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Square to buy ‘buy now, pay later’ giant Afterpay in $29B deal

In a blockbuster deal that rocks the fintech world, Square announced today that it is acquiring Australian buy now, pay later giant Afterpay in a $29 billion all-stock deal.
The purchase price is based on the closing price of Square common stock on July 30, which was $247.26. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, contingent upon certain closing conditions. It values Afterpay at more than 30% premium to its latest closing price of A$96.66.
Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement that the two fintech behemoths “have a shared purpose.”
“We built our business to make …

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Airtel Africa gets an extra $200M for its mobile money business from QIA

Three months ago, Mastercard invested $100 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV) — the mobile money business of telecom Airtel Africa. This was two weeks after it also received $200 million from TPG’s Rise Fund.
Today, the African telecoms operator has announced that it has secured another investment for its mobile money arm. The investor? Qatar Holding LLC, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar with over $300 billion in assets. The Middle Eastern corporation is set to invest $200 million into AMC BV through a secondary purchase of shares from Airtel …

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Mint’s first PM raises millions for Monarch, an Accel-backed money management platform

Monarch, a subscription-based platform that aims to help consumers “plan and manage” their financial lives, has raised $4.8 million in seed funding.
Accel led the round, which also included participation from SignalFire, and brings the Mountain View-based yet fully distributed startup’s total funding since its 2019 inception to $5.5 million.
Co-founder and CEO Val Agostino was the first product manager on the original team that built Mint.com. There, he said, he saw firsthand that Americans with a greater understanding of financial matters “needed software solutions that went beyond just tracking and budgeting.” 
“They needed help planning their financial future and understanding …

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Checkout is the key to frictionless B2B e-commerce

Andrew Steele
Contributor

Andrew Steele is an investor at Activant Capital. He focuses on fintech and e-commerce infrastructure and is based in New York.

The COVID-19 pandemic cemented e-commerce into everyone’s daily habits in 2020, and as we look ahead, B2B e-commerce is quickly becoming the next frontier for founders and investors.
Businesses have shifted online, and the emergence of B2B marketplaces and e-commerce infrastructure is fueling a new wave of growth that’s estimated to reach $3.6 trillion in annual gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2024.
But one major component remains missing from the stack: checkout, which has the …

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WhenThen’s no-code payments platform attracts $6M from European VCs Stride and Cavalry

The payments space – amazingly – remains up for grabs for startups. Yes dear reader, despite the success of Stripe, there seems to be a new payments startup virtually every other day. It’s a mess out there! The accelerated growth of e-commerce due to the pandemic means payments are now a booming space. And here comes another one, with a twist.
WhenThen has built a no-code payment operations platform that, they claim, streamlines the payment processes “of merchants of any kind”.  It says its platform can autonomously orchestrate, monitor, improve and manage all customer payments and payments ops.
The startup’s …

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Digital lending platform Blend valued at over $4B in its public debut

Mortgages may not be considered sexy, but they are a big business.
And if you’ve refinanced or purchased a home digitally lately, you may or may not have noticed the company powering the software behind it — but there’s a good chance that company is Blend.
Founded in 2012, the startup has steadily grown to be a leader in the mortgage tech industry. Blend’s white label technology powers mortgage applications on the site of banks including Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, for example, with the goal of making the process faster, simpler and more transparent. 
The San Francisco-based …

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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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AdTech startup Tomi raises Seed funding to make real estate ads perform as well as ecommerce

Industries like real estate, automotive, and financial services have long and offline sales cycles and digital advertising tends not to perform well in these areas. The conversion rates are low and because the real-world assets are offline the temptation of advertisers is to buy leads and clicks, which can inflate customer acquisition costs. People are browsing but they end up buying offline, basically.
A new startup, Tomi plans to address this issue by processing a user’s behavior on a company’s website (using a tracking pixel, combined with ad APIs and CRMs) to help companies reach customers more in …

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Perspectives on tackling Big Tech’s market power

The need for markets-focused competition watchdogs and consumer-centric privacy regulators to think outside their respective ‘legal silos’ and find creative ways to work together to tackle the challenge of big tech market power was the impetus for a couple of fascinating panel discussions organized by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), which were livestreamed yesterday but are available to view on-demand here.
The conversations brought together key regulatory leaders from Europe and the US — giving a glimpse of what the future shape of digital markets oversight might look like at a time when fresh blood has just been injected …

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Wagely, an Indonesian earned wage access and financial services platform, raises $5.6M

Wagely founders (from l to r): Tobias Fischer, Sasanadi Ruka and Kevin Hausburg
Earned wage access (EWA) platforms that allow workers to withdraw their earnings on demand instead of waiting until payday are proliferating around the world. Today, Indonesian EWA startup wagely announced it has raised $5.6 million in strategic funding, led by Integra Partners (formerly known as Dymon Asia Ventures). Other investors included the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Ventures, PT Triputra Investindo Arya, Global Founders Capital, Trihill Capital, 1982 Ventures and Willy Swandi Dharma, former president director of insurance company PT Asuransi Adira Dinamika.
Founded in 2020 by alumni of two of …

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