welcome to The exchanger! If you received it in your inbox, thank you for subscribing and for your vote of confidence. If you read this as a post on our site, subscribe here so that you can receive it directly in the future. Each week, I’ll take a look at the hottest fintech news from the previous week. This will include everything from funding rounds and trends to analysis of a particular space and hot shots on a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there and it’s my job to stay in the loop – and make sense – so you can stay in the know. — Mary Ann
Last week ended with an explosive article published by NY Magazine. The article was about Day lightan LGBQT+-focused neobank whose seed TechCrunch had covered and Series A raises here And here, respectively. The portrayal of CEO and Founder Rob Curtis was so far from the polished cadre I interviewed that it made me question my own judgment of character. Lawsuits, fabrications and inappropriate behavior are among the many allegations reported in this detailed report. piece. One person who tried the bank’s service told me that other than being allowed to use any name they want on a card, they “didn’t really see much in terms of benefits or specialization” and that it was “so buggy”, that she stopped using it.
Meanwhile, there’s never a dull day in the corporate expense space. Last week I wrote about Ramp announces revenue growth multiplied by 4 in 2022. It made me curious about other companies in space, so I sent a few. A Air-base The spokesperson emailed me back, “We’ve doubled the important dimensions of ARR, payment volume, and number of paying customers. It’s important to note that the majority of our revenue is based on high margins and subscriptions, unlike most interchange revenue-driven businesses in our space. We choose not to play the crude game of ARR obfuscation…” Ouch. to include last week that Brexit had extended to travel space. This company has reportedly ruffled a few feathers, however, lately, according to PricePortfolio, devaluing “cash and crypto exchanges by 40% and slashing Brex Rewards points transfer rates to airline partners by more than 40%” with little or no notice. Twitter was also abuzz about the news, if that Tweeter is an indication. I contacted the company but haven’t heard back yet.
Other weekly news
Haje Jan Kamps reports: “What do you do when you have a very popular, very popular product (marijuana) that is legal in some places, but federally has been a Schedule 1 drug since 1970? Well, you cannot rely on any national institution as a business partner. One of the main places that pops up is in payments and payment processing; even after recreational cannabis became legal in 21 states and decriminalized in a dozen others, cannabis largely became a commercial activity. In an increasingly cashless world, this is a problem for consumers and businesses alike. smoakland is currently beta testing a flaw that allows its customers to pay by credit card. The secret, it turns out, is cryptography. More here.
Reports Anna Heim: “If you think built-in insurance is the only thing in vogue in insurtech these days we have a surprise in store for you: while it’s true that startups that help sell insurance as well as other products and services are riding the tailwinds, there are plenty of other opportunities in the space, have several investors told TechCrunch+. ” More here.
I contacted the payment company Checkout.comthe new president of Céline Dufétel, to learn more about her plans in her new role, including what awaits the company this year, her thoughts on the future of payments in general and why she sees so many opportunities in the States -United. asked what she thought of the comparisons to Stripe…and her answer might surprise you. More here.
Kyle Wiggers reports: “Confluent co-founder Neha Narkhede today announced a new fintech company, oscillate, which is developing an “AI-driven” platform to help financial institutions protect online transactions against fraud and theft. Oscilar is entirely self-funded, backed by $20 million that Narkhede and the company’s other co-founder, Sachin Kulkarni, contributed themselves. Narkhede says they chose not to take on outside funding so they could “build and scale the business quickly when it launches publicly.” More here.
Kyle Wiggers Reports: Months Later unveiling a “major update of Pay Apple called Apple Pay Later, which allows users to split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments over six weeks with no interest or late fees, Apple has finally launched the feature. But not for everyone, at least not yet. Starting today, Apple announces that it will begin inviting randomly selected users to access a preview version of Apple Pay Later, with plans to offer it to all “eligible” users on iOS 16.4. or iPadOS 16.4 in the coming months.
In the meantime, fitch reviews weighed in on Apple Pay Later news, with senior manager Michael Taiano noting via email that “Apple’s not allowing customers to connect to a credit card is a unique feature of its BNPL product that should limit the ability borrowers to repay one form of debt with another form of debt, although this does not fully address our broader concerns about the structural and cyclical challenges that the buy now, pay later business model continues to face.
Tagus Kene-Okafor headed an in-depth interview with Syndicate54 co-founder and CEO Perseus Mlambo in which the executive “spoke candidly about the problems Union54 faced when it had to halt operations following an attempted $1.2 billion chargeback fraud the year latest, how the company was at risk of total shutdown, and why fintechs need to be more transparent about exposure to fraud.
Fintech Futures reports: “Payments Giants Visa And MasterCard would be among a number of companies competing to acquire the Brazilian payment and banking platform Letter. Reports indicate the company is working with Goldman Sachs on a potential sale at a reported valuation of $1 billion. Sources tell Bloomberg that other interested parties include a bank and a private equity firm, and the talks may not result in a sale. According to Valor Economico’s Pipeline, Visa submitted an initial offer of $1 billion which was rejected by Pismo, after which Visa increased its offer to $1.4 billion. More here. TechCrunch Covered Pismo’s $108 million raise in October 2021. If true, that’s super exciting news not just for Pismo, but for the Latin American startup scene as a whole.
Speaking of Latin America, Latitudea self-proclaimed “tech entrepreneurship program” for the Latin American region supported by Andreessen Horowitz and NFX,”business accounts launched.” According to co-founder Brian Requarth, this decision was made in part because “most of the Latin American founders have worked with SVB. . . . There is a gaping hole,” he said by email. “We had been working on it for months, so we decided to launch it.” TechCrunch Covered Latitude’s increase last March.
Suction filed a WARN notice in Oregon on March 24, 2023, notifying the state that it planned to lay off 180 people between May 26, 2023 and June 1, 2023. Those affected include the CEO, MENA region president, and business vice presidents development, HR and product design. As a source shared, Aspiration had planned to go public but has yet to iron out its SPAC. THE PSPC has requested an extension until June 9 to finalize the merger. Notably, according to its website, it has “moved towards selling carbon credits to businesses instead of the eco-friendly neo-bank most people might be familiar with,” the source said. TechCrunch contacted Aspiration but got no response. The company has raised approximately $250 million in known funds funding.
Reports PYMNES: “Family finance app green light unveiled an integration for banks and credit unions. Greenlight for Banks…enables financial institutions to add the Greenlight app to their financial services offerings…With the app, banks can offer customers Greenlight’s tools to earn, save and spend. Plus, parents can automate allowances and send money instantly, while kids and teens get “hands-on money management experience with parental supervision,” the company said.
Equals Money launches new expense management platform in the United States
Novo launches working capital program for small businesses
Pinwheel Launches Smart Branch to Bring Payroll Connectivity to Physical Bank Branches
Secfi and Daffy.org partner to make charitable giving transparent for advisory customers
Has fintech lost its luster? What venture capitalists need to see from founders
Financing and M&A
Seen on TechCrunch
Salt Labs raises $10 million to gamify frontline work
StellarFi lands $15 million to help people build credit by paying bills and renting on time
Paytrix raises $18.3 million to expand its one-stop payment shop
Payday wants to propel the future of work in Africa with a $3 million seed led by Moniepoint Inc
Acko, backed by Amazon, approaches $120 million in new funding
Mexican Restaurant Payment Startup Pacto Raises $4M in Seed Funding
Investing.com buys StreetInsider for $10 million
Personal finance app Playbook pockets $7 million in Series A
Stratyfy raises $10 million to advance AI-powered lending offering
PSA: Last year was my first Disrupt and I was blown away. This year, I’m even more excited, because we’ll have a dedicated fintech scene! Come join us, it’s going to be great.
Next week we will take a break due to the Easter holidays, but I will be back April 16th. Until then, take good care of yourself! And as always, thank you for reading and sharing this newsletter. xoxo, Mary Ann