Welcome to The Interchange! If you’ve received this in your inbox, thank you for subscribing and for your vote of confidence. If you are reading this as a post on our website, please subscribe Here so that you can receive it directly in the future. Each week we take a look at the hottest fintech news from the previous week. This includes everything from funding rounds, trends and an analysis of a specific space to current interpretations of a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there, and it’s our job to stay on top of it – and understand it – so you stay in the loop. — Mary Ann And Christine
Hello Hello. Christine and I strayed a bit from our typical fintech coverage this week in favor of investigative reporting. We took a look Newchip, an Austin-based accelerator that recently imploded. In our humble opinion, it’s definitely worth a read. While not exclusively focused on fintech startups, it is the complex story of a troubled accelerator that claimed to help entrepreneurs “succeed.” Some founders claim it did anything but, while a group of employees were so dissatisfied with the way the company was run that they left en masse over two weeks ago. There’s a lot of back-and-forth, and while we don’t know exactly what happened behind closed doors, it’s sad to see an organization that wants to devote itself to the startup community find itself in this situation – especially for the founders involved and founder employees.
In the pure fintech space, we saw a spate of insurtech funding rounds last week! TechCrunch alone reported four such increases, including Wefox, obie, Bolttech And figorr. This prompted TC+ editor Alex Wilhelm to dig a little deeper and conclude that “despite chaotic IPOs, there’s good reason to be bullish on insurtech startups.” Mary Ann
Step replaces Apple and introduces a 5% savings account
Every time I looked at the monthly dividend in my bank account over the past few years, I’ve said to myself, “The bank could really keep that 6 cents.” Well, neo-banks and other fintech companies think we should have better returns, too should achieve.
This week I wrote about Step, the digital banking service for teens and young adults, which has announced a whopping 5% interest rate on its savings accounts.
While the interest rate is important, I would like to point out how it is well known that few Americans could come up with $400 in an emergency. So it’s nice to see that Step and others are focusing on motivating people to save more.
The news comes about a month after Apple introduced its savings account interest rate of 4.15%. CJ MacDonald, Step co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that the company’s goal is always to offer the highest price; However, one cannot help but wonder if Apple’s entry might have inspired neobanks and other financial organizations to fill the gap.
Learn how Step’s 5% account works. — Christine
Manish Singh reports: “Founder of ZestMoney have exited the startup, the latest twist in the fortunes of the Indian fintech, whose ability to underwrite small loans to first-time internet customers once found the backing of many high-profile investors, including Goldman Sachs. Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma and Ashish Anantharaman, the founders of ZestMoney, informed employees of their decision on Monday.” More here.
Having recently acquired another startup, Ribbonreal estate fintech EasyKnock confirmed that it had laid off 10% of its employees. A spokesperson told TechCrunch that the decision “was part of a larger effort to accelerate the company’s path to profitability and ensure long-term business sustainability.”
In the WTF section of our newsletter: Revolut UK boss told client he would be waiting for him with a shotgun.
If it feels like a corporate spending company is releasing new features every week, that’s because that’s basically what’s happening. Here’s the latest: Ramp introduces AI tools to track business expenses. Also, Fintech Ramp launches money-saving AI tools for businesses, Microsoft CEO announces more than investors.
Truist invites customers to the “Long Game” in the field of finance wellness (TechCrunch broke the news as Truist acquired Long Game to target younger audiences in 2022.)
Stripe enables payment by bank for Airbnb
Introducing Alpha to the public: your AI-powered investment companion for making smarter decisions
Financing and M&A
Seen on TechCrunch
Wefox secures $4.5 billion in new funding and aims for profitability
British pension startup Smart transfers $95 million
Cold-chain startup Figorr raises $1.5 million helping launch data-driven insurance for perishables
M-KOPA raises over $250 million in debt and equity for its asset financing platform
Spiff begins “massive overhaul of core sales commission engine” after $50M Series C.
Insurance company Bolttech gets $196 million at a $1.6 billion valuation from investors including MetLife
Tiger Global-backed Axis is launching an $8.25 million digital payments platform for Egyptian SMEs months after its launch
Percent Receives $30M Investment to Connect Investors to Private Lending
Rental-focused insurance company Obie raises $25.5 million led by Battery Ventures
Sourcing platform Zip raises $100 million at a $1.5 billion valuation
Accounting software company Tipalti secures $150 million in growth funding
PayIt makes its first acquisition with the purchase of S3
Avenue One rental platform is valued at $1 billion
Co-branded credit card startup Cardless raises $75 million line of credit
Fintech Maxwell acquires mortgage solutions provider LenderSelect
Thanks again for reading and all of your support! We are grateful to you. Until next week! xoxoxo, Mary Ann and Christine
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