#296
Space Finance

Published:

Jul 20, 2019


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Published:

Jul 20, 2019


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It’s been a very busy month in the nascent world of space travel! Today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, humanity’s first foray onto the moon.

NASA has vowed to land another person on the moon by 2024, and SpaceX aspires to beat them with a landing by 2021. Moreover, Richard Branson’s space tourism startup, Virgin Galactic, is publicly planning its IPO.

In many ways, the Apollo 11 mission was the ultimate startup – with a hugely ambitious goal, high level of risk, and energetic team. The average age of those who worked on the mission was only 27 years old!

With the space race heating up, companies and government agencies are also revisiting the idea of space mining. NASA recently approved a 2022 mission to Psyche 16, a Massachusetts-sized asteroid chock full of precious metals.

Some believe that Psyche might contain gold and other metals worth $700 quintillion - creating media buzz that prospectors could become trillionaires. However, the technology to transport heavy metals back to Earth at scale does not yet exist, and the influx of supply could crash the price of gold – a possibility the Bitcoin community has been quick to point out.

With increased focus and resources dedicated to space travel, one thing is certain – like the Astronaut in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, we desperately want to see what happens next!

Portfolio News


Gareth Jones featured on “Bank On It" - FinTech Collective Co-Founder and Managing Partner Gareth Jones was recently a guest on the “Bank On It” podcast, hosted by John Siracusa. Gareth discusses his career, what he looks for in a founder, and our firm's investment approach. Read more

Analyzing space helps analyze the surface of the Earth - Maureen Teyssier is the Director of Data Science and Data Engineering at portfolio company Reonomy, and her previous work as an astrophysicist has helped her direct the analysis of Reonomy's troves of property data. Both astrophysics and commercial real estate require the analysis of massive amounts of data, so Reonomy's clients are relieved to know that people like Maureen are there to help handle this for them! Read more

Plaid introduces Liabilities Endpoint - The feature will provide real-time information about users’ financial liabilities, starting with student loan debt. Over time, the vision is to add data access for more debt categories, including mortgages, auto loans and credit cards. Read more

Space Finance


Mission to rare metal asteroid could spark space mining boom - NASA has recently approved a 2022 mission to visit Psyche 16, a Massachusetts-sized asteroid chock full of previous metals, which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Read more

The Nation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 - Space enthusiasts across America are celebrating the moon voyage of July 20, 1969. Festivities span from turning the Washington Monument into a Saturn V rocket to astronaut-themed pub crawls in Florida. Read more

Industry News


Fintech firm ZestFinance partners with massive Brazilian retailer – Burbank, CA based fintech firm ZestFinance has partnered with Via Varejo, a Brazilian consumer electronics retailer, to provide software for credit underwriting for point-of-sale microfinancing. Read more

Climate change: is your equities portfolio too hot to touch? - Aviva measured investments in its equities portfolios against the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement (limiting the rise to 2C) and found they are on track for a 3.4C rise! Read more

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs play the long game - The banks synonymous with Wall Street trading are leaning into wealth management. This isn’t exactly a revelation, nor an abrupt shift, but certainly, it is delivering some news like Goldman's $750m purchase of wealth manager United Capital. Read more

Mnuchin raises alarm over cryptocurrencies - Treasury Secretary said on Monday that he had “very serious concerns” about cryptocurrencies, including the one being developed by Facebook, the latest indication that Washington is preparing to exert its power over digital currencies. Read more

G7 pushed to back $255m financial inclusion fund - The cash will be spent on helping governments, mainly in Africa and south Asia, to strengthen regulation, promote interoperability of competing mobile-money services and to implement digital identity schemes. Read more

Reducing bitcoin's supply: 550 BTC now locked up as WBTC - Hitting an all-time high - more than 550 bitcoin ($5.8m) has now been locked up in an Ethereum-based protocol, called wrapped Bitcoin. WBTC is a token on the Ethereum network backed by Bitcoin and pegged to its value. Read more

UK Investors should have seen through Lendy’s 12% promise - It sounded too good to be true — and it was. Lendy went into administration in May. You can read the details of its miserable demise at lendy.co.uk. Read more

Banks’ slow progress to cloud’s promised land - At Amazon's Web Services conference in New York last week it was again highlighted that, despite the titans of Wall Street talking a good game about their efforts to put their systems on to the cloud, the reality is lagging well behind their ambitions. Read more

Cryptocurrency to the rescue - Members of Congress this week lashed Facebook over its plans to create a new cryptocurrency that ostensibly aims to serve low-income folks and fill a market need that Democrats created in 2010 with the Dodd-Frank Act. Here is a parable of regulatory unintended consequences! Read more

Select Financing


AlphaSense - New York City based provider of an AI-based search engine for market intelligence raised $50m in Series B funding led by Innovation Endeavors. Read more

Altonomy - Singapore based cryptocurrency trading desk raised $7m in Series Seed financing led by Polychain Capital. Read more

Billie - Berlin based B2B invoicing and payments platform raised €30m of Series B funding, led by Creandum. Read more

BriteCore - Springfield, Missouri based provider of software solutions for insurers raised $47.5m in growth capital led by Warburg Pincus. Read more

Curve - London based “over-the-top banking" platform raised $55m in Series B funding led by Gauss Ventures, which valued the company at $250m. Read more

Ethic - New York City based tech-driven asset management platform closed a $13m Series A funding round led by Nyca Partners. Read more

Finix - San Francisco based provider of payments infrastructure raised $17.5m of Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures, Visa, and Insight Venture Partners. Read more

Flybits - Toronto based provider of a personalized customer experience platform for the financial sector raised $35m in Series C funding led by Point72 Ventures. Read more

Haus - San Francisco based co-investment platform for home ownership raised $7.1 in Series Seed financing led by Montage Ventures. Read more

Icertis - Washington based startup that develops cloud-based software to help large companies manage contracts raised $115m of Series E funding (at more than a billion-dollar valuation to become the latest SaaS unicorn), led by Greycroft and PremjiInvest. Read more

Lendbuzz - Boston based provider of auto loans for expats and international students raised $150m in debt and equity funding - the debt led by BHI, ConnectOne Bank, IDB Bank, Viola Credit, and a large insurance company, and the equity led by 83North. Read more

MyMoneyMantra - New Delhi based firm that operates a marketplace of financial services raised $15m in its maiden funding round, led by Dutch investment firm IFSD BV and private equity firm Vaalon Capital. Read more

N26 - Berlin based online bank raised $170m only months after raising $300m, in a Series D extension where all of the round's investors are putting money in again, and reaching a $3.5b valuation, post-money. Read more

ProSight - Morristown, NJ based provider of specialty property and casualty insurance announced its plans to raise $150m when it IPOs on NASDAQ during the week of July 22. Read more

Raisin - Germany based provider of a European marketplace for savings and investment products raised €25m in funding from Goldman Sachs, which tops up the €100m of Series D funding raised in February 2019. Read more

VertoFX - London based provider of a currency trading and payments platform, focused on Africa and emerging markets, raised $2.1m in Series Seed funding led by Accelerated Digital Ventures. Read more

Visible Equity - North Carolina based provider of cloud banking software announced it has acquired Visible Equity, a Salt Lake City based provider of financial analytics and compliance software. Read more


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