Posted In:

Payments, M&A

Stick A Pin In It


Oct 23, 2021


Posted In:

Payments, M&A


Oct 23, 2021



As the competition for payments intensifies - PayPal is moving back upstream.

Reminiscent of their early days with EBay, PayPal is rumored to be in discussions to acquire Pinterest for $45b. The combination would position the payments business to engage with users early in the purchase decision, and in a fully integrated fashion (no pun intended).

PayPal has not been shy to share its ambition to become a “destination app” (f.k.a. super app). With 400m consumers and 32m merchants, they are well positioned to capitalize on their lead position. One way to become a destination app is to have content. Another way is to add shopping, spending, saving, and broader commerce capabilities.

The theme is transcending into other fintech sub verticals, as BNPL players have taken a similar approach with AfterPay - the second most used shopping discovery website in Australia - and Klarna, which entails following a similar playbook in Europe. Affirm stated in their Q3 readout that they too want to become a super app.

While the initial reaction from the market was far from positive, seeking to become a dominant consumer payments player certainly represents an ambitious move. But risk often entails controversy, at least initially. We'll have to stick a pin in it and see if this deal goes through…

Portfolio News

Startup takes on big telecom, starting in Colorado Springs - When it comes to choosing an internet service provider, most Americans have limited options — if any at all. Portfolio company Underline, which focuses on community infrastructure, is now hoping to disrupt that industry by building open access fiber networks across 2,500 underserved communities. The company says its first full-scale deployment will break ground Tuesday in Colorado Springs, Colorado — where 10% of all households have no internet access. Read more

Lending platform Sublime, which lets users stake their 'digital reputations,' raises $2.5m - There is a new DeFi lending platform in the market that wants to let users stake their "digital reputations" to access loans. Called Sublime Finance, the platform wants to help borrowers tap into their "social capital." Sublime has received backing from investors such as Galaxy Digital and Electric Capital, both of which co-led its $2.5m seed funding round. Other investors included FinTech Collective, Collab+Currency, and angel investors, including Jill Carlson Gunter and Ryan Selkis. Read more

Houston Firefighters Pension Fund makes bitcoin, ether purchase - A pension fund for firefighters in Houston has made a purchase in bitcoin and ether facilitated by portfolio company NYDIG. The Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund’s (HFRRF) purchase marks the first time a public pension plan in the U.S. has announced an investment in digital assets, according to an announcement this week. Read more

Plaid pushes into payments business after scuttled Visa deal - Plaid unveiled a new program this week that will use the software to make it easier and cheaper for consumers and businesses to make digital payments funded by their bank accounts. To do this, Plaid has signed up dozens of payment processors and tech companies in North America and Europe, which would then give their customers a pay-by-bank option alongside other payment methods, such as credit or debit cards. Read more

Stick A Pin In It

PayPal is in talks to buy Pinterest - Best known for its checkout button enabling consumers to easily pay for purchases on retailers’ websites, PayPal recently set a strategy of being a go-to service for not just payments and financial services, but also e-commerce more broadly. Buying Pinterest could bring users to PayPal earlier in their shopping experience and help them discover new items to buy, leading to more payments volume. Read more

Industry News

SEC’s GameStop report questions ‘game-like’ trading apps - The highly anticipated SEC report attributed the episode primarily to a rapid increase in trading by individual investors, many of whom used social-media platforms like Reddit to swap ideas and strategies. The agency poured cold water on a number of alternative hypotheses for why the struggling videogame retailer’s share price soared from less than $20 at the end of 2020 to an intraday high of $483 on Jan. 28. Read more

Axie Infinity’s $1.2b annualized revenue overtakes Candy Crush’s 2020 total revenue - Axie Infinity, one of the largest play to earn blockchain gaming by market cap now, has overtaken popular mobile gaming app Candy Crush’s 2020 total realized revenue. Read more

Mastercard bets on supply chain finance despite Greensill collapse - Mastercard has partnered with British financial technology company Demica to offer supply-chain finance to its business clients, showing the continued strength of demand for the lending product even after the collapse of Greensill Capital. Read more

More than 100,000 people have had their eyes scanned for free cryptocurrency - More than 100,000 people have had their eyes scanned in return for a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin, as a project to distribute digital money more widely around the world accelerates. Read more

Deutsche Bank whistleblower paid $200m in record reward - The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has awarded almost $200m to a former Deutsche Bank employee who raised concerns about the manipulation of the Libor interest rate benchmark, marking the largest-ever payment under US whistleblower programs. Read more

The super-rich are forming a new exclusive club - For $180,000, a three-year membership includes investment opportunities, access to West Point generals, confidential support groups and private getaways. Read more

Stablecoins could reshape short-term debt markets, Fitch says - In the next few years, the stablecoin industry could potentially rival traditional money market funds for influence in the commercial paper sector, the ratings company said in a note. Stablecoins may also be disruptive for commercial paper markets if investors lost confidence in the tokens, Fitch warned. Read more

First bitcoin futures ETF rises in trading debut - The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF climbed most of the day, gaining nearly 5% to settle at $41.94. About $981 million of shares changed hands over the session, making it the second-most highly-traded ETF debut ever, according to Elisabeth Kashner, director of ETF research at FactSet. Read more

Facebook’s Novi taps Paxos, Coinbase ahead of Diem rollout - Facebook’s Novi wallet is ready to launch – but it won’t be launching with the Diem (formerly Libra) stablecoin. Novi, Facebook’s digital wallet subsidiary, will go live in the U.S. and Guatemala in a pilot program, allowing users to start trading the Paxos Dollar (USDP), the social media giant announced this week. Crypto exchange Coinbase will provide custody services for the program. Read more

Crypto traders to blame for surging sales of small tungsten cubes - The hottest meme asset currently isn’t the stock of a struggling retail store, and it’s not an Ethereum token with a cute puppy mascot. Instead, crypto traders have contributed to a 3x to 6x surge in sales of small tungsten cubes, which weigh several pounds despite being only a few cubic inches. Read more

Cboe agrees to acquire ErisX, entering digital asset space with spot, derivatives and clearing platform - Ownership of ErisX presents a unique opportunity for Cboe to enter the digital asset spot and derivatives marketplaces through a digital-first platform developed with industry partners to focus on robust regulatory compliance, data and transparency. Read more

Starbucks eyes cashierless stores with help from Amazon - Starbucks has been in talks with Amazon to make a new kind of coffee shop with Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology, allowing customers to purchase items without going through a regular checkout. Read more

HSBC calls in magician Troy von Scheibner to raise fraud awareness - As Black Friday approaches, HSBC has enlisted magician Troy von Scheibner to show Brits how fraudsters play mind games designed to gain victims' trust and pressure them into handing over personal information. Read more

Santander's Getnet valued at $1.32b in trading debut - Santander spun off and listed Getnet Brasil, previously controlled by Banco Santander Brasil SA, in a bid to unlock additional value for its shareholders. Getnet is now part of Santander's global payments company PagoNxt. Read more

Brex announces API and Zapier partnership to automate payments, transactions, and more - This new open API is available to all Brex customers, free of charge. The Brex API allows customers to seamlessly manage financial information in a customizable interface, thereby saving time, reducing errors, and better meeting the needs of their own customers and vendors. Read more

Select Financings

BondAval - London based insurtech startup focused on payment security raised $7m in Seed funding led by Octopus Ventures. Read more

Brex - San Francisco based credit card and cash management solution provider raised $300m in Series E funding led by Greenoaks. Read more

Candy Digital - Toronto based sports NFT service raised $100m in Series A funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Insight Partners. Read more

CRED - India based app which rewards customers for paying their credit card bills on time raised $251m in Series E funding led by Tiger Global and Falcon Edge Capital. Read more

Element Finance - San Francisco based open-source protocol for fixed and variable yield markets raised $32m in Series A funding led by Polychain Capital. Read more

Embed - Washington based securities custodian-and-clearing firm raised $20m in Series A funding from investors including The Treasury, GFC, Torch Capital, TI Platform Management, PruVen Capital, Fin VC, Bain Capital Ventures, and SWS Ventures. Read more

FTX - Bahamas based crypto exchange raised $420.7m in Series B-1 funding from investors including Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Temasek, Sequoia Capital, Sea Capital, IVP, ICONIQ Growth, Tiger Global, Ribbit Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Blackrock. Read more

Hash - Brazil based payment infrastructure startup raised $40m in Series C funding led by QED Investors and Kaszek. Read more

N26 - Germany based challenger bank raised $900m in Series E funding led by Third Point Ventures and Coatue Management. Read more

Pagos - California based payment intelligence infrastructure startup raised $10m in Seed funding led by Underscore VC and Point72 Ventures. Read more

Pismo - Brazil based banking and payments startup raised $108m in Series B funding led by SoftBank Latin America Fund. Read more

Primer - UK based online payments startup raised $50m in Series B funding led by ICONIQ Growth. Read more

Republic - New York based platform which lets non-accredited investors buy startup stakes raised $150m in Series B funding led by Valor Equity Partners. Read more

Resistant AI - Prague based provider of fintech anti-fraud tools raised $16.6m in Series A funding led by GV. Read more

SMBX - San Francisco based fintech marketplace for small businesses bonds raised $11.5m in Seed funding led by Group 11. Read more

Sommelier - San Francisco based maker of decentralized and automated DeFi portfolio manager software raised $23m in Series A funding led by Polychain Capital. Read more

UpEquity - Austin based digital mortgage company raised $20m in Series B funding led by S3 Ventures. Read more

Worldcoin - San Francisco based ethereum-based cryptocurrency maker that scans eyeballs raised $25m in new funding led by a16z. Read more

XanPool - Hong Kong based decentralized payment network raised $27m in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Zopa - UK based digital bank and P2P lending platform raised £220m in growth funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Read more


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