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Hey fintech devotees, 

This week we’re talking about: 

  • The big bank rush into fintech
  • Klarna’s copyright fight
  • Facebook’s fintech dreams

While we’re on the subject of big tech taking the leap into finance, Google has pulled the plug on its Google Plex banking plans, two years after first announcing them. The plan was to extend Google Pay into banking but this has been shelved with head of business Bill Ready preferring a payments ecosystem rather than directly competing with banks (and fintechs). 

Looks like not every big tech will be a fintech.

\Got a story? 

Is there something we should investigate? Let us know at or via Telegram at @isabelwoodford

What's Hot... 👍

₿ Crypto mania. All eyes on Bitfury, the Amsterdam-based bitcoin mining giant, amid reports it's looking to go public next year. Meanwhile, Sifted has also caught word that JP Morgan quietly took part in blockchain analytics firm Elliptic's $60m Series C, alongside SoftBank. Europe's hedge fund traders, pension funds and high-net individuals are reportedly getting FOMO too, luring traders to dip their feet into the world of crypto. 

📱 Neobank bankrolling. Mobile bank N26 has reportedly closed a €700m raise, bumping up its valuation to the €8bn mark. The bank has recently seen several c-suite departures and upset BaFin, Germany’s financial regulator.

🇩🇪 Born in Berlin. Early-stage fintechs in Germany have investors at their doors. Mondu, a new fintech player set up by the founders of LatAm ecommerce startup Dafiti, has today tapped $14m in seed funding led by FinTech Collective and Cherry Ventures. Yesterday, a bank for doctors and dentists received €1.4m in funding. The niche-ification of banking continues.

... And What's Not 👎

🛍️ BNPL party poopers. UK equity research house Redburn has rained on the parade of buy now pay later (BNPL) purists, saying — “BNPL as a standalone business is not viable”. Such a blanket statement has prompted our friends over at the Financial Times’ Alphaville to dig into the data behind it. Their conclusion is that there isn’t a clear path to profitability, even for heavyweights like Klarna. Ouch. 

©️ Klarna copyright fight. Speaking of the Swedish decacorn, Klarna has landed in hot water by filing to trademark the word ‘vibe’ in the UK, despite young upstart VibePay already owning the trademark. Vibe is Klarna’s rewards programme which has launched in the US. Plans to move it across the pond have been swiftly derailed by VibePay. CEO Luke Massie is currently working with a legal team to settle the dispute. 

#️⃣ Fintech Facebook. Last week, the world took a deep breath as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram all went offline. American Banker has its bets on this derailing Facebook’s fintech ambitions before they've even properly started. The outage meant that some stores and non-profits using Facebook Pay were cut off. Another bump in the road to its Novi Wallet?

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\Resource of the Week

The top 250 fintechs

CB Insights has revealed this year’s Fintech 250 — a prestigious list of companies tapped to transform financial technology. Curious if your startup has made the list or just want to scope out the competition? 

Check out the list here. 


Banks made a record investment in fintech this year

Who’s investing in fintech? The banks apparently. Analysis by PitchBook and Sifted has shown that banks in Europe have tripled their rate of investment since 2016, with a record 142 deals made in Europe last year. 

But which sectors are the banks flooding their cash into? And which bank is the most prolific investor? 

Isabel Woodford has the details.

Want to read more in-depth articles like this and attend exclusive member events? Sign up to Sifted Membership to get full access.


The Challenger

Fintech fans, that’s two in a row that you’ve got right. Last week, almost half of you correctly answered that 100k banking jobs are set to disappear in the coming years according to Wells Fargo analysts. 

Maybe we’ve been too soft on you. Hopefully, you’ll find this one more challenging. 

This time, we’re testing how well you’ve been keeping up with Sifted. A few weeks ago, we reported on Revolut’s less-than-stellar gender pay gap. But how much less were women paid per hour on average compared to men according to its first gender gap report? 

\DMs to the Editor

If Facebook has become "Big Tobacco", how will we look back at fintech?

"In recent weeks, a trove of Facebook’s internal research has come to light, showing the potential harm the products have on its users. The company knew about it but downplayed the risks publicly.

This got me thinking, in 5-10 years time, how will we look back on fintech and crypto companies, many of which proudly market their products and technologies as 'democratizing' financial services and promoting access and inclusion?

I suspect many won’t live up to their promises. I have had a front-row seat, working at one such company that promised to improve its users’ financial health. When it failed to do so, regulators (eventually) held it to account -- but how many consumers were misled or harmed in the meantime?"
Jason Mikula, fintech writer (ex-Goldman Sachs, Enova, LendUP)

From the Archives

Meet Europe's fintech soonicorns [member] 
Fantasy startup investing game Visionrare: What went wrong? 
17 European blockchain startups to watch, according to top investors [member]
Bumpy ride ahead for corporates embracing NFTs 
Neobanks gamble with buy-now pay-later — but will it make them money?

\Share the Love

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Isabel Woodford
Senior Fintech Reporter

Get in touch with her at
Tweets (too much) at @i_woodford
Tom Matsuda
Editorial Intern

Get in touch with him at
Tweets (when inspired) at @_tommatsuda 
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