With governments stepping in across the world with stimulus bills over the last year - some are finally taking a step back as some economic indicators recover (but at different rates across markets).
Meeting minutes released by the Fed this week reignited the tapering conversation of its bond purchases. The Fed's balance sheet is just shy of $7.9t, twice the pre-pandemic size. Though no timetable was presented, it seems like a reduction in purchases is feasibly ahead. Across the world, New Zealand just announced that its post-Covid recovery has exceeded expectations, enabling it to spend considerably on its low-income population.
Meanwhile, some two dozen African heads of state gathered in Paris this week to discuss the pandemic's immense economic burden on the continent. This brings to light the stark contrast in the pace of recovery across economies worldwide, when comparing developed and emerging markets. Thailand just became the fourth of six major Southeast Asian economies to declare a yearly economic contraction in Q1 2021. Not to mention Covid-ravaged India, whose GDP forecasts have been recently trimmed by at least four leading rating agencies.
Despite - or perhaps because - of these realities, the potential for fintech in emerging markets has continued to become clear in 2021. This week saw Gojek and Tokopedia - Indonesia's two biggest startups - announce merger plans. The combined entity will leverage partnerships with 20+ banks and financial institutions. Reports have also indicated that India's fintech industry could grow to $150b over the next five years.
The sprawling urban hubs in emerging markets draw a fine line between chaotic and exciting. Prosperity is the aspiration of millions, and tech has made it more accessible, which makes it attractive. So is crypto, but maybe too exciting for some after this week...
The Fed hinted it could reconsider easy policies if economy continues rapid improvement - Fed officials at their April meeting said “it might be appropriate at some point” to consider tapering asset purchases if the economy shows “rapid progress,” according to the meeting minutes. Read more
The second wave of Covid-19 has dampened economic optimism for India - At least four leading rating agencies have trimmed their GDP growth forecasts for India for the financial year ending March 2022. Read more
Macron hosts Africa summit on post-COVID-19 economic recovery - With some two dozen African heads of state and financial institutions attending, the agenda of the gathering is to provide assistance for the continent. Read more
&Open - Ireland based corporate gifting platform raised $7.2m co-led by First Round Capital and LocalGlobe. Read more
Copper - UK based cryptocurrency custody firm raised $50m in Series B funding co-led by Dawn Capital and Target Global. Read more
DailyPay - New York employees and contractors wage access platform raised $175m led by Carrick Capital. Read more
Extend - San Francisco based provider of extended warranty plans raised $260m in Series C funding on a $1.6b valuation led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. Read more
Figure - San Francisco based consumer lending and blockchain platform raised $200m at a $3.2b post-money valuation co-led by 10T Holdings and Morgan Creek Digital. Read more
Found - San Francisco based banking and tax platform for the self-employed raised $12.8m in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital. Read more
Jerry - California based online car insurance brokerage raised $28m in Series B funding led by Goodwater Capital. Read more
Merge - San Francisco based B2B API integrations platform raised $4.5m in Seed funding led by NEA. Read more
Lithic (fka Privacy.com) - New York based developer of virtual debit cards raised $43m in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Read more
Pento - London based payroll automation startup raised $15.6m in Series A funding led by General Catalyst. Read more
Pine Labs - India based merchant payment and commerce platform for Southeast Asia raised $285m in venture funding Baron Capital Group, Duro Capital, Marshall Wace, Moore Strategic Ventures, and Ward Ferry Management Read more
Pipe - Miami based B2B financing platform for SaaS companies raised $100m in venture funding at a $2b valuation led by Greenspring Associates. Read more
Rally - New York based alternative assets platform for retail investors raised $30m in Series B funding led by Accel. Read more
Settle - San Francisco based provider of cashflow management solutions raised $15m in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins. Read more
Thunes - Singapore based cross-border payments network for emerging markets raised $60m in Series B funding led by Insight Partners. Read more
Telda - Egypt based consumer digital bank raised $5m in pre-Seed financing led by Sequoia. Read more
Trade Republic - Germany based trading app raised $900m in Series C funding at a $5b valuation led by Sequoia Capital. Read more
Vise - New York based investment portfolio management platform raised $65m in Series C funding led by Ribbit Capital. Read more
FinTech Collective Newsletter
Curated News with Context
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.