Squeaky Clean


Feb 20, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter


Feb 20, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter


While the rest of the US economy might appear to be slowing down, the green energy sector is booming, with hundreds of billions of dollars pouring into the sector in the forms of tax abatements and other incentives. At the same time, World Bank president David Malpass has announced that he is leaving early from the post from pressures around his stance on climate change - he had previously refused to publicly acknowledge that human-driven climate change was happening.

Historically, the biggest and most impactful pushes for climate change regulation are financial in nature. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is no different: since the passage of the policy last year, $90b has already been committed to new projects, according to Climate Power. It also seeks to make the US a more attractive location for renewables investments in general, even at the risk of feeling protectionist in nature towards other countries.

The US is also the largest shareholder at the World Bank and historically has appointed its president. Part of the organization’s priority includes organizing funds around natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, which are becoming increasingly common in nature.

One thing is clear: climate change regulation is on every country’s agenda. Financial incentives and guidelines are the most direct and effective way to push forward impactful changes in corporate behavior and investment strategies, and we’d expect to see more of that in coming years. Onwards and upwards - and not just referring to the Chinese air balloons.

Newsletter Image 2/202/2023

Portfolio News

MoneyLion partners with Column Tax to offer customers free tax services - Through this partnership, MoneyLion offers a simple, accessible way for its RoarMoney Banking (a FDIC-insured demand deposit account that delivers a full set of premium banking features) customers to file taxes at no cost to the customer. Read more

California ABLE program selects Vestwell to rapidly expand disability savings - This marks Vestwell's twentieth ABLE program partnership and makes the firm the largest ABLE program provider in the country. With this partnership, Vestwell will assume administration for the program and provide Californians with disabilities a digital platform and a seamless way to save without losing their federal benefits. Read more

Plaid partners with Okta to ease banks' onboarding process - The primary function of the partnership is to designate Okta as Plaid's vendor of choice for building the authorization system that connects a financial institution to Plaid. This integration, built on an open source standard called OAuth, allows users to connect their bank, credit union or other financial accounts with third-party financial apps without sharing their account passwords. Read more

Squeaky Clean

The US plan to become the world’s cleantech superpower - Across the country, a new revolution is under way in sectors from solar to nuclear, carbon capture to green hydrogen — and its goals are profound: to rejuvenate the country’s rustbelt, decarbonise the world’s biggest economy, and wrest control of the 21st-century’s energy supply chains from China, the world’s cleantech superpower. Read more

David Malpass will step down as World Bank head - Malpass' exit, expected by the end of June, comes months after calls grew from him to step down after he declined to acknowledge the scientific consensus that fossil fuels were warming the planet. Malpass, a holdover from the Trump administration who led the World Bank since 2019, in a statement did not fully explain the reasoning for the early departure, saying he would "pursue new challenges." Read more

Industry News

Payments giant FIS prepares to break up - FIS plans to pursue a tax-free spin-off of its merchant business, which processes payments for companies, the sources said. Much of FIS's merchant business consists of Worldpay, which it bought for $43b in 2019. The spin-off will take many months to be completed, and FIS will also entertain any acquisition offers for the unit during this period. Read more

Apple to scrutinize customer history for new ‘buy now, pay later’ service - The Apple Pay Later service — announced last year but still in the testing phase — will evaluate borrowers based on their spending history and even which of the company’s devices they own. The program also will look at whether customers have applied for an Apple Card credit card and the other cards they have linked to their Apple Pay accounts. Read more

PayPal pauses stablecoin work amid regulatory scrutiny of crypto - PayPal had hoped to debut the stablecoin, which will be backed one for one by the US dollar, in the coming weeks, but will delay that work as it seeks to understand the changing regulatory landscape for such digital assets, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. New York regulators have been investigating Paxos Trust Co., a cryptocurrency firm PayPal was working with on its stablecoin effort. Read more

Goldman Sachs scraps idea for direct-to-consumer credit card after strategy shift - A Goldman credit card would’ve been part of a suite of products to help enhance the profit margins and loyalty of its retail efforts, according to people with knowledge of the matter. When it scaled back plans to become the primary bank for the masses, the rationale for a Goldman card evaporated, said one of the people. Read more

SEC proposes rules that would change which crypto firms can custody customer assets - SEC chair Gary Gensler proposed amending federal custody requirements, expanding the rules to include assets like crypto, a change that would require crypto exchanges to gain further regulatory approval. The proposed changes would mandate custodians, including crypto exchanges, secure or maintain certain federal or state registrations, even as regulators are both increasing scrutiny on crypto companies and making it more difficult to secure regulatory approval for crypto products. Read more

Zelle network transaction volume increased 26% in 2022 - The Zelle Network reported a 26% increase in transaction volume in 2022 as the number of participating financial institutions increased by 40%. Early Warning Services, which owns and operates the network, said that the number of financial institutions joining Zelle topped 1,800 in 2022 and that 97% of those that joined in the last year have under $10b in assets. Read more

Tech start-ups face dilemma over expiring staff share awards - Over recent years, some of Silicon Valley’s leading private companies attracted staff by offering “restricted stock units” that are triggered when a company has a liquidity event, typically going public. Employees face a personal tax liability when RSUs vest, but staff are unable to sell any of these shares without the company launching a flotation. Read more

India allows Google, Amazon as online payment aggregators - The names were released for “disseminating information and ensuring greater transparency,” the central bank said on its website. While the central bank allowed the tech giants to on-board digital merchants, and process payments from the customers on their behalf, it sees big tech in full-fledged banking space as a threat to financial stability and local banks. Read more

SEC finalizes rules for move to T+1 - The final rules will also improve the processing of institutional trades, says the SEC, by requiring a broker-dealer to either enter into written agreements or establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures "reasonably designed to ensure the completion of allocations, confirmations, and affirmations as soon as technologically practicable and no later than the end of trade date". Read more

Real world use cases for Web3 in emerging markets: Launching the Crypto For Good Fund II - Mercy Corp Ventures (MCV) is looking for startups and organizations operating in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Pacific Islands, and Western Balkans, that innovatively apply Web3 and blockchain technology to build solutions for underserved populations. Read more

Select Financings

AdalFi - Pakistan based digital lending infrastructure provider raised $7.5m in Seed funding led by COTU Ventures. Read more

Alongside - Decentralized crypto indexing platform raised $11m in Seed funding led by a16z. Read more

Aspire - Singapore based B2B banking startup raised $100m in Series C funding led by Lightspeed and Sequoia Capital SEA. Read more

BOXX Insurance - Toronto based cybersecurity insurtech raised $14.4m in Series B funding led by Zurich Insurance Co. Read more

C3 - New York based self-custodial exchange raised $6m in seed funding led by Two Sigma Ventures. Read more

Caldera - Decentralized no-code web3 infrastructure platform raised $9m in new funding led by Sequoia Capital. Read more

Finq - Tel Aviv based online marketplace for investment and insurance products raised $6m in new funding led by Nir Zuk. Read more

Ironblocks - Tel Aviv based crypto cybersecurity startup raised $7m in Seed funding led by Collider Ventures and Disruptive AI. Read more

Juniper Square - San Francisco-based software provider for the private funds industry raised $133m in growth funding led by Owl Rock. Read more

Kennek - U.K. based alternative lending software company raised $4.5m in pre-Seed funding led by Dutch Founders Fund. Read more

Ledge - Tel Aviv based treasury management and payments company raised $9m in Seed funding led by New Enterprise Associates. Read more

ModernFi - New York based marketplace for banks to exchange deposits on demand raised $4.5m in Seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Read more

Monad Labs - Decentralized smart contract firm supporting the Monad blockchain has raised $19m in Seed funding led by Dragonfly Capital. Read more

Naked - South Africa based insurtech company for cars, homes, and valuables, raised $17m in Series B funding led by the International Finance Corporation. Read more

OpenEyes - Texas based insurtech focused on commercial automotive fleets raised $18m in Series A funding led by Insight Partners. Read more

Orb Labs - New York based cross-chain tooling and protocol developer raised a $4.5m in Seed funding led by Bain Capital Crypto. Read more

PhonePe - India based payments firm raised $100m in growth funding led by Ribbit Capital. Read more

Power - Kenya based financial wellness startup raised $3m in seed funding led by DOB Equity. Read more

Puzzle - San Francisco based accounting software platform raised $15m in Series A funding led by General Catalyst. Read more

Replo - San Francisco based low-code platform for creating Shopify pages raised $4.2m in Seed funding led by Infinity Ventures. Read more

Shift - Australia based provider of credit and payment platforms to businesses raised $18.6m in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia. Read more

Sikoia - London based onboarding verification, monitoring, and risk evaluation platform raised $6m in Seed funding led by MassMutual Ventures. Read more

Smile Identity - Nigeria based African ID verification and KYC compliance company raised $20m in Series B funding led by Costanoa Ventures. Read more

Stelo - Remote based Web3 payments transactions protection company raised $6m in Seed funding led by a16z crypto. Read more

Taurus - Switzerland based digital asset infrastructure company raised $65m in Series B funding led by Credit Suisse. Read more

Tazapay - Singapore based cross-border payments company raised $17m in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia. Read more

Vaas - San Francisco based debt management platform focused on Latin America raised $5m in Seed funding led by a16z. Read more

Vexi - Mexico based credit card startup raised $8m in Series A funding led by Magma Partners. Read more

VRRB Labs - Miami based Layer 1 blockchain raised $1.4m in pre-Seed funding led by Jump Crypto. Read more


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