#398
Enter The Metaverse

Published:

Jul 31, 2021


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Published:

Jul 31, 2021


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This week, Mark Zuckerberg described the metaverse as the “most exciting project that we will get to work on in our lifetimes”. Facebook is spending billions of dollars a year on virtual and augmented reality, representing a bold bet on a futuristic digital world as the race to build the next computing platform (beyond the smartphone) heats up.

The promise of the metaverse is not just fun and games, it also represents the potential for massive economic upside. The real opportunity for startups and companies lies in the development of digital economies where creations, avatars and objects can be commissioned, bought and sold. Some current examples include the sales of NFTs surpassing $2b in the first quarter of 2021 alone, 12.3m people tuning in to a virtual Travis Scott concert on Fortnite, and millions of dollars worth of virtual real estate sold in the Decentraland virtual world.

The AR/VR user experience has traditionally been lacking, but Facebook and other tech players are tackling the problem head on. Facebook’s first widely available portal to the metaverse will be a pair of smart glasses co-created with Ray Ban. Snapchat continues to push improvements that make AR delivered through their app more responsive and realistic. Such developments get us closer and closer to achieving a sense of presence in the digital world.

As we inch closer to a world where the metaverse is a popular destination for everyone, it becomes harder to discern what reality really is. Only time (or tech billionaires) will tell us what being “meta-cool” actually looks like.


Portfolio News


Fintech Collective leads Secured Finance's $4m seed financing - The Japan/Switzerland based blockchain trading/derivatives platform raised $4m in seed funding, with participation from Fintech Collective, GSR Markets, Protocol Labs, HOF Capital and Huobi Ventures. Read more. 

NYDIG is unleashing bitcoin financial products onto thousands of regional banks - This week, portfolio company NYDIG's Patrick Sells joined The Block for a discussion on how NYDIG is increasing access to Bitcoin. Read more. 

Ocrolus announces impact fund to support NYC tech - Portfolio company Ocrolus announced the launch of "The Impact Fund" to support organizations focused on technology education and training for underserved communities in NYC. Read more. 

Ocrolus featured in Business Insider as one of 57 promising fintechs revolutionizing Wall Street - FinTech Collective congratulates portfolio company Ocrolus for being featured in Business Insider's "57 Promising Fintechs" list. The list sought to highlight the most promising startups innovating behind the scenes on Wall Street. Read more.

Enter The Metaverse


As Coca-Cola auctions its first NFT, more brands are entering the metaverse - Coca-Cola is harnessing its history of collectibles with a first NFT as marketers continue experimenting with the intersection of cryptocurrency and culture. The Atlanta-based beverage giant is selling a series of four NFTs—known as non-fungible tokens—that will be sold as a single asset with proceeds benefiting Special Olympics International. Read more. 

Dvision network collaborates with Enjin to expand its metaverse to five different blockchains - Blockchain-based metaverse platform Dvision Network announced a collaboration with leading nonfungible ecosystem provider Enjin. As part of the development, Dvision will deploy Enjin’s APIs to connect its metaverse to five different blockchains. Read more. 

Here’s how Zuckerberg thinks Facebook will profit by building a ‘metaverse’ - On it's Q2 earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined some of his vision for a metaverse. Zuckerberg said it will take several years to build out the metaverse experience, but if successful, it will make money from the sale of virtual goods in the metaverse, along with advertising and other virtual experiences. Read more.

Industry News


‘Buy now, pay later’ installment plans are having a moment again - Fintech companies have brought back an old-fashioned way of lending, and now even Apple and Goldman are getting in on the action. Read more. 

Crypto makes the cover of Fortune magazine - This August/September issue of Fortune magazine features a deep dive into all things crypto. From articles like "How crypto went from mania to mainstream" to "Move fast and bank things: Crypto based DeFi takes on Wall Street", this issue contains the media outlet's current thoughts on the disruptive technology. Read more. 

Estonia's central bank releases a report on their digital euro experiment - Alongside the ECB, Estonia completed a research project on the potential for a digital euro. The experiment concluded that, theoretically, a digital euro could support unlimited payments alongside a large money supply with a lower carbon footprint than the current card based ecosystem. Read more. 

FICO score’s hold on the credit market is slipping - FICO scores are starting to fall out of vogue as banks and other financial institutions use their vast treasure trove of internal data to better asses their customers' credit risk. FICO's parent, Fair Isaac Corporation, is a $16b business and those credit scores amount to nearly 100% of their profits. Read more. 

Goldman Sachs files to create an ETF dedicated to DeFi and blockchain stocks - It is unclear what is in Solactive's Decentralized Finance and Blockchain Index, which underpins the new fund. The US bank's filing comes soon after it reported that 60% of super-rich family offices own crypto. Read more. 

Khazna Card launched - A new partnership was announced between fintech Khaza and ADIB Egypt and Masria Digital Payments (MDP), which comes up in the form of Khazna Card. Read more. 

Mastercard tops earnings expectations as spending recovery continues - The company reported second-quarter net income of $2.1b, or $2.08 a share, up from $1.4b, or $1.41 a share, in the year-prior quarter. CEO says international travel is still in ‘early stages’ of recovery. Read more. 

Swift takes on low-value cross-border payments - Banking co-operative Swift is moving into the low value remittance market with the launch of Swift Go, a service that enables consumers and small businesses to send near real-time payments anywhere in the world direct from their bank accounts. Read more. 

Tesco Bank shuts down their checking accounts program over a lack of use - Tesco Bank shut down its current account (checking account) product over lack of use from its customers. Only 12% of customers used it as their primary bank account. The program has 213k users; their savings account program will remain open. Read more. 

Visa-backed payments firm Conductor readies U.S. IPO - Brazilian payments firm Conductor has hired banks for an initial public offering in the United States that could come as early as this year, as Latin America's financial sector is enlivened by the arrival of several newcomers. Read more.

Select Financings


At-Bay - San Francisco based cyber insuretech raised $185m in Series D funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Icon Ventures, at a post-money valuation of $1.35b. Read more.

Fireblocks - New York based digital asset infrastructure platform raised $310m in Series D funding led by DRW Venture Capital, at a post money valuation of $2b. Read more. 

Flock - London based car insurance platform raised $17m in Series A funding led by Social Capital. Read more.  

Lithic - New York based payments startup raised $60m in Series C funding led by Stripes, at a post money valuation of $800m. Read more. 

Lolli - NYC/North Carolina based Bitcoin rewards firm raised $10m in Series A funding led by Acrew Capital. Read more. 

Mercury - San Francisco based Mercury raised $120m in Series B funding led by Coatue Management, at a post-money valuation of $1.62b. Read more. 

Nium - Singapore based B2B payments platform raised $200m in Series D funding led by Riverwood Capital, at a post money valuation of $1b. Read more. 

Paystand - California based B2B payments provider raised $50m in Series C funding led by NewView Capital, at a post-money valuation of $375m. Read more. 

Spot - Texas based accident insurance provider raised $15m in Series A financing led by GreatPoint Ventures. They also raised $2.5m in debt. Read more. 

Valora - San Francisco based Celo native digital wallet raised $20m in Series A funding led by Andreesen Horowitz. Read more.


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