Startup Roundup: Goldman Sachs, American Express placing further fintech bets

fintech companies making news this week

[x_alert type=”success”]Every week, we write about fintech startups raising money, making partnerships, and generally disrupting finance[/x_alert]

This week, finance’s who’s who soiréed at the Economist’s Buttonwood Gathering. The one question that seemed to underly all the discussions and break out sessions:

  • what about banks?
  • What’s the banking sector’s role going forward when fintech is disrupting from above, below, and laterally?

The Startups: Who’s shaking things up

Inside Monese, the mobile banking app for migrants (Tradestreaming)
The app lets people sign up with just a picture of a passport and a selfie in as little as 3 minutes.

LendKey Enhances Lending-as-a-Service for Local Banks & Credit Unions (Finovate)
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: Even in this newsletter there’s lots of talk about the competition hitting banks. New platforms like LendKey don’t disintermediate them as lenders; instead, they help them create digital offerings and compete. It will be interesting to see how many banks adopt platforms like LendKey or instead partner with the larger online lenders.

Indiegogo Launches Generosity To Compete In Personal Crowdfunding (
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: After GoFundMe’s (crowdfunding platform for personal campaigns like paying medical bills or tuition) success and raising massive amounts of capital, Indiegogo wants more of the market and relaunches (and rebrands) its own offering, Generosity.

Digital currency is poised to reinvent how startups are funded, led by Chroma Fund (TechRepublic)
Chroma Fund is a crowdfunding site powered by the blockchain, the same underlying technology that powers Bitcoin. Learn how it’s preparing to disrupt startup investing.

From start-up to incumbent: the innovation cycle (The Finanser)
Tradestreaming Tearsheet: Interesting framework to think about growth in the fintech industry and how that maturation unfurls for startups on their way to becoming larger, incumbent players. Useful for startup founders and those investing/partnering with fintech startups.

RushCard Breakdown Affects Thousands of Prepaid Debit Card Users (NYT)
The troubles, lasting much of the past week, illustrate the potential perils for those without access to the banking system.

Co-Founder of Capital One, Nigel Morris, Joins Zopa Board (Crowdfund Insider)
Morris, currently the Managing Partner at QED Investors, is the co-founder of Capital One. QED has invested in well known Fintech companies, including, Credit Karma, Avant Credit, GreenSky and SoFi.

OnDeck Adds New Small Business Lending Options (Finovate)
“The expanded product suite includes broader loan terms, increasing the maximum loan amount from $250,000 to $500,000 and granting borrowers up to 36 months to repay (from 24 months). Lines of credit will be available up to $100,000 (from $20,000) for a monthly fee of $20 and no “draw fees.” And repeat customers will be eligible for annual rates as low as 5.99%, as well as loyalty pricing benefits.”

Early Read on Square’s S-1 Filing (First Annapolis)
Good initial read of the payment firm’s IPO filing – what questions it answers and which ones remain unanswered.

Startups raising money this week

Goldman Sachs leads investment in cloud-based POS startup Financeit (Finextra)
FinanceIt enables businesses to offer payment plans to their customers and Goldman Sachs wants a piece of the online lending fintech firm.

American Express Invests In Bitcoin Venture, Abra, Which Announces U.S., Philippines Launch (Forbes)
Bitcoin startup Abra will soon launch in the US and Philippines, and is rolling out a merchant services API. It also received investment from American Express and Ratan Tata.

Citrus Payments Raises $25M (Let’s Talk Payments)
PE firm Ascent Capital and early investor Sequoia are investing $25M in Citrus’s C round. Citrus “makes digital payments and online checkout processes simpler, faster, safer and easier for an 800 million strong electronically connected user base”.

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Top financial startups

With BillGuard headlining the top startups launching at TechCrunch Disrupt this year,  we’re seeing a big pickup in the quality and number of startups attacking the financial/investment field. Whether it’s just a bull market for startups in general or there’s a renewed interest in tackling the financial sector, there’s a ton of innovation out there.

Here’s a list of some of the top startups in the field.  Vote, add your own.  Let us know what you think.

It’s not meant as an exhaustive list — just to get the party started. Continue reading “Top financial startups”

Output volume and velocity trending up at top investment sites

From Mick:

High volume biz publishers: @businessinsider is averaging 1015 posts/week and @seekingalpha 1033 (Google Reader stats for last 30 days)

That’s amazing — not only in sheer volume but in breadth.  Admittedly, a lot of what’s going up is crap and some of it has nothing to do with business/investing (I’m thinking BusinessInsider’s gratuitous slideshows).  It’s a deluge of content.

There is definitely something in the long tail of financial content for everyone.  There is absolutely no excuse anymore for investors not to better themselves or pick better investment/financial advisors to represent them.

Investment newsletters REALLY bearish — time to buy?

Wow! Expectations that U.S. stocks will drop at least 10% has risen to the highest levels since April 1984.

In a recent survey of investment newsletters by Investors Intelligence, Bloomberg reports that:

The following are results from Investors Intelligence’s
analysis of investment newsletters for Jan. 27 through
yesterday. The company determines the proportion of writers who
are bullish and bearish on U.S. stocks, as well as the
percentage who anticipate a correction, or 10 percent decline,
in the market.

           This Week   Prior Week    Comments
Bullish      38.9%        40.0%      Lowest since July 21
Bearish      22.2%        23.3%      Lowest in two weeks
Correction   38.9%        36.7%      Highest since April 1984

Time to buy?