Posted In:

DeFi, Lending, Payments

A New Player On The Podium?


Dec 19, 2022


Cindy Grazer

Posted In:

DeFi, Lending, Payments


Dec 19, 2022


Cindy Grazer


This week some of Africa’s most influential political and business figures gathered far from home. No, not in Qatar…although this would have been a convenient pit stop along the way. Rather, at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC.

Big news for the tech ecosystem surfaced on Wednesday when Visa pledged to invest $1b on the continent by 2027. Beyond the general theme of accelerating Africa’s digital transformation, funding will be focused on the payment ecosystem and talent development in particular.

With this move, Visa becomes the latest of a number of household names including Microsoft, Google, and AWS to double down on expanding their African footprints – tapping into unprecedented digitization trends among a young, tech-savvy, fast growing population.

To round out a semi-productive work-week in the midst of two semifinal games, our question posed in the final line of our March newsletter was answered. Morocco made a name for themselves among futbol fans around the world, and Arab and African nations can now boast a new milestone in World Cup history! You know who we’ll be rooting for during Saturday’s match for third place...

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Portfolio News

BlockTower Credit and MakerDAO to fund $220m of real-world assets through Centrifuge - Portfolio company Centrifuge published a medium post, in which they talk about how this investment marks the beginning of what they anticipate to be an exponential increase in the institutional adoption of real-world assets, where any institutional fund or stablecoin provider can use their technology to drive change at scale. And for stablecoins, the heart and soul of DeFi capital markets, institutional managers play a critical role in connecting them to much needed real-world credit markets. Read more

HSBC partners Extend to enable virtual cards for US SMBs - HSBC will offer Extend solutions to its commercial card clients in the U.S. to help companies manage spending with the flexibility and control of virtual cards. Using their HSBC business cards, joint customers will be able to simplify essential processes – like closing the books at the end of the month – and instantly empower anyone, anywhere to make business payments. Read more

BMO and Extend bring virtual card distribution and better spend management capabilities to North American commercial clients - BMO and Extend, a virtual card and spend management platform, announced the addition of a simple and powerful set of payments functionality to BMO Corporate Cards. BMO Commercial Bank clients can now use Extend's mobile and desktop apps to create, send, and manage virtual cards for simplified payment and reconciliation processes. Read more

Memo Ochoa becomes an investor and special advisor to Minu - The goalkeeper of the Mexican National Team has joined Minu, a financial technology and wellness startup for company employees. Guillermo Ochoa is also an investor in other companies such as Troquer and Kavak. Read more

This AWS Cloud certification program opens new paths for inmates - The cloud certification program is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the DC Department of Corrections (DC DOC), AWS, and APDS, an ed-tech company dedicated to helping incarcerated people prepare to make a living wage after serving time. The pilot program’s aim is to help individuals get exposure to cloud computing and possible careers in cloud technology. Read more

MoneyLion wins “Best Financial Literacy Tool” and “Best API” at Benzinga’s 2022 Global Fintech Awards - MoneyLion and Even Financial were honored alongside other top fintech companies, banks, research companies and more. MoneyLion’s consumer business continues to push financial literacy through innovative and personalized content. As MoneyLion’s enterprise offering, Even Financial digitally connects and matches consumers with real-time personalized product recommendations through its financial product search engine and Embedded Finance Marketplace technology. Read more

Brazilian Fintech Open Co acquires BoletoFlex and moves into digital lending - BoletoFlex is a startup from Santa Catarina that specializes in the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) model, the digital version of the "old" payday loans popularized in Brazil by chains such as Casas Bahia. Open Co's current base in the Buy Now Pay Later space includes approximately 20 partners, including MadeiraMadeira, a unicorn startup that owns a furniture and homeware platform. With the arrival of BoletoFlex, the goal is to reach 1,500 partners by 2025. Read more

Karim Rajwani joins Sigma Ratings as senior advisor - With 40 years of risk management, compliance, audit and financial accounting experience at some of the world's largest banks, Mr. Rajwani will support Sigma Ratings in solving the most pressing compliance challenges faced by financial institutions by building upon Sigma Ratings' trusted relationship management platform already leveraged by global banks and corporates. Read more

A New Player On The Podium?

Visa to invest $1b in Africa over the next five years - The move will help Visa expand its investments in Africa amidst a digital payments boom on the continent. Per Visa's statement, the pledge will further scale Visa’s operations in Africa and deepen collaboration with strategic partners, including governments, financial institutions, mobile network operators, fintechs and merchants. Read more

Why Morocco’s World Cup success is no fluke - The past few weeks have been historic for Morocco, for Africa, for Arabs and for Muslims. Morocco’s success at the World Cup may be best story of the tournament so far, but it is not the not the result of luck and grit, but rather expertise and planning. Read more

Industry News

Microsoft to buy 4% of London Stock Exchange on cloud deal - The $2.8b cloud-computing deal pushes big tech further into financial markets. As part of the agreement, LSEG said it will spend at least that amount on cloud services with Microsoft over the next 10 years and the partnership will speed up the migration of its markets to the cloud and allow it to develop new products and services. Read more

US markets watchdog plans biggest overhaul of stock trading in nearly 20 years - The most immediately contentious of the regulator’s proposed rules is a new auction mechanism that would force brokers to offer retail investor orders to a wider group of trading venues if they are less than $200,000. Another proposal, on so-called best execution, would require brokers to document exactly how they had looked at venues to ensure they received the best price for their customers. Read more

AmEx hooked big spenders and regained the throne with a pricier platinum card - AmEx set about reinventing the Platinum card to make it more desirable to younger urbanites, rather than the middle-aged cardholders that long made up the bulk of its customer base. Believing that the perks put the card in a league of its own, AmEx then increased the annual fee well above those of its competitors - and the strategy worked. Read more

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried arrested in Bahamas - The arrest was made based on a sealed indictment filed by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. attorney said. The charges in the indictment include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and money laundering, according to a person familiar with the matter. Read more

SEC says social media influencers used Twitter and Discord to manipulate stocks - The regulatory agency charged them in what it says was a $100m securities fraud scheme run by people who portrayed themselves as successful stock traders - using social media platforms Twitter and Discord, as well as podcasts, to manipulate the price of certain stocks. Read more

Goldman Sachs to stop making unsecured consumer loans - The move came after Goldman signaled it was scaling back its ambitions for Marcus, the loss-making consumer unit, in October. Marcus was moved into the bank’s wealth management arm as part of a reorganization of the company's main business units. Read more

PayPal launches integration with MetaMask Web3 wallet for Ethereum transactions - A crypto wallet like MetaMask is often the starting point for interacting with Web3 applications like play-to-earn games and some metaverse platforms. Adding PayPal to MetaMask could broaden the customer base for some of these applications by removing the complexity from buying crypto. Read more

Thoma Bravo to take Coupa Software private in $8b deal - The cloud-based business-spend management platform said this week that its shareholders will be paid $81 a share, which represents a 77% premium to Coupa’s closing price Nov. 22, the last full trading day before media reports of a potential takeover surfaced. The transaction also includes a significant minority investment from a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Coupa said. Read more

Beware influencers plugging the financial advice gap - Follow some “finfluencers” and you’ll invariably find the route to riches involves borrowing money and investing it in high-risk assets, or paying for a course to teach you trading secrets (spoiler: the only person generating a passive income is the influencer flogging all the affiliate marketing). However as the FT points out Social media platforms are increasingly the place where people educate themselves about money. Read more

SoFi begins rollout of buy now pay later product - This new option allows members to split a purchase of between $50 and $500 into four interest-free payments, and can be used at merchants across the United States, both in-store and online. However, Pay in 4 cannot be used for everyday purchases in categories like groceries, restaurants, bars and gas stations; it is meant for larger purchases like flights, hotels, electronics, clothing, home improvement and other retailers. Read more

Your wallet is being drained by subscriptions. Wall Street thanks you - While most consumer habits are reverting back to normal, spending on subscriptions has remained well above prepandemic times. That’s partly because people are enjoying them—and partly because they keep forgetting to cancel. Read more

Select Financings

Acin - London based operational risk control data network raised $24m in Series B funding led by JP Morgan, Citi, BNP Paribas, Barclays, and Lloyds Banking Group. Read more

Akros Technologies - Japan based provider of asset management software raised $2.3m in growth funding led by Z Venture Capital. Read more

AltScore - Mexico based B2B lending infrastructure startup raised $3.5m in Seed funding led by Far Out VC. Read more

Amber Group - Singapore based crypto trading firm raised $300m in Series C funding led by Fenbushi Capital US. Read more

Aztec Network - UK based web3 privacy layer raised $100m in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Read more

Bling - Berlin based family-oriented banking startup raised €3.5m in growth funding co-led by Peak and La Famiglia. Read more

Bondaval - London based credit risk startup raised $15m in Series A funding led by Talis Capital. Read more

bondIT - Israel based credit analytics and fixed income data provider raised $14m in growth funding led by BNY Mellon. Read more

DataVisor - California based provider of online fraud detection and risk management software for financial services and e-commerce raised $40m in growth funding led by Brighton Park Capital. Read more

Evertas - Chicago based crypto insurance company raised $14m in Series A funding led by Polychain Capital. Read more

Forum3 - Seattle based blockchain tech advisory firm raised $10m in growth funding led by Decasonic. Read more

K1x - Chicago based K-1 tax document automation solution raised $15m in new funding led by Edison Partners. Read more

Mews - Prague based hotel management platform raised $185m in Series C funding led by Kinnevik and Goldman Sachs. Read more

NF3 - Singapore based NFT swaps and financing marketplace raised $1.65m in Seed funding co-led by Infinity Ventures Crypto and Spartan Group. Read more

Oyster - New York based embedded insurance startup raised $3.6m in Seed funding co-led by Stack Ventures and Cambrian Ventures. Read more - Indonesia based invoicing startup raised $12m in Series B funding led by Go-Ventures. Read more

Plooto - Toronto based payments automation startup raised $20m in Series B funding led by Centana Growth Partners. Read more

Plugo - Singapore based provider of support services for D2C brands raised $9m in Series A funding led by Altos Ventures. Read more

SaaSWorks - Massachusetts based maker of revenue-management software raised $6m in Seed funding led by Vestigo Ventures. Read more

Tapline - Berlin based revenue financing company, raised €31.7m in pre-Seed funding led by V-Sharp Venture Studio. Read more

Uniqus Consultech - India based ESG and accounting and reporting consulting firm raised $12.5m in Series A funding led by Nexus Venture Partners. Read more - New York based autonomous accounting and analysis platform raised $52m in Series C funding led by GGV Capital and ICONIQ Growth. Read more


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