welcome to The exchanger! If you received it in your inbox, thank you for subscribing and for your vote of confidence. If you read this as a post on our site, subscribe here so that you can receive it directly in the future. Each week, I’ll take a look at the hottest fintech news from the previous week. This will include everything from funding rounds and trends to analysis of a particular space and hot shots on a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there and it’s my job to stay in the loop – and make sense – so you can stay in the know. — Mary-Ann
Hello and welcome. We finally got our power back after the ice storm, and I’m feeling better after catching a cold — but since I’m still not running at full capacity, this bulletin will be a bit abbreviated.
Brand changes are not uncommon in the startup world, and the fintech space is no exception. They are particularly more prevalent when companies pivot to adapt to external circumstances. Last week, TripActions announced that it was rebranding and is now called Navan.
I for one was not at all surprised by the news since TripActions has transitioned from a travel expense management company to a corporate card and expense management for businesses more generally in a short time. after the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. In 2021, CEO and co-founder Ariel Cohen told me that his revenue didn’t just drop, it bottomed out. . . to zero. It was then that the executives decided to focus their efforts on its brand new Liquid offering, which seems to have worked quite well for the company. In October, amid its continued growth, the company raised $154 million in equity at a post-money valuation of $9.2 billion, up from its previous valuation of $7.5 billion. , as well as a $150 million structured finance deal from Coatue. Then, in December, it secured $400 million in credit facilities from Goldman Sachs and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
His name change is more than just a name change, apparently. The company said it has now unified its travel, business and spending offerings into “one great app”. On top of that, Navan – a combination of navigate And Before (or forward) – claims to be the first travel agency to integrate OpenAI and ChatGPT APIs into its infrastructure and product set.
The company says it is currently using generative artificial intelligence technology to write, test, and fix code in an effort to increase operational efficiency and reduce overhead. So now, thanks to Ava, Navan’s virtual assistant, travel managers are able to personalize recommendations and increase traveler engagement, executives say. They also say admins can use the tool as a personal assistant to perform tasks like analyzing custom data, providing granular carbon emissions details, or ordering corporate cards for their business. Meanwhile, travelers can do things like conduct travel research, troubleshoot customer support issues, and even recommend an Indian restaurant near their hotel in London, for example.
A company spokesperson told me via email, “Program administrators will be able to ask Ava to report on travel and expense programs, whether by text, graphic, PDF, etc. We also use AI to do everything from eliminate expense reports to automate breakdowns — and in the case of hotel folios, we instantly retrieve them from the hotel after a stay, categorize line items , let’s compare this to company policy and submit for the user, so they don’t have to move (from) a few cents to balance a folio – a process that is quite painful in my experience .
Personally, we at TC wondered when generative AI was going to impact the fintech space, so I’m intrigued by this decision on the part of TripAction – I mean Navan.
But I must point out that Navan was not the only company in the financial services sector to announce that it was incorporating AI into its products.
Last week, Sarah Perez of TechCrunch reported that Microsoft and American Express had announced they were teaming up to put AI to work “to make the frustrating and laborious task of filing and auditing expense reports easier. the company”. She wrote, “The companies have agreed to extend their decades-long partnership to build solutions that leverage Microsoft Cloud and AI technologies, starting with expense management. According to Amex, the initial solution will leverage machine learning and AI to automate expense reports and approvals. Notably, however, Amex says the AI is something it built in-house — it doesn’t leverage Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI but uses Microsoft Cloud. You can read more about this agreement here.
Fascinating! I think we will only know more about the incorporation of AI in the world of financial services.
Last week, To assert announced that it was reducing its workforce by 19% and closing its crypto unit. It also missed analyst estimates of its revenue and earnings. All this news led to a sharp drop in its stock price. It’s further proof that buy now, pay later because a space is in trouble. I plan to revisit it next week, so stay tuned.
Enthusiasm also cut jobs – laid off 126 people last week. Back in May, TechCrunch reported that the HR tech unicorn, which was worth nearly $10 billion at the time, had raised an extension to its Series E funding round for 2021. That funding event included $175 million. dollars in primary capital, a tranche of secondary shares and a tender offer.
Ironically, TC’s Natasha Mascarenhas explains that late last month, Gusto’s editor-in-chief wrote about layoffs — and the silver lining to come for small businesses looking to attract talent.
“Call me cynical, but at the end of the day, a great company will always pick itself out of dozens of its employees. It’s just the nature of the beast. Small businesses should use this fact to their advantage.
TechCrunch reached out to Gusto for comment and was told the cuts were about 5% of the workforce. A spokesperson also told me, “All employees have been notified by email. Affected employees also received a text message directing them to the email. An employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said the move came as a surprise as the company says it is in a “stable financial situation”. The same employee cited a toxic work culture, a sentiment echoed by some Blind users.
According to Axios:Robin Hood announced its intention to buy the shares of Emergent Fidelity Technologies from Sam Bankman-Fried. This particular Robinhood stake is currently in legal hell following the FTX implosion. Robinhood’s board has authorized the purchase of “most or all” of the 55 million shares acquired by Emergent Fidelity Technologies last year, it said in its earnings report on Wednesday. . Emergent Fidelity Technologies was formed to buy 7.6% of Robinhood in early 2022. However, the stake is now contested by several players. Ouch. I’m sure Robinhood hadn’t anticipated this by dropping these stocks.
Pie Insurance, which provides workers’ compensation insurance to small businesses, announced that it had completed its transition to a “comprehensive, rated carrier”. Pie will begin issuing its own insurance policies later this year following the recent acquisition of a nationally licensed insurance company (formerly American Insurance Company), now renamed Pie Insurance Company. We last covered Pie in September when it raised $315 million in Series D. Pie also expanded into commercial auto insurance as MGA for Ford Motor Credit Company with the launch of Ford Pro Insure.
From Manish Singh: “Fintech Kiss And PayU’s LazyPay is among the apps India’s IT ministry has blocked as part of the ongoing crackdown as New Delhi strives to curb the misuse of consumer data and protect the nation’s integrity . More here.
from PayPal the stock is on the rise again. The company announced during its fourth quarter earnings announcement that its longtime CEO, Dan Schulman, plans to retire at the end of the year. But its earnings beat analysts’ estimates. Last week, we wrote about the company’s plans to lay off 2,000 employees.
In July 2022, the Brazilian fintech alt.bank launched novücard, a credit card in Brazil that has a “dynamic” credit limit, with the ability to have the limit automatically adjusted up and down based on usage and payment speed. A company spokesperson told me that since that launch, the novücard has grown to 150,000 new customers, “making it the fastest growing credit card in Brazil.” She adds: “No fewer than 3,000 new customers get a new novücard every day. The company expects this figure to grow, primarily through word of mouth, and the number of customers to grow to 2 million by the end of 2023.” Founded by American Brad Liebmann, fintech alt. bank has 130 employees based mainly in São Paulo and São Carlos. The company raised $5.5 million in seed funding in May 2021.
Financing and M&A
Former Gemini CTO launches Fierce, a super high-yield finance app
A new social investing platform Follow influencers to mirror their investing strategies
SUMA Wealth acquires Reel to close the wealth gap in the United States. Christine covered last year: https://techcrunch.com/2022/10/21/suma-wealth-latinos-credit-gaming/
Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia backs cross-border payments startup Tazapay
Investment platform Moonfare caps Series C extension at $15 million
It’s all for this week. Thank you once again for sticking with me, and I hope to be back to you full speed ahead next week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! xoxo, Mary Ann