Finance

Finance

Betterment keeps growing as fintech competitors rise

Betterment, which Barron’s recently declared the largest independent online financial adviser, is betting that the future of online investing includes a blend of robot and human advisers. And the plan is working, according to chief executive Jon Stein. However, incumbents like Vanguard have leveraged existing strengths to move in to the market, and other startups like Robinhood have carved out swathes of the fast-growing market.In response, Betterment has launched a series of new high-touch features on the platform, including “advice packages” that its users can buy to receive one-time advice from professional human experts. In the interview below, Stein shares new details on the company’s growth, its plans to fend off the rise of commission-free trading, an eventual bear market and the ma...

Lending platform Funding Circle raises £300M in London IPO, valuing it at £1.5B, as investor interest cools

Another fintech startup has made the leap into publicly-traded company: Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lending platform for small and medium businesses that was originally founded in the UK, opened for trading today on the London Stock Exchange. It was a positive, if not stratospheric, debut. Trading under FNIG.L, its stock opened at 460 pence, only a small rise of 4.5 percent on its initial offer price of 440 pence per share. Funding Circle href=”https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/FCH/13808441.html”> raised £300 million ($392 million) in its IPO, but that initial price was at the lower end of the original range of 420-530 pence set by the company. And to further draw out the trend, the numbers have not been looking that promis...

YC grad The Lobby raises $1.2M to help job seekers break into Wall Street

Six months after completing Y Combinator’s 12-week accelerator program, The Lobby is announcing a $1.2 million investment. The startup connects job seekers to Wall Street bankers, venture capitalists and other finance “insiders” for advice and personalized career coaching. Founder and former investment banker Deepak Chhugani wants to help people who don’t come from elite backgrounds or have the network of an Ivy League graduate land high-profile finance roles. “There’s a huge chunk of people that never get noticed,” Chhugani told TechCrunch. “The best opportunities are usually only privy to people that are from those wealthy networks.” Chhugani, a Bentley University graduate who began his career at Merrill Lynch, believes he was only able to break into Wall Street because the firm had a ho...

Singapore is the crypto sandbox that Asia needs

Singapore Blockchain Week happened this past week. While there have been a few announcements from companies, some of the most interesting updates have come from regulators, and specifically, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The financial regulator openly discussed its views on cryptocurrency and plans to develop blockchain technology locally. For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore historically has been a financial hub in Southeast Asia, but now has also gradually become the crypto hub of Asia. Compared to the rest of Asia and the rest of the world, the regulators in Singapore are well-informed and more transparent about their views on blockchain and cryptocurrency. While regulatory uncertainties still loom over Korea and Japan, in Southeast Asia, the MAS has already released its...

Corporate venture investment climbs higher throughout 2018

Jason Rowley Contributor Jason Rowley is a venture capital and technology reporter for Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor In VC fund creation, have we passed the peak? Supergiant VC rounds aren’t just raised in China Many corporations are pinning their futures on their venture investment portfolios. If you can’t beat startups at the innovation game, go into business with them as financial partners. Though many technology companies have robust venture investment initiatives—Alphabet’s venture funding universe and Intel Capital’s prolific approach to startup investment come to mind—other corporations are just now doubling down on venture investments. Over the past several months, several big corporations committed additional capital to corporate investments. For example, defense...

VCs say Silicon Valley isn’t the gold mine it used to be

In the days leading up to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018, The Economist published the cover story, ‘Why Startups Are Leaving Silicon Valley.’ The author outlined reasons why the Valley has “peaked.” Venture capital investors are deploying capital outside the Bay Area more than ever before. High-profile entrepreneurs and investors, Peter Thiel, for example, have left. Rising rents are making it impossible for new blood to make a living, let alone build businesses. And according to a recent survey, 46 percent of Bay Area residents want to get the hell out, an increase from 34 percent two years ago. Needless to say, the future of Silicon Valley was top of mind on stage at Disrupt. “It’s hard to make a difference in San Francisco as a single entrepreneur,” said J.D. Vance, the author of ‘Hillbilly...

Eventbrite goes public, and everyone else is raising hella money

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we worked with an (excellent) skeleton crew. Our own Connie Loizos held down the fort with a guest that knew quite a lot: March Capital’s Jamie Montgomery. There was a healthy blizzard of news to get through, so Connie and Jamie plowed ahead. Up top, the Eventbrite IPO was big news. After a long path to going public, Eventbrite reported interesting revenue growth acceleration, attached to a standard set of GAAP net losses. (Standard in that most tech IPOs these days do not feature profitable companies.) But Eventbrite’s IPO was just one thing going on the IPO front. X Financial also went public this week after a somewhat muted pricing event. But even th...

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...