Posted In:

Lending, Risk, Payments

In A Pickle


Jul 03, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter

Posted In:

Lending, Risk, Payments


Jul 03, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter


Does the term “pickler” ring a bell? If not, this holiday weekend is your chance to get up to speed and onto the court. While customer acquisition has been increasingly costly for DTC models, an unassuming newcomer is snapping up users left and right - outside of the fintech sector, unfortunately.

Pickleball is rocking the racket sport landscape throughout the US, set to reach 22.3m players in 2023. This would represent 365% growth over the past two years. Players also are higher earners than average, with ~50% netting annual incomes of $100k+.

This up and coming sport has caused a spike in more than just courttime competition, however. UnitedHealth Group has cited rising utilization rates among the prime pickleball population - those in their 60s and 70s. The cause? Yep, you guessed it. Pickleball is estimated to contribute $250-500m in healthcare costs in 2023 alone. Pickleball players: proceed with caution.

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Portfolio News

Vestwell expands retirement offerings for small, midsize businesses - The 2019 SECURE Act made it easier for unrelated small companies to participate in a common retirement plan via pooled employer plans and multiple employer plans, an approach that makes offering a retirement plan more affordable for small businesses. Read more

Sigma Ratings makes AIFintech100 list for driving innovation in financial services - The award recognizes Sigma as a trailblazer providing innovative, mission critical risk and compliance solutions for the financial services industry. Since its founding at MIT, Sigma has responsibly invested in AI-driven efficiencies across risk screening and monitoring, entity scoring and investigations to solve complex problems facing financial institutions and their partners. Read more

Stables launches Asia Pacific’s first stablecoin virtual card powered by Mastercard - This groundbreaking solution allows users to seamlessly and securely spend their stablecoin balance anywhere Mastercard cards are accepted, instore or online. Leveraging Circle Internet Financial (Circle)’s USDC, the Stables virtual card empowers customers to utilize their stablecoins in the physical world, meeting the growing demand for real-world spending among digital asset holders. Read more

Minu enters the market for pantry and gas vouchers for employees - The market for pantry vouchers has undergone significant evolution in recent years, adapting to changes in the needs and preferences of employees, as well as to technological transformations. According to Minu, the initiative's main objective is to support the growth of the business sector in Mexico. Read more

In A Pickle

Pickleball injuries may cost Americans nearly $400m this year, according to UBS - Earlier this month, shares of big health insurance companies fell after UnitedHealth Group warned that healthcare utilization rates were up. At a conference the company had said that it was seeing a higher-than-expected pace of hip replacements, knee surgeries and other elective procedures. In a new note out this week, UBS analysts offer a surprising theory about one factor that could be driving a higher pace of injuries: pickleball. Read more

Health insurance stocks slide after UnitedHealth warns more surgeries will drive up medical costs - Health insurer stocks have come under pressure after UnitedHealth Group warned of higher medical costs as older Americans start to catch up on surgeries they delayed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Insurance companies have benefited in recent years from a delay in non-urgent procedures, but that trend may be reversing. Read more

Industry News

AI gains momentum in core financial services functions - Financial services and banking see AI as an opportunity to automate massively at scale, keep up with accelerating customer expectations, stay competitive in an evolving marketplace, and prepare for disruptions. Read more

EU moves ahead with push to create digital euro for payments - The European Union’s executive arm offered its vision for a digital euro that would facilitate payments but not serve as an investment tool. Read more

US banks step up sales of loan portfolios to private lenders - Regional and midsized US banks have stepped up efforts to sell off their loan portfolios, looking to raise cash and cut their capital requirements after recent bank failures. Private credit investors including Ares and KKR said they were being offered more portfolios in areas such as car and consumer loans, commercial real estate and speciality finance. Read more

Visa acquires Brazilian fintech startup Pismo in $1b blockbuster deal - The acquisition of the Brazilian payments infrastructure startup is likely one of the largest fintech M&A deals taking place this year so far. Founded in 2016, São Paulo–based Pismo has quietly racked up a list of big-name customers, and processes almost 50b API calls and $40b in transaction volumes annually, and powers almost 80m accounts and over 40m issued cards. Read more

Fidelity preparing to submit spot bitcoin ETF filing - Asset management giant Fidelity is close to submitting its own filing for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund, joining a long list of issuers keen to be first to market with such a product. BlackRock's June 15 filing has been followed by other asset managers looking to launch their own spot bitcoin funds including Invesco, WisdomTree and Bitwise. Read more

Big US banks would lose $541b in doomsday scenario, predicts Fed - However, the banks would still have more than enough capital to absorb the losses, according to annual stress tests conducted by the Federal Reserve. The passing grades given by the Fed on Wednesday to banks including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs lent support to claims from Wall Street executives and regulators that systemically important banks can withstand heavy losses. Read more

Salt Lake City ups the ante in bid to become a fintech hub - A new, multimillion-dollar fintech-education center in Salt Lake City is Utah’s latest bid in a multistate race to become one of the nation’s top fintech hubs. While other cities and states have similar ambitions ambitions, the Salt Lake City metro area attracts such investments due to its low costs and a talent pool that has grown in recent years, thanks largely to graduates from nearby universities. Read more

Square launches credit card, new loan options, early deposit access - This news follows Square’s launch in April of nearly 100 features designed to offer sellers a way to enhance their revenue at a time when SMBs are feeling pinched. During the most recent earnings call of Block, CEO Jack Dorsey said the Block/Square ecosystem has potential for further penetration in the retail, restaurants and beauty verticals. Read more

Car insurance rates are soaring with little relief in sight - Insurers are getting big bumps because they have suffered big losses. Car insurance premiums could keep increasing through the end of 2024. Read more

Bank-fintech partnerships come under closer scrutiny from US bank regulators - Legal experts say that the new guidance explicitly pointed out both the benefits and risks of bank-fintech partnerships. Read more

Select Financings

AdvisorCheck - New Jersey based financial advisor data transparency startup raised $1.8m in Seed funding led by undisclosed investors. Read more

Bdeo - Madrid based visual intelligence insurtech startup raised €7.5m in new funding led by Armilar. Read more

Bluedot - San Francisco based EV payments platform raised $5m in Seed funding led by Y Combinator. Read more - Austin based e-commerce enablement startup raised $60m in Series C funding led by B. Riley Venture Capital. Read more

Embat - Madrid based treasury management platform raised €5m in new funding led by Samaipata. Read more

Federato - San Francisco based insurance underwriting platform raised $25m in Series B funding led by Caffeinated Capital. Read more

Fennech - London based corporate banking startup raised £2.3m in Seed funding led by Lloyds Banking Group. Read more

Flatpay - Denmark based flat-rate point-of-sale startup raised €15m in Series C funding led by Seed Capital. Read more

iMotorbike - Malaysia based motorcycle marketplace startup raised $2.6m in Series A funding led by Gobi Partners. Read more

JustPaid - Mountain View based SMB financial tools platform raised $3.5m in Seed funding led by Rebel Fund. Read more

Maza - Los Angeles based immigrant tax identity startup raised $8m in Seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Read more

Nuvocargo - New York based cross border shipping startup raised $36.5m in Series B funding led by QED Investors. Read more

One Trading - Milan based digital asset exchange raised €30m in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Picket - Seattle based residential real estate investing startup raised $20m in Series B funding led by LL Funds. Read more

Raincoat - Puerto Rico based climate insurance startup raised $6.5m in Seed extension funding led by Two Sigma Ventures. Read more

Resistant AI - Prague based financial crime protection startup raised $11m in Series A extension funding led by Notion Capital. Read more

Utu - Singapore based tax-free shopping fintech startup raised $33m in Series B funding led by SC Ventures. Read more


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