Pocket Change: first Netflix-like neobank, crazy Apple forecast, and what a mergers!

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Tomasz Grynkiewicz

Updated Jun 6, 2024 • 9 min read

Hi there, As promised, I’m speeding up with publishing the next edition of Pocket Change. Another promise – no more lengthy introductions. 👌✌️

In the News

  • Apple takes 1-in-10. Apple Pay already accounts for roughly 5% of global card transactions. The market share of iPhone’s maker will double by 2025 – says Bernstein, a research firm. I’m still unable to process this projection fully, but I read these numbers as a sign of the trust customers place in the company. Who should be worried? PayPal, in the long run. For the time being, the ones having a reason for concern are other payment apps, which still can’t access the NFC chips in iPhones. (more on Quartz).
  • Netflix-like banking. There's a new challenger in town. The subscription-only bank Aion is launching in Belgium. The premise: no ATM fees, currency exchange fees, withdrawal fees, or investment fees. Plus, you get the AI-powered MoneyMax tool to help users spend less on bills. Flat subscription rate is 19 EUR per month (or the light version, without MoneyMax, for 1.9 EUR).
  • You’ve been warned. Comply by July or face being cut off from our data, says JP Morgan Chase to all fintechs out there.
  • Tech overhaul. Berndt Leukert, a newly-appointed CTO at Deutsche Bank, is looking for a technology upgrade. The company kicked off a tender process with Microsoft, Google and Amazon. Why is this process so vital? “Any real change in any bank requires an upgrade of their underlying infrastructure”. See the reasons given by Rita Waite, Head of Payments BD & Innovation at Millennium bcp.
  • Grab grabs wealth. Grab, the one super app that beat Uber in Asia, is adding more financial services. The recently acquired wealth-tech startup Bento will be rebranded as GrabInvest, giving the app’s users, drivers and partners retail wealth management solutions (more here).
  • Bye, bye RBS. Enter NatWest

💰💰💰 changing hands. What a series of mergers and investment rounds 🚀

  • Intuit, a Turbo Tax maker, is acquiring Credit Karma for approximately $7.1b (in cash and stocks).
  • Morgan Stanley is buying online discount brokerage E*Trade Financial for around $13 billion (all-stock deal).
  • Ally Financial will pay $2.65b for CardWorks, a non-prime credit card and consumer finance lender (half in cash, half in stock).
  • Revolut raises $500m in Series D funding at $5.5bn valuation, on of the highest valuation of any fintech in Europe.
  • Nova Credit raises $50m in Series B funding.
  • MUFG Bank will invest $700 million in Grab.
  • Klarna acquires Italian startup Moneymour, enticed mostly by its credit scoring algorithm.
  • Wells Fargo has invested $5 million in Elliptic, a London-based cryptocurrency surveillance technology provider.
  • Societe Generale has invested EUR 1.1m in Mutumutu, a Czech startup that offers discounts on premiums on life assurance, but only if you lead a healthy lifestyle.

📋👥 Seen on the job board

# Fake Brexit excuse 👋👋👋

God may save the Queen, but N26 is leaving the UK. The German neobank announced that all UK customer accounts are to be closed by 15 April, and Brexit is to blame.

"While we fully respect the decision [Brexit] that has been taken, it means that N26 will (...) have to leave the market," says Thomas Grosse, chief banking officer at N26.

Sounds legit, yet there are enough signals to suspect Brexit serves as a perfect excuse for N26. Firstly, the German neobank, which attracted over 5 million customers, didn’t reveal any user numbers in the UK, as opposed to announcing reaching 250,000 customers in the US.

Secondly, it’s hard to believe that N26 would have put a brake on the UK market, if the traction had been right. Apparently, the numbers didn’t add up to justify applying for a separate UK banking licence.

# Raising money? Series C Deck tips

How to approach investors, and when is it time to raise money again? Mathilde Collin, co-founder & CEO at Front (frontapp.com) shared some tips and a framework, plus the deck she used to raise Front’s Series C funding.

Here’s one tip on valuation, for a starter.

“I didn’t provide any guidance on valuation. Instead, I simply asked that investors give me a fair price. That, combined with a very short process, helped make the round competitive and eventually played in our favor.”

Read more – Mathilde’s Medium post.

# The Quote of the Issue

Moving money, withdrawing money, investing money, exchanging money, borrowing money, and even saving money shouldn’t cost you money.

Wojciech Sobieraj, CEO at Aion (Netflix-like neobank, see above in the news section)

# The Number of the Issue: $250,000

Meet Ramp, a new player in the corporate credit industry, who aims to target the market dominated by American Express and Brex. Ramp, as explained by Charley Ma, the company’s Head of Growth, is “the first corporate card that helps companies reduce their burn”.

Ramp promises that their algorithms will analyze card usage to identify overspending, and simplify acting on opportunities to reallocate funds for better use.

Is it working? Early adopters think so:

"Ramp did an audit for us at no cost and found over $250,000 in savings right out of the gate,"

Nick Greenfield, CEO of the healthcare technology company Candid.

# Disruption Forum NY 2020

The full lineup at our free fintech event:

✅ Shyamala Sekar, Director, Digital Labs @ UBS
✅ Bob Petrie, SVP @ Citi Ventures
✅ Ilana Fass, Vice President, FinTech Platform Lead @ Barclays
✅ Justin Ternullo, Chief Design Officer @ Policygenius
✅ Richard Arundel, Co-founder & North America GM @ Currencycloud
✅ Christine Hurtubise, Head of Data Science @ Stash
✅ Charley Ma, Head of Growth @ Ramp
✅ Melissa Cullens, Chief Experience Officer @ Ellevest
✅ Jack Arenas, Co-founder & CTO @ Petal
✅ Erick Soto, VP of Product @ Socure
✅ Phillip Rosen, CEO, co-founder @ Even Financial

More info and sign ups: 👉 DF NY 2020

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