FTT Update: It's Plaid's World, We're Just Living In It

Hi all, Julie here. The only thing you really need to know today is that it is Tux's birthday. You can stop reading today's newsletter now. 


The News

The Year of Plaid

Plaid is basically taking over fintech news coverage in 2021 I guess. Not only did it launch a new incubator for early-stage fintech startups led by BIPOC founders, but apparently people are clamouring to get shares of the company in a secondary offering. Can’t say I blame them. I’ll go ahead and put $5-10K aside in case I can get in on it somehow. CEO Zach Perret, you know how to reach me. 

Chime and...Fees?

One of the biggest selling points for challenger banks has been their lack of fees. Hence, it came as a surprise to folks yesterday when Axios published a story saying that ~20% of Chime's revenue comes from ATM fees. While these numbers are not correct, people close to the company tell me they aren't that far off either. Essentially, what Axios didn't account for is that Chime isn't getting 100% of the fee for themselves. The ATM networks are grabbing a good portion of it. Still, it highlights the fact that fees still play a role in how challenger banks operate, whether they are making money from fees or losing a ton on them because they are covering the costs for their customers. 

Affirm's Cap Table

First of all, if you’re interested in getting deep dives into Silicon Valley (and sometimes controversial ones), you should sign upfor my former colleague Eric Newcomer’s newsletter. Second of all, he wrote a really cool piece that dove into the history of the Affirm cap table that includes lovely nuggets such as CEO Max Levchin and Peter Thiel telling each other that fintech was dead and they didn’t want to do it again after PayPal, but his wife convinced him to. 

Blackrock in Bitcoin 

Again, more institutions are getting into Bitcoin. Obviously financial managers across the spectrum are getting asked by clients about whether or not they should invest in Bitcoin, so it's not surprising more large institutions are allowing funds to allocate capital to the space. My biggest questions are 1: How will this impact price? 2: Who will win the custody business? Coinbase? Bakkt? Gemini? Someone else? 3: I still don’t fully know what the best use cases will end up being, and clarity around this will be needed. If you have thoughts, send me a DM

Tastytrade Gets Bought 

Tastytrade! Omg one of the OG fintechs that I remember when I started covering this space in 2015. I think I even recall seeing commercials for the brokerage, which specializes in derivatives, when I was still in college in like 2012 and I was starting to learn more about stocks (when we still had to pay commissions). Anyway, it was bought by IG Group this week for ~$1B. It’s great to see more exits in the fintech space, but analysts don’t seem to be big fans of this price tag. Of course, just like other brokerages, Tastytrade has seen quite the surge in customer engagement this year and that had a lot to do with the price tag. Big question now will be whether that surge in demand continues or not, and how much of the growth it can hang on to. 

JPMorgan's $12B Tech Budget

It amazes me that JPMorgan Chase spends $12B on tech annually, and it’s still concerned about losing to fintech. Could you imagine if someone like SoFi, Robinhood, Stripe and others spent that much annually on tech?! They’d be fricken unstoppable. 

MotoRefi Raises New Funding

Auto refinancing platform MotoRefi has raised $10M in a round led by Moderne Ventures. With loads of people looking for ways to save money, the startup, which was incubated at QED through its Belay program, has seen a surge in demand for people looking to refinance their autoloans. 


Community Highlights

Congrats to Fintech Today community member Bruno Werneck de Almeida, who is helping Plaid lead the charge on its fintech incubator! 

Speaking of JPMorgan and its tech budget, I love the responses to Ian's tweet with the article. Here are a couple, but definitely read through more of them. 


Career Corner

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

Director Of Program Operations, Financial Venture Studio: Early stage venture fund Financial Venture Studio is currently recruiting for a new role on its growing team to work with its founder community and to help manage its program. This role presents an opportunity to work directly with early stage fintech founders to help them build the future of financial services in this country. In addition, it is an ideal role for someone looking to break into fintech, the startup ecosystem, or the venture capital industry. ​

Senior Brand Writer, Modern Treasury: Modern Treasury is looking for someone passionate about fintech and writing to join its Growth team. In this role, you will develop and drive an editorial roadmap that tells the story of payment operations, the vast underbelly of how money really moves in the US economy. You will manage its blog and social media, support its quarterly product launches, and work closely with product marketing, growth, and sales to support its revenue and customer goals. The ideal candidate will have 6+ years of experience. 


That's all for this today, but don't forget to check your inbox this weekend for an email from me on Sunday.

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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.