Hi all, Julie here.
Writing this before going to get my hair colored since I’M LEAVING FOR MY HONEYMOON IN 5 DAYS! The lovely Parker will be taking care of you while I’m on a beach drinking all the frozen drinks and soaking up all the vitamin D :)
Before I leave though, I wanted to get our new podcast with Plaid out! We’re going to be talking about all things fintech policy once a month with the one and only John Pitts. Hit that subscribe button, my friends.
Today's Partner, Treasury Prime
Are you scouting out a BaaS provider? Treasury Prime has 10 important questions you should be asking them.
If you’re starting a fintech company, you’re probably looking at Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) providers. But with all the different options, how do you choose the one that’s right for you?
Picking a BaaS partner is one of the most impactful decisions a fintech company makes in its early days, so Treasury Prime put together a new cheat sheet to help you push for transparency and detail.
Check out the Checklist of 10 Questions here!
Amazon and Google Make Moves In India
Interesting move! Shortly after Google started offering fixed deposits in India, Amazon is announcing wealth management services in the region. Amazon Pay teamed up with investment advisor Kuvera for the new offering. Everything is a fintech, so they say.
Trouble with Brazil’s PIX
Uh oh. Brazil's central bank has imposed spending limits on its new PIX instant payments platform due to a sharp increase of 40% in "lightning kidnappings.” I’d never heard this term before, but apparently it’s when someone is grabbed on the street and forced to transfer money in exchange for their release. That’s terrifying. PIX has been taking the blame, with police telling media in the region that lightning kidnappings weren’t taking place very often until PIX was launched.
Funding and Deals
Africa’s Largest Series A Ever Goes To Wave
U.S. and Senegal-based mobile money provider Wave announced a $200M Series A, valuing it at $1.7B. To top it off, Sequoia Heritage, Founders Fund, Stripe, and Ribbit Capital led the round. The crazy pace comes as mobile money is going wild in Africa. This past year, up to $500B has moved through the accounts of 300M active mobile money users in sub-Saharan Africa. Wave said it has an advantage because unlike M-Pesa, the mobile payment provider in the region led by Safaricom, Orange, and/or Tigo, Wave is building a mobile money service that is more affordable. Users can make free deposits and withdrawals and charge a 1% fee whenever they send money. Wave claims this is 70% cheaper than telecom-led mobile money.
Another PayPal Acquisition
PayPal is buying another company, this time in the BNPL space. The payments giant announced it’s acquiring Japanese BNPL player Paidy for approximately $2.7B, principally in cash (interesting). The move will obviously help PayPal expand in Asia, a region that is booming but hasn’t seen PayPal make a huge mark yet. Paidy's services allow Japanese shoppers to make purchases online, and then pay for them each month in a consolidated bill at a convenience store or via bank transfer.
Jetty’s BNPL For Rent
NY-based Jetty announced a $23M funding round co-led by Citi and Flourish Ventures. TLDR: renters can have up until the 24th of the month to pay the money to Jetty — either in a lump sum or via installments. No interest or late fees, but there is a monthly subscription fee ranging from $15 to $25, depending on the renter’s risk profile. If the renter fails to pay back the money during the agreed upon time, they will not be able to borrow more for the following month. For those less familiar with Jetty, it started out as renters insurance and help with security deposits. Jetty says it has agreements with property owners and managers that operate more than 2.2M rental units across the country.
90 Days to Triple Your Valuation
The bar has been set even higher, my friends. I’m not even going to try to call the top anymore. Addi announced a $75M Series B extension, with a new valuation that is nearly triple what it was 90 days ago. New York-based Greycroft led the extension. The LatAm BNPL company is currently available for e-commerce, mobile and brick-and-mortar purchases in Brazil and Colombia, with plans to expand across the region in the coming years. Gonna need a lot of momentum and expansion to live up to that surging valuation...
Coinbase’s SEC Issue
I personally think poking regulators and calling them sketchy isn't the best idea, but apparently Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong thinks otherwise. The company said it had received a Wells notice from the SEC over its planned “Lend” program. The program would offer customers a 4% APY by lending out USD coin to verified borrowers. Coinbase said it is unaware what part of the program in particular the regulator has issue with, but that the SEC would sue if it was launched. Bloomberg’s Matt Levine summarized it best:
Bitcoin’s Brief Rollercoaster
Soooo, there were a few minutes this week where Bitcoin had some exceptional price swings (even for Bitcoin). The move happened after El Salvador had some trouble rolling it out as legal tender, with a few technical glitches. It slid nearly 20% within minutes. It sounded like people were nervous about the rollout going into it, so I’d assume that other factors were at play in this big move (large institutional funds etc). Thoughts?
Together With Fintech Meetup
Need to meet decision makers and create opportunities for your fintech? Fintech Meetup (Online, March 8-10) is the quickest way to fill up your pipeline--it’s lead gen on steroids! It's facilitating 30,000+ 15-minute meetings for 4,000 participants from 2,000 organizations--you’ll get 3 months worth of meetings in just 3 half days.
All meetings are double opt-in (you both swiped right!) and 33% of 2021 participants were C-level (63% VP & above)--so you know you’ll be meeting the right people to help you grow your business. That’s why the meeting satisfaction rate was over 94% in 2021!
If you need to meet Fintechs, Processors, Networks, Large Banks, Community Banks & Credit Unions, Investors, Media and more, Fintech Meetup is the event for you.
Get your ticket now before prices go up on Friday at midnight! Qualifying Startups are eligible for a special startup rate. GET YOUR TICKET!
Some big congrats to give out in this edition! First off, big shoutout to Fintech Today Community member Matthew Goldman on his company’s acquisition by Apto Payments!
Second, I’m excited to see Jack Abramowitz thrive in his new role at NextView VC!
Cheers to you both :)