Finance

Finance

Jamie Burke to explain why you should still bet on the blockchain at Disrupt Berlin

Now that your cousin doesn’t ask you questions about bitcoin anymore, is it the end of all things blockchain? Maybe it just means that it’s time to think about innovating at the protocol level and come up with new use cases. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Outlier Ventures CEO and founder Jamie Burke will join us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. Burke bet on the blockchain industry quite early as he set up Outlier Ventures back in 2013. The firm’s investment strategy is much more interesting than your average investment thesis. According to Burke, blockchain is key when it comes to decentralization. At some point, the web and the internet became too centralized. Most people now spend their time on social networks and other walled gardens. This isn’t the first centralization wave. Web ...

This is how much VCs are paid

Venture capital is known for being an opaque industry, so it’s no surprise most of us have no idea what the average VC earns in a year. I got a closer look at the survey results of J. Thelander Consulting‘s annual venture firm compensation survey and, unsurprisingly, VCs make a lot of money. Just how much? Well, of the 204 VCs surveyed (172 male and 32 female), the average general partner expects to make roughly $634,000 this year, including a bonus for 2017 performance. The averages varied a bit depending on the size of the firm. VCs at firms with less than $250 million assets under management (AUM), for example, earn less than their counterparts at larger firms. GPs, who sit at the top of the ranks at VC firms, have the largest compensation packages. Their yearly bonuses are, on average,...

Alibaba’s Ant Financial denies stealing from Equifax

Ant Financial has denied claims that it covertly raided Equifax — the U.S. credit firm that was hit by a hack last year — to grab information, including code, confidential data and documents to help recruit staff for its own credit scoring service. The Alibaba affiliate, which is valued at over $100 billion, launched Sesame Credit in China in 2015, and a report this week from The Wall Street Journal suggests that it leaned heavily on Equifax to do so. Ant Financial hired China-born Canadian David Zou from Equifax and the Journal claims that Zou looked up employee information to gauge potential hires and squirreled away confidential documents via his personal email account. Ant was said to have offered Chinese staff at Equifax lucrative raises — reportedly tripling their salaries — with a f...

The Winklevoss stablecoin is one small step toward crypto acceptance

A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency pegged 1-to-1 with another “stable” currency. In most cases, these coins are pegged to the US dollar and, as such, allow for true transfers of actual fiat currencies between parties using the blockchain. If you’re nodding off right now thinking about this, I would posit that these moves, however minor right now, are an important step forward in cryptocurrency acceptance. The latest stablecoin to hit the virtual streets is the Gemini Dollar. This coin comes on the heels of the much-ridiculed Tether, a stablecoin created in 2014 that has been the the brunt of much criticism including suggestions that the team has been artificially pumping the currency with wash trades. The new currency by Winklevoss-run Gemini is pegged directly to the US dollar on the Ethere...

Paysend announces global account to compete with Revolut

Meet Paysend’s global account, a new way to hold, spend and send money in multiple currencies using a mobile app and a card. It looks a lot like Revolut’s basic features. But the company is trying to provide a more focused and robust experience from day one. “We are quite different from both a technical infrastructure and consumer offering viewpoint. We own and control our own processing and this gives tremendous ability and flexibility to deliver a wide variety of services whilst controlling the entire consumer journey,” Head of Product Alex Murashko told me. “But for me an important distinction is that we have a different approach to designing the product. We believe in simplifying the consumer experience so that instead of feeling like they are bombarded with a long list of features the...

LendingTree is the secret success story of fintech

For all of the excitement centered around fintech over the past half-decade, most venture-backed fintech companies struggle to acclimate to public markets. LendingClub and OnDeck have plummeted since their late 2014 IPOs after several years of darling status in the private markets. GreenSky, which went public in May of this year, has been unable to return to its IPO price. Square is the exception to the rule. Sometimes we overlook the companies that hail from the era that precedes the current wave of fintech fascination, a vertical which has accumulated over $100 billion in global investment capital since 2010. One of these companies is LendingTree, which got its start height of the Internet bubble, going public in mid-February of 2000, less than a month before the Dot-com bubble peaked.  ...

Uber CEO: No plans to sell self-driving car unit ‘for now’

Uber has no plans to sell its self-driving car research unit “at this time,” according to the company’s chief executive. Dara Khosrowshahi said that the ride-hailing giant will “absolutely” keep the research unit, known as the Advanced Technologies Group, including when the company files its initial public offering, which Khosrowshahi said is on track for 2019. “Ultimately, it is a big asset that we are building and we can monetize that in whatever way we want to,” he told Reuters, speaking at an event in New York. He added that the company is also open to partnering with other companies building self-driving car technology, including Toyota, which said last month that it would invest $500 million in developing self-driving technologies with the company. Earlier Wednesday, Uber announced n...

Fall 2018 tech IPOs face myriad of headwinds

2018 has been an incredibly strong year for IPOs, particularly in the technology sector. Among the brand names this year that have made their public debuts are Dropbox, Xiaomi, Spotify (through a direct listing), DocuSign, Carbon Black, Zuora, among many, many others. Given the strength of these numbers through the first eight months of this year, the key question for the public markets is whether the year will close out just as strongly or die in a whimper. It’s a decidedly mixed picture right now. The positives for the tech industry are an extremely robust pipeline of unicorns and growth-stage companies as well as soaring stock prices and strong economic data encouraging investors to seek additional risk in new issues in order to drive returns. Yet, there are serious headwinds operating ...

Lending startup Portal Finance nabs $200 million for small business loans in Latin America

Latin American small businesses just got a big boost with a new commitment for a $200 million lending joint venture between the Bogota-based startup Portal Finance and Latin America’s largest financial services institution, BTG Pactual. For Portal Finance, the deal with BTG caps a meteoric rise, which has seen the company raise $1.5 million at a $60 million valuation and move from a small $5 million lending pilot to a $200 million deal in the span of two years. “A year ago we were four guys in a closet. Now we’re 70 people,” says Diego Caicedo, the company’s chief executive and co-founder.  The company’s success is a testament to the changing fortunes of many Latin American economies and the role that venture capital is playing. For the last several years Colombia’s economic fortunes have ...

Funding Circle, a P2P SME lending platform, steps towards an IPO

UK founded startup Funding Circle, a p2p lending platform which focuses on the underserved small business market, has announced a “potential intention” to float on the London Stock Exchange. In a press release today, announcing the publication of a Registration Document for a possible future IPO, Funding Circle says that should it proceed with floating on the stock market it would be looking to raise around £300 million (~$387M). According to the document the business is being valued at up to £1.65BN (~$2.1BN). Heartland A/S, the private holding company of Danish billionaire businessman, Anders Holch Povlsen, has agreed, as part of the potential IPO Offer, to purchase 10% of the issued ordinary share capital at a range of valuations (but Funding Circle notes this commitment falls away if t...

Payday startups are increasing access to wages, but is “make any day payday” the right choice?

Kristen Berman Contributor Kristen Berman is a co-founder of Duke’s Common Cents Lab with Professor Dan Ariely. Common Cents is generously supported by MetLife Foundation. Kristen was on the founding team of Google’s behavioral economics team, and was previously the founder of Irrational Labs, a behavioral economics nonprofit focused on health and happiness. More posts by this contributor Four behavioral economics strategies for improving consumer financial health Taxes in the gig economy Tuo Yang Contributor Imagine you get a monthly paycheck on the 15th of the month but your bills come in on the 1st of the month.  Between the 15th and 1st you must set a portion of your check aside to pay bills.  This becomes a complicated budgeting equation. How much can I spend today vs how ...

Thailand is becoming a critical country for blockchain

While United States regulators are still trying to figure out how to think about cryptocurrencies, Thailand’s government is already mapping out its own central bank digital currency. This is just one of numerous examples how Thailand has emerged as one the most interesting cryptocurrency and blockchain countries in Southeast Asia in 2018. Since the start of the year, the Thai government has become increasingly outspoken and welcoming of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges. In just a few months, Thai regulators have made notable progress, from setting up cryptocurrency company licenses to permitting exchanges and ICOs. More importantly, the country has attracted foreign companies by providing clear and explicit guidelines for foreign blockchain companies to operate. It’s a pattern that we...