Black Friday Came Early


Nov 21, 2022


Cindy Grazer


Nov 21, 2022


Cindy Grazer


What’s more intense than the dawn stampede at Target? As it turns out – Taylor Swift concerts. The star’s “Eras Tour” marks the first in five years and sent fans scrambling ahead of tickets coming available for presale on Tuesday. Sites like Ticketmaster and SeatGeek came under intense strain, to the extent that Ticketmaster crashed and caused the Capital One presale event to be shifted a full day, to Wednesday, and for the public sale to be canceled entirely.

In an environment in which fierce competition from fans and bots alike have put a serious damper on consumer experience, credit card-related presale events don’t seem to be able to keep up with their glory days. What was once valued as exclusive early access, some priority fans were left stranded waiting in line for hours on end, only to be confronted with “sold out” notices by the time they reached the front of the queue.

Since web2 experiences don’t seem to be cutting it, it might be about time to move onto web3. At the very least, early access programs can take a line out of a DeFi infrastructure playbook to create end-to-end solutions to manage storefronts, sales, and distribution more efficiently. This innovation is already well underway for NFTs and web3 native experiences – so why not T-Swift tickets too? Going forward, one thing we can say with a high level of certainty is that if Taylor sticks to her script, Ticketmaster is going to have a very, very nasty song written about it.

Newsletter image - 11/21

Portfolio News

CapIntel announced as one of Canada’s companies-to-watch in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50™ Program - Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the award recognizes emerging companies based on their revenue growth percentage. CapIntel ranks 5th with a 2051% in revenue growth from 2018 to 2021. CapIntel Founder and CEO, James Rockwood, credits the company's early stage success to the relentless commitment to propelling the wealth management industry into the digital age. Read more

Bank of the West turns to Extend for virtual cards and spend management - The collaboration will enable Bank of the West’s small and medium-sized business clients to leverage Extend’s technology to create and control digital company cards and enhance spend management. Bank of the West cardholders will be able to sign up for Extend in a process that does not require any technical integration. Read more

Flutterwave launches $endmobile app - The new app facilitates faster and easier transfer of funds from the diaspora to the African continent. Flutterwave also signed Tobi Amusan, the Nigeria-born 100m Hurdles Women’s World Record Holder as $endmobile’s Ambassador; a decision the company says is due to their similarity in speed and resilience. Read more

Plaid releases ML risk engine, 'Signal' - Plaid today announced that after two years in beta, its machine learning (ML) risk engine, Signal, will be available to customers seeking to upgrade their automated clearing house (ACH) transaction services with fraud detection. Read more

Black Friday Came Early

Taylor Swift’s concert ticket sales plagued by Ticketmaster delays - A rush to buy tickets for Taylor Swift’s first tour in five years—and five albums—left fans scrambling and distraught as Ticketmaster’s system was overwhelmed in markets across the U.S. and would-be buyers waited in long lines. Live Nation Entertainment's Ticketmaster site, which is selling tickets for the 2023 tour via a system meant to give preferential treatment to longtime fans, crashed in New York and other cities amid a crush of fans trying to snap up what industry executives have anticipated will be the hottest tickets since the lift of pandemic restrictions on the live touring business. Read more

Ticketmaster faces mounting scrutiny after Taylor Swift ticket chaos - Ticketmaster is facing mounting scrutiny, including from lawmakers and state authorities, over its sale practices after outcry from Taylor Swift fans over website outages and long waits to buy tickets for the singer’s upcoming “Eras” tour. In a letter addressed to Michael Rapino, the president and CEO of Ticketmaster's parent company Live Nation Entertainment, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., expressed, “serious concerns about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful impact on consumers.” Read more

Ticketmaster sells more than two million Taylor Swift tickets in one day, a record - Ticketmaster on Thursday said that even though the presale was only available to people who had registered and been invited to participate, that didn’t prevent others, including bad actors, from attempting to do so. “The staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site,” it said. Read more

Industry News

Binance starts recovery fund for crypto projects facing liquidity crisis - In a tweet, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said that the fund aims to reduce the cascading negative effects of the collapse of FTX by helping projects that the Binance CEO described as “strong, but in a liquidity crisis.” While Zhao did not provide all the information on which projects would qualify, he told teams who believe they may fit the criteria to contact Binance Labs, the exchange’s venture capital arm. He also called upon other industry players interested in co-investing to get in touch with them. Read more

Gen Z turns to TikTok for financial advice - A survey of 1000 18 to 14 year olds for the Current Account Switch Service shows that 58% follow TikTok influencers who talk about budgeting, money, or personal finance. Of these, many trust what they hear, with 40% saying that these influencers give better advice than traditional media, 34% better than their friends and 26% better than their financial provider. Read more

US banks to pounce on fintech deals as valuations plunge - Financial technology companies, long seen as a threat by the likes of JPMorgan, are increasingly becoming acquisition targets for traditional US banks as rising interest rates and falling valuations crimp their expansion.The decline presents an opportunity for Main Street banks to buy companies and beef up their technology for digital banking, online payments and other financial services and diversify beyond lending. Read more

The cracks in the US Treasury bond market - Liquidity in the market — one crucial measure of how well it is functioning — is at its worst levels since March 2020 after a dramatic decline in the past year. Market depth, a measure of liquidity which refers to the ability of a trader to buy or sell Treasuries without moving prices, is also at its worst level since March 2020, according to Jay Barry at JPMorgan. Read more

10 US banks participating in test of interoperable digital money platform - Ten members of the banking community are working with the New York Innovation Center (NYIC), which is part of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to explore the feasibility of the regulated liability network (RLN) — an interoperable digital money platform. The proposed RLN would use distributed ledger technology to improve financial settlements and would include central banks, commercial banks and regulated non-banks, the participating firms said this week. Read more

Meta, Lyft, Salesforce and other tech firms dump office space as they downsize - While leasing from all businesses declined during the pandemic, the tech sector accounted for the largest portion of the leasing that took place, according to real estate services firm CBRE Group. Some tech companies, such as Google, continued to expand their office footprints during that period. Now, with the prospect of a recession looming and companies slashing payroll, tech firms find they have too many floors of office space and want to unload big chunks of it. Read more

CEO in charge of FTX restructuring calls case an ‘unprecedented’ mess - FTX suffered a “complete failure of corporate controls” that culminated in an “unprecedented debacle,” its new chief executive officer said at the end of this week. John J. Ray, who has helped oversee some of the biggest bankruptcies ever, including Enron’s, said in a filing to federal bankruptcy court that he has never seen anything as bad in 40 years of restructuring firms. Read more

Credit Suisse to sell much of securitized products group to Apollo - The sale, which includes other related businesses, will reduce the bank’s capital burdens but also do away with one of its most profitable businesses. Credit Suisse this week said Apollo had agreed to acquire a “significant part” of the assets of its securitized products business, reducing its holdings of such assets from $75b to $20b. Read more

Ant consumer unit raises $1.5b from Sunny Optical, Yuyue - Cinda Asset Management, one of China’s bad debt managers, withdrew its plan to invest 6b yuan for a 20% stake in the consumer finance giant in January, without disclosing a reason. At the time, Chongqing Ant was planning to raise about 22b yuan to boost its capital to 30b yuan. The finance unit combines the company’s most lucrative online lending operations, Huabei and Jiebei. Read more

Hollywood FTX frenzy as Michael Lewis reveals he spent 6 months with founder - The town was abuzz Saturday after an email spread that revealed that Michael Lewis — the most talented and successful non-fiction writer working today — had embedded with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried for the past six months and was making the collapsing cryptocurrency exchange the centerpiece of his next book. Read more

YouTube expands shopping features following digital advertising slowdown - The platform has introduced the new function to Shorts, YouTube’s short-form video offering that was launched in 2020 to compete against the popularity of fast-growing rival TikTok. This will mean users will be able to buy products as they scroll through videos. Read more

Japan unicorn Opn buys MerchantE to enter US online payment sector - Opn, whose investors include Toyota Motor Corp's financial services unit, did not disclose the size of the deal, but a source familiar with the transaction said the US payment processing provider was sold for approximately $400m. Opn has been offering services mainly in Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Thailand, and the United States will become the seventh country where it has operations following the acquisition of MerchantE. Read more

A ‘credible alternative to Google and Amazon’: Klarna brings its price comparison tool to Europe - It’s a notable expansion for Klarna, which has hitherto been better known for a service that allows consumers to buy goods through third-party retailers in installments. Moving forward, the Klarna app will not only serve as a payment network, but a “single shopping destination” for finding the cheapest deals and paying. Read more

Select Financings

Anode Labs - Austin based energy storage platform with tokenized incentives raised $4.2m in Seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau and Lattice Capital. Read more

Banked - London based account-to-account payments startup raised $15m in Series A extension funding Insight Partners. Read more

Baraka - Dubai based commission-free investment platform raised $20m in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Beam - Thailand based one-click payment startup raised $2.5m in Seed funding led by Sequoia Capital India and Surge. Read more

Boodil - Manchester based alternative payments startup raised £525k in pre-Seed funding led by angel investors. Read more

Brightside - San Francisco based financial care platform for employers raised $33m in Series B funding led by Obvious Ventures. Read more

Daylight - New York based neobank focused on LGBTQIA+ customers raised $15m in Series A funding led by Anthemis Group. Read more

GoFreight - Los Angeles and Taipei based freight forwarding startup raised $23m in Series A funding led by Flex Capital and Headline. Read more

Lentra - India based embedded finance startup raised $60m in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners and SIG. Read more

Matter Labs - Cayman Islands based ethereum scaling solution raised $200m in Series C funding led by Blockchain Capital and Dragonfly. Read more

PayZen - San Francisco based health care payments affordability platform raised $20m in growth funding led by 7wire Ventures. Read more

Relay Commerce - New York based aggregator of e-commerce software raised $6.3m in Seed funding led by Primary. Read more

Silkhaus - Dubai based short-term property rental platform raised $7.75m in Seed funding led by Nuwa Capital, Nordstar and GFC. Read more

The Trading Pit - Liechtenstein based trading and asset management firm raised €10m in growth funding led by Pinorena Capital. Read more

Valcre - San Diego based commercial real estate appraisal platform raised $12.7m in Series A funding led by Avenue Growth Partners. Read more

Virgil - Paris based property investment startup raised €15m in Series A funding led by GFC, Alven, and localGlobe. Read more

Zulu - Colombia based digital wallet raised $5m in Seed funding led by Cadenza Ventures. Read more


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