Your weekly resource for noteworthy news, fascinating features, and FinTech titbits that caught our eye. Whether you live by your Twitter lists, save your Google Alerts or simply scroll through LinkedIn for insights and commentary – there is a wealth of content that weaves a global story around FinTech.
Our job at FinTech Talents is to work within that global story – finding the news items, conventional wisdoms and hard data that aids us in bringing the industry the best content, community and experiences in the business.
This week’s FTT Bookmark of timely resources and real time conversations that are shaping FinTech is brought to you by VC Innovation Director, Liz Lumley.
This week many women held up a mirror to the world on what it is like when they try and occupy public spaces, such as waiting for a public bus, dropping their children off at school and holding a candle in a public park. But the world of FinTech saw resignations, public offerings, huge valuations and the loss of yet another FinTech from the crucible of a bank. To top it off our bacon rolls may be at risk!
NatWest winds down online lending platform Esme – City AM
NatWest’s foray into the FinTech world has come to an abrupt end with the closure of its standalone SME lending platform Esme Loans.
Esme launched in 2017 offering loans between £5,000 and £150,000 for small business customers.
Liz’s Take: Following on the heels of the ill-fated Bo’, FinTech entrants – created within the bosom of an incumbent bank (well RBS) has had its death notice signed. Building a startup is hard in any environment – but RBS/NatWest’s track record with fostering these internal startups is not good. I wouldn’t get too attached to Mettle, if I were you.
Stripe raises new capital, reaching $95 billion valuation ahead of highly anticipated market debut – CNBC
Online payments technology provider Stripe announced Sunday that it has raised a new $600 million round of funding that values the company at $95 billion — nearly triple its last reported valuation of $36 billion from April 2020, according to PitchBook data.
Liz’s Take: Ireland’s favourite sons, the Collison Brothers are barely 30! 30 years old….and worth billions…. (yes, I know, they worked hard, had a good idea, run the company well yadda yadda yadda….but they were born in 1990!)
Simon Hu resigns as Ant Group CEO following regulatory crackdown – CNN Business
Simon Hu has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of Ant Group, months after the digital payments company was forced to pull its IPO amid a crackdown by Chinese regulators.
“The Ant Group Board of Directors has accepted Mr. Simon Hu’s resignation request, due to personal reasons,” said a spokesperson for the Alibaba (BABA) affiliate.
Liz’s Take: The Ant Group has long been held up as an example to the west of ‘Where tech and FinTech are going’. It makes sense, the market share alone of Alipay is enough to make even the most sober FinTech CEO green with envy. But no matter the tech and the market share (there are over a billion people in China – hence the market share), remember that China is still a Communist country, run by a very powerful central government. We in the west tend to get blinded by the valuation, customer base and technical innovation. But when Beijing decides it needs greater control over its tech companies – Beijing gets control.
All evaluation of Chinese tech companies needs to be seen through this lens.
eToro is going public via a US SPAC, hitting a $10bn valuation - Sifted
eToro, the prominent European trading app, has announced it’s going public via a blank cheque company (or SPAC).
The startup has agreed a valuation of $10.4bn as part of a merger with the FinTech Acquisition Corp. V, a shell company that is publicly listed in the US.
It comes as little surprise, given eToro — founded in Israel in 2007 — has long hinted at plans for a public listing. Nonetheless, today’s deal exceeds expectations reported in December that eToro was eyeing a $5bn listing on the Nasdaq exchange.
Liz’s Take: One to watch. I have long been a fan of eToro (when I first put them on stage in London in 2012 😉) Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have boomed in popularity over the past 12 months, with investors racing to capture late-stage startups. These shell companies buy startups and offer them a quick supply of capital, as well as possibly a “softer” route to the public stock markets. I am interested to see whether this works out eToro.
Greggs sinks to first loss in 36 years – Yahoo! Finance
Sausage roll purveyor Greggs has sunk to its first loss in 36 years as the Covid-19 pandemic hit one of the stalwarts of the high street.
Bosses at the chain announced a pre-tax loss of £13.7 million in 2020, compared with a £108.3 million profit a year earlier, with sales dropping from £1.17 billion to £811.3 million as stores closed their doors for large swathes of the year.
Liz’s Take: Greggs, Nooooo! If ya’ll knew the place the Gregg’s bacon roll holds in the growth of FinTech Talents. Hold on Gregg’s – you’re the pastry filled fuel of the FinTech working men and women everywhere!
What Liz RT’d this week: (Technically last week – but close enough 🙂 )
— Teana Baker-Taylor (@TeanaTaylor) March 9, 2021
Stay tuned for next week when our VC Innovations news hounds takes the reins of the news cart and to fill the basket with insights, interviews and interesting stuff!