simone Biles is the latest athlete to get into the game. Her new NFT collection will be sold on Autograph.io and DraftKings Marketplace, and she’ll be joining Autograph's advisory board, which already includes fellow star athletes such as Naomi Osaka, Tony Hawk, Derek Jeter, and Tiger Woods.There will be over 10,000 NFTs available for purchase at a starting price point of $12. Biles added that “as I look ahead in my career, I'm really interested in diversifying my creative skills and connecting with my fans in a new way."
Together With Financial Venture Studio
If you’re interested in breaking into fintech or looking for a fresh start, our job board now has over 80 curated roles from some of the best companies in the industry! Some of my favorite companies are on here, including Alloy, Truework, Rize, Eco, Stir and many others! Finding a job is hard enough as it is, so we're making it easy for you to not only find the right role, but submit an application in just a few clicks.
If you’re on the other side of the coin and looking to hire from within the best network in fintech, ping Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a job opening listed :)