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Week 27: Strange times


This week in fintech

July 6 · Issue #20 · View online

A weekly summary of the latest news in our world of finance, design, and technology.

This week: 💳 The Wirecard saga continues 🤷‍♂️ Car-feature subscription and cardboard-fans? 💗 Klarna launching savings account and heart-rate technology 🃏 Be careful what you wish for!

Week 27
Week 27
💳 The Wirecard saga continues
Last week we talked a lot about Wirecard and the consequences of their collapse. Once again, one of the world’s largest technology investors, SoftBank, is in the spotlight. After bad deals in both WeWork and Uber, their partnership with Wirecard is another PR disaster for the investment giant. This is not surprising news considering this 30-year vision doc they made ten years ago. I wish we had the speaker notes for this. 😂
SoftBank Next 30-Year Vision. You can't make this stuff up.
SoftBank Next 30-Year Vision. You can't make this stuff up.
On a more serious note the all-your-cards-in-one Fintech Curve had to suspend all their cards because of the Wirecard scandal and had a busy weekend. In just 60 hours, they brought their card issuing in-house and got Curve up and running again. A remarkable feat considering this usually would take months. It makes you wonder how many other processes within Fintech that could happen significantly faster. 🤔
🤷‍♂️ Strange times
We’ve previously helped develop imove and their car- and scooter-subscription service. Now BMW is taking the subscription economy one step further than everyone else: They want us to subscribe to features and equipment in the car. They will produce the vehicles with all features incorporated, but you can not use them until you subscribe to f.ex. “heated steering wheel.” The same applies to other features like adaptive cruise control, remote start and heated seats. If you fancy a new engine sound, you can even buy a new motor sound through BMW’s IconicSounds catalog. Has the subscription economy officially gone too far?
Anyone fancying a Hans Zimmer acceleration sound for their car?
Another strange market turn is the sports world, where everyone is going all-in on cardboard. Major sports leagues are starting up again, but more or less without live spectators. A significant problem considering about 1/3 of the total revenue usually comes from ticket sales. Selling cardboard cutout fans could be a small way to make up some of this lost revenue and give fans a viable way to support their favorite teams from afar. Cardboard fans aren’t the only idea in the mix, a Danish soccer team (AGF) invited 10,000 fans to a Zoom watch party. All the faces were projected on a wall during the match, and the shouts could be heard from the stadium’s loudspeakers. Insert joke about your most tiresome video-meeting here. 😆
Cardboard cutout fans from enisd1905 at
Cardboard cutout fans from enisd1905 at
💗 Klarna launching savings account and heart-rate technology
Following the strange theme this week, Klarna, the most successful Nordic Fintech, is partnering with sneaker experts Highsnobiety for a sneaker-lottery. The big news here is that Klarna is going to use smartphone-based pulse BPN technology, basically checking if you have a pulse, to ensure those entering its new competition are indeed human, and not auto-purchasing bots. Probably a lot more powerful and user friendly than finding busses or traffic-lights in squares - a task computers usually would be better at than humans. 
Klarna also announced that they, in a couple of weeks, will launch a savings accountwith the highest interest rate in the Swedish market. In total, five different variants of savings accounts are planned, with varying contract duration and interest rates.
🃏 Unintended consequences
For the last couple of years, Apple devices have had access to an anonymous P2P wireless mesh system. If you, for example, lose your Airpods, you can get the last location of when another Apple device last has seen your AirPods. For a long time, there have been rumors that Apple will launch a small tag you can place on anything to find it if it goes missing, based on this wireless mesh system. Tile, which makes a product that does more or less the same thing, has responded to the rumors by complaining to the EU’s competition commissioner, claiming that Apple is abusing its power and unfairly favoring its products. Ironically enough, Apple has now decided to open this up for developers so that anyone can make a dongle connected to Apples Mesh. Bad news for Tile and their suddenly not so popular network. Be careful what you wish for!
The same seems to have happened with the fund-prices in Norway after the introduction of MiFID II. One of the goals for the EU-directive was more transparent pricing on funds, and to easier compare different distributors. The results are now in after Nordnet last week launched their new pricing system, and it is not good news for consumers. Previously a fund cost the same across all the different distributors. Now you need a spreadsheet to find out where it is cheapest for you to invest. Eivind Berg has a good writeup on where you should invest based on your requirements.
😎 Vacation
We’re taking a well-deserved vacation for the next few weeks, returning in August! Based on this weeks newsletter, it seems like the silly season (or cucumber time) has already started. Happy vacation!
🙏 Don’t keep it a secret!
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Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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