Posted In:

Supply Chain

Bah Humbug


Oct 09, 2021


Posted In:

Supply Chain


Oct 09, 2021



Thank gosh Santa can fly (owns and controls his primary means of transporting goods) and has a workshop to make his own toys (is vertically integrated), otherwise many kids around the world wouldn’t get their Christmas presents on time this year.

Taking a step back, why are we even talking about Christmas in October - long before pumpkin spice lattes and trips to your local apple orchard have become yesterday’s news? That is how much in advance people need to prepare given supply chain shortages seen around the world - in everything from semiconductors to Squid Games inspired Halloween costumes. And the effects are reverberating through the entire global economy.

If Santa had to drive around the world instead, he’d be in for quite a bill. In the US, gas prices are at the highest levels in 7 years (in some places above $5 per gallon). If he had to ship goods, things would be even worse. If you dream big, maybe a car is on your list. However, it would probably be best to think again. New, used, doesn’t really matter - as the effects of the global chip shortage have greatly impacted the auto industry, with automakers expected to lose 7.7m units of production this year alone (and will cost the industry $210b in revenue). We currently live in a world where there are countless ways to pay for things, but actually receiving them is a whole different story.

While all of this may seem concerning, central bank rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic have maintained that inflation is transitory and all the recent price increases are temporary. But if you live in Europe and winter is coming, and natural gas prices are up +895% compared to the average price seen in 2020, it is much harder to accept this as fact.

But if we are headed back to a 1970’s Christmas, let’s break out the Ataris (if we have electricity) and let the PONG marathons begin!

Portfolio News

Stockholm based fintech startup Anyfin secures additional €44.8m to scale its business in Germany and across Northern Europe - Leading the new financing is existing New York based investor FinTech Collective. Existing investors Accel, EQT Ventures, Northzone, and Global Founders Capital (GFC) also participated in the round. Two new investors joined the syndicate: Quadrille Capital in France, and Augmentum FinTech in the UK. The fresh capital will enable Anyfin to expand its service offering to Germany, set up a new Berlin office and strengthen its local team. Read more

US Bank launches bitcoin custody service in partnership with NYDIG as institutions race to cater to crypto demand - The offering will help investment managers store private keys for bitcoin, bitcoin cash and litecoin with assistance from sub-custodian NYDIG, according to Gunjan Kedia, vice chair of the bank’s wealth management and investment services division. Support for other coins like ethereum is expected over time, Kedia said. Read more

The Fintech 250: The top fintech companies of 2021 - Congratulations to portfolio companies Ocrolus, Flutterwave, Fondeadora, Embroker and Reserve Trust, who were all named to this years Fintech 250 - CB Insights' list of the top private fintech companies using technology to transform financial services. Read more

Bah Humbug

Halloween stores haunted by shipping issues just weeks from holiday - With just a few weeks until Halloween, shoppers across the country are encountering bare store shelves and "sold out" signs online as they hunt for decorations and costumes. The lack of inventory is another consequence of the Covid-19-related shipping crisis crippling the global supply chain. Read more

Americans are paying the most for gas in seven years - Demand for petroleum products plummeted in 2020 as the pandemic shut economies worldwide, prompting producers to turn off the taps. Though demand has recovered as people hit the road and business activity picks up, supply has remained constrained. Read more

How a coast crowded with ships, port gridlock and an anchor may have caused O.C. oil spill - In a year that has set records for the number of ships coming and going through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Friday was not unusual. But the status quo, compared to previous years, was extraordinary, given the heavy concentration of ​​ships waiting offshore to deliver cargo. Container ship traffic has increased fivefold since 2019, and supply chains, affected by production slowdowns and high consumer demand related to the pandemic, are in an unprecedented bottleneck. Read more

Industry News

Will the next web be built on ethereum? - The rise of new applications like these — among the first running on a public blockchain — have already created what supporters claim is a powerful network effect, as increasing activity brings more and more developers to ethereum. That could make it the platform of choice for what has become known as Web 3.0, where a series of decentralised apps could one day challenge Big Tech’s offerings. Read more

Traders phone up gambling helplines as game-like broker apps spread - Helplines of gambling addiction recovery groups have been ringing with a new kind of caller: day traders. The rise of mobile brokerage applications outfitted with prompts, animations, rewards and digital flourishes have brought the feel of investing platforms closer to online sports betting and gambling. Read more

Affirm shares surge after online lender partners with Target ahead of holiday shopping season - Affirm shares closed up 20% after retail chain Target began offering its customers the online lender’s installment loan service for purchases of over $100. Target said in a blog post that it’s partnering with Affirm and smaller rival Sezzle as consumers gear up for the holiday shopping season. Read more

Apple Pay fees vex credit-card issuers - When Apple Pay launched, the tech giant got big banks including JPMorgan, Capital One, and Bank of America to agree to pay fees that would allow their cardholders to pay by iPhone. Now, some banks are pushing back, nudging card network Visa to change the way it processes certain Apple Pay transactions. The change would trim the fees that banks pay to Apple. Read more

SEC chief says the U.S. won't ban cryptocurrencies - Gensler said Tuesday that the government’s focus is on ensuring that the industry adheres to investor and consumer protection rules, anti-money laundering regulations and tax laws. He made the comments at a House hearing after a Republican lawmaker asked if a China-like prohibition was on the table in the U.S. Read more

The extremely serious case for minting the $1t coin - There’s this silly, anachronistic and ineffectual law on the books called the Debt Ceiling. And in recent years, it’s become increasingly politicized and difficult to get the ceiling raised. But the good news is that there’s another silly law on the books, written in 1996, that specifically lets the Treasury Secretary create a shiny platinum coin of any denomination. Read more

Leading Republican on House Financial Services Committee introduces bill to establish a safe harbor for digital tokens - The bill would adapt the Securities Act of 1933 to establish a three-year safe harbor for token development teams to offer those tokens for sale without full registration as a securities offering on the condition that the network decentralizes over the course of those three years. Read more

Global watchdogs set out guidance on regulating stablecoins - Authorities said in a report on Wednesday that operators of stablecoins, which act as a bridge between national currencies and the cryptocurrency market, should be regulated as financial market infrastructure alongside payment systems and clearing houses. The rules would apply to stablecoins that regulators have decided are systemically-important and had the potential to disrupt payments. Read more

Monzo abandons U.S. banking license bid - British digital bank Monzo has withdrawn its application for a U.S. banking license after more than two years of negotiations with regulators. The bank said it was still committed to growing its U.S. venture - which it launched in 2019 - and would invest further in Britain. Read more

Saudi Arabia Tourism Development Fund launches digital lending service with Temenos - The new service provides investors and businesses in the tourism sector with rapid access to financing solutions from TDF. The USD 4b fund was established to enable private sector tourism investments and develop the tourism sector as part of plans to diversify the Saudi economy. Read more

Over 100,000 banking jobs to disappear in next five years - Analysts at Wells Fargo predict that over 100,000 banking jobs could be displaced by technology over the next five years. Read more

How London became a crypto-art capital - London has been at the forefront of one of the more creative disruptions accelerated by the pandemic - the explosion of interest in crypto art, or art turned into tokens on the blockchain, both as an asset class and as a global cultural trend. The majority of NFT marketplaces are hosted from New York or Silicon Valley but London and Berlin have emerged as an engine of cultural creation, validation and innovation. Read more

The ten trillion dollar man: how Larry Fink became king of Wall Street - A great long form read in the FT summed up by this quote "Larry was astonishing on the level of details he knew. I don’t like him, but he’s a phenomenal businessman, and he lives for BlackRock,” observes one former senior executive. “When he leaves it will be like when Alex Ferguson left Manchester United . . . It is impossible to overstate how BlackRock’s journey is the journey of a single man.” Read more

Select Financings

Ajaib - Indonesia based stock trading platform raised $153m in Series B funding led by DST Global. Read more

CoinSwitch Kuber - Bangalore based cryptocurrency trading startup raised $260m in Series C funding led by a16z and Coinbase Ventures. Read more

Commonstock - San Francisco based social investing platform raised $25m in Series A funding led by Coatue. Read more

Copper Banking - Seattle based digital bank for teens raised $13.3m in Seed funding led by PSL Ventures. Read more

Getsafe - Germany based consumer insurance startup raised $63m in new Series B funding from Earlybird, Abacon Capital and insiders CommerzVentures and Swiss Re. Read more

Hopscotch - New York based b2b payments startup raised $3.6m in Seed funding led by Noemis Ventures and Stellation Capital. Read more

Klasha - Lagos and San Francisco based cross-border payments company raised $2.4m in Seed funding led by Greycroft. Read more

Ladder - Palo Alto based digital life insurance company raised $100m in Series D funding led by Thomvest Ventures and OMERS Growth Equity. Read more - New York based fractional investment platform for fine art raised $110m in Series A funding led by Left Lane Capital. Read more

Modern Treasury - San Francisco based payments software provider raised $85m in Series C funding led by Altimeter Capital. Read more

Ramp - Warsaw based provider of services used by crypto exchanges, marketplaces, and wallets raised $30m in Series A funding led by Balderton Capital. Read more

Sky Mavis - Vietnam based company behind blockchain game Axie Infinity raised $152m in Series B funding led by a16z. Read more

Stable - Chicago based insurtech focused on commodity prices raised $46.5m in Series A funding led by Greycroft. Read more

Sure - New York based insurance infrastructure startup raised $100m in Series C funding led by Declaration Partners and Kinnevik. Read more

Till Payments - Australia based payments company raised $80m in Series C funding from investors including Avenir Growth, Woodson Capital, Akuna Capital, and Blue Sparrow Partners. Read more

Vareto - Mountain View based provider of corporate finance software raised $24m in Seed and Series A funding from GV and Menlo Ventures. Read more


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