welcome to The exchange! If you received this in your inbox, thank you for signing up and your trust. If you read this as a post on our site, please subscribe here so that you can receive it immediately in the future. Every week I check out the latest fintech news from the past week. This includes everything from funding rounds to trends to an analysis of a particular space to hot takes on a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there and it’s my job to stay on top of it – and understand it – so you stay informed. — Mary Ann
As this year draws to a close, it’s clearly an appropriate time to take a look back at some of the highs (and lows) in the world of fintech news.
We have started 2022 relatively well. Mega rounds were still taking place! Decacorns were born. Venture capital was still available. Then, sometime in the second quarter, things changed. And they’ve been running ever since.
When deciding how to approach the latest edition of this newsletter of the year, I was curious to see which of my stories performed best. So I asked our incredible audience development manager: Alyssa Stringer, to pull my top 15 stories by page views. In summary, dear readers, it seems that you were all most interested in the coverage of companies at their peak and the coverage of companies at their lowest level. It was the best time. And then it felt like the worst time. And oh, many of you were curiously very curious about the concept of fractional real estate investing.
Here were my top 15 most read stories on the businessroundups.org site in 2022:
- “We probably threw away $200 million,” Better.com’s CEO told employees at a layoff meeting: a partnership with the brilliant Zack Whittaker, where we were able to speak to the employees of Vishal Garg ourselves. . . and it wasn’t pretty.
- Fast closing doors after slow growth, fundraising options ruled out by high burnout: a collaboration with my best friend, TC+ editor and co-host of the Equity podcast Alex Wilhelm. Watching how to checkout in one click Fast crashing and burning was definitely one of the biggest stories in fintech this year.
- Disaster confirms new valuation of $8.1 billion after ‘an almost 10x’ year-over-year revenue increase: the business spending startup had doubled its valuation from August 2021 to March 2022. The space it operates in has only gotten busier. Meanwhile, the company has since expanded into new industries.
- Fintech Roundup: Better.com employees are leaving en masse after the return of CEO Vishal Garg: This one is particularly meaningful to me, as it was the soft launch of what would eventually become The Interchange. Also one of many Better.com related firsts.
- PayPal is closing its San Francisco office: this one kind of surprised me, because I didn’t notice it That important news, but perhaps it was a sign of what was to come later in 2022.
- Forerunner, Bezos back Arrived, a startup that lets you buy single-family homes for “as little as $100”: This almost matched the PayPal piece above. There was a lot of interest in it — maybe it was a combination of the very attractive business model and the fact that Jeff Bezos was a backer.
- Better.com employees learned about layoffs when layoff checks appeared in the payroll app: another first that left many of us shaking our heads in amazement (and not in a good way).
- Fintech Klarna has reportedly raised a $6.5 billion valuation, giving new meaning to the phrase “down round”: this may have marked a turning point in 2022. When a company valued at $45 billion last year, about Raising 1/7 of that amount, folks pay attention. The tide was turning in the fintech space and this news made many people very nervous as it felt like proof that the 2021 party was over.
- Better.com loses more senior executives as employees brace for another mass layoff: another first that has many of us shaking our heads in amazement (and not in a good way).
- The fintech layoffs just keep coming: As 2022 started, the only layoffs I covered were done by Better.com. But at the beginning of November it unfortunately became very clear that layoffs were rampant in the fintech industry.
- Alchemy, which aims to be the “de facto platform” for developers to build on web3, is now valued at $10.2 billion: I wrote this back when I was still doing some crypto reporting. Alchemy grew enormously, very quickly. It might be a good time to check them out given everything that has happened in the crypto space since that surge.
- Fintech Brex confirms $12.3 billion valuation, hires Meta exec to serve as lead product: this published in January. In October I wrote about the layoffs at the company. A lot happened in between, including the company’s controversial decision to stop serving small and medium-sized businesses.
- Better.com plans to lay off about 4,000 people this week, sources say: you guessed it, another first.
- Fintech startup Jeeves raises $180 million, quadruples valuation to $2.1 billion in half a year: the speed of Jeeves’ growth and appreciation has been impressive. A BaaS business cards and expense management company. But even back in March, the startup’s CEO commented on the fundraising process, “The market looked very different in January and February than it did in December.”
- Landa Can Make You a Landlord With Just $5: Like I said, it seems like all of you are really interested in fractional investing in real estate, or maybe a lot of people just secretly want to become landlords.
It was an eventful and at times nerve wracking year that was much more than just the above. Venture dollars flowing into fintech slowed, just like every other industry. Characters were questioned. But I remain hopeful. The companies that did meaningful things in 2021 and 2022 will continue to do so. They may pay more attention and run a little quieter – but IMHO, that’s not a bad thing. Fintech innovation remains more important than ever, especially when it comes to inclusion and access. There are so many startups doing great work. We must not allow the few bad apples to ruin everything. I know there is still a long way to go. We’re not done correcting the excesses of 2021. But I’m excited about what fintech will bring in 2023, for example. (Speaking of which, check out the Equity team’s predictions for next year here.)
Visa will invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years
Why Checkout.com lowered its internal rating
Microsoft acquires 4% stake in London Stock Exchange Group as part of 10-year cloud partnership
India’s Paytm to spend up to $103 million to buy back shares
Financing and Mergers and Acquisitions
Poolit raises millions to convert accredited investors to LPs in VC, private equity funds
Nilus raises $8.5 million led by Bessemer to automate your financial operations
Vic.ai raises $52 million, shows that automating accounting processes can be profitable
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And with that I sign off. This is the last newsletter I will publish in 2022. I don’t know where this year went, and to be honest it was really, really hard in many ways. But there were also many bright spots, including growing this newsletter audience and the honor of sharing this content with all of you. Thanks again. Happy holidays everyone and a happy and healthy new year! May it be a better, brighter and wonderful year. xoxo, Mary Ann