Posted In:

API, Copyright



Oct 10, 2020


Posted In:

API, Copyright


Oct 10, 2020



Imagine if you were Eddie Van Halen’s understudy for years and finally became a guitar-shredding rock god in your own right. You would be likely to use the same headbanging moves that he did and even hammer the neck of your custom “Frankenstrat” guitar, but would those “moves” be copyrighted in the same way that his music is?

You are gonna have to roll with us a little bit here but APIs (application programming interfaces) are to some degree the moves, rather than the actual music. Companies access APIs to communicate with other software: AWS, Plaid, Stripe, etc. Thus, APIs are inherently designed with interoperability at their core - otherwise, they’d be unable to communicate with a plethora of programming languages.

Sitting on the desk of the Supreme Court is a lawsuit that may determine whether APIs are copyrightable. Oracle, which acquired Java - a popular programming language with a robust developer community - is suing Google for infringing on their "Java IP”. This decision’s ramifications can be huge for the fintech world, with more than 700 startups and $12.5b invested in API-led fintech startups since the beginning of 2019.

With the decision likely leaning in Oracle’s favor, and to celebrate the incredible life of Holland’s best export, outside of cheese, Eddie Van Halen’s lyrics from Jump will resonate with software developers everywhere: “You got to roll with the punches and get to what's real” as they look to build their own applications - or move their APIs to another friendly open-source programming language…

Portfolio News

Ocrolus set to host a virtual roundtable on "the future of CX in lending" - Join portfolio company Ocrolus for a virtual roundtable on Thursday, Oct 15 discussing how leading fintech companies are setting new standards in customer experience. Many businesses are hesitant to break free from the status quo and embrace innovation, but sometimes change is forced upon us, as with the impact of COVID-19. Read more

Chalice Network announces partnership with Vestwell digital recordkeeping platform to transform the fintech era - Portfolio company Vestwell has partnered with Chalice Network, an online member-based digital marketplace, to bring Chalice advisors a more effective way to scale and service their small plan retirement market. Read more

Plaid improves its account linking flow - Plaid Link is the interface you see when you add your bank account to any app or service that uses Plaid, such as Venmo, Acorns or Chime. And today’s update is all about using Plaid with multiple apps. The first time you connect your bank account, you search for your bank, you enter your credentials and you log in. The second time you need to add your bank account, Plaid shows you previously added bank accounts. Read more


Today’s Supreme Court hearing on a $9b case involving Oracle and Google could reshape the software industry - Oracle claims Google infringed copyright when it used elements of the Oracle-owned Java programming language to build its Android operating system, which now powers billions of smartphones and other devices. Google denies the claim, which involves about 11,500 lines of code out of millions of new lines that it wrote to create Android. Read more

Investors, founders report hot market for API startups - Speaking with founders and investors this year, it has become clear that the API model of delivering a product is more than an occasional hit-maker for companies like Twilio or Plaid. Instead, it appears that there is ample room for lots of API-powered startups to build and prosper. Read more

Industry News

Affirm files confidentially to go public - The company was valued at $2.9b at the time of its $300m Series F last year according to PitchBook data. The company’s most recent valuation is not known. How much of a step-up a $10b public valuation would be, therefore, from its final private valuation is not clear. Read more

Square buys $50m in bitcoin, says cryptocurrency ‘aligns with company’s purpose’ - Square said Thursday it bought 4,709 bitcoins, worth approximately $50m. This represents about 1% of Square’s total assets as of the end of the second quarter of 2020. Read more

Visa connects with Stripe for B2B payments - Visa has struck a deal with Stripe to enable buyers on Visa Payables Automation to pay suppliers who are unable to accept digital payments through the use of a virtual Visa card. Read more

LendingClub closing down their platform for retail investors - While LendingClub began in 2007 as 100% focused on individual investors over the years it has moved to a much more institutional investor-focused approach. This was understandable as it is difficult to originate huge loan volumes on the back of just retail investors. Read more

With $20b in deals this year, Morgan Stanley pivots further away from risky Wall Street - Now, after $20b worth of recent deals, Morgan Stanley, will get well over half its revenue from fees related to wealth and investment management – owning a mutual fund factory with $1.2t in assets and one of the world’s biggest. Read more

U.S. explores curbs on Ant Group, Tencent payment systems - U.S. officials are concerned that Ant Group and other Chinese fintech platforms will come to dominate global digital payments, the people said. That in turn could give China access to banking and personal data of hundreds of millions of people. Read more

Regulators fine Citigroup $400m over ‘serious ongoing deficiencies’ - In a consent order agreed to by the New York bank’s board, the Federal Reserve faulted Citigroup for falling short in “various areas of risk management and internal controls” including data management, regulatory reporting and capital planning. Read more

UK regulator bans sale of crypto derivatives and exchange-traded notes to retail users - The FCA said these products are “ill-suited” for retail consumers due to various reasons, including “extreme volatility” of cryptocurrencies. Read more

Macy’s takes stake in Klarna as part of payment partnership - The US department store chain has struggled to cope with the rise of online shopping and in particular the might of e-commerce giant Amazon. It is hoping for a boost from its partnership with Klarna, which is popular with younger shoppers because it allows them to receive goods and return them before paying for them. Read more

Venmo launches its first credit card, offering up to 3% cash back, personalized rewards - Cardholders will be able to track their spending in real time, organized by category, plus split or share purchases, view their cash back status, make payments and manage their card directly in the Venmo mobile app. Read more

Colombian fintechs fill Latin American banking gaps - Investors pour $1b into an industry spurred by financial inclusion and undeterred by money laundering curbs. Read more

LSE to sell Borsa Italiana to Euronext in €4.3b deal - The London Stock Exchange has agreed to sell Borsa Italiana to rival Euronext for €4.3b, clearing the way for its purchase of financial data provider Refinitiv. Read more

JPMorgan commits $30b to fight the racial wealth gap - JPMorgan Chase announced Thursday a $30b investment over the next five years that the company says will address some of the largest drivers of the massive wealth gap between black and white Americans. Read more

China’s Lufax files for US IPO against backdrop of rising tensions - Lufax, one of China’s biggest online lending platforms, has announced plans for a US IPO even as the Trump administration pushes ahead with plans to delist companies from the country. The business was valued at $39.4b in a funding round in early 2019. Read more

State of AI Report 2020 - Fascinating 177 page report on the state of Artificial Intelligence. The report considers the following key dimensions: Research, Talent, Industry, Politics, and some predictions for 2021. Read more

CME sounding out crypto traders to gauge market demand for Ether futures, options - The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the largest U.S. regulated market for bitcoin futures, has been sounding out crypto traders to gauge their interest in a listing of futures and options for the Ethereum blockchain’s native currency. Read more

Select Financings

AccessFintech - UK based data and workflow collaboration startup raised $20m in Series B funding led by Dawn Capital. Read more

Atom finance - New York based investment research and portfolio management platform raised $6m in additional Series A funding led by Greycroft and General Catalyst. Read more

Bloom Credit - New York based startup that connects businesses with credit bureaus raised $13m in Series A funding led by Allegis NL. Read more

Chargebee - San Francisco based billings and compliance startup raised $55m in Series F funding led by Insight Partners. Read more

Hometree - London based home services and insurance startup raised £7m in new funding led by Anthemis. Read more

Joko - Paris based cashback app raised €10m in Series A funding led by Partech and Axeleo. Read more

Nivelo - New York based payments fraud and cybersecurity monitoring startup raised $2.5m in Seed funding led by FirstMark Capital, Barclays and Anthemis. Read more

Strike Graph - Seattle based compliance automation startup raised $3.9m in Seed funding led by Madrona Venture Group. Read more

Tipalti - San Mateo based account payables automation solution raised $150m in Series E funding led by Durable Capital Partners. Read more

Uni - India based consumer credit startup raised $18.5m in Seed funding co-led by Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Read more

Unqork - New York based leading enterprise no-code platform raised $207m in Series C funding led by Blackrock. Read more


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