TradFi Meets DeFi - Special Edition


Aug 21, 2021



Aug 21, 2021



The idea for FTC started out as a whiteboard session between Brooks and Gareth in 2012. Nine years later, we are a team of 10 with 53 portfolio companies and $500m AUM.

And this week, we are humbled and excited to announce that we have completed successful fundraises across two strategies: a $200m fund focused on early-stage investments and a $50m fund dedicated to decentralized finance and digital assets.

Feedback on the strategy in 2012 centered on the size of the fintech opportunity, and if the market was big enough for FTC to be so specialized. Today, one out of every five dollars is going to fintech (Q2-2021). Talent is flocking to the space.

The next 30 years represent an unprecedented period when every facet of financial services will be deconstructed and reconstructed, and our deep global roots allow us to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.

With the new capital raised, we see three meta-themes driving the next decade in fintech: the continued shift to digital in traditional finance; the rise of the next several billion middle-class consumers in emerging markets; and the emergence of the digital asset ecosystem.

Recent investments in our early-stage portfolio include companies such as

  • Minu, a wage streaming platform in Mexico

  • NYDIG, a full-stack platform for Bitcoin across asset management, banking, payments, and insurance

  • Willa, a platform helping the US creator economy get paid faster

In decentralized finance, some of our recent investments include

  • Balancer, an automated market maker and portfolio rebalancer for digital assets

  • Dharma, a smart contract based wallet that will serve as the primary interface for interacting with DeFi protocols and web 3.0 experiences

  • Secured Finance, which is building the yield curve for crypto capital markets

  • Coincover, a provider of digital asset deposit and theft insurance for business and retail investors

We are tremendously excited for the opportunity that lies ahead.

Let’s go!

TradFi meets DeFi - Special Edition

FinTech Collective raises $250m, launches dedicated digital assets strategy - FinTech Collective is thrilled to announce the successful fundraise of two new strategies: a $200m vehicle focused on early-stage investments, and a $50m vehicle solely dedicated to decentralized finance and digital assets. This brings our total assets under management (AUM) to over $500m. Read more

Forbes Exclusive: Former professional poker player leads 50m defi fund backed by billionaire Alan Howard - We are excited to share this exclusive article by Forbes on FinTech Collective, highlighting the launch of our first strategy dedicated solely to decentralized finance and digital assets. The new defi strategy is thematic and fundamentally driven - investing in the infrastructure, protocols, and applications that support decentralized finance. Read more

Brazil Journal features FinTech Collective's new funds - The premier tech news publication in Brazil featured FinTech Collective's strategy for the Latin American behemoth, highlighting its investments to date in the region as well as other notable ones in the United States. Read more

Forbes Mexico features FinTech Collective LatAm strategy - The renowned news outlet declares that FinTech Collective is seeking to "strengthen the fintech infrastructure in Latin America". It highlighted the five active investments that FTC has in Mexico, second only to its amount in the United States. Read more

Portfolio News

Discover Global Network and Flutterwave extend e-commerce payment acceptance - The agreement will help increase acceptance for both local and international e-commerce merchants. Flutterwave’s merchants will be accepting Discover Global Network cards from Discover®, Diners Club International® and network alliance partners on e-commerce payment pages and via apps. Read more

Explosion in electronic payments powers start-up boom in Nigeria - Two of Africa’s three $1b start-ups are Nigeria-based, while the third, Fawry, is Egyptian. The valuation of Flutterwave, a payments company, topped $1b after a $100m investment round last year, and Interswitch, Nigeria’s first major payments processing company, hit that mark with a $200m investment from Visa. Read more

MoneyLion reports continued growth with strong second quarter 2021 results - MoneyLion remains on track to complete its previously announced merger with Fusion Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: FUSE), which is expected to close September 2021, subject to approval by the Fusion stockholders and other customary closing conditions. Upon closing, the newly combined company will operate as MoneyLion and trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “ML”. Read more

Plaid raises additional Series D funding led by J.P. Morgan Private Capital, Amex - The fresh capital builds on Plaid’s $425m Series D in April that upped the company’s valuation to $13.4b. The new funds will be used to help the Silicon Valley startup advance its efforts to meet the escalating market appetite for digital banking by investing in technology and products that facilitate a seamless, secure consumer finance ecosystem. Read more

Fintech Luminaries – Meet Aaron Schumm of Vestwell - For Digital Wealth News' latest feature as part of the "Fintech Luminaries" series, they've featured Aaron Schumm of portfolio company Vestwell, the engine powering modern-day workplace savings and investing programs, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Read more

DIFC Fintech Hive: #MentorMondays: Faisal Kawar - Dubai-based DIFC Fintech Hive will be hosting Faisal from FinTech Collective for a mentorship session with their startup ecosystem. The session is on Monday, Aug 23 at 03:00PM (Dubai Time). Register

Industry News

Robinhood revenue surges on cryptocurrency trades - Nearly 14.2m Robinhood users, or roughly 63% of the company’s customer base with funded accounts, traded digital assets in the second quarter. Robinhood earned $233m in fees from routing customers’ cryptocurrency trades to high-speed trading firms, with dogecoin accounting for nearly two-thirds of the volume. That is up from just $5m a year earlier. Read more

Investing app to teach financial literacy to college athletes - Public, an investing app that doubles as a social network, is launching a new program today called "One Team." The goal: teach financial literacy to college athletes. Now that student athletes can cash in on their name, image and likeness (NIL), it's crucial that they learn money management. This is especially true for future pros, who go broke at an alarming rate. Read more

Bank-averse Taliban leave U.S. struggling for financial edge - The U.S. is grappling with how to exert financial pressure on the Taliban to ensure Afghanistan doesn’t return to its role as a safe harbor for international terrorist groups, but a dearth of formal banking channels is complicating efforts. Read more

The 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index: Worldwide adoption jumps over 880% with P2P platforms driving cryptocurrency usage in emerging markets - Data shows that growing transaction volume for centralized services and the explosive growth of DeFi are driving cryptocurrency usage in the developed world and in countries that already had substantial adoption, while P2P platforms are driving new adoption in emerging markets. Read more

Remittance fintech companies herald a payments revolution - Fintech start-ups are finally getting traction in their mission to disrupt banking. Remittances — defined as smaller cross-border payments between individuals — have been an excellent entry point to financial services for many of them. The steep charges of banks and traditional money agents have encouraged tech-conscious customers to shop around. Convoluted legacy systems are ripe for disruption by app-based services. Read more

Palantir bought $50m in gold bars in August as cash pile grows - While some companies such as Tesla are diversifying into bitcoin, data analytics software company Palantir is betting on gold. The move reflects a growing company stashing cash in an unconventional asset in response to economic uncertainty spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and governments’ response to it. Read more

Bill Ackman’s SPAC gets sued - The case contends that Ackman’s SPAC isn’t an operating company, but is actually an investment company like Ackman’s funds, which should be regulated by the Investment Company Act of 1940. If certain SPACs were regulated as investment companies, much of the industry could be affected because it would make it harder for anyone in the investment business to participate in a SPAC. Read more

Mastercard is phasing out magnetic stripes on its cards starting in 2024 - Magnetic stripes were a huge improvement over the flatbed imprinting machines (aka “knuckle-busters”) that cashiers used to have to use to record card details. But in the 1990s the global EMV chip standard was introduced, which paved the way for cardholder details to be held more securely on small integrated circuit chips embedded into cards. Read more

Walmart looks to hire cryptocurrency expert - The retailer posted a job for a digital-currency and cryptocurrency product lead based at its Bentonville, Ark., headquarters. The hire would be expected to “commit to a product roadmap and drive the project execution” and serve as an expert on the job’s subject matter, according to the posting. Read more

Cathie Wood says Michael Burry doesn’t understand the innovation space - Star stock picker Cathie Wood defended her investment thesis in a series of tweets this week, calling out “Big Short” hedge-fund manager Michael Burry for betting against her flagship ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund. Read more

Paysafe makes second LatAm acquisition with $441m SafetyPay deal - Paysafe says the acquisition will boost its presence in Latin America, SafetyPay’s majority market. It builds on the firm’s recent deal with Peruvian platform PagoEfectivo. The firm says its double acquisition sets it apart as “the leading open banking and e-cash solutions provider in Latin America”. Read more

Brex buys Weav, a universal API for commerce platforms, for $50m - Fintech company Brex first partnered with Weav last summer and then in March, Brex launched Instant Payouts for Shopify sellers using the startup’s technology. The results were impressive enough that by April, Brex co-founders Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi participated in Weav’s $4.3 million seed round as strategic angel investors. Read more

Deepfakes are now making business pitches - Some partners at EY are now testing a new workplace gimmick for the era of artificial intelligence. The firm’s exploration of the technology, provided by UK startup Synthesia, comes as the pandemic has quashed more traditional ways to cement business relationships. Golf and long lunches are tricky or impossible, Zoom calls and PDFs all too routine. Read more

Bitcoin fans are suddenly a political force - A clash over tax rules for digital currencies like bitcoin turned into a political coming-of-age moment for the cryptocurrency industry, galvanizing a usually fractious coalition of investors, exchanges, financiers and social-media influencers. Read more

A progress report on fintech’s record-breaking year - Caution about the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic has given way to confidence as economies rebound and capital pours into the sector at record rates, driving up valuations. In the first half of this year, fintech companies raised 24% more venture capital funding than they did through the whole of 2020. Read more

Top banks investing in crypto & blockchain companies - Out of the top 100 banks by assets under management, 55 have invested in cryptocurrency and/or blockchain-related companies - either directly, or through subsidiaries. The most active investors based on the number of investments in blockchain companies are Barclays (19), Citigroup (9), Goldman Sachs (8), J.P. Morgan Chase (7) and BNP Paribas (6). Read more

Industry News

Balance Re - Germany based life reinsurance startup focused on asset-liability management raised $10m in Series A funding led by Anthemis Group. Read more

Bitpanda - Vienna based crypto exchange raised $263m in Series C funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Branch - Minneapolis based flexible workforce payments platform raised $48m in Series B funding led by Addition. Read more

Carta - San Francisco based equity management software company raised $500m in Series G funding led by Silver Lake. Read more

Chime - San Francisco based challenger bank raised $750m in new funding led by Sequoia Capital. Read more

DriveWealth - New Jersey based brokerage infrastructure startup raised $450m in Series D funding led by Accel and Insight Partners. Read more

Figment - New York based blockchain infrastructure provider raised $50m in Series B funding led by Senator Investment Group and Liberty City Ventures. Read more

High Definition Vehicle Insurance (HDVI) Group - Chicago based commercial auto insurance tech company raised $32.5m in Series B funding led by Weatherford Capital. Read more

Jenfi - Singapore based revenue-based financing startup for Southeast Asian companies raised $6.3m in Series A funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures. Read more

MobileCoin - San Francisco based cryptocurrency privacy company raised $66m in Series B funding from investors including Alameda Research, Berggruen Holdings, BlockTower Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures, Vy Capital, General Catalyst, and Future Ventures. Read more

Ondo - New York City based DeFi company raised $4m in Seed funding led by Pantera Capital. Read more

One - Sacramento based "all-in-one banking" startup focused on the middle class raised $40m in Series B funding led by Progressive Insurance. Read more

Pngme - San Francisco and Africa based financial data infrastructure startup raised $15m in Series A funding led by Octopus Ventures. Read more

Sightline Payments - Las Vegas based electronic payments company focused on the gaming market raised $244m in new funding led by Cannae Holdings. Read more

Smallcase - India based wealth management startup raised $40m in Series C funding led by Faering Capital and Premji Invest. Read more

Ualá - Argentina based financial management app raised $350m in Series D funding led by SoftBank Latin America Fund and Tencent. Read more


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