FTT Update: It's Fintech, Not Fintechs

Hi all, Julie here. Still in NY. Still cold. Still lots of snow. I hear it's 75 in Austin today. Must be nice. 

Also, the plural of fintech is not fintechs. Please go vote on this important issue. 

The News

SPAC Trend Continues

Payoneer, a B2B payments network, is the latest fintech to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in a deal that values the merged entity at $3.3B.

The startup says it processed more than $44B in volume in 2020. The network covers the full spectrum of merchant businesses, from solo enterprises to giant stables like Airbnb, Amazon, Google, Upwork and Walmart. As part of the deal with FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp., Payoneer will receive $300M from investors including Wellington Management, Dragoneer Investment Group, Fidelity Management & Research Company and Franklin Templeton. Payoneer offers marketplace payments; B2B accounts payable / accounts receivable; merchant services; working capital; and risk and compliance. 

Klarna On Fire

Klarna, one of the top players in the Buy Now, Pay Later space, just released some pretty staggering growth numbers. It now has more than 15M customers in the US, with more than 1M US customers joining each month since October. Klarna also said it now has 3.5M monthly active users, up more than 200% year-over-year, averaging 60,000 new app downloads each day in December. Comparing Klarna to Affirm isn’t completely apples to apples since they have their differences, but with numbers like that, many would argue that Klarna should have an even higher valuation than Affirm (spoiler, it used to, but Affirm’s market cap is now roughly triple given the massive run in shares in its January IPO). 

Cadre's New Fund

Cadre is launching a new $400M real estate fund, the Cadre Direct Access Fund, in hopes of getting Cadre’s real estate technology investment platform closer to smaller investors and advisors looking to invest directly in real estate.

Cadre’s built a StubHub-like secondary market that has handled hundreds of transactions for investors. It’s a new way for smaller investors to get exposure to real estate other than REITs or large real estate private equity funds.

While smaller than other options, an investment is still a decent commitment for a lot of people. The Direct Access Fund will be made available to qualified investors with minimum per-property checks that can be as low as $5,000. Presently, 50% of Cadre’s portfolio is focused on multi-family real estate, with the remainder covering office, industrial, life sciences and hotel properties.

What’s more, Cadre’s CEO and Founder Ryan Williams wants to use Cadre’s growing resources to help minority-owned real estate operators. Williams has committed that at least 10% of Cadre's portfolio will be represented by minority-owned local real estate operators with hopes of soon reaching 20%.

Divvy Homes' New Round

Speaking of real estate, housing startup Divvy Homes announced a $110M funding round led by Tiger Global Management. For those unfamiliar with Divvy, it's aimed at helping a greater share of the population own homes. Divvy purchases the home, then rents it back to the interested party for up to three years while they build their equity, credit, and savings. 

In May 2019, it launched a streamlined mobile application that uses AI to create a dynamic application process personalized to each buyer’s unique financial situation. Divvy says this allows it to assess customers based on how mortgage-ready they are predicted to be in three years, rather than determining their ability to get a mortgage now. 

More Visa Crypto

Visa has teamed up with First Boulevard, a neobank that we featured for MLK Day, to allow customers to buy, sell and store digital currencies. 

First Boulevard, which is focused on the Black community, will connect to infrastructure provided by Visa partner Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank, to allow their customers to buy and sell digital assets like bitcoin. Visa sees its new set of crypto APIs as a first in many steps to help its clients access and integrate with crypto features. On Monday, we mentioned that Visa’s CEO told investors that he’s preparing the company to handle a full range of cryptocurrency assets.

Making Old School, New School With Narmi

Narmi, which builds digital banking solutions, has closed a $20.4M funding round led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from investors including executives at Plaid and Brex.

The startup works with financial institutions and builds enterprise solutions that span consumer digital banking, business banking and digital account opening. Think of it as making old school platforms look like new. Regional and community banks in particular have had a harder time staying on top of technological advances due to lack of resources, amongst other things. Integrating with Narmi can help these banks offer better digital experiences instead of being stuck with legacy core options. 

Community Highlights

Community member Chris Brown from Inspired Capital has an interesting poll out on QR codes. Go vote:

Jill Carlson of Slow Ventures and George Pearkes of Bespoke Investment Group were on Bloomberg's Odd Lots podcast this week to talk about what the Gamestop trade was all about and which of the hot takes were actually the right takes. Definitely give this one a listen

*Note: Tracy and Joe, the hosts of Odd Lots, are the two people that hired me at Bloomberg years ago.

Last but not least, Frank Rotman of QED has published yet another 🔥 tweetstorm.

Career Corner 

As always, here are two fintech jobs we're highlighting today! ​

Senior Back End Developer, Gig Wage: Gig Wage is looking for a back end developer with substantial API and Rails experience. You'll work closely with the product leadership team and front end development to help develop and fully understand product requirements, collaborate on architectural decisions with an eye toward future flexibility, and thoughtfully expand and improve the API so as to minimize versioning turmoil. If this sounds like you, Gig Wage would love to have you apply. 7+ years of experience working Outside Rails, in fintech, on API building and integrations preferred. 

Senior Growth Manager, Modern Treasury: Our friends at Modern Treasury are looking for a Senior Growth Manager to join its team. In this role, you will help lead Modern Treasury to the forefront of payment ops at some of the largest companies in North America. You will own its account-based marketing efforts with large, target accounts. If you are a clear, concise thinker who writes excellent campaign briefs, and you can produce, handle, and adhere to a budget and have 6+ years of B2B software demand generation experience, Modern Treasury wants to hear from you. 

That's all for today. See you guys on Friday with the final news of the week!

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Julie VerHage is the co-founder of Fintech Today, where she focuses on editorial content and brand. Prior to joining, she was Bloomberg’s first fintech reporter, covering Robinhood from before it was a billion dollar company, breaking the news that Plaid was acquiring Quovo, and interviewing executives on Bloomberg TV and at several large conferences.