Posted In:

IPO, Alibaba, China, Payments

Sweet or Sour?


Jul 11, 2020


Posted In:

IPO, Alibaba, China, Payments


Jul 11, 2020



As stock markets around the world continue to defy gravity in the face of worsening data, companies are filing for IPO like there’s no tomorrow. If the recent success of insurance startup Lemonade is anything to go by, those who are able would be wise to strike while the window is still open.

In the US, this week saw a wave of IPO announcements, with four in the fintech space alone. Rocket Companies (aka Quicken Loans) and nCino are officially on file, while Coinbase, who are rumored to be considering a direct listing, and Marqeta have made their IPO ambitions clear. Additionally, Palantir filed its S-1. The notoriously secretive data analytics start-up that has a valuation of around $20b, would be the largest Silicon Valley tech listing since Uber. If you add in AirBnb too, the next few months could be quite spicy.

In spite of the current tensions between China and Hong Kong and the increased scrutiny of US-listed Chinese companies, the markets in Asia are just as hot. It was reported this week that Alibaba’s Ant Group is exploring a very sizable local Hong Kong listing, while online real-estate broker Beike is forging ahead with its plan to list in the US.

So while the brave spend the summer polishing their marketing decks and financial models for what will likely be a Zoom fest of roadshows, everyone else will be keen to see if the resulting IPO’s or direct listings turn out to be as sweet as Lemonade?

Portfolio News

Pensionmark partners with Vestwell to bring modern-day recordkeeping to advisors and their clients - Portfolio company Vestwell has a new partnership with Pensionmark. Together, their offering combines a high-tech solution with plan specialists and back office support and will bring a unique approach to corporate retirement plans by solving the historical challenges faced by plans in the small-to-midsize space, while giving clients the customized experience they deserve. Read more

Process automation for the SBA Paycheck Protection ProgramLoan Forgiveness - Portfolio company Ocrolus stands out via its ability to automate the classification and extraction of data from documents required to convert SBA PPP loans into forgivable grants. Read more

Sweet or Sour?

Crypto exchange Coinbase readies landmark stock market listing, sources say - The digital currency exchange company is the latest mega-startup that may approach the public markets, which could happen as early as this year. The listing would need the SEC's blessing, and were the watchdog to greenlight it, it would represent a landmark victory for cryptocurrency advocates vying for mainstream endorsement. Read more

Alibaba's Ant plans Hong Kong IPO, targets valuation over $200b - Ant Group, the fintech arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, plans a Hong Kong float as soon as this year. Although valued at about $150b in its last funding round in 2018, small trades in the secondary market late last year gave it an implied valuation of $200b. Read more

SoftBank-backed Chinese online property brokerage Beike Zhaofang aims to raise $3b in U.S. IPO - The Chinese real-estate brokerage with an online tool to match buyers and sellers, as sites like Zillow and Redfin do in the U.S., is planning to IPO in the coming months according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be the largest listing of a Chinese company in the U.S. in more than two years. Read more

Goldman Sachs-backed payments startup Marqeta prepares for IPO - California based Marqeta is gunning for the centre of a multi-trillion dollar card issuing market that is changing fast as new entrants disrupt the dominance of big banks. Read more

nCino targets ~$2b valuation in impending IPO - As IPO season continues, nCino filed an updated S-1 filing, providing an initial price range for its equity of $22-24 per share. Read more

Industry News

China’s digital yuan gets first big test via tech giant Didi Chuxing - China’s government is pushing ahead with a digital currency which could give the government more control over the flow of money. While sharing some features with cryptocurrencies, China’s token would be centralized, giving regulators greater visibility in what’s happening with its money. Read more

Who is the mystery shopper leaving behind thousands of online shopping carts? - Merchants have seen a lot of browsing by John Smith, who picks up items ranging from a replacement turn-signal lever from an auto-supply site and towel rack and mailbox from a home goods site. John then leaves without buying and ‘it's started getting out of hand’. It turns out John Smith is a Google Bot. Read more

Major banks take another step towards ‘truly European’ payment system - The solution, to be created by the European Payments Initiative (EPI), will challenge the dominance held by US card issuer giants Mastercard and Visa in Europe. In the coming weeks, banks start implementation through the creation of an interim company in Brussels, Belgium. The EPI expects the solution to be in operation by 2022. Read more

Indian payment gateway BillDesk seeks to sell off business for $2.5b - The domestic payments startup is once again in the market looking for buyers after its promoters attempted to sell it unsuccessfully two years ago. This time around, they are trying to sell-off the entire business, in the wake of rapidly growing competition in the digital payment services space and thriving e-commerce industry in the country. Read more

‘No way I can lose’: Inside China’s stock-market frenzy - Five years after China’s last big equity boom ended in tears, signs of euphoria among the nation’s investing masses are popping up everywhere. Turnover has soared, margin debt has risen at the fastest since 2015 and online trading platforms have struggled to keep up. Read more

Web browser Opera to acquire startup digital bank - With the acquisition of AB Fjord Bank, Opera will become the owner of a fully digital consumer bank, which is launching its first deposit and loan service in Lithuania during the summer of 2020. Read more

Fintech disruptor SoFi wants to become a national bank — again - Fintech company SoFi has filed an application for a national bank charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The fintech company previously applied for a bank license in June 2017 with the FDIC. Read more

US asset managers set to fight proposals on ESG investments - Asset managers are gearing up for a battle with the Trump administration over a new proposal that threatens investors’ ability to incorporate environmental, social and governance principles into pension portfolios. Read more

Tik Tok's crazy Dogecoin moment - First Tik Toker's hoodwinked President Trump into thinking his rally would be full, and now they are coalescing to pump Dogecoin (a cryptocurrency created as a joke btw) to $1. Read more

Binance acquires Swipe with the goal of mass crypto adoption in mind - Swipe offers a Visa debit card service allowing users to buy and sell using cryptocurrencies. The platform works by converting crypto coins to fiat money, enabling crossover between traditional and decentralized finance. Read more

Select Financings

Apiture - Delaware based digital banking platform for financial institutions raised $20m in funding co-led by Live Oak Bank and First Data. Read more

Farewill - London based digital will platform raised $25m in Series B funding led by Highland Europe. Read more

Flinks - Montreal based data aggregation startup Flinks raised $11m in Series A funding led by NAventures, the VC arm of National Bank of Canada. Read more

Growers Edge - Johnston, Iowa based provider of fintech products for farmers raised $40m in Series B funding led by S2G Ventures, Cox Enterprises, and Skyline Global Partners. Read more

Nomad Homes - Dubai based real estate tech startup raised $4m in Seed funding led by Comcast Ventures. Read more

Payfazz - Indonesia based network of consumer-facing financial agents raised $53m in Series B funding led by B Capital and Insignia Ventures Partners. Read more

Quaestor - San Francisco based automated data platform for startups and investors raised $5.8m in Seed funding led by 8VC. Read more

Radix - London based decentralized finance protocol raised $4.1m in new funding led by LocalGlobe and Taavet Hinrikus (TransferWise). Read more

Senso - Toronto based fintech startup using artificial intelligence to provide financial institutions with recommendations on how to strengthen client relationships raised $3m in pre-Series A funding led by Mendoza Ventures and BreakAway Growth. Read more

Swap - Brazil based startup focused on helping financial institutions create internal financial technology offerings raised $3.3m in Seed funding led by ONEVC. Read more

Taulia - San Francisco based B2B payments platform raised $60m in funding led by the Ping An Global Voyager Fund. Read more

Wagestream - London based platform for employees to access their wages raised £20m in Series B funding led by Northzone. Read more

Wintermute - London based algorithmic liquidity provider for digital assets raised $2.8m in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Read more


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