Happy New Year! With 2019 underway, tech prognosticators are again peering into the crystal ball to tell us what the future will bring. Who will be right, and what will define the narrative for 2019?
Despite a fair bit of macro anxiety, secular trends in technology continue to generate optimism and the FAANG club is set to add its newest member, Uber, 10 years after Facebook was let into the club. Cellular carriers around the world are gearing up to flip the switch on 5G in 2019, which could eventually bring lightning-fast downloads and enable a broader set of connected devices. Others are energized by the continued development of the AI and machine learning “stack,” making it increasingly possible for intelligent wizardry to change the game across a multitude of industries.
Moreover, adoption of Apple’s airpods and the Apple Watch have brought renewed interest in applications developed for wearable devices. And of course, the crypto community remains poised for the next wave of innovations – such as new scalability solutions, tokenized assets, and user adoption of decentralized applications.
Outside of the tech soothsayers “doom and gloom” appears to be weighing heavy on macro focused minds. Many are forecasting continued woes in the economy and/or stock market, driven by higher interest rates, trade wars, Brexit and wider political turmoil.
In start-up land, market dislocation can be the catalyst for driving technical and business models innovation. With all that data, what will the magical AI-powered, decentralized 2019 crystal ball reveal?
12 days of giving: daily rewards, $5,000 grand prize! - MoneyLion gave away 3.5m points to over 12k members as part of its holiday giving promotion. Stay tuned to learn who won the $5,000 grand prize! Read more
Small plans, big opportunities - Aaron Schumm, CEO of portfolio company Vestwell, reviews the market opportunity to serve small business 401(k) plans. Job growth has been concentrated within small businesses, and 88% of all 401(k) plans have fewer than 100 participants. Read more
2019 Crystal Ball
What is going to happen in 2019 - Some people offer soft predictions for 2019, merely aspiring to be directionally correct. Not Fred Wilson - who predicts the Mueller probe will result in Trump's impeachment (and resignation) in 2019, followed by a global bear market with an incremental 25% loss in value. Read more
FORTUNE's Term Sheet readers predictions for 2019 - RECESSION:Term Sheet readers predict an economic downturn in 2019. CRYPTO:Readers are betting on the growth of blockchain technology. M&A: Readers predict some major acquisitions in the coming year. IPOS: Readers expect 2019 to be a strong year for tech IPOs. STARTUPS: Readers predict more money chasing fewer deals in 2019. GLOBAL: Readers predict it’ll be a challenging year for global markets. Read more
Crypto thesis for 2019 - Awesome, yet somewhat technical post, from Arjun Balaji about the current state of the crypto market and where he thinks we are headed in 2019. Read more
Wells Fargo to pay $575 million in settlement with US states - The latest fine is to settle claims from U.S. states that the bank created phony accounts and committed other phony abuses. The fine mirrors a $190m fine paid to the federal government two years ago. Read more
Visa acquires Ripple partner Earthport for $250 Million - Visa's acquisition of the cross-border payments platform is notable given the acquisition comes at 4x the company's previous stock price. The move may indicate increased appetite for M&A and consolidation in the remittance space. Read more
60 big things: Scandals, scooters and the year that was in VC - Pitchbook's review of 2018 - There's been a lot to keep track of in the world of VC, from the trials and travails of established industry giants to the booms and busts of up-and-comers looking to achieve that startup holy grail: disruption. Read more
Charts of the year: from polarised politics to damaging pollution - The FT's "Long Read" digs into its 2018 graphical archive to help tell many of the most important and often hidden stories of 2018. Read more
Money managers: the new warriors of climate change - For years the $85tn asset management industry largely shrugged off global warming, ignoring environmental campaigners in favour of dividends. But after the financial crisis the pressure from clients, policymakers and the public to hold companies to account intensified. Read more
Ant Financial’s Sesame Credit system for rating individuals struggles to prove itself - From 2015 to 2017, Sesame offered credit ratings services for China’s biggest online lenders. But their ambitions were cut short when China’s central bank stopped allowing independent companies to provide credit ratings, and required all credit ratings to be given by a new public body called Baihang. Read more
An archive of startups's pitch decks - Interested in seeing (amongst others) Coinbase or Uber's Seed decks, WeWork's Series C deck or LinkedIn's Series B deck then look no further! Read more
52 things I learned in 2018 - A fun medium post with some good facts to share at your next dinner party. Read more
Tech: NYC 2018 annual report - A good reminder of why we like being HQ'd here in NYC! Tech:NYC has a membership of 700 companies, which includes more than 600 startups across adtech, blockchain, fashion, fintech, healthcare, media, retail, and more. Read more
Dirty dealings in the $175b Amazon marketplace - A long form piece by The Verge detailing the Kafkaesque bureaucracy that Amazon sellers face if they find themselves in "Amazon Court" having transgressed the ruthless world of the Marketplace and the byzantine rules by which Amazon governs it. Read more
Bakkt - NYSE based global digital assets platform and bitcoin futures product has raised $182.5m from Galaxy, ICE, Microsoft, Pantera, and Protocol Ventures. Read more
Carta - Bay area based equity management startup has raised $80m Series D funding led by Meritech Capital Partners and Tribe Capital. The post-money valuation on the round is $800m. Read more
Price f(x) - Germany based SaaS price optimization enterprise solution has raised €25m in Series B funding from Digital + Partners, and Bain & Co. Read more
Union Square Ventures - New York based venture capital firm has secured $429m across two new funds, raising $190m in its 5th early stage fund and the remainder in a growth stage / opportunity fund. Read more
FinTech Collective Newsletter
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Delivered every Saturday, the weekly newsletter, produced by our team, provides a tightly edited rundown of global fintech news, along with a bit of our original analysis.