This fintech segment saw a flurry of fundraising

This fintech segment saw a flurry of fundraising

Image credit: Shutterstock / Ismagilov

Welcome to The Interchange! If you received this in your inbox, thank you for signing up and your declaration of confidence. If you are reading this as a post on our site, please register here so that you can receive it directly in the future. Each week we take a look at the hottest fintech news from the previous week. This will include everything from funding rounds to trends to an analysis of a particular space to hot takes on a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there, and it’s our job to stay on top of it – and understand it – so you can stay up-to-date. — Mary Ann and Christine

Hey Hey. Christine and I strayed a bit from our typical fintech coverage this week to do some investigative reporting. We took a look at New chip, an Austin-based accelerator that recently imploded. In our humble opinions, it is definitely worth a read. While it wasn’t focused exclusively on fintech startups, it’s a complex story about a troubled accelerator that claimed to help entrepreneurs “succeed.” Some founders claim it did anything but, while a group of employees were so unhappy with the way the company was being run that they walked out en masse over two weeks ago. There’s a lot of back and forth, and while we don’t know for sure what happened behind closed doors, it’s sad to see any organization that aims to serve the startup community end up in this situation – especially for the founders and employees affected.

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On a purely fintech note, we saw a flurry of insurtech funding rounds last week! TechCrunch reported four such raises alone, including Wefox, Obie, bolttech and Fig. This prompted TC+ editor Alex Wilhelm to dig a little deeper and conclude that “despite messy IPOs, there’s good reason to be optimistic about insurtech startups.” — Mary Ann

Move over Apple, Step launches 5% savings account

Over the last few years, every time I looked at the monthly dividend in my bank account, I said to myself, “The bank could really only keep the 6 cents.” Well, neobanks and other fintech companies think we should get better returns too.

This week I wrote about Step, the digital banking service aimed at teenagers and young adults, which advertised a whopping 5% interest on its savings accounts.

While the rate is important, I want to point out how widely known it is that few Americans can come up with $400 in an emergency, so it’s nice to see Step and others focus on ways to motivate people to save more.

The news comes about a month after Apple launched its 4.15% savings account rate. Step co-founder and CEO CJ MacDonald told TechCrunch that it was always the company’s goal to offer the highest price; however, you can’t help but wonder if Apple’s entry into the market might have inspired neobanks and other financial organizations to close the gap.

Find out how the Step’s 5% account works. — Christine

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Weekly news

As reported by Manish Singh: “The reasons of ZestMoney has pulled out of the startup, the latest twist in the fortunes of the Indian fintech whose ability to underwrite small-ticket loans to first-time internet customers once won the backing of many high-profile investors, including Goldman Sachs. Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma and Ashish Anantharaman, the founders of ZestMoney, informed employees of their decision on Monday.” More here.

After recently acquiring a new startup, Bandreal estate fintech EasyKnock confirmed that they were laying off 10% of their employees. A spokesperson told TechCrunch that the decision “was part of a larger effort to accelerate” the company’s “path to profitability and ensure long-term sustainable operations.”

In the WTF section of our newsletter: The Revolut UK manager told the customer he would be waiting for him with a shotgun.

If it feels like every week an enterprise company is releasing new features, that’s because…that’s pretty much what happens. Here is the latest: Ramp to introduce AI tools to track business costs. Also, Fintech Ramp Launches Money-Saving AI Tools for Enterprises, Microsoft CEO Announces, More Like Investors.

Truist invites customers to play the “Long Game” for financial wellness (TechCrunch covered the news when Truist acquired Long Game in an effort to appeal to a younger demographic in 2022.)

Stripe powers Pay By Bank for Airbnb

Public unveils Alpha: your AI-powered investing sidekick for smarter decisions

Financing and M&A

See TechCrunch

Wefox secures fresh funding at $4.5 billion valuation as it aims for profitability

British pension startup Smart banks $95M

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Cold Chain Startup Figorr Raises $1.5M, Backs Data-Driven Perishables Insurance Rollout

M-KOPA raises $250M+ debt, equity for its asset financing platform

Spiff begins “massive overhaul of core sales commission engine” after $50M Series C

Insurtech bolttech gets $196M at $1.6B valuation from investors like MetLife

Tiger Global-backed Axis launches digital payment platform for Egyptian SMEs months after its $8.25 million seed

Percent gets a $30 million investment to connect investors with private credit

Landlord-focused insurtech Obie lands $25.5 million led by Battery Ventures

Procurement platform Zip raises $100 million at a $1.5 billion valuation

And other places

Accounting software firm Tipalti gets $150 million in growth funding

PayIt makes its first acquisition with the purchase of S3

The rental platform Avenue One reaches a value of 1 billion dollars

Co-branded credit card startup Cardless gets $75M credit line

Fintech Maxwell acquires mortgage solutions provider LenderSelect

Once again, thanks for reading and all your support! We are grateful to you. See you next week! xoxoxo, Mary Ann and Christine

Calling all early stage startups! Apply to join the Startup Battlefield 200 cohort at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023. All finalists receive expert training, VC networking, a booth at Disrupt, and the chance to compete for $100,000 in equity-free funding. Application closes on 31 May. Apply today.

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