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🗓 All FinTech news in February 2023

Sequoia's Surge presented 12 new entrants to SEA and Indian markets

The 12 startups gathered in the presentation hall had been hand-picked from about 3,600 applicants for the latest cohort of Sequoia’s four-year-old early-stage-focused Surge program

Amazon and Better teams up to let employees to buy houses via stock

Even former Amazon employees with vested equity can use the service, according to, and there are many, following Amazon companywide layoffs.

Financial Services startup StudentFinance raised Seed round of $5.3M

Founded out of Spain in 2019, StudentFinance partners with educational institutions such as Ironhack and Le Wagon to help finance those looking to upskill into disciplines like software development, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, serving as an alternative to traditional bank or student loans.

Lending startup SoLo Funds raised Series A round of $10M

The community finance company defines the claim “as a business-to-consumer personal finance banking solution, U.S.-based and Black-owned with registered users or downloads above 1 million. Black-owned is defined as Black majority ownership.”

FinTech startup Pagos raised Series A round of $34M

Our action products bring together a company’s data and provide APIs to give developers and business stakeholders in a company the ability to build more sophistication in their payment stack to address issues such as churn, risk, and cost

FinTech startup Spade raised seed round of $5M led by a16z

With that more enhanced data, Spade customers, which include card issuers, anti-fraud platforms and neobanks, can do things like implement spending controls and improve fraud prevention models.

FinTech CRED gets into BNPL play in India

Cred flash, the Bengaluru-headquartered startup’s foray into buy now and pay later category

create-web3-dapp by Alchemy enables devs to build apps under 4 min

The tool will be compatible with Alchemy-supported blockchains like Ethereum, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism and more, Rivabella noted. It also plans to include other protocols and software development kits in the future, he added.

Eclipse to launch a scaling solution on top of Solana

Sealevel Virtual Machine will be powered by Eclipse and will be able to run smart contracts and tooling compatible with Solana, which will ultimately increase throughput speed and interoperability for crypto subsectors like gaming, DeFi and more, Neel Somani, founder of Eclipse an Ethereum-focused layer-2 blockchain launched by Coinbase

Coinbase, the second largest crypto exchange by trading volume, has launched Base, an Ethereum-focused layer-2 (L2) blockchain, Jesse Pollak, lead for Base and head of protocols at Coinbase.

Spotify to enable NFT owners to access secret playlists

The announcement of the NFT-gated playlists pilot comes just before Spotify is set to hold its Stream On event on March 8

Web3 Tezos lands partnership with Google Cloud

The partnership plans to make it easier for all Google Cloud customers to become Tezos “bakers,” or network validators

Klarna jumps 71% in GMV in US in 2022 over 2021

We wanted to make sure that consumers would be able to use Klarna everywhere. So we created a browser that allows you to go to any website like Amazon, and you have this Klarna button at the bottom

Coinbase generated $605 million in total revenue in 2022

Wall Street expected Coinbase to report $581.2 million in revenue and earnings per share of -$2.44 with adjusted EBITDA of -$201.8 million driven by 8.4 million monthly transaction users

Ex-WeWork led PropTech Den raised $3M led by Gutter Capital

Romanowicz detailed that construction specs on small homes — that he had begun as a side hustle — were landing a couple thousand dollars in revenue per month.

PropTech Nestment raised pre-seed round of $3.5M led by Protofund

The goal is that by allowing people to co-buy a home and build equity that way, they can eventually sell their shares and purchase their own home at a later time.

Web3 AI Kaito raised seed round of $5.3M led by Dragonfly

The crypto industry doesn’t have a cohesive way for people to search for information across channels in a way that traditional search engines like Google do for mainstream information.

Hong Kong's SFC preps to become crypto capital via its new regulation

The regulatory requirements are open for consultation through March 31 and the new licensing regime will take effect on June 1.

Chipper Cash lays off around 100 of its dev team in the second round

FTX marked down Chipper Cash’s $2B valuation to $1.25B The company says it has over 5 million customers across Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya — and more recently, the U.S. and U.K., where the FTX-backed startup expanded last year to facilitate peer-to-peer money movement from both countries to select regions in Africa.

Terraform's Do Kwon is charged by SEC in defrauding investors

The US financial regulator accused Kwon and the Singpoare-based crypto firm of offering and selling an inter-connected suite of crypto asset securities, “many in unregistered transactions” from April 2018 to May 2022.

After layoffs, plenty of FinTechs are hiring, even more than before

Rex Salisbury and Lee Hower and others on hiring in FinTech industry

Neobank Vexi raised Series A round of $8M led by Magma Partners

Merlos and Estrada say the company’s homegrown credit scoring system allows it to offer credit cards in tiers so that its lending is responsible.

Web3 startup Stelo Labs raised seed round of $6M led by a16z

While there are a number of web3 security companies out there, Stelo Labs focuses on helping prevent malicious transactions, phishing and social engineering for Ethereum-based users, Dhesi said.

Ex-Starbucks and Ex-Amazon launches NFT discovery platform like Yelp

Thred platform combines automated machine learning and algorithms to rank NFT collections on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains and then ranks the desirability of every NFT collection and combines it with collector, consumer and community content, Straley said.

Blockchain Oasys gets backed by Softbank Corp

SoftBank Corp, the telecom operator arm of SoftBank Group, has joined Oasys, a blockchain designed for video games, as a validator.

NYDFS and DOJ on fines to be paid by Binance

In an admission of breaking laws, Binance chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann that the company’s executives were unfamiliar with laws and rules written surrounding bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Web3 Alongside raised seed round of $11M led by Andreessen Horowitz

Over a 10-year horizon, the idea for a total market for crypto assets will look very different, Diamond said. The biggest difference between this index product and traditional equity indices is the exposure to crypto assets, Diamond noted. Last month, the startup launched its first product, the Alongside Crypto Market Index ($AMKT), which gives people broad exposure to the entire crypto asset market through a single token. In the future, Alongside will consider launching different products centered around DeFi as a category or layer-2 blockchains as a category, Diamond said.

FinTech Portão 3 raised seed round of $3.6M led by BTV

Jake Gibson, founding partner of Better Tomorrow Ventures and co-founder of NerdWallet, said that as his firm evaluated the opportunity to invest in Portão 3, it found that enterprise companies in Brazil have access to corporate cards but, as Pereira mentioned, they rarely utilize the products due to concerns around fraud, reconciliation and decentralization of data.

BaaS ModernFi raised seed round of $4.5M led by Andreessen Horowitz

Banks typically use deposits to make loans, which puts them into one of two situations: either they have too many deposits and not enough lending or investment opportunities, or they don’t have enough deposits to meet the loan, explained Paolo Bertolotti, co-founder and CEO of ModernFi.

Blockchain startup Monad Labs raised seed round of $19M

The round included 70 participants, including Placeholder Capital, Lemniscap, Shima Capital and Finality Capital, as well as angel investors like AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant.

$2.4B second fund was just announced by Bain Capital

Bain Capital, which just closed its second growth Tech Opportunities fund with $2.4 billion, up from the $1.3 billion that the outfit put to work through the first vehicle of its type in 2019.

Neobank Aspire raised Series C round of $100M in Singapore

Founded in 2018 to provide working capital loans for small to medium-sized businesses, Aspire began offering more services, including bank accounts for cross-border businesses, corporate cards, payable and receivable management and automated invoice processing connected to financial management software.

Blockchain startup raised seed round of $9M

The startup was founded in March 2022 by Katz and Parker Jou, CTO of Caldera, in an effort to simplify the process of creating app-specific blockchains so builders can create layer-2 blockchains in the span of hours, opposed to months or years, the team said.

Highbeam got $10M debt financing from TriplePoint

Highbeam, a startup that provides banking features, credit and cash flow insights to e-commerce customers, today announced that it raised $10 million in debt from TriplePoint as it looks to expand the reach of its digital product portfolio.

FinTech Tazapay raised Series A round of $17M led by Sequoia SEA

Its API covers over 170 markets for card payments, and 85 markets for local payments collection, which means its customers can accept payments in different countries without having to set up local entities.

Amex to demo ChatGPT via partnership with Microsoft and OpenAI

According to Amex, the initial solution will leverage machine learning and AI to automate expense reporting and approvals.

Nordic neobank Lunar raised extension Series D round of $38M

The startup announced today that it has closed a round of €35 million. Lunar says it has around 500,000 users in Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Affirm joins layoffs by letting 500 employees go, or 19% of workforce

Affirm today also posted its second quarter results for the 2023 fiscal year. GMV (gross merchandise volume) of $5.7 billion set a new record but still fell short of an outlook that Affirm itself had provided in November.

Postmortem: artist Mason Rothschild loses legal NFT battle to Hermès

Hermès loved the art project less, and the powerhouse luxury brand just won a copyright infringement case against Rothschild that could have widespread ramifications for NFT creators whose works are inspired by real-world goods that are protected by intellectual property laws.

Web3 Sesame Labs raised seed of $4.5M led by Wing Venture Capital

Sesame Labs, a web3 marketing platform, raised a $4.5 million seed round co-led by Wing Venture Capital and Patron, co-founders Vinay Jain and Aman Jain exclusively told journalist. Additional investors include Samsung, DoubleJump, Forte, Moonfire, Twin Ventures and angel investors like Balaji Srinivasan, chief technology officer at Coinbase and founder of Earn; Robin Chan, co-founder of Fractal; and Ryan Spoon, chief marketing officer at Sorare. A lot of classic Web 2.0 tools like Facebook ads or Twitter ads aren’t successful in web3 because they don’t fully understand on-chain behavior, Vinay noted. In the long term, the co-founders plan to focus on defining what web3 ads look like and build the product that powers it so applications can connect with users in a more innovative way.

India to suspend 90 lending apps because of China's influence

The officials said the Ministry of Home Affairs has received reports of cybercrimes where Chinese firms have access to some Indian lending apps through APIs, which they are using to store Indian consumers’ data outside of the country, the source said. The IT Ministry is concerned about the historic or current presence of Chinese investors on the cap tables of some lending apps in India, the officials said, according to a source familiar with the matter. The officials said on Tuesday that some apps are also getting impacted because of their sketchy loan-collection practices and customer services, according to the source, addressing a longstanding pain point of Indian consumers. The Indian government also banned dozens of apps including ByteDance’s TikTok, Xiaomi’s Community and Video Call apps and Alibaba Group’s UC Browser and UC News in mid-2020.

FinTech startup Fierce raised $10M seed round founded by ex-Gemini CTO

Cornish, a software developer by trade, started the New York–based company in 2021 after a career that included chief information officer for the New York Stock Exchange and chief technology officer for Gemini Trust Co

FinTech startup raised re-Series A round of $5M

Following this growth, it is planning on expanding to Egypt and the UAE, while doubling down on Saudi Arabia, against the backdrop of $5 million pre-Series A funding it has raised, in a round led by Europe-based VC Speedinvest, which marked its debut into Saudi Arabia, and RAED Ventures, with participation from MENA focused VC firm Wamda Capital. His findings were not unique to him as a recent study showed an increasing dissatisfaction with HR tech providers — half of the respondents said they planned to change their systems for new technologies that offer better user experience and take remote working into consideration. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, also has integrated with government services such as Mudad for digital payroll and compliance, mandated by the country ministry of labor; the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), and Muqeem, the foreign employee’s data platform. Driven to bridge the gap, in 2019, Schrems (CEO) teamed up with Christoph Czichna (COO) and Dragan Nikolic (CPO), to launch, based out of Riyadh and whose clients include Hala, Thmanyah, the Saudi Venture Capital Company, Mozn, Jeeny, Rabbit.

Pipe's new CEO Luke Voiles hails from Block (SquareUp)

Pipe, an alternative financing platform that was last privately valued by investors at $2 billion, has announced its new chief executive, an appointment that comes months after the company three co-founders stepped down from their posts in a stunning, unusual shake-up. After announcing the founding team would be leaving, allegations surfaced that Pipe made about $80 million in loans to a few crypto mining companies and that the loans were written off when one or more of these companies went out of business. He is also joining the board of directors, replacing Pipe former co-CEO Harry Hurst’s role as vice chairman. Josh Mangel, Pipe founder and co-CEO, temporarily assumed the role of chief executive back in November.

Affirm's CCO Silvija Martincevic moves to Deputy

Silvija Martincevic, former chief commercial officer of Affirm, one of the U.S. biggest buy now, pay later startups, is leaving to become CEO of shift work management platform Deputy. Her work at Deputy will continue the theme, since shift workers deal with more complex scheduling and payment calculations and their employers need to comply with labor regulations like Fair Workweek rules. As part of her work at Affirm, Martincevic oversaw sales and strategic partnerships, growing the number of merchants that offer Affirm as a payment option from about 5,000 to more than 200,000 and onboarding companies like Walmart, Shopify and Amazon. Before joining Affirm in 2019, Martincevic led Groupon’s international business in Europe, Asia and Australia as chief operating officer and chief marketing officer.

€245M in funding for newest Africa-focused Partech fund

Partech Africa II is one of three funds the global venture capital firm has launched in the last two years, including a $750 million growth fund and a $100 million seed fund, which target various markets and industries globally.

Japanese SoftBank lost ~$6B in Q4 2022

This is the fourth consecutive quarter in which SoftBank Group has lost money, prompting many to challenge the fundamental thesis of the giant, which has deployed more capital in the tech markets globally than anyone else in the past decade. SoftBank Group investment vehicles posted a loss of nearly $6 billion in the quarter that ended in December as the Japanese tech investor continues to bleed through the market downturn. In 2021, SoftBank was one of the most prolific investors globally, cutting checks worth over $20 billion in just one quarter as many investors aggressively scrambled to win large deals. SoftBank said it lost $5.8 billion across Vision and Latin America funds in the quarter.

PhonePe expands into UAE, Singapore, Mauritius, Nepal and Bhutan

Onboarding merchants to accept the UPI payments in the foreign markets will be a key test for India’s NPCI, because without merchants, users on PhonePe and other Indian UPI payments apps won’t be able to make any payments. PhonePe’s step is also in line with the vision of NPCI, the body that oversees the UPI payments, which believes that within this year Indians in many foreign cities including Dubai will not need to use any other payment method, according to one of the fintech execs. Bengaluru-headquartered fintech giant PhonePe said on Tuesday that it extending support for UPI international payments in the UAE, Singapore, Mauritius, Nepal and Bhutan. Ideally, the acquiring side UPI players will need to partner with local payments processor or aggregators that can extend support for UPI at scale among the local merchants.

Sequoia Capital Fund is at $13.6B according to SEC

When Sequoia’s portfolio company Stripe eventually goes public, for example, rather than distribute Stripe’s shares to its investors, Sequoia — assuming it has the blessing of its limited partners —  is more likely to move the prized company’s shares from the many different vehicles that it has used to back Stripe into its Sequoia Capital Fund with the expectation that those shares will continue to rise in value. Indeed, presumably to ensure some stability at its outset, Sequoia banned redemptions from the Sequoia Capital Fund for its first two years, though going forward, if its investors want some liquidity from Sequoia Capital Fund, they will have two chances each year to ask for this via some combination of shares and cash. The number represents two things: the value of the stock that Sequoia has rolled into its permanent fund from its legacy funds — these are shares in now-public companies that Sequoia backed as startups, including Airbnb, DoorDash, Unity, and Snowflake. Almost a year ago to the day, the 50-year-old investing powerhouse Sequoia Capital announced that it had reorganized itself around a singular, permanent structure: The Sequoia Capital Fund.

NFT tradings are at almost $1B turnaround in January 2023

The growth in January marked a stark difference from the trend of the past few months, — October saw trading volumes dip to a low of $662 million — but in November, the market halted the downward trend to stay at $662 million, per the report. While Ethereum accounts for the lion share of trading volumes, with more than 78% of all trades on the blockchain, Polygon had the biggest influx of traders in January, the report showed. Trading volumes rose for two months straight, with January scoring the highest volumes since June last year, according to the Dapp Industry Report: January 2023. A number of blockchains allow traders to buy and sell NFTs, but Ethereum has held the leading position with over $36 billion in all-time sales, data from NFT aggregator CryptoSlam showed.

Blockchain startup BlockJoy raised Series A round of $12M

The Boston-based startup aims to reduce operating costs by up to 80% for enterprises running staking nodes and APIs as a service, the two co-founders, Sean Carey and Chris Bruce, said to journalist. BlockJoy, a startup providing white label blockchain nodes as a service, raised a total of $12 million from its seed and Series A rounds, the company exclusi1vely shared with journalist. Carey, who also the Helium co-founder, and Bruce, a four-time founder, began BlockJoy as a staking service side project. In the long term, BlockJoy hopes to make its technology more accessible so that running a node is easy enough that anyone can do it, Bruce said.

Is CDAI cool, and why asset recovery is important at Coinbaise

This time, however, it seemed like I was in luck; the tool worked easily, and for a small finder’s fee, I was able to reclaim my coins, by sending the CDAI coins to a wallet, converting them into ETH, and sending them back to my Coinbase account. So, I wish to extend a very public thank you to Coinbase for helping those of us who feel brave enough to experiment, but not smart enough to get things right on the first try — and a moment of gratitude for companies that are willing to do (presumably) hard things in order to make crypto just a tiny little bit more lenient to users who want to learn. Last year, Coinbase launched an asset recovery tool for people who really don’t understand how blockchain works, and think they can send CDAI coins to an Etherium wallet. I make no secret of being incredibly bearish on crypto in general, and losing a few hundred dollars of a currency I didn’t understand by sending it to the wrong wallet, to me, felt like appropriate punishment for not knowing what the hell I am doing.

FinTech startup Treasury Prime raised Series C round of $40M

The company plans to use its new capital to continue building out its new integrated partner marketplace (similar to what Synctera is doing) and multi-bank network — which is currently made up of 16 banks — as well as develop new products and services, including lending options. Treasury Prime co-founder and CEO Chris Dean believes that the best outcomes for consumers will result from traditional banks and fintechs working together. Over time, it has expanded its offering and today says it gives businesses of all sizes a way to integrate with banks so they can offer new services, lower the cost of deposits and ultimately generate more revenue. San Francisco-based Treasury Prime, which has raised about $73 million since its 2017 inception, started out by building software tooling that helps banks automate and accelerate routine tasks.

FinTech Passthrough raised Series A of $8.4M led by Positive Sum

Passthrough competes directly with firms like Anduin and Plus Subscribe, which offer a suite of investment fund services including customer relationship management systems, investor portals and data storage. According to Flannery, Passthrough has processed billions of dollars in investments for more than 12,000 unique investors and over 250 customers, including $50 million venture firms and $100 billion dollar-plus global asset managers. Our goal is that no matter how investors invest into a venture fund, private equity fund, or any other alternative asset, Passthrough will be the one powering it. Flannery says that the round — which values Passthrough at $50 million — will be put toward product R&D, marketing and scaling Passthrough’s core offering.