Posted In:

NASA, Space

Blast Through The Past


Jul 16, 2022


Roxy Horrie

Posted In:

NASA, Space


Jul 16, 2022


Roxy Horrie


More than 30 years after the conception of the Webb telescope, NASA has unveiled the first captured images that allow us to see deeper into the universe’s past than ever before. Tracking the galaxies’ evolution throughout the entire age of the universe, Webb’s images offer a 13 billion year window through time - a culmination of work by 20,000 scientists in 14 countries and over $10 billion in investments - promising a discovery into the origins of our universe.

This week’s reveal signifies how we are part of a universe that continuously looks back upon itself. The Big Bang, the formation of our stars and the birth of our cosmos are the fruits of a long-term evolution. As we peer back in time into the cosmic dawn of our universe, we call on ourselves to also look back and reflect on the evolution of financial services and the lessons we can uncover from the past that shape new opportunity sets for the future.

As we look back, we find that companies that dominated in periods of perceived stability actually emerged as the winners of a preceding crisis. The 2008 global financial crisis led to an explosion in the volume of fintech startups that would de-construct and ultimately re-construct the face of financial services, spawning entirely new categories from neo-banks, robo-advisors, P2P and alternative lending platforms with the likes of Square (Block), Stripe, CreditKarma, to Uber and Airbnb. While today’s macro environment represents a bleaker landscape for growth and success, looking back in time reveals that economic downturns are historically associated with the birth of some of the most successful technology companies.

While the breadth of science that the Webb telescope can be used for is staggering, it doesn’t take much imagination to spot unicorns emerging from the images of clouds of gas and dust.

Blast Through The Past

Portfolio News

Telecommunications as a service: a world of new opportunities - Nico Girard, CEO of OXIO writes about the opportunities ahead for telecommunications as a service (TaaS), which he believes has come to revolutionize business models, placing the mobile phone at the center of the marketing and sales equation. In simple terms, TaaS allows any business to function as a mobile operator without the costs and complexities associated with the traditional telecom operators. It unbundles the wireless infrastructure from these operators into a custom-purposed, asset-light network. Read more

NYDIG to partner with New York Yankees for Bitcoin benefits - NYDIG announced a multi-year partnership with the New York Yankees to become the team’s official Bitcoin Payroll Platform. The deal aligns the world's most iconic sports franchise with the most trusted name in Bitcoin by offering employees of the Yankees organization access to NYDIG’s Bitcoin Savings Plan (BSP) - which is a workplace benefit that allows for employees to convert a portion of their paycheck to bitcoin via the NYDIG platform. Read more

Plaid adds read-only support for leading crypto exchanges - While Plaid previously integrated with large exchanges on an ad hoc basis, the move is an indication that the company sees crypto as important to its growth. As of today, through Plaid, users can share crypto account information, including asset types, balances and transactions with other services they use. Developers can incorporate the data through the Plaid Investments API, which now supports crypto accounts for use cases like tax advisory services, financial planning and net worth calculations. Read more

Carlyle and Permira bid for Warburg-backed Reorg - Potential buyers are discussing paying more than $1b for the company, and other private equity firms are also circling. Financial services data providers have become hot takeover targets in recent years, given their reliable cash flow and growth potential amid rising demand for news and information. Reorg’s databases collect information from court filings, financial reports, transcripts and other sources of information for traders, bankers, restructuring advisers and other clients. Read more

Correctional EdTech provider APDS raises $7m in Series C funding, seeking to break the cycle of incarceration with its career readiness platform - Congratulations to portfolio company APDS on the announcement of their Series C fundraise led by ETS Strategic Capital and New Markets Venture Partners. The capital will allow the company to further scale its innovative services across correctional facilities nationwide while enhancing its proprietary learning platform, content offerings and strategic partnerships. Read more

Blast Through The Past

10 successful startups founded during 2008 Great Recession - American workers took a hard hit after the 2008 recession, but a wave of new startups emerged from the financial downturn. Some of the more well-known companies include Square, Stripe, CreditKarma, NerdWallet, Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp and Instagram. Read more

NASA releases first breathtaking images taken by James Webb space telescope - The roughly $10b telescope allows us to see deeper into space, and farther back towards the origins of our universe, than humans have ever been able to see before. Webb can observe light from the universe’s very first stars and galaxies that formed 13.5b years ago, just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, and track those stars and galaxies’ evolution throughout the entire age of the universe. Read more

These 5 photos from the James Webb space telescope are mind-blowing. Here's what they can tell us - This week, NASA revealed for the first time five pictures taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. Together, these images—from the birth of stars to one of the deepest looks into the far reaches of space—offer some of the most detailed glimpses into the beginnings of our universe ever seen. Read more

Industry News

Kids’ finance startup GoHenry marches into Europe with Pixpay acquisition - British prepaid debit card startup focused on kids and teens, bought Pixpay, a French banking app for teens. GoHenry backers include Edison Partners, Gaia Capital Partners, Citi Ventures and Muse Capital, while Pixpay raised funding from such firms as Bpifrance and GFC. Read more

Goldman hires senior Google executive for new innovation group - The bank announced that Jared Cohen would run the it's Office of Applied Innovation alongside George Lee, co-chief information officer and a longtime Goldman partner. The move is the latest example of the latest example of a Wall Street bank mining talent from a tech giant. Read more

Monzo chief vows to scale up business despite fintech turmoil - The head of UK digital bank Monzo has vowed to press ahead with scaling up the business, defying the retrenchment forced on many fintechs by slowing economic growth and a downturn in markets. Read more

Alan Howard’s adventures in cryptoland - Howard is an influential figure in the hedge fund industry thanks to the success of Brevan Howard Asset Management, the $23b macro trading firm he co-founded. In recent years though, he has been slowly relinquishing some of his roles at the firm to become a major force in crypto venture capital in both Europe and the US. Read more

What private equity’s rise means for your stock investments - According to Morgan Stanley the private markets are expected to grow to about $12.5t in 2025 from $7.2t in 2020. Buyouts, growth equity and venture capital account for about 69% of the industry. These firms are now racing to develop new products that will appeal to wealthy individuals and market them to the financial advisers who manage their money. Read more

Stripe cuts internal valuation by 28% - Stripe told employees in an email Friday that the internal share price was about $29, compared with $40 in the most previous internal valuation, known as a 409A valuation. The move lowered the implied valuation of those shares to $74b, which is calculated separately from the stock owned by major shareholders. Read more

Celsius files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - Celsius is referring to this as a restructuring rather than a liquidation, claiming to have $167m of cash on hand. It also has repaid most of its major outstanding DeFi loans (even though Celsius itself isn't DeFi). On the other hand, there are the pending investor and user losses tied to Celsius, which also is being sued by a former partner that accuses the company of being a "Ponzi scheme." Read more

For crypto survivors, there are deals to be had - A blowout in the cryptocurrency market sparked a wave of layoffs, punished valuations and drove some companies to bankruptcy. Now firms that still have capital are gearing up for a shopping spree. Read more

Homebuyers are canceling deals at the highest rate since the start of the pandemic - The share of sale agreements on existing homes canceled in June was just under 15% of all homes that went under contract, according to a new report from Redfin. Homebuilders are also seeing higher cancelation rates. Higher mortgage rates and surging inflation are causing many potential homebuyers to reconsider their purchases. Read more

Rappi mafia: How a delivery startup took over Colombia’s tech scene - Data from Marathon Ventures shows that the Rappi mafia has created more companies in less time than other Latin American unicorns, including Brazil’s Nubank and Gympass and even U.S. companies, such as SpaceX and Netflix. Founded in 2015, Rappi built its mafia in less than seven years — under half the time it took PayPal to build a similar network. Read more

MercadoLibre receives $233m from Goldman Sachs to expand loans in Brazil and Mexico - Argentine online marketplace MercadoLibre Inc said on Monday it received a private financing line of $233m from Goldman Sachs to expand its credit offer in Brazil and Mexico. Of the total figure, $106m will be destined for Brazil and $127m for Mexico, MercadoLibre said in a statement. Read more

Brazil's Creditas buys banking license - Brazilian secured lending platform Creditas is set to expand its offering, buying a banking license and a mortgage marketplace. The firm is acquiring the Brazilian banking license of Andorra's Banco Andbank, enabling it to accept deposits. Read more

Select Financings

5ire - London based blockchain network raised $100m in Series A funding from SRAM & MRAM. Read more

Animoca Brands - Hong Kong based blockchain gaming company raised $75.3m in growth funding from investors including Liberty City Ventures, Kingsway Capital, Alpha Wave Ventures and 10T. Read more

Asset Class - New York based provider of private capital investment management software raised $11.6m in Series A funding led by Canapi Ventures. Read more

Change - Dublin based maker of APIs for processing crypto donations raised $5m in Seed funding led by Freestyle and NEA. Read more

Deuna - Mexico based one-click checkout startup raised $30m in Series A funding led by Activant Capital. Read more

FPL Technologies (dba OneCard) - India based credit card startup raised over $100m in Series D funding led by Temasek. Read more

Fuell - Spain based corporate card and expense management startup raised €1.5m in Seed funding led by Y Combinator and Fin Capital. Read more

Hang - Santa Monica based NFT-powered membership and loyalty rewards platform raised $16m in Series A funding led by Paradigm. Read more

Here - New York based fractional investment platform for real estate raised $5m in Seed funding led by Fiat Ventures. Read more

Hero - France based B2B payments startup raised €12.4m in Seed funding from Paua Ventures, Embedded/Capital and Rapyd Ventures. Read more

Hidden Road Partners - New York based crypto prime brokerage raised $50m in Series A funding led by Castle Island Ventures. Read more

Kadmos - Berlin based platform for international salary payments raised €29m in Series A funding led by Blossom Capital. Read more

Lightyear - UK based commission-free trading app for U.S. and European stocks raised $25m in Series A funding led by Lightspeed. Read more

Morpho - Paris based DeFi lending protocol raised $18m in growth funding led by Andreessen Horowitz and Variant. Read more

N1co - El Salvador based payments business raised $12m in pre-Seed funding from regional groups. Read more

Penny - UK based AI-powered platform that consolidates a person’s pension funds into one place raised $4m in Seed funding led by Gradient Ventures. Read more

Pico - New York based provider of tech services for financial markets raised $200m in growth funding led by Golden Gate Capital. Read more

Pulley - San Francisco based equity management software company raised $40m in Series B funding led by Founders Fund. Read more

Quadrata - California based blockchain identity startup raised $7.5m in Seed funding led by Dragonfly Capital. Read more

Quiltt - Dallas based embedded finance company focused on small businesses raised $4m in Seed funding led by Greycroft and Newark Venture Partners. Read more

Safe Ecosystem Foundation - Development contributors to the Safe platform raised $100m in growth funding led by 1kx. Read more

SmartBank - Japan based prepaid card startup raised $20m in Series A funding led by Globis Capital Partners. Read more

Stake - New York based cash-back-for-renters platform raised $12m in Series A funding led by RET Ventures. Read more

Stori - Mexico City based credit card startup targeting underserved populations in Mexico raised $50m in growth funding led by BAI Capital, GIC, and GGV Capital. Read more

Super Mojo - New York based NFT financing platform raised $6m in Seed funding led by BH Digital, DRW VC, Intersection Growth Partners and Neuberger Berman. Read more

Uprise - San Francisco based financial planning app raised $1.4m in pre-Seed funding from investors invluding Contrary Capital and Hustle Fund. Read more

Wefox - Germany based digital insurer raised $400m in Series D equity and debt funding led by Mubadala. Read more

Zazuu - London based Africa focused cross-border payments startup raised $2m in Seed funding led by Launch Africa and Founders Factory Africa. Read more

ZKX - Remote based crypto derivatives trading protocol raised $4.5m in Seed funding from StarkWare, Alameda Research, Huobi, Amber Group and Read more


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