Posted In:

Industry, AI


#526
Anonymous Influencers

Published:

Feb 12, 2024


Author:

Cindy Grazer

Posted In:

Industry, AI

Published:

Feb 12, 2024


Author:

Cindy Grazer


Share:

Hank Medina - a.k.a. ‘Litquidity’ - has an unconventional story of how he went from struggling to pay off his student loans to being an anonymous influential voice on Wall Street. After graduating from college, Medina joined a PE firm, where he started ‘Litquidity’, an anonymous Instagram account where he could vent and make parodic jokes about Wall Street culture. To Medina’s surprise, these jokes struck a chord and his account became a respite for junior finance professionals, and ultimately became so renowned that in 2020 he dedicated himself to the profile full-time. From there, Medina leveraged his social capital from Litquidity to launch his own media brand, establish his own venture fund, as well as a recruitment business targeting junior Wall Street employees.

Another anonymous poster "@BasedBeffJezos" has also gained some recognition for promoting 'effective accelerationism', a movement advocating rapid AI development. Investors and entrepreneurs including Marc Andreessen and Garry Tan have endorsed this idea, and Elon Musk commented with fire emojis under Jezos' post.

Like Litquidity, BasedBeffJezos gained unexpected influence, and is leveraging his influence in a calculated manner. A few months ago, BasedBeffJezos "leaked" his identity to the press, surprising the world with an unexpected ‘dox’ and rode this wave of attention for the next 72 hours. He conveniently chose that moment to also announce that he was raising for his new AI startup. As the concept of influencers raising private capital continues, one has to ask: are they the real deal or pretending to be something they are not?

Portfolio News


EY announces alliance with MoneyLion to help banks accelerate their digital transformation and extend financial services - The Alliance leverages MoneyLion's embedded finance platform to help enhance the technological capabilities of traditional banking institutions. By doing so, the Alliance aims to simplify and streamline the transition into the digital realm, assist these institutions in overcoming the challenges of an increasingly fragmented financial landscape and help facilitate their ability to offer a wide range of financial services to consumers through an efficient, user-friendly digital platform. Read more

Octane partners with Yieldstreet on innovative transaction to fuel continued growth - Octane and Yieldstreet a leading private market investing platform, this week announced the completion of an agreement to sell $280m of fixed-rate installment powersports whole loans issued through Octane's in-house lender, Roadrunner Financial to Yieldstreet in two separate transactions. Octane's capital markets strategy includes committed warehouse facilities and more than $3b of asset-backed securitizations to date. Read more

Filecoin liquid leasing protocol Glif raises $4.5m, offers reward points ahead of token launch - Multicoin Capital led the round, with Zee Prime Capital, Fintech Collective, Big Brain Holdings, Protocol Labs and other investors participating. Glif is currently the largest protocol in the Filecoin ecosystem, with a total value locked of over $139m. Read more

Plaid names first company president in another step toward IPO - Plaid named Cloudflare's Jen Taylor as its first president as the financial-technology company continues to diversify its products and readies itself for a public listing. Taylor was most recently chief product officer at Cloudflare and earlier had stints at Salesforce and Meta. Her hiring comes just months after Plaid installed its first CFO. Read more

Plaid says pay by bank is nearing a tipping point as consumers form new 'habits' - Rahul Hampole, head of payments at Plaid, said pay by bank is gearing up for widespread adoption — but much depends on use cases that are offered, spanning pay-ins and payouts. Read more

Anonymous Influencers


'Meme-lord' Litquidity reveals his true identity - People who know him say Medina is the last person you would expect to be the 'fin-meme lord' who has built a following of 800k followers on Instagram. Revealing his identity for the first time, the 32-year-old explained how he grew his brand from biting memes on the internet into a profitable portfolio of businesses and investments. Read more

Guillaume Verdon, the founder of stealth AI startup Extropic is behind the provocative Twitter account 'BeffJezos' - Forbes has learned that Guillaume Verdon, the founder of stealth AI startup Extropic and a former Google engineer, is behind the provocative Twitter account leading the “effective accelerationism” movement sweeping Silicon Valley. Read more

Industry News


Finance worker pays out $25m after video call with deepfake ‘chief financial officer’ - The elaborate scam saw the worker duped into attending a video call with what he thought were several other members of staff, but all of whom were in fact deepfake recreations, Hong Kong police said. Read more

Adam Neumann tries to buy back WeWork - A letter his lawyers sent to WeWork’s advisers this week says Neumann’s new real-estate company Flow Global has financing support from Dan Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point for the bid. Read more

F-Prime: State of Fintech 2024 - F-Prime Capital released its 2024 State of Fintech Report, offering an in-depth look at the private and public fintech sector's performance derived from the F-Prime Fintech Index. The report indicates the public fintech correction found its floor in 2022 and began to recover in 2023. However, that correction is still rippling through the private markets. Read more

MetaMask deal with Robinhood broadens crypto access - With the integration, MetaMask users can purchase digital assets using Robinhood's order flow, while Robinhood account holders can fund and transfer their crypto assets to their MetaMask wallet. On-ramps like the one used in this partnership are a key piece of infrastructure serving as a bridge between traditional banking rails and blockchain-based crypto economy. Read more

SEC increases oversight for hedge funds, high-speed traders - The Securities and Exchange Commission will now require dozens of firms, including high-speed traders and hedge funds, to face new capital requirements, register their activities and report more information on their transactions. Read more

If shadow banking looks like a duck - Critics of the shadow banking sector are many and varied but, generally, their regulatory position is simple: if it looks, acts and sounds like a duck,regulate it like a duck. Shadow banks should be regulated as banks. The question then presents itself: what does it mean to regulate a duck? Read more

Apple Card is helping more than 12m cardholders live healthier financial lives - Apple’s credit card has 12m subs, of which 30% are doing two or more transactions per month. Savings accounts quickly became a favorite feature and reached over $10b in deposits in just a few short months.Users earned more than $1b in Daily Cash from spending on Apple Card in 2023. Read more

Hedge funds’ mega returns set off demand spiral for catastrophe bonds - As hedge funds rake in record profits in one of the riskiest corners of the debt market, the products behind those returns are now drawing in more mainstream investors. Catastrophe bonds, which last year formed the basis for the best-performing hedge fund strategy, have been delivering gains that trounce those of other high-risk fixed-income products. Read more

Entrust is buying AI-based ID verification startup Onfido, sources say for more than $400m - Entrust company already has an extensive array of services and has the tech chops and credibility to work in some of the more sensitive verticals in the market, like government and financial services. However, an AI acquisition gives it another critical step up in providing services that are fit for the complex challenges of today, and probably tomorrow. Read more

Cracking the consumer loyalty code: flexible programs tailored to everyday needs - In a nutshell, the proverbial earn-and-burn programs that have been a mainstay of commerce for decades no longer are satisfactory. Now, consumers want to earn and receive their rewards through a slew of different options and use cases — leading to points ubiquity. Read more

Will specter of public runs and more regulation blunt stablecoins' use in commerce? - As government officials and financial institutions sound some alarms about stablecoins, it remains to be seen whether the digital holdings will satisfy some of the key use cases that have been touted in the past: namely, as instruments of commerce, particularly cross-border transactions. Read more

Zillow debuts individual room listings as housing costs climb - The real estate website announced this week that its platform now gives users the option to search for or list individual rooms for rent. The company says this option benefits renters looking for roommates, a typical scenario among younger renters, who account for more than half of the U.S. rental market. Read more

MEPs nod through ten second instant transfer rules - The European Parliament has adopted new rules to ensure transferred funds arrive within ten seconds into the bank accounts of retail customers and businesses across the EU. Read more

Select Financings


Adroit Trading Technologies - Stamford based OTC trading solution company raised $15m in Series A funding led by Centana Growth Partners. Read more

Artificial Labs - London based algorithmic underwriting insurance company raised £8m in Series A funding led by Augmentum Fintech. Read more

Cashinvoice - Mumbai based supply chain finance company raised $3.4m in Seed funding led by Pravega Ventures. Read more

Closinglock - Austin based real estate fraud prevention company raised $12m in Series A funding led by Headline. Read more

Code - California based crypto-based micropayments company raised $6.5m in Seed funding led by M13 and Union Square Ventures. Read more

Finally - Miami based accounting automation company raised $10m in Series A funding led by PeakSpan Capital. Read more

Flood - San Francisco based order routing, management, and settlement protocol raised $5.2m in Seed funding led by Bain Capital Crypto. Read more

Kin - Chicago based direct-to-consumer home insurance company raised $15m in growth funding led by Activate Capital. Read more

LN Markets - Saint Vincent based Lightning Network Bitcoin exchange raised $3m in Seed funding led by Ego Death Capital. Read more

MediConCen - Hong Kong based blockchain automation insurance company raised $6.85m in Series A funding led by HSBC Asset Management. Read more

Omega - Miami based bitcoin yield company raised $6m in Seed funding from investors including Lightspeed Faction and Borderless Capital. Read more

Oobit - Singapore based crypto payments company raised $25m in Series A funding led by Tether. Read more

OTO - Mumbai based two-wheel electric vehicle financing platform raised $10m in Series A funding led by GMO Ventures Partners. Read more

Overflow - San Francisco based non-profit and faith-based organization financial platform raised $20m in Series B funding led by Wesleyan Investment Foundation. Read more

Pennylane - France based accounting software company raised €40m in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital and DST Global. Read more

Pluto.markets - Copenhagen based neo-broker and trading company raised $2.6m in Seed funding led by Magnetic. Read more

Rivia Health - Phoenix based revenue cycle management company raised $3.25m in Seed funding led by PHX Ventures. Read more

Shepherd - San Francisco based commercial construction insurance company raised $13.5m in Series A funding led by Costanoa Ventures. Read more

SUMA Wealth - Los Angeles based Latino-focused wealth building platform raised $2.2m in Seed funding led by Radicle Impact. Read more

Traive - Sao Paolo based agricultural capital markets company raised $20m in Series B funding led by Banco do Brasil. Read more

Truflation - San Francisco based economic data DAO platform raised $6m in Seed funding led by Laser Digital. Read more

Tuum - Estonia based banking-as-a-service company raised €25m in Series B funding led by CommerzVentures. Read more

Velar - Dubai based decentralized perpetual derivatives exchange (PerpDEX) raised $3.5m in Seed funding from investors including Black Edge Capital and CMS Holdings. Read more


Share:

FinTech Collective Newsletter

Curated News with Context

Delivered every Monday, the weekly newsletter, produced by our team, provides a tightly edited rundown of global fintech news, along with a bit of our original analysis.