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Week 20: 💚 Is there such a thing as Fintech-green?


This week in fintech

May 18 · Issue #13 · View online

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

This week: 📉 Dropping growth rates in Fintech 📈 WealthTechs on the rise 📹 Videos incoming 💳  More touchless, less touching 🤓 Monday reading

Fintech-news from week 20
Fintech-news from week 20
💚 Fintech green?
Robinhood, Credit Karma, the Cash app, Chime, N26, Spiir
Robinhood, Credit Karma, the Cash app, Chime, N26, Spiir
Is there such a thing as Fintech-green? The thought occurred when we noticed Robinhood rebranding to a darker green. The new color looks like a move to appear like a more mature brand before their rumored IPO. Credit Karma also seems to have made their fintech-green color darker before Intuit bought them. Maybe we can look for these subtle changes for the Cashapp, Chime, N26, or Spiir in a few years? Btw: have you noticed the nice upwards-arrow on Robinhoods feather? 😍
📉 Dropping growth rates in fintech
Last week we talked about Revolut, which had trouble with their employees. This week they, along with Monzo, Starling, and N26 saw their growth rate drop 36%. The growth rate drop comes despite speculation that they would attract new users during the lockdown because they specialize in online banking. Monzo has also seen a 40% hit in valuation during its current funding round.
The Norwegian saving app Spiff has also had a rough half-year. They had to reduce their staff from twelve to two persons, but now the arrows are pointing in the right direction (🇳🇴) with more people saving money and additional employees.
📈 WealthTechs on the rise
Online brokers are reporting record trading activity and new accounts, especially on mobile where the usage is up 35 - 50% compared to last year. An interesting trend in that regard is neobanks for private-banking, which is starting to appear. Think Revolut but with minimum cash requirements. One of these companies, Alpian, just secured 127 million NOK in funding by mostly family offices.
Over the last year, NorQuant has helped primarily family offices implement factor-based management in their strategy based on scientific and rule-governed investment-advise. Last week they secured over 5 million NOK in funding (🇳🇴) via crowdfunding on Dealflow. This new capital is earmarked for further commercialization of the company’s analysis services and, primarily, launching three new funds.
Quantfolio, another Norwegian WealthTech-company, has also been in the news for being on the list of the world’s most innovative WealthTech companies in 2020. They are providing Robo-advisory, analytics, and research platform, as well as asset management. (Disclaimer: Stacc has worked with Quantfolio on multiple projects).
📹 Videos incoming
Often companies in Silicon Valley are an indication of new trends. In that regard, it is interesting to note that employees in Google and Facebook have just been told to work from home until next year.Twitter is going even further and will allow employees to work at home forever. Figma, the collaborative interface design tool, also reports that the majority of their last funding round was done over video.
It seems like video meetings are the new normal. Could you imagine a more perfect time for listing a video company on the stock exchange? The Norwegian video startup Pexip did that on Thursday and the stock immediately rose 40% (🇳🇴). The VC-investor Fred Wilson, however, reminds us that even though video conferencing is getting better, it will never replace real-life experiences:
The tech sector will continue to build virtual worlds and online experiences. We will continue to use them, some more than others. They are valuable, efficient, convenient, and entertaining. But they can not and will not replace in real-life experiences. This pandemic has shown me that in spades. - Avc
💳 More touchless, less touching
In Norway, the cash use is at around 8% of all transactions. In the USA, however, cash has been king for years. We have to go back only two years to find a time when money was mostly used for payments, even though technologies like Apple Pay has been around since 2014(!). The end of cash has been forecasted for nearly two decades now, but Covid-19 might be what finally kills cash in the US.
SoFi (which bought Galileo for $1,2 bn a few weeks ago) just announced a significant partnership with Samsung Pay. The plan is to create an innovative debit card accompanied by a cash management account. For SoFi, this means another revenue stream, and for Samsung, this could be the leverage for reaching more customers in the mobile wallet space.
In Norway, the mobile payment app Vipps this week launched support for payments in payment terminals. The solution uses QR codes for identification like their partner Alipay (🇳🇴). Vipps has previously also tested payment with facial recognition systems in a cafe in Oslo. In China, this is already a standard payment solution. So much that the usability experts in Nielsen Norman group have done an extensive case study of facial recognition payment (FRP). An important take away from the study is that a poor onboarding leads to no trust. If their first interaction was unsettling, they viewed the entire technology negatively. A great example of the importance of good UX!
🤓 Monday reading
This Monday we recommend this fascinating read about how global financial meltdown was averted by central banks taking decisions that, just a month earlier, they would have dismissed as utterly impossible: How coronavirus almost brought down the global financial system.
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Marius Hauken, Partner Stacc X
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