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Hi all, Julie here.

I just got the booster this morning, so I have no meetings planned for tomorrow in prep for a day in bed lol. Fingers crossed it’s not too bad though. In other news, since y’all are very invested in this stray puppy now - Chica safely made it to her new home (and is now the most spoiled dog in the universe) with FTT employee Sam Geris <3 Pretty sure it was love at first sight.

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Together with Pilot

Startup founders: are you paying yourself the right amount? works with more than 1,000 startups, helping them tackle their finance and accounting needs at every stage of growth. It's the only provider operating at this scale, which means that it also has access to unique insights. One of the questions it gets on a regular basis from founders is: what should I be paying myself?

After surveying founders globally, they’ve put together a report on salary insights and trends based on employee count, funding stage, geography, and more.

Check out the findings from Pilot’s founder salary report here.

Company News

Square Is Now Block

Jack is wasting no time making changes at Square now that he’s not Twitter’s CEO too. The first thing everyone said yesterday is to get ready for him to focus more on Bitcoin. Well, this is a signal for that. The company renamed itself Block as it focuses on blockchain and expands beyond reading card payments. BlockFi changed it’s Twitter to SquareFi as a joke. Your move, The Block

Goldman and the Cloud

Goldman is getting into the cloud computing business. Called GS Financial Cloud for Data with Amazon Web Services, the new product will help asset managers save time by allowing their developers to focus efforts on trades, rather than spending time wrangling data sets and leaning on a patchwork of legacy software to analyze them. After working with AWS for more than two years, the move is part of Goldman CEO David Solomon’s push to use technology to better serve clients of the firm’s markets division, which has been a big driver of revenue. Goldman leaned on AWS to quickly build its Marcus business and its Apple Card. At the same time, Goldman extends loans to Amazon merchants. Sounds like a mutually beneficial relationship thus far.

Marcus Leaves Facebook

Now, let me start by saying I’ve always enjoyed talking to David Marcus and think he’s incredibly brilliant. However, Facebook just was not the right gig for him. Though he had a number of great ideas and products, he just couldn’t get them off the ground due to a whole slew of things. Needless to say, I’m much more optimistic about his future outside of “Meta” rather than inside it.

Klarna Sees Ballooning Demand and Losses

Safe to say that we all know BNPL is booming. While that’s great in many aspects for companies like Klarna, it also can mean growing losses due to increasing expenses. The firm posted a pre-tax loss of 3.1B Swedish krona ($344M) from January to September, a fourfold increase from the 800M krona it lost in the same period a year ago. The company also reported net operating income of 9.8B krona, up 40% from last year. The vast bulk of the losses came from general administrative expenses, which amounted to 9.5 B krona, up from 5.9B krona last year. Also notable:

  • Credit losses rose, totaling 2.9B krona year-to-date compared to 1.6B krona reported for the same period last year.
  • GMV Q3 YTD 2021 was USD 57.3B compared to USD 35.2B YTD in 2020.
  • The US continues to be its fastest growing market with over 300% GMV growth YTD driven by 21M+ consumers.

Nubank IPO Update

Brazilian startup Nubank cut its IPO price range by about 18% on Tuesday, to roughly $40B after previously eying a valuation of roughly $50B. In a blog post, the company said "Our focus is and has always been in the long term. For this reason, we sought to set a price range in line with markets at this moment." Nubank now plans to sell about 289.2M shares priced between $8 and $9 each. At the top end of the range, it would raise $2.6B at a valuation of $41.5B. Previously, the company had planned to raise nearly $3B by selling shares priced between $10 and $11. Even with the lowered target, that’s still a massive IPO for a company that’s not even 10 years old.

Apex SPAC Is Dead

Remember how Apex was gonna go public via a SPAC? Well, that’s actually not happening anymore. According to a new filing, the companies are calling it off. Lots of ways to read into this:

1: SPACs have performed terribly in recent months (after the initial deal was announced).

2: Tons of VC money floating around so might as well just raise and go public later.

3: Competition is heating up, and how big is the market really?

Funding and Deals

Settle Gets More Funding

Nice little cashflow boost for Settle, which announced its second round of funding in five months, this time $60M led by Ribbit Capital. Founded in 2019 by Affirm’s former head of credit, the company is disrupting the B2B payments market. The current supply chain issues that we all keep hearing about are making this an even more sought after product. “The really unique thing that we do is extend payment terms where we’ll pay the customers’ vendors with Settle money, and the company can pay us back 30 to 120 days later,” the founder told TechCrunch.

Slice’s New Round

Slice announced a $220M funding round at a $1B+ valuation, after being valued at less than $200M earlier this year. Tiger and Insight Partners co-led the Bangalore-based startup’s Series B round. The Indian fintech has established itself as one of the market leading card-issuing firms in the region. The credit market there is still largely untapped, with only a small portion of the population being covered by the South Asian nation’s young credit rating system. Slice has developed its own underwriting system to try and combat this issue. It says it’s issuing over 200k cards each month.

Fintech Helping Women Raises New Round

Jefa announced a $2M seed round to offer digital accounts specifically designed for women living in LatAm. It says it has around 115k women on its waitlist, and investors in Jefa include The Venture Collective, DST Global, The Fund, Siesta Ventures and others. The team also announced a multi year strategic partnership with Visa. When Jefa launches, the company will let you open a digital account for free from a mobile app, and a few days later, you’ll receive a Visa debit card. It plans to roll out its product in Mexico first, then Colombia and Central America.

SMB Funding

Fundbox, an SMB lending company, has raised $100M at a valuation of $1.1B. The company uses AI to get financial products in the hands of small business owners so they can more easily run/grow their businesses. Since the company launched its first product in 2013, it has “connected with” over 325k small businesses and transacted over $2.5B in working capital. It also says it crossed $100M in annual revenue run rate earlier this year. Fundbox focuses on businesses that are serving other businesses like businesses supplying food to restaurants. It’s also expanding into payments and membership-based offerings (hello subscription revenue). The company recently launched Flex Pay, which is designed to provide small business owners with additional payment options and greater flexibility for business expenses.

Crypto Watch

Celsius Executive Troubles

Ummm, so apparently the company’s CFO was arrested? That’s not a great look. Yaron Shalem was one of the seven people arrested in Tel Aviv this month in connection with Israeli crypto mogul Moshe Hogeg. The police report mentioned suspicion of money laundering, fraud and sexual assault. Eeek. Supposedly this had nothing to do with his time at Celsius and he was suspended immediately, but wow that’s brutal.

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What Rhymes With Square...Block?

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