Hi all, Julie here.

Started looking at homes, and let me just say that people are right when they tell you that applying for a mortgage and everything else that comes with home ownership sucks. Will need to do a post on this. Tips and emotional support are both appreciated.


Today's Partner, Public

Looking for your next job? Public.com is hiring 👀

Public.com, the social investing network, has had a big year. The company recently announced a Series D funding round and surpassed its 1 million member milestone.

Check out these open roles, and head to their careers page for even more.


Company News

Robinhood’s Latest Fine

Heading into its expected IPO, FINRA fined Robinhood roughly $70M in penalties for its systemwide outages and misleading communication and trading practices. I asked FTT Expert John Collins about this, and his two cents is that this was a quick turnaround (the complaint refers to actions from March 2020), and that Robinhood likely did all it could to expedite this process so that it did not have this regulatory complaint hanging over it during its upcoming roadshow and public debut. He also mentioned that FINRA has a request for comment out, which could end up being super interesting.

I remember these outages quite vividly since they were happening while I was giving my two-weeks notice at Bloomberg and it was awkward figuring out if I was supposed to write something or if someone else was going to take the reins…

Consumer Mobile App Spending

Interesting data from Sensortower. The app intelligence company said that preliminary data shows consumer spending in mobile apps hit a record $64.9B during the first half of 2021, representing a 24.8% increase in spending compared with the year-ago period. As Covid restrictions have eased, the company added that growth has slowed. During the first half of 2020, app installs jumped 25.7% year over year to reach 71.3B downloads. In the first half of 2021, downloads only grew 1.7% to reach 72.5B installs.

Gusto’s API

Payroll and HR startup Gusto announced its going to start offering its service via an API to external platforms. Gusto Embedded Payroll is going to work with vertical SaaS companies to provide payroll support to their own customers. It’s a smart growth move ahead of an IPO. Though from what I’ve heard, it’s not such a sure thing that Gusto will go public in 2021 or even 2022. Sounds like the founders are pretty content staying private for a while. They must be good friends with the Collison brothers. Gusto said that the embedded payroll service will have similar economics to its main offering.

**Full disclosure, Fintech Today is a Gusto customer.

Funding/Deals

A Slice of India’s Fintech Funding

Indian fintech Slice announced a $20M round and new features to change how people engage with their credit cards. The banking system in India is very different from what I’m used to in the US. Only about 30M of the roughly 1.5B people in India have a credit card, though more than 100M have bank accounts. Slice is aiming to make it easier to obtain a credit card and will offer more enticing features than other options in the region (hyperlocal deals from restaurants and up to 2% in instant cash back on each transaction). According to Slice, it currently has more than 3M users.

Real Estate Fintech

Oh hey, a funding round that includes both Coatue and Tiger. Real estate startup Side announced a $50M+ round and $2.5B valuation. A mere three months ago, Side raised $150M at $1B. Given the housing market these days, I can see why Side is garnering a lot of interest. The fintech supports nearly 2K agents across California, Texas and Florida (I can vouch for the Texas market being absolutely nuts this year). It pulled in between “$30M and $50M in revenue” in 2020 and expects to double revenue this year. It’s predicting that by the end of 2021, it will have closed over $20B in home sales. It plans to enter 15 new states by year’s end.

Orum’s New Round

Our friends at Orum have announced a new $56M funding round, bringing it’s total funding to nearly $90M in its short history. If you want to learn more about what the team is working on, check out our recent deep dive on them or listen to my podcast with Founder / CEO (and FTTx member) Stephany Kirkpatrick.

A Staggering Seed Round

Newborn baby startup Tomo announced a massive funding round with the hopes of making the mortgage process “smarter and faster.” Based on my personal experience on this, I’d give you all my money to make this happen but I’m already spending it on a home. Anyways, the company was founded by a pair of Zillow executives in the Fall of 2020, and the $70M seed round might be the largest I’ve ever seen in our space and Ribbit led the round. It’s currently only available in Seattle, Dallas and Houston, but hopes to get homebuyers in those markets pre-approvals within hours and guarantee on-time closing. With homes often only staying on the market for one weekend, this can be a huge selling point. Tomo says that it will focus exclusively on new mortgages. I don’t really have too much more info on this company yet since it’s so early, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Etsy’s Acquisition

Etsy has announced that it will acquire Elo7, the “Etsy of Brazil” that is a popular marketplace for crafty creators. The deal for Elo7 is valued just north of $217M, and will give Etsy one of the 10 biggest e-commerce sites in the region with 1.9M active buyers, 56,000 active sellers and some 8M items for sale. Brazil was already a booming e-commerce market even pre-Covid, with Etsy citing figures that project it will grow 26% by 2024.

A Pair of JPMorgan Acquisitions

Jamie is busy being scared sh*tless of fintech. First, JP Morgan announced an agreement with C6 Bank in Brazil to take a 40% ownership stake. The Brazillian bank has more than 7M customers (a lot, but a far cry to Nubank’s total), and offers products including multi-currency checking and savings accounts, debit and credit cards, travel and loyalty programs, investment and lending products for individuals as well as banking and payments products for small businesses.

Second, JPM also announced it has agreed to buy OpenInvest, a six year-old startup that helps financial advisors, big asset managers and retail users create portfolios that more accurately reflect investors’ values. So rather than investing in ESG funds more broadly, customers can create more personalized portfolios that reflect a number of their values. ESG funds have attracted record inflows this year, according to Morningstar, pushing global assets under management to almost $2T.


Career Corner

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