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🗓 All FinTech news in January 2023

Egyptian FinTech MNT-Halan raised $200M valued at $1B

Egyptian fintech MNT-Halan lands $120M from Apis Partners, DisrupTech and others It’s been demonstrated that lending is MNT-Halan’s primary business and main revenue generator; however, what’s interesting about the company is how it has layered a digital ecosystem of products, including e-commerce, FMCG delivery and mobile POS payments that feed its lending operations. CEO Mounir Nakhla, who founded the company with Ahmed Mohsen, said MNT-Halan continued where it left off and is presently Egypt’s largest lender to the unbanked: Total loans disbursed now exceed $2 billion per the company’s website (MNT-Halan issued loans north of $65 million last month). In 2021, Halan, operating a digital wallet that offered bill payments, e-commerce and ride-hailing as well as micro, nano and consumer loans, entered into a swap agreement with MNT Investments (a microlending platform operating in Egypt with roots dating back to 2010) to provide financing solutions to the underbanked and unbanked. Egyptian fintech and e-commerce ecosystem MNT-Halan has raised up to $400 million in equity and debt financing from local and global investors as it continues to serve underbanked and unbanked customers in the North African country.

Thrive Capital might lead Stripe's new round according to Alex Johnson

Founded by Irish brothers John and his brother Patrick Collison (the CEO), Stripe has raised more than $2.2 billion in funding since its 2010 inception from investors such as Allianz (via its Allianz X fund), Axa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst, Base Partners, GV and an investor from the founders’ home country, Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). Thrive Capital has reportedly committed $1 billion in fresh capital to payments giant Stripe as part of a new investment in the works that would value the fintech company at between $55 billion and $60 billion. journalist reported last week that Stripe was seeking to raise $2 billion but the number could actually be closer to $2.5 billion to $3 billion, according to reports from the New York Times and The Information. Also, journalist recently reported on how new fintech startup Mayfair is paying Stripe a fee as part of its mission to offer businesses a higher yield on their cash.

KYB startup TrueBiz raised seed round of $2.4M

Ultimately, Hakimian said, TrueBiz claims it gives financial services providers a way to onboard their business customers faster, and eliminate the churn that can result from verification delays. Its target customers are mid-size financial service providers, such as banks opening new business bank accounts, or payments providers onboarding merchants. Founded by Danny Hakimian  and Max Morlocke, the company recently raised $2.4 million in a seed round led by Flourish Ventures in an effort to reinvent how financial services verify businesses during account opening. Specifically, TrueBiz aims to add color to a business’ background with over 50 data points – such as industry and revenue – from around the web, and then summarize key risk indicators, noted Satya Patel, partner of Homebrew.

Crypto startup Sovereign Labs raised seed round of $7.4M led by Haun Ventures

Some major ZK-rollup blockchains that exist today include Polygon, zkSync and StarkWare’s StarkNet platform, which all aim to increase scalability and security for developers off-chain through higher speeds and lower fees before combining and submitting them to Ethereum. Its SDK wants to help Rust (and eventually C++) developers to use ZK technology across any blockchain without having to be experts in cryptography, both the co-founders said. A rollup is a blockchain that gets security from another blockchain, so it’s a way to add functionality to an existing chain without sacrificing security, Evans said. The capital will be used to build its SDK and hire protocol engineers and researchers with expertise in blockchains and their frameworks, Özer said.

Infra FinTech Power Finance for $223 million in cash by Marqeta

Power’s first product is a credit card issuance program, which is designed for companies, brands and banks to offer embeddable fintech experiences, such as customized credit card programs, targeted promotions and personalized rewards, into existing mobile and web applications. Historically, Marqeta was focused on debit and prepaid cards, but in February 2021, it formally expanded into the consumer credit card space to help other brands launch credit card programs. Once the deal closes, Power Finance CEO Randy Fernando will lead the product management of Marqeta’s credit card platform. Marqeta has agreed to acquire two-year-old fintech infrastructure startup Power Finance for $223 million in cash, marking the first acquisition in the publicly-traded company 13-year history.

RiskTech startup Hypernative raised seed round of $9M led by Boldstart

Hypernative, a crypto security-focused startup, has raised $9 million in seed funding as it emerges from stealth, co-founder and CEO Gal Sagie exclusively told journalist. The fourth quarter in 2022 saw the most, with $1.62 billion in total losses across 55 incidents, accounting for almost half of the total losses in the year, the report showed. Its ideal client base ranges from asset managers, hedge funds, traders and market makers interacting with crypto to blockchains and protocols, he added. Even though crypto markets may be down, there’s still billions of dollars invested in the space, which makes it a target for attacks by those looking to make (and take) money quickly.

After raising $0.68B Sorare teams up with the Premier League for its NFT product

It raised a gigantic $680 million Series B round and signed partnerships with many clubs and football organizations including Spain’s LaLiga, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A. The Premier League is a nice addition to this list of organizations. In particular, Sorare has partnered with many football leagues so that it can create trading cards representing football players. As for sports fans who don’t particularly enjoy football, Sorare also teamed up with the NBA and MLB over the past few months. With today’s new partnership with the Premier League, Sorare users will find all 20 clubs on the platform.

PhonePe to see over quarter billion in revenue in 2022

PhonePe, which is valued at $12 billion, has projected a revenue of $325 million in the calendar year 2022 and $504 million in 2023, according to a valuation report prepared by the auditing firm KPMG and filed by PhonePe. A concern for PhonePe’s growth was Indian regulators enforcing a market cap check on each player, but the deadline for the new guidelines was extended last month and now won’t come into effect until 2025, giving PhonePe another two years of fast-growth. The nine-month financials marks a jump from the $201.6 million revenue that the Bengaluru-headquartered generated in the 12-month period ending in financial year March last year. The startup, backed by Walmart, doesn’t expect to turn EBIDTA positive, a key profitability metric, until the calendar year 2025, KMPG wrote in its valuation report.

Fifth Wall is going beyond its $3.2B portfolio in 2023

Real estate accounts for 40% of CO2 emissions, and yet the venture climate tech venture capital ecosystem only has historically put about 6% of climate VC dollars toward tech for the real estate industry. Never mind that just last month, Fifth Wall closed the largest-ever venture fund focused on real-estate tech startups with $866 million in capital, or that it closed a $500 million fund earlier in 2022 that aims to decarbonize the property industry. To put that in perspective, the U.S. GDP is like $22 trillion to $23 trillion, and we have to decarbonize the real estate industry over the next 20 years, so one way to think about that is that we have to roughly spend one year of U.S. GDP over the next 20 just on decarbonizing our physical assets. How is it that your many real estate investing partners are investing so much capital with you when it’s such a challenging time for real estate, particularly office buildings?

Could Stripe become first FinTech IPO in 2024?

Fintech startup Stripe has set a 12-month deadline for itself to go public, either through a direct listing, or pursue a transaction on the private market, such as a fundraising event and a tender offer, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Payments startup Method Financial raised Series A round of $16M

Tapping into identity verification data from credit bureaus (e.g. Equifax) and wireless carriers (e.g. T-Mobile) and combining it with real-time data from financial institutions’ core banking systems, Method can collate a person’s liabilities across more than 60,000 institutions in the U.S. and kick off tasks such as balance transfers, payoffs, bill pay and more. While the startup competes with big names like Plaid, MX, Spinwheel and Dwolla, Shah sees Method holding its own, particularly as the platform rolls out new features in the next few months including real-time credit card transactions, instant balance transfers and enhanced live data points for liabilities. Method, a startup that aims to make it easier for fintech developers to embed repayment, balance transfers and bill pay automation into their apps, today announced that it closed a $16 million Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Y Combinator (Method a Y Combinator graduate), Abstract Ventures, SV Angel and others. Shah points out that there’s no standard, technically easy way to access all of a person’s financial liabilities — their student loans, credit cards, mortgages and so on — and push money to those liabilities.

Infra Web3 Spatial Labs raised $10M seed led by Blockchain Capital

Spatial Labs company made a splash in the industry last year by selling clothes designed by Sandu called Gen One Hardwear, which were embedded with a microchip called LNQ (pronounced link) that provided consumers with the item’s provenance and ownership history, seen, naturally, on the blockchain. Per Crunchbase data, only 1% of all VC funds were allocated to Black founders last year; out of the $21.5 billion raised by web3 startups globally last year, $60 million of that went to U.S.-based Black web3 founders, one of whom was Sandu. Spatial Labs, a web3 infrastructure and hardware company, announced today the closing of a $10 million seed round led by Blockchain Capital with participation from Marcy Venture Partners, the firm co-founded by Jay-Z. Iddris Sandu founded Spatial Labs in 2021, seeking to create products and shopping experiences using augmented reality.

Walmart to invest another $2.5B in India UPI based tech

Walmart is preparing to spend over $2.5 billion in India as the retailer doubles down on the opportunities it sees in India e-commerce and payments markets even as the firm contends with rising costs amid the market downturns. Walmart, which missed the e-commerce race in the U.S., has coughed up over $20 billion on Flipkart and PhonePe to buy the lion’s share in India’s e-commerce and payments markets. Amazon faced a very public setback in the country last year after India’s largest retail giant Reliance outwitted the American firm into securing retailer Future Group’s assets. The company, which owns majority stake in Flipkart, is now looking to spend about $1.5 billion to buy back e-commerce firm’s shares from early backers Tiger Global and Accel Partners, Indian newspaper Economic Times reported Thursday.

New $150M DeFi fund launched by Injective

Its new ecosystem fund is backed by previous investors like Pantera and Jump as well as other web3 players, including Kraken Ventures, Kucoin Ventures, Delphi Labs, Flow Traders, Gate Labs and IDG Capital. Injective, a layer-1 blockchain focused on building financial applications, has launched a $150 million fund ecosystem initiative, the platform CEO and co-founder, Eric Chen, told journalist. The group aims to support projects building on Injective or Cosmos blockchains in the interoperability, DeFi, trading, proof-of-stake infrastructure and scalability solutions sectors, it said. In the current market, there’s a lot of quality projects looking for backing but having more difficulty reaching investors, Chen noted.

Investors are looking to invest in the secondaries. according to Forge

Forge speculates that there are two reasons behind the trend, including that 2020 and 2021 were big years for IPOs and a lot of investors were keen to jump in ahead of public market investors. Consider Forge itself; valued at $2 billion at the time it was brought to market, the outfit currently has a market cap of $340 million, which isn’t a lot more than the $238 million that VCs had poured into the company when it was still privately held. Not only are there fewer later-stage players with the resources and appetite to support such companies — SoftBank and Tiger Global have pulled back dramatically, for example — but even secondary investors have lost interest. That’s our reading of a new report by the private securities marketplace Forge, which itself went  public in 2021 by merging with a special purpose acquisition company.

QuickNode raised Series B round of $60M at $0.8B valuation

QuickNode, a blockchain deployment platform, has raised $60 million in a Series B round for an $800 million valuation, the company CEO and co-founder, Alex Nabutovsky, told journalist. While the capital will focus on expansion, the company also wants to use the funding for growing blockchain adoption, Nabutovsky said. QuickNode was founded in 2017 and aimed to bring Web 2.0 infrastructure to web3, but snowballed over time, Nabutovsky said. In total, the firm has raised more than $105 million, Nabutovsky said.

FinTech Plum expands to five more countries in Europe

Whenever you want to spend money in your Plum account, you can either withdraw money to your bank account or pay with a Plum debit card — but you have to pay a subscription fee to get a card. It can be particularly useful for people who earn enough money to save money every month, but also tend to spend everything they have on their main bank account. The app can connect to your bank account and round up all your transactions in the past week and transfer everything over to a Plum-managed pocket of money. Originally from the U.K., Plum is a money management app that helps you automatically set some money aside.

FinTech startup Vartana raised Series A round of $12M

After years watching deals falls through due to a lack of payment flexibility, they left Motive to build Vartana, aiming to equip companies with a managed platform that helps sales reps close deals. Vartana also secured a $50 million line of credit from i80 Group, which Kella says will ensure financed deals can be managed through Vartana’s new capital marketplace. Vartana helps to manage tasks like contract tracking, payment terms and signature capture, accepting a range of different payment options (e.g., pay in full, deferred payment) and installment plans. But he doesn’t see them as direct competitors, pointing out that Vartana’s model hinges on delivering financing to buyers and targeting late-stage tech companies.

ex-FTX CEO's new startup Architect raised seed round of $5M

The startup has raised capital in a pre-product financing round from Coinbase Ventures, Circle Ventures, SV Angel, SALT Fund, P2P, Third King Venture Capital and Motivate Venture Capital. Now, he has raised $5 million for his own startup, Architect, which aims to make trading infrastructure for large crypto investors. A startup like this could meet current market demand from big players for more unified and accessible platforms to connect their crypto services, instead of having a handful of tabs and servers open. The startup is launching pre-product, so its flagship service will have to be seamless and provide an easier user experience to trump other crypto services out there.

Crypto conglomerate DCG filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the SDNY

Genesis Global Holdco and two of its lending business subsidiaries Genesis Global Capital and Genesis Asia Pacific filed voluntary petitions under the bankruptcy code for SDNY, its press release stated. On January 12, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Genesis and cryptocurrency exchange, wallet, and custodian Gemini for the unregistered offer and sale of securities to retail investors through Gemini Earn crypto asset lending program. The firm struggled to raise capital for its lending unit, cut 30% of its staff in early January and took a financial hit from major catastrophic crypto events last year like the collapse of crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and the decline of crypto exchange FTX. Aside from Genesis, DCG is the parent company of digital currency asset manager Grayscale, media company CoinDesk, mining and staking company Foundry, digital asset exchange and wallet Luno and API-centric platform TradeBlock.

Plai Labs raised seed round of $32M led by a16z

It seems like a lot of moolah in a volatile market, even coming as it does from two separate a16z funds: the firm’s $600 million debut games vehicle and its $4.5 billion crypto fund, both of which were announced last May. The latter remains privately held, but after scrapping plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company, it managed to snag $350 million in funding in 2021 from Netmarble, Kabam, and affiliates of funds managed by Fortress Investment Group, which suggests it’s doing just fine. The pair previously co-founded the once-hot social media platform MySpace (which originally sold to MySpace for $580 million in 2005) and the mobile game studio Jam City. (Indeed, Jam City, which claims to have 30 million monthly active users, announced this morning that a third cofounder, Josh Yguado, is now running the show after serving as the company’s COO and president previously.)

FinTech Link raised Series A round of $20M led by Valar Ventures

With the funds from the recently-closed Series A, Shoykhet says that Link will launch account verification, which will verify bank accounts and ownership information to bring merchants in compliance with Nacha’s new account validation rule. Link customers pay by bank transfer, sending funds directly from their bank to a merchant’s business account. Recently, Discover dove into the accounts-to-accounts space, partnering with payments fintech Buy It Mobility so that its partner merchants can accept card-free payments, Link claims to be one of the first companies in the U.S. to enable customers to make online payments using their bank accounts.

Deal Box Ventures to invest $125M in Web3 startups

Deal Box has taken strategic institutional funds from family offices and high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, Carter shared. Deal Box, a capital markets advisory and token offering packaging platform, has launched its venture arm with plans to invest $125 million in startups using web3 technology, the company shared Wednesday. There has also been interest from institutional investors, other family offices and sovereign wealth funds, Carter added. The firm has closed initial strategic investments in three startups — Total Network Services, Rypplzz and Forward-Edge AI — as part of its web3 investment thesis.

Delphia's CTO Agius-Westland sexually assaulted and harassed a former employee

Delphia, a mobile investment platform, is facing a lawsuit and allegations that its co-founder and CTO Cameron Agius-Westland sexually assaulted and harassed a former employee, according to a complaint filed on Monday and shared exclusively with journalist. Andrew Peek, CEO and co-founder of Delphia, shared a statement with journalist in response to the lawsuit allegations: Delphia takes the allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Westland very seriously. The following day, Westland is said in the complaint to have at least partly acknowledged his behavior by sending the Plaintiff and two other colleagues the following message, as shared in a screenshot in the document: In December 2022, Delphia announced its acquisition of Fathom Privacy, a data rights company that aims to provide individuals the ability to own personal application data.

BNPL startup tabby raised Series C round of $58M in MENA

Arab said that commanding this present valuation conveys Tabby’s product relevance and ability to build a sustainable business in a reasonably challenging space, including upstarts such as Saudi-based Tamara and Egypt’s Sympl and Khazna. About this, CEO Arab explained that Tabby recently launched a product for everyday purchases, such as groceries and food, and will allow customers that don’t have access to credit cards to make purchases and pay at the end of the month. Despite the valuation crunches and muted demand for growth companies globally, Tabby has managed to double its valuation from 18 months ago, even though it raised less capital in a subsequent round; as such, it is currently one of the most valued startups in the MENA region. According to a statement shared by the Dubai-based company, the funding will be used to expand Tabby’s product line into a plethora of consumer financial services and support the company’s growing operations that now include Egypt.

FinTech startup PeopleFund raised Series C extension round of $20M

Existing backer Bain Capital led the extension, with participation from previous investors such as Access Ventures, CLSA Capital Partners Lending Ark Asia, D3 Jubilee Partners, 500 Global, Kakao Investment, TBT Partners and IBX Partners. PeopleFund plans to use its new capital to continue to advance its AI-powered risk management and credit scoring system for its users, which includes borrowers and lenders. In 2021, PeopleFund raised $63.4 million (75.9 billion won) in equity for Series C, also led by Bain Capital, to further develop its credit-scoring system. Korea’s P2P lending startup PeopleFund gets $63.4M Series C led by Bain Capital

Banking startup Kwara raised seed extension round of $3M

Kwara, a Kenyan fintech digitizing credit unions (saccos), more than doubled its client base last year, and its eyeing enormous growth in the coming years after raising a $3 million seed extension, and signing an exclusive digital solutions distribution agreement with the Kenya Union of Savings & Credit Cooperatives (Kuscco), the national umbrella body representing saccos. Kwara’s product upgrades the back-office operations of credit unions helping them to shift away from tedious paper-based processes and physical branches, opening up new avenues for them to sign up new members and create novel products. Kenya’s fintech Kwara lands $4 Million in seed round from Breega, SoftBank to build neobank for credit unions The company also has a next-generation neobank app that gives members of partner credit unions access to additional services such as instant loans and third-party services such as insurance.

FinTech is off to a rough start in 2023

Multiple due diligence mashups, hot M&A and more FinTech news in the first two weeks of 2023. Major banks are on the acquisition roll.

FinTech Mayfair raised seed round of $8M led by BoxGroup and Amity

Beyond providing access to higher interest rates, Mayfair says its software gives businesses a way to choose how much they need for operations and earn yield on the rest via automated cash management. Stripe in turn pays Mayfair and Mayfair pays its customers, keeping what Chopra described as a small cut. The pair teamed up with serial entrepreneurs Kent Mori and Kevin Chan in February 2021 to start a company, exploring different business models before settling on Mayfair current offering. Mayfair itself is not a bank, but rather a fintech company that offers FDIC-insured products through an Arkansas-based bank called Evolve Bank & Trust.

401k FinTech Human Interest sells minority stake to BlackRock

Investment giant BlackRock announced Friday it is taking a minority stake in, and leading a financing round for, venture-backed fintech startup Human Interest. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Human Interest’s digital retirement benefits platform allows users “to launch a retirement plan in minutes and put it on autopilot,” according to the company.  It \[…\] does layoffs again, this time 20%

The firm received a vote of confidence from auditing firm Mazars, which said users’ crypto assets were fully backed one-to-one. The firm received some criticism for its cringey/overly enthusiastic Matt Damon ad; accidentally sent an Australian customer more than $10 million in a snafu, and grappled with industry concerns over its financial health performance. This is the second major layoff at the Singapore-headquartered, which cut 250 jobs in mid-last year — though a report suggested that more than 2,000 people were either let go or left at their own will. As with firms in other industries, crypto companies are aggressively undertaking major decisions to survive the downturn in the broader market, which has reversed much of the gains from the 13-year bull run.

FinTech Greenlight just laid off 100+ employees

Greenlight offers kids a debit card, banking app and financial education to make them financially smart and independent. In December, the Atlanta-headquartered startup introduced a web-based financial literacy library aligned with the K-12 national standards that will be free to schools, teachers and students. Additionally, the growing economic slowdown has impacted prominent fintech startups including Stripe, which laid off 14% of its workforce in November. It also in October added family safety features to its subscription plan called Greenlight Infinity which is priced at $14.98 per month for the whole family.

Carta joins layoffs, by cutting off 200 employees

The difficulty of building a company in the venture services landscape was only further proved by the recent shutdown of Assure, a fintech company that helped investors issue special-purpose vehicles. When journalist asked AngelList Venture CEO Avlok Kohli about recent product changes that put it square in competition with Carta, he shrugged – adding that he has nothing new to add. It doesn’t help that several users of Carta’s services, which range from cap table management to fund administration, have been less than impressed by the platform in the recent months. According to Crunchbase data, Carta has raised $1.1 billion venture capital investors, including most recently a $500 million Series G by Silver Lake.

AWS to partner with Avalanche

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has partnered with Ava Labs, the company building out layer-1 blockchain Avalanche, to help scale blockchain adoption across enterprises, institutions and governments, the two firms exclusively told journalist. Ava Labs has also become a member of the AWS Partner Network (APN), giving the firm access to deploy offerings on AWS with more than 100,000 partners in over 150 countries, Wright said. The two companies are also collaborating on events for entrepreneurs and developers through Avalanche Summit, Avalanche Creates and hackathons to help builders build on the blockchain. Ava Labs plans to add its Subnet deployment as a managed service to the AWS marketplace, so both individuals and institutions can launch their own custom Subnets easily.

Capbase gets acquired by Deel for an undisclosed amount

Remote payroll startup Deel has acquired fintech Capbase for an undisclosed amount in a cash and stock deal, the companies have told journalist exclusively. With its acquisition of Capbase, Deel plans to pair those services with a new product dedicated to equity management and issuance. It was drawn to the fact that Capbase works to help companies with incorporation and fundraising in their early days as well as with compliance filings and granting equity as they mature, according to Bouaziz. Services it offers include helping companies send offer letters, grant equity to new employees, manage their cap tables and get a 409A valuation report, among other things.

VVF launches new $1B fund for Web3 startups

The $1 billion vehicle, Venom Ventures Fund (VVF), is a blockchain-agnostic fund that will invest in pre-seed to Series A rounds for web3 protocols and decentralized applications (dApps) that focus on trends like payments, asset management, DeFi, banking services and GameFi. The fund leadership team includes Peter Knez, ex-CIO of BlackRock and former global CIO for fixed income at Barclays Global Investors, and Mustafa Kheriba, a board member for multiple family offices and long-term investment professional in the Middle East and North African regions. Venom Foundation, a layer-1 blockchain licensed and regulated by the Abu Dhabi Global Market, and investment manager Iceberg Capital have partnered to launch a $1 billion venture fund, the two firms announced on Wednesday. In general, the VVF team has experience growing both web3 funds and traditional funds as well as experience in providing growth capital for both startups and scaleups.

Qonto to move Penta users after the acquisition

The Qonto and Penta teams are going to merge with Penta’s co-founder Lukas Zörner acting as the new VP of Germany for Qonto. As for existing customers, Qonto now expects to move all Penta customers to Qonto banking platform by the end of 2023. While Penta is no longer accepting new customers, new German companies looking for a bank account can sign up to Qonto directly. At the time of the acquisition, Penta was serving 50,000 companies in Germany while Qonto had 300,000 customers in France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Beacon presents 13 new web3 startups out of 1000 applicants

Mentors include Jack Lu, CEO and co-founder of Magic Eden; a handful of venture capitalists; Rob Behnke, co-founder of Halborn; Brendan Farmer, co-lead at Polygon Zero; Dan Kim, VP of business development and listing at Coinbase; and Miles Anthony, CEO and co-founder of Decentral Games, to name a few. Company name: Davos Protocol What it does: Stable asset lending protocol Founders: Varun Satyam, Julian Hayward, Filipe Gonçalves Stage: Seed Company name: Mystic Moose What it does: Web3 gaming developer Founders: Mike Levine Stage: Seed The pitch: Mystic Moose is a web3 platform, gaming studio and publisher that was formed by a team of gaming veterans who have worked at Activision, LucasArts and Electronic Arts.

Blockchain startup The Easy Company raised seed round of $14M

The wallet also allows users to link their social identity from other sites and curate their profiles with their own NFTs from multiple wallet accounts and blockchains. The funding round included Lobby Capital, Relay Ventures, 6th Man Ventures, Tapestry, Upside and Scribble, as well as angel investors from traditional social media and web3 groups like former heads of Instagram, Novi product and engineering and former executives from Airbnb, Twitter, Uber, OpenTable and Eventbrite, among others. Today, its beta wallet is available to the public on iOS and Android after completing a 30-day private testing phase, Mike Dougherty, co-founder and CEO of Easy, said to journalist. In the app, people can also send crypto and tokens to profiles and real usernames, rather than a random variation of numbers and letters (which often make up one’s crypto wallet address), Swint said.

Finalists of the Cross Chain Coalition Web3 Demo Day

And now, without further ado, here are the final four startups ready to impress investors: Meet Candy Shop, a one-stop solution provider designed to make NFT deployment and brand-management problems a thing of the past. It The Cross Chain Coalition Web3 Demo Day, a showcase of 12 boundary-pushing early-stage startups building projects across web3, DeFi, NFT and gaming. Founded by Gabrielle Patrick, the company builds clearing infrastructure designed to let firms leverage distributed ledger technology, become payment institutions or become electronic money institutions. Join us tomorrow — January 11 —  for the Cross Chain Coalition Web3 Demo Day and see for yourself what the brilliant minds behind 12 up-and-coming projects are building.

Coinbase continues layoffs from 2022

As with firms in other industries, crypto firms are aggressively undertaking major decisions to survive the downturn in the broader market, which has reversed much of the gains from the 13-year long bull run. The company estimates that it will incur approximately $149 million to $163 million in total restructuring expenses, consisting of approximately $58 million to $68 million in cash charges related to employee severance and other termination benefits, it disclosed (PDF) in a 8K filing with SEC Tuesday. The moves are part of the company efforts to cut its operating expenses by about 25% quarter over quarter, he said. But those of us who believe in crypto will keep building great products and increasing economic freedom in the world.

InsurTech startup Superscript raised Series B round of $54M

As with just about every other sector, the insurance tech industry has been hit hard by the global economic downturn, with the likes of Policygenius and Next Insurance all cutting back their headcount over the past year, while publicly-traded firms such as Lemonade, Hippo, and Root all trading way down on last year. Superscript’s underwriting partners include a slew of well-known names from the insurance world, including AXA, Beazley At Lloyd’s, RSA, and MS Amlin. This is targeted at tech businesses with complex risks that are more difficult to insure such as medical malpractice or professional indemnity, with customers including London-based fintech unicorn Paddle. And this multi-carrier approach, spanning regions and sector-specific expertise, is partly why Shearer thinks that Superscript is well-positioned to flourish as it looks to scale over the long-term.

CEO John Crain cuts 30% of staff of NFT marketplace SuperRare

The NFT marketplace SuperRare is cutting 30% of its staff, according to a Slack message from CEO John Crain. SuperRare differentiates itself from competitors by focusing more closely on working with artists, but broader platforms like OpenSea were more successfully able to take advantage of the bull market. NFT marketplace OpenSea lays off 20% of its staff: ‘We have entered … crypto winter’ SuperRare raised a $9 million Series A in March 2021, led by Velvet Sea Ventures and 1confirmation.

Celsius ownership of the $4.2 billion is not in question anymore

But the filing deems account holders with the Earn program as unsecured creditors of Celsius, which means their recovery depends on the distributions to unsecured creditors under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan. The verdict gives Celsius ownership of the $4.2 billion in cryptocurrency that users deposited into its high-interest Earn program, according to a 45-page filing from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York on Wednesday. A federal bankruptcy judge ruled cryptocurrencies deposited into interest-bearing accounts at Celsius Network, a now-bankrupt cryptocurrency lending platform, actually belong to the firm – thanks to the fine print. Last month, Celsius fought with customers in court over ownership of deposited funds as it wanted to sell about $18 million worth of stablecoins from Earn accounts to fund its organization.

German FinTech Trade Republic adds 2% yield on cash

While German startup Trade Republic is better known as a mobile app that helps you buy and sell stock, the company is adding interest on uninvested cash. With this new feature, Trade Republic will likely attract new customers who are looking for higher interest rates as inflation impacts the savings of European consumers. Users who hold cash in their Trade Republic account will receive 2% in annual interest. More precisely, Trade Republic says that interests will be calculated on a daily basis and the startup credits user accounts once per month.

Coinbase will pay a $50 million fine to NYSDFS

New York financial regulators have found that the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase violated anti-money laundering laws by failing to conduct adequate background checks. Coinbase will pay a $50 million fine to the New York State Department of Financial Services, and is also required to spend $50 million on improving its compliance program. Coinbase disclosed that \[…\]