Posted In:

Visa, Payments, Amazon, UK

Payments Fight Club


Nov 20, 2021


Posted In:

Visa, Payments, Amazon, UK


Nov 20, 2021



It has been an interesting week in the payments world. The likes of Amazon and Apple have made headlines over what is not part of their core business (at least in theory). But the permeation of payments into different corners of the tech ecosystem is clearly more and more of a thing.

Earlier this week, Amazon effectively dragged the British public into its argument with Visa by telling its customers that they will be unable to use UK-issued Visa credit cards on the e-commerce platform. The drama intensified further as it’s reportedly considering dropping Visa as a partner for its Amazon Prime Rewards credit card. Today things seemed to have quieted down, as Visa’s CFO expects that the conflict will be resolved.

Elsewhere in Big Tech land, the disrupter is the one being disrupted. Judge Yvonne Rogers, who earlier handed down the verdict that Apple must redirect its users to third-party payment options, has denied the tech behemoth a motion to delay its App Store changes. In fact, the new order claimed that the motion “ignores all of the findings which supported the injunction.” The language doesn't leave much room for interpretation, which certainly makes for an awkward post-Thanksgiving period for the California giant, as it now has until December 9 to make such changes.

Increased regulatory attention on Big Tech is hardly a new theme by 2021, and neither is the growing prevalence of payment capabilities in tech companies. But these episodes do serve as reminders of increasing competition in the space. Neither Visa nor Apple are free to monopolize their rails at will.

The people deserve optionality, and (ironically) both Amazon and the government provided reminders of that this week. Not long ago this would have been surprising, but so would have been a crowdfunding attempt by two 25yr olds who set up a DAO to buy the US constitution at Auction…

Portfolio News

Houston Rockets announce partnership with bitcoin company NYDIG - As the Official Bitcoin Services Partner and Bitcoin Platform of the Houston Rockets, NYDIG will be the franchise’s exclusive partner across a range of cryptocurrency services. The sponsorship will be paid in bitcoin and the proceeds will be held on NYDIG’s secure, regulated, full-stack bitcoin platform. Read more

MoneyLion acquires leading creator network and content platform, MALKA Media - MoneyLion announced that it has acquired MALKA Media Group, a rapidly growing creator network and content platform. The acquisition accelerates MoneyLion’s ability to engage with consumers across all digital and emerging channels, allowing MoneyLion to directly connect with communities natively inside and outside of its platform. Read more

A Million Likes - Willa's new podcast - Willa not only goes behind the scenes but behind the mask of some of your favorite social media creators. Hear them tell their own story. In their own words. In their own words. Get ready for 8 thrilling episodes filled with drama, tragedy, run-ins with the law and even murder, but also tales of faith, strength, family, friendship, love and passion. Welcome to the Creator Economy! Read more

Payments Fight Club

Judge denies Apple’s request to delay App Store changes - Apple has been trying to blunt Judge Gonzalez Rogers’s September verdict in a yearlong lawsuit brought by Epic Games, the creator of the video game Fortnite. Now Apple may have to rewrite its policies to allow app developers to point users to alternative payment methods as soon as December. Read more

Amazon won’t accept U.K. Visa credit cards in fight over fees - As of January 19, Amazon told British customers in an email, it will stop accepting the cards "due to the high fees Visa charges for processing credit card transactions." It added that U.K.-issued Visa debit cards will still be usable, as will Mastercard, Amex, and Eurocard cards. Read more

Amazon eyes dropping Visa on co-branded US card - Amazon is considering dropping Visa as a partner for its Amazon Prime Rewards credit card, just two days after announcing it would stop accepting Visa credit cards issued in the U.K. Read more

Industry News buys naming rights to Staples Center in Los Angeles - Staples Center in Los Angeles is soon to be rechristened Arena, in a 20-year deal worth more than $700m, according to a person familiar with the agreement. The new name becomes official on Christmas Day, when the venue plays host to the L.A. Lakers-Brooklyn Nets NBA contest. Read more

Payment Technology on the menu for Covid-hit restaurants - A good read from the FT on how the hospitality sector turned to QR code payment and employment apps to lower costs and fill gaps in staffing. Before the pandemic, the term “QR code” would have been anathema to many restaurateurs. But, “the pandemic makes all transitions easier”. Read more

What Went Wrong With Zillow? A Real-Estate Algorithm Derailed Its Big Bet - Zillow had staked its future growth on its digital home-flipping business, but getting the algorithm right proved difficult. The WSJ digs in and explores what forced it to backpedal. Read more

Taproot, bitcoin’s long-anticipated upgrade, has activated - At 00:15 EST on Sunday, Nov. 14, Taproot, the long-anticipated Bitcoin upgrade, activated at block 709,632, opening the door for developers to integrate new features that will improve privacy, scalability and security on the network. The upgrade locked in back in June, when over 90% of miners chose to “signal” their support. Read more

JPMorgan sues Tesla in $162m warrant dispute - JPM bought the warrants from Tesla in 2014 to help the automaker mitigate risk that its stock would be diluted by issuance of convertible notes, and to make certain federal income tax deductions. The bank claims it had the discretion to adjust the strike price based on factors including the volatility of Tesla’s stock -- and made two modifications in August 2018 -- one after Musk tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, and another when the chief executive officer abandoned the effort weeks later. Read more

The CEO of a $1.45b fintech company bought an 11-employee small-town bank with a pig mascot - Randy Peterson knew a sale was in the cards for the First National Bank of Buhl. Having worked at the Minnesota bank for nearly two decades, he'd seen other small community banks consolidate. And while Peterson expected another bank would be the eventual landing spot for Buhl, an unexpected buyer came along in January 2021: Brian Barnes, founder and CEO of fintech unicorn M1 Finance. Read more

Fintech N26 pulls out of US as it abandons global ambitions - Online bank N26 is pulling out of the US, an abrupt reversal of strategy for the once high-flying fintech now under fire from German regulators. The Berlin-based bank, which was valued at €7.8b last month, said the decision would allow it to “sharpen its focus on its European business”. Read more

Buffett-backed Indian fintech giant Paytm stumbles in market debut - Listing of payment platform’s parent, One97, is part of a wave of Indian tech IPOs. Read more

Global investment money is flooding into Africa’s fintechs - Fintech startups drew more than 60 percent of all venture funding that flowed into Africa last quarter. Read more

Crypto bid to buy US constitution print raises over $40m - A crowd-funded effort to buy a rare 1787 copy of the US constitution at auction claims to have received more than $40m (£29.6m) worth of cryptocurrency donations. Read more

Twitter partners with S&P 500 on stock index that crowdsources public opinion - The S&P 500 Twitter Sentiment Index launched this week to measure public opinion of companies in the S&P 500 stock market index. Through the Twitter API, S&P analyzes both bearish and bullish tweets in real time to score the level of positive sentiment surrounding each company. Read more

Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto could be unmasked at Florida trial - A seemingly run-of-the-mill trial is playing out in Florida: The family of a deceased man is suing his former business partner over control of their partnership’s assets. In this case, the assets in question are a cache of about one million bitcoins, equivalent to around $64b today, belonging to bitcoin’s creator, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The family of the dead man says he and his business partner together were Nakamoto, and thus the family is entitled to half of the fortune. Read more

Select Financings

Airwallex - Australia based cross-border payments company raised $100m in Series E led by Lone Pine Capital. Read more

Aplazo - Mexico based BNPL startup raised $27m in Series A funding led by Oak HC/FT. Read more

CloudWalk - Brazil based open payments networking company raised $150m in Series C funding led by Coatue. Read more

ConsenSys - New York based company that develops and invests in projects built on Ethereum raised $200m in Series A funding from investors including HSBC, Coinbase Ventures and Marshall Wace. Read more

Imprint - New York based provider of branded payments and rewards products raised $38m in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins and Stripe. Read more

NFTfi - South Africa based company allowing users to post their NFTs as collateral raised $5m in Seed funding led by 1kx. Read more

Nirvana Health - New York based mental health payments platform raised $7.5m in Seed funding led by Inspired Capital. Read more

Nomod - UK based payment acceptance platform for merchants raised $3.4m in Seed funding led by Global Founders Capital. Read more

Ozow - South Africa based payments gateway raised $48m in Series B funding led by Tencent. Read more

PayZen - San Francisco based care now, pay later provider raised $15m in Series A funding led by SignalFire. Read more

Pigment - Paris based business forecasting platform raised $73m in Series B funding led by Greenoaks. Read more

Place - Washington based tech and business services platform for real estate agents raised $100m in Series A funding led by Goldman Sachs. Read more

Podium - Utah based communication and payments company for local businesses raised $201m in Series D funding led by YC Continuity. Read more

Settle - San Francisco based cashflow management startup raised $60m in Series B funding led by Ribbit Capital. Read more

Steadily - Austin based landlord insurance company raised $27m in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners and Zigg Capital. Read more

Upgrade - San Francisco based credit and mobile banking company raised $280m in Series F funding led by Coatue. Read more

Velocity - India based revenue-based financing platform for e-commerce and DTC businesses raised $20m in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Yieldstreet - New York based multi-asset alternative investment platform raised $50 million in new funding led by Mayfair Equity Partners. Read more


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