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Crypto infra startup Fireblocks raises $310M, triples valuation to $2.2B

Fireblocks, an infrastructure provider for digital assets, has raised $310 million in a Series D round of funding that tripled the company’s valuation to $2.2 billion in just over five months.
Sequoia Capital, Stripes and Spark Capital co-led Fireblocks’ latest round, which also included participation from Coatue, DRW VC  and SCB 10X – the venture arm of Thailand’s oldest bank – and Siam Commercial Bank. The latter is the third global bank to invest in Fireblocks in addition to the Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon and SVB Capital. 
In February, the New York-based startup raised $133 million in a Series C round …

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The Accellion data breach continues to get messier

Morgan Stanley has joined the growing list of Accellion hack victims — more than six months after attackers first breached the vendor’s 20-year-old file-sharing product. 
The investment banking firm — which is no stranger to data breaches — confirmed in a letter this week that attackers stole personal information belonging to its customers by hacking into the Accellion FTA server of its third-party vendor, Guidehouse. In a letter sent to those affected, first reported by Bleeping Computer, Morgan Stanley admitted that threat actors stole an unknown number of documents containing customers’ addresses and Social Security numbers.
The documents were encrypted, but the …

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Tom Blomfield takes first board post at Generation Home, after leaving Monzo and Angel investing

Following on from mid-June when first-time buyer mortgage lending startup Generation Home raised a $30.4m Series A round and a £300m loan facility from NatWest, it’s now adding to its board.
Although known for becoming an Angel investor since leaving Monzo, the challenger bank startup he co-founded, Tom Blomfield hasn’t joined any startup boards.
That changes today with the news that he is joining Generation Home.
The startup launched last year with radically a different model for home buying – effectively allowing relatives to become co-equity holders in the properties their children bought, and go along for the ride.

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Tribal Credit, which provides credit cards to startups in emerging markets, raises $34.3M

The B2B payments space has seen an explosion in demand, and investor interest, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses try to figure out how to pay each other digitally. The challenges become even more complex when dealing with cross-border payments.
Startups that were formed before the pandemic stand to benefit from the shift. One such startup, Tribal Credit, launched its beta in late 2019 to provide payment products for startups and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in emerging markets.
Today, Tribal Credit announced it has raised $34.3 million in a combined Series A and debt round led by …

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The Robinhood competitor landscape intensifies as Invstr raises $20M

One of the biggest gripes about investing apps is that they are not acting responsibly by not educating users properly and allegedly letting them fend for themselves. This can result in people losing a lot of money, as evidenced by the number of lawsuits against Robinhood.
Today, an eight-year-old company that has been focused on nothing but financial education is now offering trading and banking services in the U.S..
Over the years, London-based Invstr has built out an educational platform with features such as an investing Academy. It’s created a Fantasy Finance game, which gives users the ability …

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SoFi acquires community bank Golden Pacific Bancorp to speed up its national bank charter process

SoFi, more formally known as Social Finance, announced today that it has agreed to acquire Golden Pacific Bancorp (GPB) for about $22.3 million.
The dollar amount is not staggering. What is more notable about the acquisition is that it’s giving SoFi a quick route to getting a national bank charter. SoFi, a digital personal finance company, got preliminary approval for a bank charter last October. By acquiring Golden Pacific, the company gets a fast track into that process. Once the transaction closes later this year, GPB will become a subsidiary of the company.
A national bank charter will give SoFi …

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Square’s bank arm launches as fintech aims ‘to operate more nimbly’

Known for its innovations in the payments sector, Square is now officially a bank.
Nearly one year after receiving conditional approval, Square said Monday afternoon that its industrial bank, Square Financial Services, has begun operations. Square Financial Services completed the charter approval process with the FDIC and Utah Department of Financial Institutions, meaning it’s ready for business.
The bank, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, will offer business loan and deposit products, starting with underwriting, and originating business loans for Square Capital’s existing lending product.
Historically, Square has been known for its card reader and point-of-sale …

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Brex applies for bank charter, taps former Silicon Valley Bank exec as CEO of Brex Bank

Brex is the latest fintech to apply for a bank charter.
The fast-growing company, which sells a credit card tailored for startups with Emigrant Bank currently acting as the issuer, announced Friday that it has submitted an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (UDFI) to establish Brex Bank.
The industrial bank will be located in Draper, Utah, and be a wholly owned subsidiary of Brex.
The company has tapped former Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) exec Bruce Wallace to serve as the subsidiary’s CEO. He served in several roles at SVB, …

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Fintech companies must balance the pursuit of profit against ethical data usage

Richard Steggall
Contributor

Australia native Richard Steggall is the CEO of Urban FT, a New York-based fintech company. He has more than two decades of experience in fintech, capital growth, mergers & acquisitions and strategic IPO advisory.

Financial institutions are falling behind the tech curve in delivering on the convenience consumers demand, leaving the door wide open for Big Tech companies like Apple, Amazon and Google to become our bankers. In November, Google redesigned its contactless payments service Google Pay, merging the services of traditional banks with the seamless, convenient experience users expect from the likes of Big Tech.
But there’ …

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Tesla’s Bitcoin investment could be bad for the company’s climate reputation and its bottom line

Tesla’s $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin may be good for Elon Musk, but it’s definitely risky for the company that made him the world’s richest man, according to investors, analysts and money managers at some of the country’s largest banks.
As a standard bearer for the consumer electric vehicle industry and the broader climate tech movement rallying around it, Tesla’s bet to go all in on crypto could damage its climate bonafides and its reputation with customers even as other automakers pour in to the EV market.

Given Bitcoin’s current environmental footprint, the deal flies …

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