A conversation with fintech executives at Andreessen Horowitz – TechCrunch

Welcome to The Exchange! If you received it in your inbox, thank you for subscribing and for your vote of confidence. If you read this as a post on our site, subscribe here so that you can receive it directly in the future. Each week, I’ll take a look at the hottest fintech news from the previous week. This will include everything from funding rounds and trends to analysis of a particular space and hot shots on a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there and it’s my job to stay in the loop – and make sense – so you can stay in the know. — Mary Ann

Last month, Andreessen Horowitz – one of the biggest and most important players in venture capital – announced that his “head office will be in the cloud” going forward.

Founded in 2009 in Menlo Park, California, the company – also known as a16z – has been a symbol of investment in Silicon Valley for years.

His new philosophy in this post-COVID era of remote working is that there is no longer a need for a centralized headquarters. This philosophy extends to its fintech team. And let’s face it, fintech opens so many doors in general – making so much more possible in terms of running a business or just operating in general, on a global scale. Many may underestimate how much the pandemic has really pushed this acceleration in the world of financial services and people are now sort of saying, “Oh, there’s this slowdown and, like, look at how much investment has gone down. in fintech. You have to put things in perspective – we are still a long way from 2020 in terms of the amount of money invested in this space. And fintech still absorbs almost a fifth of all venture capital dollars. I think it’s because it impacts everyone on a daily basis. If financial services are easier to access or if it is easier for a business to operate, make payments or accept payments, it is thanks to fintech.

I sat down (virtually, that is) with a16z general partners Angela Strange and Anish Acharya to learn more about why the pair think we’re experiencing “Silicon Unbundling.” Valley,” which fintech sectors have the most potential, and how the new era of remote working has led to so many opportunities for fintech startups.

Learn more here.

Editor’s note: The interview with Angela and Anish took place weeks before publication, and I learned after publication that recent analysis reportedly revealed that out of the company’s fintech portfolio of 42 companies, only four had co-founders. I contacted the partners on the subject this weekend, but I had not had an answer when this newsletter went online. Of course, it’s the weekend so I didn’t expect an answer so soon. If I have an answer, I’ll let you know next weekend!

Weekly News

My fintech partner in crime, the talented Natasha Mascarenhas, ended the week with a scoop on Bandaged lay off some of the employees who support TaxJar, a tax compliance startup it acquired last year. According to Natasha: “The layoffs – made over the past month – are related to Stripe’s decision to end TaxJar-focused go-to-market efforts in late July. Sources believe the number of employees affected by the reduction workforce is between 45 and 55 people, at least some of whom were asked to take 30 days to apply for internal jobs at Stripe… According to LinkedIn, TaxJar co-founder Matt Anderson left Stripe in July, monitored by the sales, marketing and partnerships teams.Find out more here.

The world of expense management has become (even more) competitive. Corporate expense and cash management company Rho announced that it was adding expense management to its offerings with “custom controls designed to make spending less of a pain.”

Over email, the company told me that they believe “the full suite offering” is crucial in today’s fintech world. Specifically, a spokesperson said: “Looking at the landscape, there are ten different providers for each individual process: expense management (ex. Brex), expenses (ex. Expensify) and banking services (ex. Mercury). Assembling different platforms for these distinct functions creates friction for financial users. Rho believes in the power of integrating expense management and business banking. Every business finance process (AP, Commercial Banking, Expense/Card Management, Cash Management) works best when they work together in a single, connected view. »

The startup in December raised a $75 million Series B funding round led by Dragoneer Investment Group.

Speaking of expense management, Air-base announced the appointment of Philip Lacor as Chief Revenue Officer. Lacor most recently served as CRO for codeless platform company Unqork, where he managed all go-to-market efforts including sales, pre-sales consulting, customer success, operations revenue and distribution partners. He also led the company’s expansion in Asia-Pacific. Prior to that, he was CRO at Envoy.

Mexican fintech Covalto, which serves Mexican SMEs and was previously known as Credijusto, has agreed to list publicly on the US stock exchange through a SPAC at an estimated pro forma valuation of $547 million. The transaction is believed to be the first time a Mexican fintech has agreed to publicly list on a US exchange. In a press release, the company announced that it was merging with LIV Capital Acquisition Corp. II, a special-purpose acquisition company launched by Mexico-based fund LIV Capital. Upon closing of the transaction, LIVB will be renamed Covalto and will remain listed on Nasdaq under the new symbol “CVTO”. The company said creations grew at a CAGR of 152% from 2015 to 2021. More here.

While we’re talking about government procurement, there’s something interesting going on with fintech stocksaccording F-Prime Fintech Index. The index recorded a 41% increase, compared to 19.5% for EMCloud, 15.6% for Nasdaq and 12.2% for S&P. Notably, he said, Affirm leads the pack and is up 67%. Insurance stocks are up 46% overall, led by Lemonade and Oscar Health. Payment stocks are up 44% thanks to Wise and Mercado Libre. Wealth and asset management stocks are also up 32%, led by Coinbase and Bakkt Holdings. Meanwhile, banking and credit stocks rose 24%.

Speaking of To affirm. The buy-it-now, pay-later giant has announced an expanded, multi-year partnership with BigCommerce this “makes Affirm the preferred and recommended payment-over-time partner for BigCommerce’s tens of thousands of merchants,” according to the two companies. Through this partnership, BigCommerce merchants can enable Affirm as a checkout option directly in the BigCommerce Merchant Dashboard.

August 12, PayPal announced that “all eligible PayPal account holders in the United States can now transfer, send, and receive cryptocurrency with PayPal.” TechCrunch had announced that the move would take place in early June.

Robin Hood rolled out a few new features last week. On the one hand, it launched Advanced Charting, with the aim of “giving all customers customizable, fast, simple, and in-depth analysis right in the app.” The company said advanced graphics was “the most requested feature” by its active customers. The company also launched Cash Card offers, a new benefit that allows all Cash Card customers to earn money “automatically” when they spend at retailers such as Chevron, Nike, Five Guys, Macy’s and others.

Of PitchBook on payments: “The accelerated digitization of financial services, as well as the shift to online services, has benefited fintech startups in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped accelerate these trends as consumers have turned to digital financial services instead of face-to-face interactions…Digital payments, one of the first financial segments to go digital, continued to experience rapid disruptions during this period. Payment platforms have benefited from the demand for online and contactless transactions, remote working has created a need for payroll software providers, and corporate credit card providers like Ramp and Brex have reportedly seen their income increase.

Hello Alice, which says it “helps over a million small businesses grow,” announced a new Mastercard for small businesses. The card was launched on August 16 in partnership with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha, and offers small business owners features such as a rewards program offering the opportunity to earn points by performing “business development activities ” on the Hello Alice platform. The company says it recently completed a study of small business access to capital and found that 78% of owners say access to capital limits their ability to manage day-to-day operations, with Black owners (84 %) and multiracial (82%). overindexing on this claim. In its own words, Hello Alice designed the card “to meet the needs of small business owners where they are, breaking down long-standing barriers for those who have traditionally been denied access.”

Financing and M&A

Seen on TechCrunch

Pomelo exits stealth mode with $20 million seed to rethink international money transfer

Tiger Global doubles down on Indian savings and investment app Jar

Pastel, a Nigerian Bookkeeping and Digital Platform for Merchants, Raises $5.5M Led by TLcom

Highbeam signs $7 million to shed light on specific e-commerce banking needs

Funding Circle co-founder unveils new fintech company Super Payments with $27M investment

Rocketplace Raises $9M in Seed Funding to Build ‘Loyalty for Crypto’

Social investment platform eToro to acquire fintech start-up Gatsby for $50 million

YC-backed Arc, a digital bank for ‘high-growth’ SaaS startups, lands $20M Series A

Seen elsewhere

Payments firm AtoB raises $155M in Series B to ‘modernize the trucking industry’

Ecuadorian “unicorn” Kushki buys financial services start-up as part of Mexican expansion. TechCrunch hedged the company’s $100 million rise to a $1.5 billion valuation in June.

Agora Raises $20M Series A Led by Insight Partners “To Accelerate Growth of Real Estate Companies Through Digital Transformation”

Closinglock Announces $4 Million Funding Led by LiveOak Venture Partners

ICYMI: Kapital Digital Credit Fintech Raises $30M in Debt and Equity to Expand in Mexico and Colombia

Another busy fintech week in the books. Thank you, as always, for your support in reading and sharing my newsletter! Have a wonderful week ahead. xoxo, Mary Ann