The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday April 16, 2021 –

Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Bows to Beijing With Company Overhaul

Based on a “comprehensive, viable rectification plan” put forth by Chinese regulators, the Ant Group will become a financial holding company with oversight by the Chinese central bank: additionally, Ant will set up a licensed personal credit reporting company, restructure its online personal lending services into a regulated consumer finance company, and “strive to create societal value.”

First digital only bank in UAE set to go live

Zand, the UAE’s first fully independent digital bank is preparing to launch soon and has appointed Mr. Mohamed Alabbar (formerly of Emaar) as its chairman; Zand will provide both retail and corporate banking services and will have a full UAE banking license.

Gap to Replace Longtime Credit-Card Issuer Synchrony With Barclays

Gap is moving its private label and co-branded credit card business from Synchrony to Barclays ending a 20 plus year relationship; the portfolio which consists of Athleta, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Gap has about 11 million cards and $3.8 billion in balances.

Hatch, a neobank for SMBs, launches with $20M in funding from investors like Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital and Plaid’s founders

Hatch, a neo bank targeting SMBs has launched with $20 million in funding; Hatch offers a business checking account with a $10 monthly fee (with no NSF charges), small overdrafts and lines of credit, and debit cashback rewards.

Mastercard, UBS, and JPMorgan pour $65 million into Ethereum startup studio ConsenSys

ConsenSys, the Ethereum-focused software company has raised $65 million in funding from UBS, Chase, and Mastercard, along with several other investors; ConsenSys’ work is related to two hot areas in the crypto field, NFTs and decentralized finance or DeFi.

Coinbase, the first major cryptocurrency start-up to go public listed on the NYSE on Wednesday April 14; Coinbase’s shares began trading at $381 each, up 52% from a reference price of $250, eventually closing at $328.28 and giving the company a valuation of of $85.7 billion, more than 10 times higher than it’s last private valuation.

With tech DNA and a retail heart, Olist startup receives another US$23 million

Olist, the Brazilian startup known as the “marketplace of marketplaces”, has received another US$23 million from Goldman Sachs and Redpoint Ventures as an extension to its Series D funding; Olist helps small Brazilian retailers sell online on large marketplaces such as Mercado Libre and B2W.

Citigroup to exit most of its Asian consumer businesses

Citi has announced that it is selling off its consumer operations in 13 markets across Asia and eastern Europe in an effort to cut costs in its underperforming retail network; countries identified for the retail banking divestiture are: Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Routable raises $30m to bring modern biz payments to the enterprise

Routable, a San Francisco-based B2B payments startup, has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI and former president of Y Combinator, and Jack Altman, CEO of Lattice; Routable automates accounts payable and receivables and handles bill processing and invoice routing with direct connections to accounting software.

Profits at America’s banks are sky-high

All major American banks turned in stellar Q1 financial results with ROE’s in excess of 20% and profits doubling and tripling in many cases; the solid financial results were supported by an increase in trading and investment banking revenue and the release of credit reserves built up in 2020 (for losses that never came).