FTT Update: Open For Puppies (And Fintech News)

Hi all, Julie here from a Spring-like week in NYC. I just got done recording an episode of Tux Time with FTT Expert John Collins and I can not wait for you guys to listen to it next Monday. There’s so much going on in DC, and John lays everything out so well. Even someone like me who has zero regulatory experience whatsoever can really understand it. God Bless you, John Collins. 

Last thing before the news, if you're an ace marketer or product geek looking to join an early stage startup, definitely check out the roles below in our Career Corner from Dwelling and Ensemble. Not only is there a ton of potential for career growth, but both of these startups are truly working hard to benefit society as a whole. That goes a long way in my book.

The News

SoFi Buys A Bank

SoFi announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sacramento community bank Golden Pacific Bancorp (GPB). GPB has approximately $150M in assets, and SoFi will pay $2.55 in cash for each share of GPB or approximately $22.3M in aggregate to acquire GPB, which will advance SoFi’s effort to obtain a national bank charter. 

As Ian pointed out on Twitter, SoFi is still largely a lending company, so a banking charter makes a lot of sense for the startup. It would allow it to accept deposits and make loans that use SoFi’s member deposits versus the higher cost of funding for its loan offerings as a non-bank. 

Payroll Startup's New Round

Wrapbook, which simplifies the payroll process for TV, film and commercial productions, announced a $27M Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Equal Ventures and Uncork Capital, as well as from WndrCo (led by DreamWorks and Quibi founder/co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg).

Payroll can be hard for any industry (as Ian and I are learning first hand), but entertainment in particular is tricky due to all of the contract workers in the cast and crew. Wrapbook streamlines the process by digitally collecting all the forms needed at the beginning of production, handling payroll, tracking payments and making it easy to obtain insurance.

Miami Startup's New Funding

Miami-based Pipe announced a $50M raise with Siemens’ Next47 and Jim Pallotta’s Raptor Group co-leading the round. Shopify, Slack, HubSpot, Okta, Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya and Marc Benioff all participated as well. The goal of the platform is to offer companies that have recurring revenue streams a way to gain access to capital without taking out a loan or losing equity. While SaaS companies have been the initial sweet spot for the startup, the company says it’s broadening its scope to include direct to consumer subscription companies, streaming services or telecommunications companies (basically any company with highly predictable, recurring revenue). It then instantly rates the performance of the business and qualifies them for a trading limit, which ranges from $50K to over $100M depending on the size of the user. While it initially launched in the US, one of Pipe’s founders says that India will also end up being one of its largest markets. 

African Fintech Scene Growing

The expansion of fintech throughout Africa isn’t slowing, with Flutterwave raising a $170M Series C led by Tiger Global, valuing the company at more than $1B. This makes the company one of few in Africa that have been able to secure upwards of $200M in financing. 

Flutterwave, which has offices in both Lagos and San Francisco, helps businesses build customizable payments applications through its APIs. The company has reported that it has now processed over 140M transactions worth more than $9B. What’s more, the CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, announced that the company’s revenue increased by over 100% during the past year due to an increase in sectors positively impacted by the pandemic, including gaming, e-commerce and streaming. 

What’s truly noteworthy about Flutterwave is that it is a true African unicorn: it is under 10 years old, founded by an African in Africa and has hit the $1B valuation. When asked about Flutterwave’s future in TechCrunch, Agboola said: 

“We look forward to increasing our investments across the continent and deepening the impact our platform has on lives and livelihoods as we take more businesses in Africa to the world, and at the same time continue to bring more of the world to Africa.”

Career Corner

If you're in the market for a new role, we have two amazing opportunities for you: 

  1. Head of Product at Ensemble: Ensemble is a FinTech platform enabling co-parents to track and manage shared expenses for their children more easily. Ensemble is looking for a rockstar Head of Product eager to get in on the ground floor of a mission driven and well funded seed stage startup with top-tier VCs and be an integral part of the company's success. The Head of Product will be responsible for defining and refining the product roadmap, staying close to users and consistently incorporating their feedback, and scaling the product team as the company grows. 

  2. Growth Marketer at Dwelling: This early stage startup has built the absolute best way to buy your first place - think Honey, for home buying. It found early customers over $5M to put towards their first house purchases and are looking to scale up its marketing across all channels. You'll work alongside a killer team with early experience at Opendoor, Uber, Shopify, and Compass - reporting directly to our CEO.

**If you're interested in having a job featured in Fintech Today, reach out to jordan@fintechtoday.co

Community Highlights

Another exciting career update for a member of the FTT Community! Congrats to Alex Gillette for starting a new job at Rize in business development! 

Firas Omer, an FTT Community Member and Investment Associate at ValueStream Ventures got A PUPPY NAMED TACO! I like to think he did this in honor of my upcoming move to Austin and all of the breakfast tacos that I’ll be eating. Welcome to the FTT Family, little guy!

Julie VerHage-Greenberg 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.

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