5 min read

Fintech Highlights - 8/29/2023

Checkout.com ends relationship with Binance. OpenAi looking for funds. Better goes public.  Here's what we've been watching this week….👇

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Checkout.com Terminates Contract with Binance

Payment processing giant Checkout.com ended its contract with Binance over recent actions by regulators targeting Binance and concerns about the crypto exchange’s anti-money laundering and compliance controls, Forbes reported Friday.

Binance was once the largest customer at Checkout—which also works with crypto firms like Blockchain.com, Crypto.com and MoonPay—and had been processing between $300 million and $400 million in Binance transactions in recent months, according to the report, though Checkout said those figures were too high. Checkout had also supported Binance Connect, which let customers buy crypto with credit cards and bank transfers. Binance announced it would shutter Binance Connect earlier this week.

A spokesperson for Checkout confirmed that it no longer processes payments for Binance and added that it was “a proactive decision on the basis of what we thought was best for Checkout.com.” A Binance spokesperson told The Information that Checkout’s decision would have “no impact on our services.” Other financial partners have also recently cut ties with Binance, which has been sued by U.S. regulators and is the subject of a long-running Department of Justice probe. Paysafe, a European payments company, announced in June it would end its relationship with Binance as its banking partner.


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OpenAI Rival Cohere Hires Banks to Raise More Money

Toronto-based Cohere, which develops large-language models similar to OpenAl's, has tapped JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to help it raise a fresh round of funding, Bloomberg reported.

Why this is the BFD: The move comes just a few months after the startup's June funding in which it raised $270 million from investors including Oracle and Nvidia at a $2.2 billion valuation. (The startup is part of Oracle's AI product strategy, The Information previously reported.) And it also is happening as hedge fund Tiger Global is looking to sell a slice of its stake in the startup at a roughly $3 billion valuation,

The big picture: Large language models are in hot demand.  As the companies that provide them, like Cohere, scale they are going to need large financial backers to win the hotly-contested environment - especially contracts, talent and compute resources.


Better.com (Nasdaq: BETR), the home mortgage upstart backed by SoftBank and Alphabet, saw its shares crumble on their first day of trading, after the company went public via Aurora Acquisition Corp. The closing price was just $1.25 per share

Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) agreed to sell its aviation finance leasing unit for $700m to Riyadh-based AviLease, owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. More here ->

Trustly, a Swedish payments business owned Nordic Capital, acquired SlimPay, a French direct debit platform that had raised around $25m from backers like Prime Ventures. No financial terms were disclosed, but Bloomberg pegs the price at €70m.  More here ->

💸 Goldman Sachs announced a deal to sell part of its wealth advisory business.  More here ->


Ramp, the New York-based corporate finance automation startup, raised $300m. The company is using its new capital to accelerate product development, expand into adjacent categories and “hire significantly” in the second half of this year. More here ->

Communion, a London-based savings app, raised £2.5m in pre-seed funding co-led by Revolut and Target Global. The funding announcement coincides with the launch of the Communion app, a new fintech product designed to encourage savings amid an unprecedented rise in the cost of living. The app combines a standard savings account, with a 3.66% AER, with an educational platform that coaches users on savings.  More here ->

MFast, a Vietnamese financial services distribution network, raised $6m in Series A funding. MFast’s network currently includes 160,000 active agents who work with customers in tier 2 and tier 3 cities throughout Vietnam. It has served more than a million users in Vietnam so far.  More here ->

LemFi has raised $33M in a Series A round,  to ease remittance for immigrants. LemFi offers a multi-currency account for immigrants to hold, send, and receive money in both the currencies of their home country and that of their host country. Users can also send money to more than 30 countries. More here ->

Koverly, a FinTech firm that helps businesses manage their B2B payments and receivables online, has raised $7.6M.  More here ->


Treasure Financial, a Silicon Valley-based RIA focused on cash management for businesses, raised $7.5 million in a funding round. Unlike most RIAs that serve high-net-worth clients or individual investors, Treasure focuses on managing cash assets for businesses, which it likens to the internally built treasury departments at Apple and Airbnb.More here ->


NOW Insurance, a Houston-based full-stack, AI-enabled commercial insurance platform specializing in medical professional liability coverage, received an investment from a subsidiary of Arch Capital Group Ltd.  More here ->

From The Stash

Huntington originates more than half of loans with e-contracting - Huntington Auto Finance is leaning on digital channels to speed funding and improve consumer experiences.   More than half of Huntington auto loan originations are completed through e-contracting. More here ->

NFTs Are Securities, SEC Alleges - Podcast firm Impact Theory agreed to a cease and desist order and to pay a $6.1 million fine to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it offered and sold unregistered securities in the form of NFTs. The settlement marks the first SEC enforcement action alleging that digital collectibles are securities, and signals the potential for a broader regulatory crackdown on NFTs. Investors have previously filed several private lawsuits alleging that NFTs were offered and and sold as securities, most notably a case in New York that alleges Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot NFTs are securities. More here ->

Cloud migration vital for banking industry - Cloud migration projects have become increasingly important for the banking industry, offering benefits that can revolutionize how financial institutions operate. In an era in which digital transformation is reshaping the landscape, it is vital for banks to adapt to stay competitive and meet evolving customer expectations. More here ->

This venture-backed startup has quietly bought more than 80 mom-and-pop shops - Teamshares is a low-flying, New York-based startup with big ambitions to capitalize on an opportunity in plain sight: that of small businesses without a succession plan.It’s not a small market. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7% of U.S. employer firms and 64% of private-sector jobs. Meanwhile, just 15% or so of small business owners pass along their company to a family member, with many others simply closing up shop at some point. More here ->

BMO, Bank of the West conversion update - BMO Financial Group shared its long-term savings plans and provided an update on its integration of Bank of the West during its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday. The $923 billion BMO completed its acquisition of Bank of the West in February and is ready to kick off conversion this weekend. More here ->

Webinars / Reports

An artist’s illustration of artificial intelligence (AI). This illustration depicts language models which generate text. It was created by Wes Cockx as part of the Visualising AI project launched by Google DeepMind.

Mastercard report: How FIs should approach gen AI

New use cases for generative AI continue to surface, and as financial institutions explore the technology, they must consider compliance.  Uses for generative AI in the finance industry include linking institutions quickly, working as a personal wealth management tool and teaching financial literacy, according to Mastercard’s “Commerce in the age of generative AI” report

Get the report ->

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