Posted In:

Twitter, Elon Musk

What The Little Birdie Told Me


May 07, 2022


Roxy Horrie

Posted In:

Twitter, Elon Musk


May 07, 2022


Roxy Horrie


What do a16z, Binance, and Fidelity all have in common? And it's not their love for crypto… it’s their backing and love for Twitter. Indeed, Twitter’s take-private bid for $44b by Elon Musk and a group of two dozen investors is perhaps the most surprising news in the public equity markets from the past few months.

But it’s not the only news. As growth company valuations compress from COVID peaks and IPO demand continues to cool off, management teams are seeking alternate means of funding. Peloton is reportedly looking to sell up to 20% of the company for new funding, while Revolut has ruled out the possibility of a 2022 IPO amid current market conditions.

At the same time, M&A activity has dropped in 1Q22 by almost 23%, according to GlobalData, which further restricts a company’s available avenues for fundraising, but creates an interesting opportunity for LBOs (Leveraged Buyouts). In many cases, take-privates involve reducing headcount and other cost-cutting measures in the purchased asset, then returning it to the public markets once it has become a more efficient business.

Admittedly, these turnaround stories don’t typically provide venture-type returns, but perhaps there is more to the Twitter takeover than financial gain. As the “town-square” of public debate, it sits at the epicenter of recent regulation around free speech and misinformation. All eyes on Elon’s Twitter Circle…

What The Little Birdie Told Me

Portfolio News

FinTech Collective invests in Sabi - We are very pleased to announce FinTech Collective’s investment in Sabi, a fifteen-month old, Lagos-based company creating massive efficiencies across the hyper-fragmented supply chain of Africa’s informal economy. Since meeting the dynamic founders - Anu Adesolum (CEO) and Ademola “Demmy” Adesina (Corporate Development & Embedded Finance) - we have continued to track their speedy and steady journey scaling the business. We've been continually impressed by the thoughtfulness and sophistication with which they approach every aspect of their work. Read more

Could Europe's first proptech unicorn be on the horizon? - IMMO's recent fundraise - the largest series B proptech raise in Europe - is a sign that the market is growing, and growing up. The tech-driven residential investment platform, founded in 2017 by CEO Hans-Christian "Gigi" Zappel, chief investment officer Samantha Kempe, formerly of Blackstone, and chief operating officer Avinav Nigam, was already a big deal. It is backed by $2.5b of commitments from some fairly beefy institutional investors and has plans to buy 10,000 homes across Europe. Read more

Colorado and New Mexico select Vestwell to power historic State Savings Program - Colorado and New Mexico recently created a historic partnership, signing a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) for their auto-enroll IRA programs. Through this partnership, an estimated one million private-sector workers in Colorado and 430,000 in New Mexico will now have access to a retirement plan through their employer. Vestwell, in partnership with BNY Mellon, will serve as the Program Administrator, providing recordkeeping, custodial, and administrative services to employers and employees in Colorado and New Mexico. Read more

Mondu moves into online B2B BNPL with BaaS support from Raisin - Mondu’s BNPL product currently allows for flexible payment terms via direct integration into the checkout process of online merchants. If a business customer decides to use one of the payment methods offered, Mondu coordinates the processing of the payments as well as associated services. As a fronting bank, Raisin Bank ensures the regulatory requirements for factoring and also provides payment and account services. Read more

Meet Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmate who is trying to build a global startup factory - After finishing a two-year stint in Norway’s naval special forces, Antler founder and CEO Magnus Grimeland arrived at Harvard as a 23-year-old freshman in 2003. He promptly caught the tech bug, which put him in an opportune place at an opportune time. Grimeland befriended a classmate named Eduardo Saverin. He rowed on the crew team, where he met Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. He might have even worked for Mark Zuckerberg at TheFacebook, as it was then known, if he weren’t also juggling classes and athletics and caring for his infant son. Read more

What The Little Birdie Told Me

Elon Musk secures $7.1b in new financing for Twitter - The equity commitments from 19 investors, including Larry Ellison, a Saudi Prince, a16z and Sequoia Capital come as Musk marshals capital to bankroll one of the biggest tech industry takeovers. Musk had originally said he planned to fund the deal in part with a $12.5b loan against his shares in Tesla, which the new funding will allow him to reduce by half the size. Read more

Elon Musk hates ads. Twitter needs them. That may be a problem - Many marketers were already lukewarm on the service. Now, some may move their money elsewhere if the content moderation policies are relaxed. Read more

Buzzy fintech Revolut has ruled out going public in 2022 amid the slowdown in the global IPO market - Challenger bank Revolut has no plans to go public for at least another two years as it bids to build up revenues against a backdrop of plummeting tech valuations and interest rate hikes, sources said. Nik Storonsky, the startup's CEO and cofounder, played down an imminent public bow during a town hall meeting last month, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Read more

Will the corporate venture boom lead to an M&A frenzy? - Public valuations have been taking a hit - for macroeconomic reasons, of course, but also because of mounting doubts about whether double-digit multiples can hold and whether the exits were mispriced in the first place. The logical consequence of stock market woes is that many tech companies are pausing their IPO plans, not to mention SPAC mergers. Public exits have almost come to a halt in many regions and considerably slowed in others. Read more

Peloton seeks minority investment to shore up business - New capital could bolster Peloton as it attempts a major turnaround. It could also serve as a vote of confidence if it comes from an established private-equity firm or technology giant such as Amazon, which is among the suitors that have explored a full purchase of Peloton. Read more

Industry News

Stripe flexes its fintech muscle with Financial Connections to pull banking data automatically - Financial Connections will let Stripe’s customers connect directly to their customer’s bank accounts, to access financial data to speed up or run certain kinds of transactions. These include verifying accounts for payments and payouts; to check balances ahead of a payment being made to ensure there’s enough money there; to confirm account ownership. Details like these can in turn be used to help underwrite risk for loans or to track spending patterns and automatically pay bills. Read more

NYSE-owner ICE to buy Black Knight in $13.1b deal - The acquisition of Black Knight, which provides software, data and analytics to the real estate and housing finance markets, is the latest in a string of deals since 2016 by ICE to support its mortgage servicing business as it bets on a windfall from the automation of the home financing process. Read more

SEC to hire more crypto cops to fight digital frauds - The SEC said it plans to add 20 investigators and litigators to its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit, which was created in September 2017 when regulators noticed a surge of new digital coins sold to the public. The commission has positioned itself as the chief government bulwark against fraud in the $1.7t market, which so far has sidestepped most federal consumer- and investor-protection rules. Read more

Citi trader made error behind flash crash in Europe stocks - A trader at the U.S. firm made a mistake “inputting a transaction,” Citigroup said after a knee-jerk selloff in Swedish stocks in five minutes wreaked havoc in bourses from Paris to Warsaw. The violent reaction saw the main European index lose as much as 3%, wiping out 300b euros at one point. It revived questions how large financial firms can prevent such errors, and whether markets have sufficient safeguards in place. Read more

Instagram is the new frontier for central banks. Is TikTok next? - The world’s central banks are mixing it with wellness influencers, makeup experts and amateur chefs on Instagram as they increasingly turn to the social media platform to get their messages across. Bank Indonesia is the most-followed central bank on Instagram, with just under 700,000 followers as of April 28. It’s followed by the authorities in Venezuela and Brazil. Read more

Apple charged by Brussels with abusing its market power in mobile payments - Antitrust investigators are concerned that Apple is preventing competitors from accessing “tap and go” chips or near-field communication (NFC) to benefit its own Apple Pay system, the European Commission said in a statement this week. Read more

Yuga Labs sees $561m in Otherside Ethereum NFT sales within 24 hours - Yuga Labs, the startup behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), had its highly anticipated Otherside metaverse mint on Saturday night, clogging the Ethereum mainnet and sending gas prices to shocking heights. In the case of Otherdeeds, each is meant to be “the key to claiming land in Otherside,” Yuga Labs’ upcoming metaverse game. Read more

Fed, Biden administration float new lending rules for lower-income areas - Top U.S. regulators proposed overhauling how banks lend hundreds of billions of dollars annually in lower-income communities, the first major revamp to the standards in more than two decades as lenders increasingly offer financial services online. The proposal to modernize rules for the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act aims to ensure lending to lower-income individuals and small businesses is distributed more evenly where banks do business. Read more

Bankers quit jobs for shot at riches in ‘Wall Street of Crypto’ - In the shadow of Dubai’s sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel, crypto executives rubbed shoulders with Emirati royals, Wall Street bankers and Instagram influencers. The festivities in late March were organized by Binance Holdings in its de facto home of the United Arab Emirates, which is fast becoming a global hub for digital currencies. Read more

Thiel-Backed fintech company Neo turns unicorn with $185m funding - Since its last funding round in September, Neo has nearly doubled in size to 650 employees from 350, with plans to add another 100 this year, and increased the number of retailer partners on its rewards platform to 7,000 from 4,000. By the end of this year, it plans to enter the mortgage market with loans done through partnerships with financial institutions. Read more

Fintech firms tap AI to reach more borrowers - With an uptick in consumer lending, fintech companies see a chance to grow by filling gaps for underserved borrowers, online lenders and industry analysts say. Rather than relying on traditional credit scores, many fintech lenders are feeding a wider range of data into platforms powered by artificial intelligence to present a broader picture of applicants who might otherwise be turned away by banks. Read more

Binance’s warm welcome in France draws stark divide with UK - France has warmly welcomed Binance’s bid to put down roots in one of Europe’s top financial centres, drawing a deep divide with watchdogs in the UK that rejected the crypto giant. Read more

Select Financings

Alan - France based health insurance startup raised €183m in Series E funding led by Teachers’ Venture Growth. Read more

Allocate - San Francisco based digital investment platform focused on VC funds and co-investments raised $15.3m in Series A funding led by M13. Read more

Concerto - Texas based credit card co-branding startup raised $21.5m in Seed funding led by Matrix Partners. Read more

Getlife - Madrid based life insurance startup raised €6m in Seed funding led by Singular. Read more

Kevin - Lithuania based account-to-account payments startup raised $65m in Series A funding led by Accel. Read more

Lev - New York based digital commercial real estate transaction platform raised $70m in Series B funding led by Parker89 and Cross River Digital Ventures. Read more

Line - San Francisco based inclusive lending fintech company raised $7m in Seed funding led by Massive. Read more

LootRush - US based NFT rental gaming startup raised $12m in Seed funding led by Paradigm. Read more

Neo Financial - Canada based digital bank raised C$185m in Series C funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Ownwell - Texas based property tax savings startup raised $5.75m in Seed funding led by First Round Capital. Read more

Open - India based neobank raised $50m in Series D funding led by IIFL. Read more

Point - San Francisco based home equity-for-cash company raised $115 million in Series C funding led by WestCap. Read more

Possible Finance - Seattle based lending startup raised $20m in new funding led by Union Square Ventures, Canvas Ventures and Unlock Venture Partners. Read more

Scalapay - Italy based BNPL company raised $27m in Series B funding led by Poste Italiane. Read more

Stake - Australia based online trading company raised $50m in Series A funding led by Tiger Global and DST Global Partners. Read more

Stakes - New York based web3-focused social wagering platform raised $5.3m in Seed funding led by Digital Currency Group and FBG Capital. Read more

Teleport - Oakland based provider of infrastructure access management solutions raised $110m in Series C funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Read more

Xepelin - Chile based B2B payments startup raised $111m in Series B funding led by Avenir and Kaszek. Read more

Zora - Web3 based protocol for building NFT apps raised $50m in new funding led by Haun Ventures. Read more


FinTech Collective Newsletter

Curated News with Context

Delivered every Saturday, the weekly newsletter, produced by our team, provides a tightly edited rundown of global fintech news, along with a bit of our original analysis.