Friday March 12, 2021 –
Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.
Mastercard, Visa, Fiserv and others band together as renewed battles over swipe fees brew
The CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, FIS, Fiserv, and Global Payments have joined together to establish a trade association called, the Payments Leadership Council; Raj Date, Former Deputy Director CFPB has been appointed as the Founding Director.
Allianz Group’s digital investment unit acquires undisclosed stake in Hong Kong fintech unicorn WeLab for US$75 million, as it eyes Greater Bay Area opportunities
The Allianz Group’s digital investment unit, Allianz X has invested $75 million in WeLab, a Hong Kong-based fintech company; WeLab currently operates in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Indonesia, also owns one of the eight virtual banking licenses granted in Hong Kong.
Fidelity leads a $376 million investment in Starling, valuing the UK digital bank at $1.5 billion
Starling Bank has raised $376 million in an investment round led by Fidelity Investments at a valuation of $1.5 billion; Starling is expected to use the new money for expansion into Europe and also for acquisitions, most likely a lender.
SoFi Is Buying a Community Lender to Speed Up Banking Expansion
SoFi has signaled that it is buying Golden Pacific Bancorp, a California-based community bank for about $22 million to accelerate its push into banking; recall, SoFi was granted conditional approval by the OCC last year for a banking charter.
JPMorgan Shutting Down Digital Wallet a Year After Discontinuing App
Chase is shutting down its Chase Pay digital wallet about a year after discontinuing the standalone app (that could be used to make in-store mobile payments); the bank will be removing Chase Pay from all merchant websites and apps by the end of the month and will be adding some of the popular Chase Pay features directly into the Chase mobile app and Chase.com.
Flutterwave Raises USD $170M In Funding
Africa-focused payments company Flutterwave has raised $170 million in a Series C round that values the company at over $1 billion; Flutterwave offers an innovative cross-border platform that enables global businesses to expand into Africa and other emerging markets, and serves more than 290,000 businesses including clients like Uber, Flywire, Booking.com, and Facebook.
BlockFi lands a $350M Series D at a $3B valuation for its fast-growing crypto-lending platform
BlockFi, a financial services company for crypto market investors has closed on a $350 million Series D funding round at a valuation of $3 billion; BlockFi has been riding the boom in the crypto markets with its client base growing from 10,000 to more than 225,000 over the last year.
Atom Bank valuation halves as it finalises £40m fundraising
Atom Bank, one of the UK’s older digital banks is reportedly looking to raise new funding at 60p-a-share, just under half the price at which it raised equity in 2019; if the deal goes through, it is expected to further concentrate Atom’s ownership in the hands of just two shareholders: BBVA and Toscafund.
Autobooks Raises $25M in Series B Funding
Autobooks, a small business payment and accounting services platform has raised $25 million in Series B financing, led by MissionOG with participation from multiple investors; Autobooks enables small businesses to send digital invoices and accept online payments directly from their financial institution’s existing online and mobile banking channels.
Southeast Asia’s Grab in talks for U.S. listing via $40 billion SPAC deal
Singapore-based superapp Grab is reportedly in talks to go public through a merger with a SPAC that could value it at nearly $40 billion; according to two sources, Grab has had discussions with Silicon Valley-based investment firm Altimeter Capital Management and other SPACs.