Posted In:

Payments, Norway, Finland

Cowboys vs Bureaucrats


Jul 03, 2021


Posted In:

Payments, Norway, Finland


Jul 03, 2021



Around the world, innovation in payments comes in different flavors. From regulatory-driven approaches in the EU to market-driven approaches in the US, the development of digital payments infrastructure is evolving at a rapid pace.

This week, three mobile wallets in the Nordics merged. MobilePay, Vipps, and Pivo combined serve 11m customers and process 700m transactions in Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Last year, a consortium of banks launched P27 to create real-time payment rails and acquired Swish, the popular mobile payments app with 27m users and $3.8b in payment volume in May alone.

While the payments revolution in the Nordics is being led by the private sector, it stands in contrast to public-led approaches in Brazil and India where PIX and UPI, respectively, are now the standards. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been particularly successful with 2.8b transactions and $~70b of value in June alone (a record month).

PSD2 in the EU has accelerated the development and use of innovative online and mobile payments through open banking. The US, unsurprisingly, has taken a free-market approach. Startups and mature financial services institutions have developed competing products to serve consumers and businesses, leading to a patchwork of options and closed-loop ecosystems.

The payments revolution is pinning bureaucrats against free-market cowboys. The race is on to see which approach will prevail!

Portfolio News

$6b NCR opens bitcoin purchases to 650 banks and credit unions via NYDIG - 24m bank customers will be able to make bitcoin purchases following a new partnership between NCR and portfolio company NYDIG. Community banks such as First Citizens Bank and Bay Federal Credit Union will allow their customers to make bitcoin purchases via NCR-built mobile banking apps. Read more

Oxio founder hosts a keynote on unbundling telecoms - Nicolas Girard, CEO and Founder of portfolio company Oxio, hosted a keynote address this week discussing the unbundling of the telecom industry. Carlos Alonso Torras from FinTech Collective also participated in the conference. Read more

Avise co-founders host a clubhouse event to discuss their founders journey - Portfolio company Avise's co-founders Graham Stanton and Edgar Thomas will be hosting a clubhouse event, next week, on July 9th at 10am ET. We look forward to hearing their journey from the hip world of digital fitness to the also hip (at least amongst us fintech fiends) world of accounting software. Read more

Cowboys vs Bureaucrats

Nordic mobile wallets to merge onto single tech platform - Danske Bank’s MobilePay digital wallet will merge with OP Financial Group’s Pivo in Finland and the Vipps mobile wallet offered by a Norwegian consortium of banks. Read more

At 2.8b, UPI payments hit record high - The value of transactions grew 12% in June. E-commerce (381%), edtech (311%), gaming (250%), and healthcare (192%) have recorded the highest adoption rate. Read more

Industry News

The ‘Great Reshuffling’ Is shifting wealth to the exurbs - Fascinating piece in the WSJ showing that white-collar workers are trading their expensive lives in the nation’s most densely populated areas for cheaper, greener pastures. Online real estate company Zillow calls it the “Great Reshuffling.” Read more

When commission-free trading apps make over $100m in commission a month - The FT's Alphaville has a dig at eToro the Israel-based stock, CFD, and crypto trading house whose commission fees increased by 141% in Q1 2021, though, their profits fell 90% in the first quarter to $5m. Read more

Robinhood valued at $55b on secondary market ahead of IPO - Bid prices for Robinhood’s private shares have risen from roughly $15 per share over the last year to just under $60. Those bids rose dramatically between January and March. In that three-month period, Robinhood was forced to turn to its VC investors for an injection. Read more

Banks turn to blockchains to reform costly bond market - A growing number of banks are experimenting with issuing bonds on blockchains, in a shift they say could eventually revolutionize an asset class that has lagged behind in the adoption of new technologies. Read more

JPMorgan to acquire OpenInvest - JPMorgan has agreed to acquire OpenInvest, a provider of ESG tools for the wealth management industry. The US bank aims to provide customized value-based and tax-efficient investment strategies for clients. Read more

India’s central bank says growing presence of Big Tech in financial services a concern - In a report published on Thursday, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said Big Tech expansion in the financial services sector has given rise to “important policy issues.” Read more

JPMorgan Chase takes 40% stake in Brazil’s C6 Bank - Strategic investment creates partnership to accelerate C6’s growth, complementing Chase’s international consumer strategy. Read more

Select Financings

Bolttech - Honk Kong based insurance exchange raised $180m in Series A funding led by Activant at a $1b valuation. Read more

ClearScore - UK based credit score report platform raised £200m in funding led by Invus Opportunities at a £503m valuation. Read more

Codat - London based accounting software API platform raised $40m in Series B funding led by Tiger Global. Read more

Daylight - California based neobank targeted towards the LGBTQ+ community raised $5m in seed funding led by Kapor Capital and Precursor Ventures. Read more

Entera - New York based single-family residential investment platform raised $32m in Series A led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Read more

FairMoney - Nigeria based credit-led challenger bank raised $42m in Series B funding led by Tiger Global. Read more

Fintual - Chile based automated investment manager raised $15m in funding led by Kaszek Ventures. Read more

Hyperexponential - London based underwriting platform for commercial insurers raised $18m in Series A funding led by Highland Europe at a post money valuation of $105m.  Read more

Infina - Vietnam based retail investing platform raised $2m in seed funding led by Saison Capital, 500 Startups and 1982 Ventures. Read more

Karat - San Francisco based credit card for creators raised $11m in Series A funding (and $15m in debt) led by Union Square Ventures. Read more

Kikoff - San Francisco based credit building platform raised $30m in Series B funding led by Portage Ventures. Read more

Mercado Bitcoin - Brazil based digital assets exchange raised $200m in Series B funding led by Softbank at a post money valuation of $2.1b. Read more

Mercuryo - UK based crypto-enabled payments provider raised $7.5m in Series A funding led by Target Global. Read more

Monisnap - France based remittance provider for "unbanked" communitied raised €10m in funding led by Serena. Read more

Orum - New York based data platform for real-time payments raised $56m in Series B funding led by Accel and Canapi Ventures. Read more

Pathpoint - San Francisco based excess and surplus (E&S) insurance platform raised $30m in Series A funding led by Caffeinated Capital. Read more

Tomo - Connecticut based full stack digital mortgage provider raised $70m in seed funding led by Ribbit Capital. Read more

XCLAIM - California based bankruptcy claims marketplace raised $6.6m in seed funding (extension) led by General Catalyst. Read more


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