Contactless Payments 🆙—Guest Post On Money Management Apps—Vise.AI Raises From Sequoia

Hi everyone, happy Friday. Ian here. 

A homie and I were DMing and he was like “I feel like this quarantine is never going to be over.” Very much same. The weather has been so shitty in the east coast, I’m bored as ****, and my hair is so long. Can’t wait for this to be over...hopefully relatively soon. 

We’re running a user survey for FTT subscribers over the next few weeks—if you fill out our survey, you’ll be automatically entered for a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. We’re giving away two (no, you can’t win twice) so fill it out ASAP! 

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We’re raising the prices for FTT+ on June 1. If you sign up over the next month, you’ll get locked in to the $25/month rate for the first year. You also get a 15% discount if you sign up for the annual membership.

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This issue is sponsored by Alloy.  Alloy’s one of the more interesting early stage fintech companies I’ve come across (PS-they’re hiring too.) Regulation makes fintech difficult to innovate in, and rules around anti-money laundering and “knowing your customer” bog down startups when they’re getting off the ground. But after you get over that hurdle and you’re growing well and getting users, you need to worry about fraud and managing risk: one of the most fundamental parts of financial services.

Alloy simplifies all that by letting customers add a number of KYC and AML related fraud services into their platform with a single, easy to use, API. The ease of integration makes Alloy the go to destination for companies looking to mitigate fraud and verify their users more quickly. Alloy’s raised $15 million, including a Series A round in September 2019 led by Bessemer Venture Partners.


Playlist of the Week

One bright note is that we’re getting fire music. Future put out an album today and it’s dope—the production is especially great. It reminds me of “Mixtape Future” a lot. Future notably put together a string of 3 mixtapes over a 6 month period in 2014/2015—”Monster,” “Beast Mode,” and “56 Nights”—that were so good it catapulted him to superstardom (and a mixtape with Drake.

Put some of my favorite tracks on a playlist for y’all, and added a few other tracks I’ve been listening to. 

Also, if you want to submit a guest playlist, you can! Just email me at ian@fintechtoday.co

The News—by Cokie Hasiotis 

  1. Goldman Sachs plans to buy boutique wealth management custodian and technology company, Folio, for an undisclosed price. Folio will be the second wealth management company purchased by Goldman in as many years, as they bought United Capital in 2019. These acquisitions leave us wondering whether Marcus will expand its offering to serve wealth management customers as well as their existing savings & loans customers.

  2. A new survey from FIS determines that COVID-19 is rapidly reshaping consumer banking and payments behavior. The survey finds that 45% of banked respondents said they have changed the way they interact with their bank since the coronavirus outbreak. 31% of respondents said they would continue to use online and mobile banking offerings in the future. 40% said they are more likely to shop online than in-store (shoutout Jeff Bezos). 

  3. CBInsights dropped their Q1 State of Fintech report this week and the findings are grim. Unsurprisingly, Q1 VC-backed Fintech funding dropped $6.1B across 404 deals. Personally, I’m not terribly worried about this number, if the above survey from FIS tells us anything, digital is on the rise. Investors are apparently shying away from early stage deals, preferring to fortify portfolios. On the bright side, portfolios are starting to see early liquidity from the huge fintech acquisitions late last year and early this year: think Plaid, Galileo, Radius Bank. 

  4. Visa reports ‘massive’ digital acceleration with millions trying e-commerce for the first time. Apparently 13 million people in Latin America made their first online purchase in March. What are you buying online? I keep ordering skincare products from Korea. 

  5. Not Fintech, but still a vibe: Facebook buys Giphy for a reported $400M. Though previously valued at about $600M, Giphy must be thrilled. Great time to make a great exit. Makes sense given that 50% of Giphy’s traffic comes from use on Facebook-owned apps (Insta, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger).

Guest Post Of The Week: Anthemis Group’s Alex Steiner

My homie Alex Steiner from Anthemis Group wrote about money management apps recently, and has been kind enough to let us publish it here for Fintech Today. Part 1, “What’s Wrong With Money Management Apps?” 

Alex’s piece brings up a great point, and something both me and my friends talk about a lot—why do most money management apps suck? It’s something that comes up frequently in the FTT Slack too. I hate using Mint—it barely works and the user experience is awful. 

But making a good PFM (personal financial management) app is really hard. You need full visibility into a user’s financial life, and considering how many finance apps people use nowadays, that’s getting harder and harder. You need to balance detailed insights with high level in a way the average user can understand. 

Alex writes about his thoughts on the money management app space, and it’s definitely worth a read. Hit the link below. We’ll be publishing part 2 and 3 soon. 

Check Out Alex's Post Here

Tweets of the Week

Ian and I played “which neobank are you?” on Twitter this week. Ian is clearly SoFi and I am fully Brex.

Funding News of the Week

Sequoia Capital-led $14.5M Series A for Vise.AI, a portfolio management company, bringing them out of stealth. Vise is not new to big brand VC attention - previous funding has come from Founders Fund, Steve Chen (co-founder of YouTube), and Jon Xu (co-founder of FutureAdvisor). Something’s happening in wealth management. At the risk of sounding like a huge douche, watch this space. 

I am, and I can’t stress this enough, shook. The Chainsmokers are raising a VC fund called “Mantis.” which aims to invest $50M into startups. Read that again. THE CHAINSMOKERS ARE RAISING A VC FUND. Apparently the pair have been investing their own capital in startups for years and aren’t optimistic about the current climate. 

FalconX, a trading platform for digital assets, raised $17 million from Accel, Coinbase Ventures, Lightspeed and others. FalconX has been killing it—over the last 10 months, FalconX has generated $7 billion in global trading volume at a quarterly growth rate of over 600 percent. 

Andreesen Horowitz reportedly wins the VC sweepstakes to back Clubhouse at $100M valuation. Totally wild given that Clubhouse is still in beta. The deal includes $10M in primary capital and at least $2M in secondary shares. Andreesen partner Andrew Chen is rumored to be the partner joining Clubhouse’s board. This is all lit, but where tf is my invite?