Allez Les Bleus


Nov 06, 2021



Nov 06, 2021



France has historically been the go-to destination for many things - including food, wine, art, and even football. Until recently, VC (and fintech) funding was not high on that list. However, things are materially changing, much to the joy of French President Emmanuel Macron, who in 2019 announced a €5b fund to support tech investments as well as issuing special tech visas.

In the first half of the year, venture capital funding for French startups totaled €4.6b across 381 deals, representing over 70% of the total invested in 2020. For fintech specifically, startups have raised a total of €1.9b as of September, behind only the UK and Germany (and therefore tentatively ahead of Sweden). This is more than double the amount of capital France attracted in 2020.

Paris has now become a major fintech hub as well, in part due to more friendly regulation than some of its neighbors, in addition to the fallout from Brexit, which has seen an exodus of finance professionals and other skilled workers from the U.K. Participation from overseas investors has also played a huge role - 50% of the funding above €15m in France now includes a U.S. fund.

Recent notable investments include NFT platform Sorare and cloud-based e-commerce software company Mirakl, which together raised more than $1b on a record-setting day in September. Employee benefits card and app Swile and ed-tech company 360learning both raised $200m in the past few weeks as well.

France is now responsible for an impressive 20 unicorns, but in spite of all the recent success, the country has yet to see major exits on a meaningful scale. As we head into the 2022 World Cup next year, the biggest question mark will be around if startups can pull off the ultimate win...a la Les Bleus in 2018 (and 1998). Or will it end up like the last Euro…?

Portfolio News

NYDIG announces acquisition of bitcoin payments app Bottlepay - The acquisition will allow NYDIG to integrate Bottlepay's Lightning Network infrastructure into its existing full-stack Bitcoin platform. NYDIG's Bitcoin platform is built to the highest security, regulatory, and operational standards. Read more

STAR Bank launches NYDIG bitcoin services via Alkami platform - Traditionally, end-users have been required to establish new financial relationships to manage their crypto holdings – often with unregulated entities. Now, they will have an option to acquire, sell, hold, and manage bitcoin alongside their traditional assets. NYDIG's platform enables FIs to seamlessly offer their customers and members bitcoin products and services in a manner that meets the highest regulatory standards. Read more

Vestwell announces plan to acquire BNY Mellon's Sumday - BNY Mellon will act as the preferred servicing agent for the state programs managed by Vestwell, providing custody, fund accounting, recordkeeping services, and where applicable, sub-advisory services through its affiliate Lockwood Advisors. Vestwell will continue to play an integral role as part of BNY Mellon’s investment portfolio of fintech companies to enable client growth strategies and better business outcomes. Read more

Standard Bank partners with Flutterwave - The partnership aims to enhance enhance digital payments experiences for its customers in Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Mauritius, Cote D’Ivoire and Malawi. Flutterwave and Standard Bank are collaborating to build e-commerce, card issuing, payments, collections, USSD, lending, and buy-now-pay-later capabilities for millions of Africans. Read more

Fitch Ratings chooses Sigma Ratings' monitoring solution to explore potential governance and financial crime risk in analysis of global banks - Sigma's monitoring solutions now enable Fitch to create a 'risk monitoring network' in a unified, user-friendly, and dynamically updated view, which departs from traditional, narrowly focused monitoring platforms that consider static pieces of the risk spectrum. Read more

FinTech Innovation Lab New York now accepting applicants for 2022 class - The 12 week program, co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City, helps early- and growth-stage financial technology companies accelerate product and business development through in-depth collaboration with top financial services and venture capital firms. Supporting firms include: Anthemis; Bain Capital Ventures; Canaan; Canapi Ventures; Contour Venture Partners; FinTech Collective; Nyca Partners; Oak HC/FT; Rho Ventures; RRE Ventures; and Warburg Pincus. Read more

Allez Les Bleus

French startups are pulling in record funds—and catching up with the U.K. - In 2017, when newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron said, “I want France to be a startup nation,” his detractors used his phrase to mock him. If anything, France was struggling to attract venture capital, with the annual number of investments into startups falling in 2016, lagging both the U.K. and Germany, according to data from Pitchbook. But now, fledgling French companies are raking in investor funds. Read more

France’s bid to become fintech hub is working, as funding levels overtake Nordics - France is now among the top three destinations in Europe for fintech investors, new data shows, having narrowly overtaking Sweden for the first time. The investment milestone follows a concentrated effort by French politicians to make the country into a startup nation, with the local government dedicating $4b to support young businesses, as well as issuing special tech visas. Read more

Sorare CEO shares bold vision on NFTs during Web Summit 2021 opening night - Founded in Paris three years ago, Sorare’s valuation has grown from $270m to $4.3b. Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank led its latest round of funding in September. According to co-founder and CEO Nicholas Julia, half a million users joined the platform organically, without any marketing. Read more

Industry News

Zillow quits home-flipping business, cites inability to forecast prices - In a statement this week, Chief Executive Rich Barton said Zillow had failed to predict the pace of home-price appreciation accurately, marking an end to a venture the company once said could generate $20b a year. Instead, the company said it now plans to cut 25% of its workforce. Read more

Digital Currency Group wants to be crypto’s Standard Oil - Digital Currency Group, a cryptocurrency conglomerate that counts the asset-management firm Grayscale and media company CoinDesk among its holdings, raised $700m in an investment round, the second-largest in the crypto sector. The funding round valued the company at $10b and was led by SoftBank Group Vision Fund 2 and Latin America Fund, and included GIC Capital, Ribbit Capital and CapitalG. Read more

Robinhood expands IPO access to let companies set aside ‘friends and family’ shares - Now companies that set aside IPO shares for retail investors via Robinhood can start allocating a certain amount of shares for “friends and family”—meaning employees, customers, vendors, or others with ties to the company going public. Read more

CME Group signs 10-year partnership with Google Cloud to transform global derivatives markets through cloud adoption - Under the agreement, CME Group will migrate its technology infrastructure to Google Cloud beginning next year with data and clearing services, and eventually moving all of its markets to the cloud. Google has also made a $1b equity investment in a new series of non-voting convertible preferred stock of CME Group. Read more

Australia's CBA offers crypto trading, breaks ranks with industry - Australia's biggest lender said it will partner with New York-based exchange Gemini Trust Company LLC to offer a "crypto exchange and custody service" through a new feature in its mobile banking app that is used by about 6.4m customers. Read more

Facebook skirts Apple’s App Store fees with custom subscription links for creators - Meta (fka Facebook) announced that creators will soon be able to share custom web links directing their fans to pay them for subscriptions using Facebook’s native payments system. If a fan signs up through the link rather than Apple’s in-app subscription, the creator will keep all of the money minus taxes. Read more

Square’s Cash App opens up to teens ages 13 to 17 with parental oversight - Previously, the app required users to be at least 18 years old, like rival Venmo. The company says younger teens will need to get a parent or guardian to authorize their account, but can then begin to send peer-to-peer payments and take delivery of a customized Cash Card, powered by Visa. Read more

Cross River Bank acquires Ohanian-backed fintech start-up Betterfin - The more than decade-old Cross River, which partners with various financial technology companies and marketplace lenders, will gain Betterfin’s software to help digitize parts of the small-business lending process including origination and underwriting. Read more

Financial system makes big promises on climate change at COP26 summit - Most of the world’s big banks, its major investors and insurers, and its financial regulators have for the first time signed up to a coordinated pledge that will incorporate carbon emissions into their most fundamental decisions. Read more

Stablecoin risk spurs U.S. agencies to seek power to crack down - In a highly anticipated report, the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and other regulators urged lawmakers to let them police stablecoin issuers like banks with robust capital requirements and constant supervision. But as a Plan B, the watchdogs made clear they would activate a rarely used power to examine whether the coins pose a systemic threat to financial stability -- a review that could trigger a raft of new rules. Read more

China’s PBOC says digital Yuan users have surged to 140m - Transactions in e-CNY, as the currency is known, reached 62b yuan ($9.7b) in trials rolled out in about a dozen regions, Mu Changchun, head of the PBOC’s Digital Currency Institute, said at the Hong Kong Fintech Week conference on Wednesday. Read more

Innovate Finance calls out Government inaction over Kalifa fintech reforms - Innovate Finance has bemoaned the government's failure to devise a cohesive national strategy for UK fintech, as recommended by the Kalifa Review. Read more

Revolut wants to build its own crypto exchange - Revolut is recruiting a technical lead to build a crypto exchange. According to a job ad posted on LinkedIn, the successful candidate "will be leading a technical team to architect and build Revolut Crypto exchange". Read more

Select Financings

Botkeeper - Boston based automated bookkeeping platform for accountants and small businesses raised $42m in Series C funding led by Grand Oaks Capital. Read more

Checkbook - San Mateo based push payments company raised $10m in Series A funding led by MassMutual Ventures. Read more

Chipper Cash - Africa based cross-border payments company raised $150m in Series C extension funding led by FTX. Read more

Doorsey - Washington based home buying tech company raised $4.1m in Seed funding led by 166 2nd Financial Services (Adam Neumann’s family office). Read more

Fi - India based neobank raised $50m in Series B funding led by B Capital Group and Falcon Edge. Read more

Fintual - Chile based savings and investment platform raised $39m in Series B funding led by Sequoia. Read more

First AML - Australia based anti-money laundering startup raised $21m in Series B funding led by Blackbird Ventures. Read more

GeoWealth - Chicago based asset management program for advisers raised $19m in Series B funding led by Kayne Partners. Read more

Honeybook - San Francisco based client and financial management platform for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs raised $250m in Series E funding led by Tiger Global. Read more

Laika - New York based compliance startup raised $35m in Series B funding led by J.P. Morgan Growth Equity Partners. Read more

Moonfare - Berlin based private equity investment platform for individuals raised $125m in Series C funding led by Insight Partners. Read more

Mynt - Philippines based payments app maker raised over $300m in new funding led by Warburg Pincus and Insight Partners. Read more

PadSplit - Atlanta based maker of a shared household marketplace raised $20.5m in Series B funding from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Impact Engine, Citi, Mark Cuban Companies, and Cox Enterprises. Read more

Payhippo - Nigeria based SME lending startup raised $3m in Seed funding led by a group of angels including Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, co-founders of Chipper Cash and Olugbenga Agboola, founder and CEO of Flutterwave. Read more

Prepaid Technologies - Alabama based provider of prepaid digital payment solutions raised $96m in growth funding led by Edison Partners and StepStone Group. Read more

Tarabut Gateway - Dubai based open-banking platform raised $13m in Seed and pre-Series-A funding led by Tiger Global. Read more

Valon Technologies - New York based digital mortgage servicing platform raised $44m in Series B funding from investors including Starwood Capital, Freedom Mortgage, Human Ventures and Marcelo Claure. Read more


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