Kicking Down The Old And In With The New!


Nov 28, 2022


Cindy Grazer


Nov 28, 2022


Cindy Grazer


In preparation for the World Cup this year, the Qatar government has spent more than $300b on physical infrastructure projects including highway and airport expansions. Elsewhere in the world, infrastructure funding has also come back into focus. In the effort to help rebuild Ukrainian infrastructure which has been severely damaged due to the ongoing war, billionaire Andrew Forrest launched an investment fund that he and his wife have committed $500m to.

Organizers of the Ukraine Green Growth Initiative hope it will reach at least $25b in scale, and will be focused on investing in primary infrastructure including energy and telecom networks. In the rebuilding process, Ukrainian President Zelensky highlighted the need for sustainable and digital infrastructure. Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine had set objectives to phase out coal by 2040 and reach 25% renewable energy mix by 2035.

Around the world, articulated progress against sustainable infrastructure development is manifesting from local governments and academic institutions, among others. Just two weeks ago, New York state voters approved $4.2b in green infrastructure bond measures, while Governor Hochul signed legislation on Tuesday this week to remove barriers to owning and charging electric vehicle owners. In Africa, adaptations initiatives are underway to address the heightened risk of climate change in the informal sector such as flooding risk.

Alongside sustainability, funding and investment in digital infrastructure also continues to garner attention as connectivity becomes increasingly critical. In a time of economic uncertainty, SMEs in particular turn to digital solutions for stability and continuity. Anxiety levels are high - and not just from the games in Qatar!

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Portfolio News

Accelerating business transformation across the African startup ecosystem - Forbes writes about how startups in Africa, with Flutterwave being a primary example, benefit their home countries as their innate ability to innovate helps ensure speedy and efficient development for their economies. This has been of immense advantage in Africa, as startups across the continent have gained increasing attention all over the world. The rapid growth and substantial valuations that a number of them have achieved are a reflection of the considerable opportunity that Africa offers and a validation of the scale and urgency of the need that these startups are addressing. Read more

Octane and UBCO make electric vehicle Purchases easier - The deal gives customers a hassle-free path to purchase, with an easy online financing application and soft-pull tools that do not affect credit scores. These enhancements to the purchasing process along with the new relationship with Octane’s inhouse lender, Roadrunner Financial Inc., make it possible for dealers to offer competitive rates and even more flexible terms than before. Read more

NYDIG's startup Bottlepay secures approval by the FCA - Constructed on the Lightning Community, it’s the first startup funds firm of such type to be permitted by the Monetary Conduct Authority within the UK. Based on NYDIG, it will allow Bottlepay to turn into globally engaged within the monetary companies trade. Customers will have the ability to not solely make transactions with common foreign money, but additionally ship crypto similar to Bitcoin on their smartphones “immediately and with out charges.” Read more

RPA conversations with Vestwell's Aaron Schumm - 65% of plans on Vestwell’s platform utilize managed accounts and 90% as the QDIA. Vestwell founder and CEO Aaron Schumm discusses how this is working and how they are safely sharing participant data. Read more

Kicking Down the Old And In With The New!

Billionaire Andrew Forrest launches $25b fund for reconstruction - Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has launched an investment fund that is hoped will be worth at least $25b to help rebuild war-torn Ukraine. The Ukraine Green Growth Initiative plans to invest in primary infrastructure such as energy and telecoms networks. Read more

Qatar 2022 World Cup cost: How much money has been paid out by hosts on the most expensive FIFA men's tournament ever - It was back in December 2010 that former FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup, sparking wild celebrations on the streets of Doha. In the 12 years that followed, Qatar launched the largest infrastructure project in World Cup history to ensure that stadiums, transport links, airports and accommodation facilities would be ready in time for the big kickoff, and has reportedly spent $229b (16x the amount invested by previous host Russia). Read more

Industry News

UK Chancellor’s plan to turn UK into the ‘next Silicon Valley’ - In last week’s Autumn Statement, Jeremy Hunt, chancellor of the exchequer, outlined a number of priorities which will likely impact UK fintech. Hunt emphasized the Government’s wish to “combine our technology and science brilliance with our formidable financial services,” as part of the goal of becoming the next Silicon Valley. Read more

When your boss becomes your banker - The number of employers in the UK getting more involved in the financial affairs of their staff is growing. Companies are not only stepping in to negotiate better rates on mobile phone tariffs and energy bills for the entire workforce, but also managing an individual’s personal money woes by issuing loans or coming up with plans to pay off credit card debt. The same is happening in the US. According to a recent Bank of America report, 97% of US employers surveyed feel responsible for employee financial wellness, up from 41% in 2013. Read more

Twitter’s survival as a subscription service depends on Apple and Google - The vast majority of users access Twitter on iPhones and Android devices. Apple and Google safeguard those products and operate the payment systems on their respective app marketplaces. After a botched debut, Twitter plans to relaunch Twitter Blue—a subscription plan that offers verification to any paying customer—at $8 per month on Nov. 29. That means Apple and Google both stand to benefit, with the new Twitter Blue costing $3 more per month than the last version. Read more

Why Visa and Mastercard have yet to face their Kodak moment - The big old card companies might look ripe for disruption, facilitating as they do high “interchange” fees levied on merchants (averaging 2% in the US). But thanks to the spread of their operations into every corner of the world, it has been either impossible or economically unappealing for potential competitors to build new kinds of networks. The big question, amid such a frenzy of fintech innovation, is will that change? There are several reasons to think it might. Read more

US banks are tightening lending standards, raising the risk of a recession - Banks told the Fed they had tightened lending standards on commercial and industrial loans for a variety of reasons, including a more uncertain or a less favorable economic outlook and a reduced tolerance for risk. A significant number also cited decreased liquidity in the secondary market for such loans and less aggressive competition from other banks or nonbank lenders. Read more

New FTX chief says crypto group will pursue reorganization or sale - John Ray III, who replaced SBF as CEO, noted that many of collapsed crypto group’s subsidiaries have ‘solvent balance sheets’. Ray cited two FTX US subsidiaries, Embed Clearing and LedgerX, as well as units in Japan, Turkey and the UAE as attractive assets. FTX’s US arm bought Embed Clearing, a brokerage tech and infrastructure provider, in June. It acquired LedgerX, a US derivatives platform, last October. Read more

Chipper Cash to buy Zoona to expand cross-border payments in Africa - The deal, subject to authorities’ approval, would bring to Chipper Cash new online services, a new agent network and entry to Zambia. Chipper Cash executives said the deal would bring together complementary products and services, allow the two companies to connect consumers and businesses across Africa. Read more

China set to fine Ant more than $1b - The central bank is preparing the penalty, which could land in the second quarter of next year after a years long crackdown on the private sectors that included the halt of Ant’s massive initial public offering in 2020, that is now showing signs of winding down. President Xi Jinping recently issued market friendly policies by relaxing inbound travel restrictions and rolling out a package of measures to support the property market. Read more

How technology can help redraw the supply chain map - Supply chains face a rethink. Geopolitical fissures have disabled the just-in-time model, unwinding decades of globalization. The danger of overreliance on one large manufacturing base, China, has been exposed by the pandemic. Early on in the Covid outbreak, Fortune observed that 94% of Fortune 1000 companies had experienced supply chain disruption. Read more

Select Financings

Beam (fka Edquity) - Brooklyn based public benefit administration platform raised $6.4m in Series A funding led by Potencia Ventures. Read more

Carv - Los Angeles based blockchain identity company raised $4m in Seed funding led by Vertex. Read more

Cobee - Spain based employee benefits app raised €40m in Series B funding led by Octopus Ventures and Notion Capital. Read more

Djamo - Ivory Coast based financial app raised $14m in new funding led by Partech Africa, Enza Capital, and Oikocredit. Read more

Efficient Capital Labs - New York based capital provider to B2B SaaS companies raised $3.5m in Seed funding led by 645 Ventures. Read more

Flourish Fi - San Francisco based embedded fintech company focused on customer engagement raised $2.3m in Seed funding led by Magma Partners. Read more

Leta - Kenya based B2B supply chain and logistics SaaS startup raised $3m in pre-Seed funding from investors including The 4Di Capital, Chandaria Capital, Chui Ventures, PANI, Samurai Incubate and Verdant Frontiers Fintech. Read more

Novo - Miami based fintech platform for small businesses raised $35m in Series B extension funding led by GGV Capital. Read more

Nucleo - New York based ethereum privacy infrastructure raised $4m in Seed funding led by Bain Capital Crypto and 6th Man Ventures. Read more

PayZen - San Francisco based provider of health care financing tools raised $20m in Series B funding led by 7wire Ventures. Read more

Pivo - Nigeria based freight carrier focused digital bank raised a $2m in Seed funding from investors including MercyCorps, PrecursorVentures, YC and VestedWorld. Read more

Prosper Marketplace - San Francisco based lending platform raised $75m in growth funding led by Neuberger Berman. Read more

Ramani - Tanzania based fintech company focused on Africa’s consumer packaged goods supply chain raised $32m in Series A equity and debt funding led by Flexcap Ventures. Read more

Service 1st Financial - Maryland based residential contractors-focused fintech startup raised $20m in Series B funding led by S2G Ventures. Read more

Surround Insurance - Boston based insurance provider raised $2.5m in Seed funding led by MassMutual’s MM Catalyst Fund. Read more

Tactyc - North Carolina based venture capital portfolio forecasting and planning software maker raised $1.5m in Seed funding led by MaC Venture Capital and 4DX Ventures. Read more

Taktile - New York based startup which allows fintech companies to test and deploy decision-making models raised $20m in Series A funding led by Index Ventures and Tiger Global. Read more

Veax - Switzerland based decentralized liquidity management firm raised $1.2m in pre-Seed funding from investors including Circle Ventures, Proximity Labs, Tacans Labs, Outlier Ventures, Skynet Trading, and Qredo. Read more


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