Online Stock Research Firm TipRanks Scores $77 Million

Online Stock Research Firm TipRanks Scores $77 Million

In the age of “diamond-handed” growth investors and message board stock jockeys, does anyone even analyze stocks any more?

Israel-based online stock research firm TipRanks is betting that the answer is “yes.” The company, which offers solutions that enable investors to quickly analyze stock market data and the performance of market analysts, secured a $77 million investment in a round led by technology group Prytek last month. The funding will help the nine-year old fintech take advantage of the surging interest in trading and investing by retail customers.

TipRanks leverages Natural Language Processing technology to review and analyze data from a wide variety of sources including analyst forecasts, financial bloggers, insider activity, news sentiment, and both the collective wisdom of individual investors on the platform as well as the actual investments by top hedge fund managers. A two-time Finovate Best of Show winner, TipRanks offers quantitative tools like its Smart Score for stocks and its Star Ranking System for analysts to allow investors to quickly assess a stock’s prospects or the value of a given analyst’s opinion.

“In addition to being the only company that ranks analysts based on their performance rather than the prestige of the bank they work for, we are the only company that makes aggregated analyst ratings available to retail investors,” TipRanks co-Founder and CEO Uri Gruenbaum said. “We analyze all finance-related news, corporate filings, analyst research, and social media to provide retail investors with the same level of information that only institutional investors can afford. By doing so, we enable retail investors to make data-driven investment decisions.”

The investment takes TipRanks’ total funding to $80 million. The company will use the new capital to add to its workforce, having experienced a significant jump in demand for its solutions in 2020. TipRanks noted that it has more than four million monthly users in the wake of a 3x boost for its subscription-based services last year. Gruenbaum added that TipRanks also plans to expand its research coverage to include other asset classes and markets such as cryptocurrencies and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The new partnership will also give TipRanks access to Prytek’s tools and datasets which bring greater transparency to online investment advisory. Founded in 2017, Prytek is an Israel-based multinational technology group that specializes in investing in new technologies and delivering managing services to companies in financial services and other verticals via its Business Operating Platform-as-a-Service model (BOPaaS).

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Wealthsimple Reaches $4 Billion Valuation on Latest Fundraising

Wealthsimple Reaches $4 Billion Valuation on Latest Fundraising

In a round led by Meritech and Greylock, Canada-based fintech Wealthsimple has secured $610 million (C$750 million) in funding. The investment takes the online brokerage’s total capital to more than $1 billion, more than triples the company’s most recent valuation to $4 billion, and represents one of the largest financings for a Canadian technology company to date.

“Seven years ago, we launched Wealthsimple with just four people and a mission that many thought was naive: use technology and innovation to revolutionize the finance industry so every Canadian could achieve financial freedom, no matter who they are or how much money they have,” Wealthsimple co-founder and CEO Mike Katchen wrote on the company’s blog this morning. “I’m happy to say that our mission doesn’t seem quite so naive anymore.”

Also participating in the round were DST Global, Sagard, Iconiq, Dragoneer, TCV, iNovia, Allianz X, Base 10, Redpoint, STEADFAST, Alkeon, TSV, and Plus Capital. A host of Canadian celebrities were also involved in the funding, including actors Ryan Reynolds and Michael J. Fox; athletes Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, and Patrick Marleau; and singer Drake.

Since its inception in 2014, Wealthsimple has grown into a firm with more than two million users who enjoy commission-free stock trading, automated investing, as well as access to cryptocurrencies and tax services. This spring, the company introduced its cash app, which enables Canadians to send and receive cash “in seconds.” Free and requiring no minimum balance to use, Wealthsimple Cash has been likened to Venmo, a popular cash app in the U.S. The app currently has daily spending limits of $5,000 a day and $20,000 a month; Wealthsimple said that this is significantly more generous than what is available through the big banks.

Wealthsimple’s investment news comes as the Toronto, Ontario-based fintech pivots to pursue new opportunities in the Canadian market (the company sold its U.S. investment advisory business to Betterment in March). During the investing mini-mania surrounding Robinhood and shares of Gamestop earlier this year, investors in Canada were weighing in by making Wealthsimple’s trading app the number one app on Canada’s Apple App Store and on Google Play. This ratings boost was accompanied by a 50% gain in sign-ups and a 2x increase in trading volume. The environment created by the global pandemic, according to Wealthsimple’s Katchen, played a significant role in the company’s growth; 18% of the country’s new brokerage accounts in the first half of 2020 were opened on Wealthsimple’s platform.

Like a growing number of fintechs, Wealthsimple also plans to extend its offerings to include cash, checking, insurance, and mortgage products with the goal of becoming the customer’s “primary financial institution“. The company initially earned its unicorn status in October, after securing an investment of $93 million (C$114 million). Power Corporation of Canada is the company’s majority shareholder, with a 43% of the company post-financing.

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Kid Capitalism: Teen Banking App Step Secures $100 Million in Series C

Kid Capitalism: Teen Banking App Step Secures $100 Million in Series C

Just a few days after Till Financial picked up a $5 million investment for its “kids-focused” spending management app and Greenlight raised a whopping $260 million for its technology that helps parents raise “financially smart kids,” teen banking app Step announced that it had scored $100 million in Series C funding for its financial wellness solution dedicated toward helping young people develop sound financial habits.

“Our mission is to help improve the financial futures of the next generation and we’re thrilled to have such a massive vote of confidence from investors, especially during Financial Literacy Month,” Step CEO and founder CJ MacDonald said. “Thirty-eight percent of teens say they lack the financial resources needed to achieve financial independence and this is a problem Step is well positioned to help solve as we educate millions of households every day.”

The round was led by General Catalyst and featured participation from an exceptionally diverse group of existing investors. This roster included Coatue, Stripe, Charli D’Amelio, The Chainsmokers’ Mantis VC, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s firm WndrCo, actor Jared Leto, Franklin Templeton and NBA All-Star Stephen Curry. The investment takes Step’s total funding to more than $175 million.

In the time since Step launched in September of 2020, the company has amassed more than 1.5 million users of its financial wellness app. Step gives users a free, FDIC insured bank account, a secured spending card, and access to a P2P payments platform that enables users to send and receive money instantly. With 88% of the company’s users saying that Step is their first bank account, the platform claims that it is the only banking platform that enables youth to build a positive credit history before they reach 18 years old.

“For too long, conversations about money –– specifically how to manage it –– have been avoided despite what a critical role they play in shaping the future of the next generation,” actor, musician, and serial tech investor Jared Leto said. “Over twenty years ago, I set out to tackle this problem by starting a company in the space, so I’m excited to see Step addressing the financial literacy crisis head on with game-changing technology built to help young people learn about money in their digitally native environments.”

Step is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and was co-founded by MacDonald and Alexey Kalinichenko. The company’s financial solutions are backed by bank partner Evolve Bank & Trust.

Capital for Credit Unions: VyStar Invests $20 Million in NYMBUS CUSO

Capital for Credit Unions: VyStar Invests $20 Million in NYMBUS CUSO

In what the Miami, Florida-based fintech called a “landmark” fundraising, NYMBUS announced today that its new credit union service organization (CUSO) has secured $20 million in funding from VyStar Credit Union. The investment is the largest ever fintech funding round on behalf of a credit union.

“VyStar understands the challenges faced by the credit union industry, and we work diligently to identify the right partners like Nymbus that can deliver the disruptive solutions needed to help them thrive in today’s competitive environment,” VyStar EVP & Chief Operations Officer Chad Meadows said.

Founded last month, Nymbus CUSO was launched to help connect credit unions with fintechs to enable them to take advantage of new offerings that enhance services for customers and provide new growth opportunities for businesses. Former president and CEO of Partners Federal Credit Union, John Janclaes has been named President of Nymbus CUSO, and will lead the organization in its mission to serve as a “digital advocate for credit unions.”

“Based on the overwhelming response that Nymbus CUSO has already received in the market, we clearly address an overlooked opportunity for helping credit unions play to their strengths and make serious growth gains without breaking technology budgets,” Nymbus CEO and chairman Jeffery Kendall explained. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with VyStar in the effort, which is now accelerared with this considerable investment.”

The 16th largest credit union in the U.S., with assets of more than $10.8 billion, VyStar Credit Union is based in Jacksonville, Florida and serves more than 750,000 members from the 49 contiguous counties of North and Central Florida, as well as 10 counties in Southern Georgia. VyStar CU opened its 60th branch in February and, in March, announced that it had agreed to acquire Heritage Southeast Bank based in Jonesboro, Georgia.

“Today’s record investment speaks volumes to the confidence VyStar has placed in this new CUSO,” VyStar Chief Member Experience Officer Joel Swanson said in this week’s funding announcement. “Nymbus has come up with an entirely new approach for credit unions to innovate quickly for members that incorporates a truly sustainable growth strategy.”

Nymbus made fintech headlines just last week with news of a $15 million investment round led by Financial Services Capital. The round nearly doubled the FSC’s total investment in Nymbus and gives the firm more than $98 million in total capital raised. Nymbus began the year with the appointment of three women – Trish North, Michelle Prohaska, and Crina Pupaza – to C-level, executive positions. Founded in 2015, Nymbus most recently demoed its technology at FinovateFall in 2019.

Greenlight Almost Doubles Valuation in $260 Million Round

Greenlight Almost Doubles Valuation in $260 Million Round

Greenlight, a company that provides financial services technology for kids, announced today it has landed $260 million in funding. Today’s investment nearly doubles the Georgia-based company’s valuation, boosting it up to $260 million.

The Series D round, which brings Greenlight’s total funding to more than $550 million, was led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from existing investors TTV Capital, Canapi Ventures, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, BOND, Fin VC, Goodwater Capital. New investors Wellington Management, Owl Ventures, and LionTree Partners also participated. Andreessen Horowitz General Partner David George will join Greenlight’s board of directors.

As for Greenlight’s valuation, the company saw an increase from $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion over the course of six months.

Greenlight will use today’s funds to add more services to its platform, increase its distribution partnerships, and expand to more geographies to ultimately reach more families. Additionally, the company will use the investment to increase its human resources, with a plan to add 300 employees over the next two years.

“Our vision at Greenlight is to create a world where every child grows up to be financially healthy and happy,” said Greenlight Co-founder and CEO Tim Sheehan. “Today’s financing will enable us to bring even more value to families as we continue to introduce new innovative products that shine a light on the world of money.”

Founded in 2014, Greenlight offers a money management platform for families that helps three million parents and kids gain skills to manage their earnings, savings, spending, giving, and learn to invest via a debit card, companion app, and educational resources.

Greenlight has struck a chord with its family-based finances approach. In the past year, the company has more than tripled its year-over-year revenue, more than doubled its users, and doubled its workforce. Earlier this year, Greenlight launched a new products, Greenlight Max, which helps kids research and invest in stocks with parental approval.

“The demand for Greenlight’s family finance solution continues to grow,” said Greenlight Co-founder and President Johnson Cook. “With the support of our investors, we look forward to empowering even more parents to raise financially-smart kids.”

Brex Scores $425 Million to Fuel All-in-One Finance Platform for SMEs

Brex Scores $425 Million to Fuel All-in-One Finance Platform for SMEs

In a round led by Tiger Global, financial services and technology company Brex has raised $425 million, boosting its valuation to more than $7.4 billion.

“Our investors – new and existing – believe in our team, our business model, our product vision, our customers, and the future of Brex,” company co-CEO Henrique Dubugras said. “We are delighted to have them on board for the next phase of our journey.”

Speaking of the next phase, today’s investment comes as the company, which began with a corporate credit card product for venture-backed startups four years ago, announced the launch of a new all-in-one finance platform. The new offering combines spend management technology with billpay in a single dashboard and will be available for $49 a month. The platform facilitates responsible employee spending via corporate and vendor cards, eliminating the need for expense reports and personal reimbursements. Business owners can also easily track spending across business divisions to better understand spending trends by department, merchant, account, as well as by individual employees.

“Growing and maintaining a business should not depend on how good a small business owner is at managing their finances,” Brex CTO Cosmin Nicolaescu said. “Our all-in-one finance solution gives business owners peace of mind, and the time back to do more of what they love and remember why they started their business.”

In addition to this news, the fact that Brex applied to establish a “Brex Bank” earlier this year suggests that the company also could be en route to offering FDIC insured products to small businesses without requiring an intermediary bank as a partner.

“Brex Bank will expand upon its existing suite of financial products and business software, offering credit solutions and FDIC insured deposit products to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs),” the company noted in February. “Brex and Brex Bank will work in tandem to help SMBs grow to realize their full potential.”

Located in San Francisco, California, Brex includes ecommerce platforms like Cheers and Dr. Squatch, accounting companies like Pilot and Kruze, and startups like Hourly and Bounce among its customers. Founded in 2017, Brex enables companies in a variety of industries to better manage their finances via a combination of payment and cash management solutions. In the first quarter of this year, Brex reported customer growth of 80% and total monthly customer addition gains of 5x. The company said that 45% of its customers are currently small and medium-sized businesses.

“Brex is building the future of finance for the next generation of businesses,” Tiger Global partner Scott Shleifer said. “We are excited to partner with them as they continue growing rapidly, innovating their product offerings, expanding their customer base and leading an industry that is dominated by incumbents.”

Also participating in this week’s Series D round were new investors TCV, GIC, Baillie Gifford, Mardrone Capital Partners, Durable Capital Partners LP, Valiant Capital Management, and Base10. Existing investors Y Combinator Continuity, Ribbit Capital, DST Global, Greenoaks Capital, Lone Pine Capital, and IVP were also involved in the investment.

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Banking Technology Provider NYMBUS Scores $15 Million Investment

Banking Technology Provider NYMBUS Scores $15 Million Investment

News of NYMBUS’ $15 million fundraising this week – and the company’s recent appointment of three women to key leadership positions – serves as a fitting bookend to a first quarter that began with big investment and big C-suite hires, as well.

In January, the Miami, Florida-based banking technology provider expanded its leadership team with the addition of Chief Alliance Officer Sarah Howell and Chief Product Officer Larry McClanahan. A month later, Nymbus secured a Series C investment of $53 million in a round led by Insight Partners.

“As the pandemic has pushed digital to the forefront, more banks and credit unions have turned to Nymbus as their partner for growth,” Nymbus CEO and Chairman Jeffery Kendall said when the funding was announced in February. “This new and significant investment validates a confidence in Nymbus to continue transforming the financial services industry with a banking strategy that buys back decades of lost time to speed digital innovation.”

Little did we know how quickly further valuation would arrive. This week’s investment by European private equity firm Financial Services Capital doubles its investment in Nymbus to more than $31 million. The funding gives Nymbus a total capital raised of more than $98 million.

“We look forward to continue working with Nymbus as they build out a best-in-class, cloud-native offering that is well positioned to be a leader in the industry and will transform our portfolio companies,” Financial Services Capital Managing Partner Miroslav Boublik said. He and fellow Managing Partner Matthew Hansen will join the Nymbus Board of Directors as part of the investment.

Also joining “Team Nymbus” is Veeva Systems co-founder Matt Wallach, who will serve as a Strategic Advisor. Nymbus will benefit from Wallach’s experience in co-founding one of the leading cloud software companies in life sciences. Founded in 2007 and, 14 years later, the first publicly traded company to transition into a public benefit corporation, Veeva now has a market capitalization of more than $40 billion and 975+ customers in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as in emerging biotech.

As mentioned, Nymbus’ funding announcement comes on the heels of the company further bolstering its leadership ranks with a trio of new, C-suite hires. The women – Trish North as Chief Customer Officer, Michelle Prohaska as Chief Compliance Officer, and Crina Pupaza as Chief People Officer – bring years of customer success, risk management, and people-centered programming experience to a company that has seen significant growth as banks turn increasingly toward digital transformation of their outdated legacy systems.

“In order to help our partner institutions serve the unique financial needs of niche audiences, success begins with diversity in our own Nymbus leadership,” Kendall said last week when the appointments were announced. “I’m incredibly proud of the impactful effort we are making to recruit a balanced male to female representation into our C-suite, and beyond confident of the value that Trish, Michelle, and Crina will each uniquely provide to both our team and partner clients.”

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Hatch Raises $20 Million for Small Business Banking

Hatch Raises $20 Million for Small Business Banking

Small business financial services platform Hatch unveiled its funding total today. The California-based company has pulled in $20 million in two funding rounds since it was founded in 2018.

The first investment, a Seed round that closed in January 2019, totaled $5 million. The company’s Series A round closed in February of last year, totaling $14 million.

Hatch’s investors include Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, and SVB.

Hatch offers small businesses a line of credit and a business checking account which it launched this January. The checking accounts come with a Mastercard debit card and allow Hatch’s 4,000 business users to send money through ACH, billpay, or via digital checks from the Hatch dashboard. Additional features include overdraft protection and cashback rewards.

Because Hatch uses machine learning to complete KYC, KYB, and OFAC compliance checks, businesses can get approved for a checking account in under five minutes. Accounts cost $10 per month and feature a transparent fee structure.

Founded by Thomson Nguyen, Hatch has a team of 48 people, 40 of which were brought on in the past year during the pandemic.

Photo by Nishaan ahmed on Unsplash Lands $500 Million in Funding After Record Year Lands $500 Million in Funding After Record Year

Mortgagetech innovator recently landed a $500 million investment from Japan-based Softbank, bringing the company’s total funding to over $900 million.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news, Softbank is buying shares from existing Better investors, a list which includes Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Kleiner Perkins.

With the new round, experts estimate Better’s valuation to be around $6 billion. This is a significant jump from the company’s most recent valuation, which sat at around $4 billion after Better closed a funding round in November of last year.

Better was founded with the goal of reengineering the mortgage process. The company streamlines mortgage originations by taking the entire process online. Better also offers Better Real Estate, which matches buyers with real estate agents; Better Settlement Services, which offers title insurance; and Better Cover, a home insurance marketplace.

The new investment comes at a time of significant growth for Better. Inspired by low interest rates, more consumers have been refinancing their properties. The Wall Street Journal reports that because of this increase in demand, Better lent out $25 billion in loans in 2020 and has extended $14 billion in loans the first quarter of this year.

Better saw $800 million in revenue last year and is expected to go public by the end of 2021. Founded in 2014, the company is headquartered in New York City. Vishal Garg is CEO.

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TrueLayer Raises $70 Million to Build for the Next Phase of Open Banking

TrueLayer Raises $70 Million to Build for the Next Phase of Open Banking

Open banking platform TrueLayer recently landed $70 million in Series D funding.

The investment, which brings the London-based company’s total funding to $142 million, was led by Addition, with contributions from all major existing investors, as well as new investors including Visionaries Club, Surojit Chatterjee, Zack Kanter, Daniel Graf, and David Avgi.

TrueLayer’s mission is to open up finance with its open banking network that connects payments, data, and identity to help people spend, save, and transact more freely online.

The funding comes at a time of major growth in the open banking scene in the U.K. The nation has seen more than three million open banking users and if the growth curve continues, 60% of the U.K.’s population will be using open banking by the end of 2023.

Founded in 2016, TrueLayer now processes more than half of the open banking volume in the U.K., Ireland, and Spain. Much of this growth has come over the course of the past year during which time the company has grown by 600x and expanded across 12 markets.

As for what’s next, TrueLayer will launch new open banking capabilities this year. The company will also expand its network, which will in turn add more account connectivity for consumers.

“We believe that open banking is reaching maturity in several markets and the next phase is about solving bigger, more complex problems for our customers – layering value on top of the raw infrastructure,” said TrueLayer CEO and Co-Founder Francesco Simoneschi. “You’ll see us building more and more in this direction.”

TrueLayer’s clients number in the hundreds and include fintechs such as Revolut, Nutmeg, Trading 212, Stake, and Payoneer.

Ramp Scores $115 Million to Help Businesses Spend Smarter

Ramp Scores $115 Million to Help Businesses Spend Smarter

Here’s an idea: a corporate card that incentivizes spending less rather than rewarding you for spending more.

Ramp, a New York-based fintech launched by Eric Glyman, Gene Lee, and Karim Atiyeh, has raised $115 million in Series B funding to power this approach to business expense management. Taking Ramp’s total capital to $320 million, the investment gives the company a valuation of $1.6 billion.

“Co-founding a fintech unicorn was never my plan,” Ramp CEO Glyman wrote on the company’s blog in a funding announcement, “and almost feels crazy given my job 12 years ago was selling t-shirts and jeans.”

The round was led by D1 Capital Partners and Stripe. Joining them were Founders Fund, Coatue Management, Thrive Capital, Redpoint, and Box Group. Ramp also announced that it had received a $150 million line of debt financing from Goldman Sachs. “During our next phase of growth,” Glyman added, “we plan to expand our efforts to bring the value of Ramp to more businesses in more places and to transform the way more companies do business.”

Ramp offers a corporate card with unlimited 1.5% cash back on every transaction, 10x to 20x higher limits and no fees, and both smart virtual and physical cards with built-in spend management controls. An integration with Slack makes it easy for managers to get alerts, approve expenses in real-time, and respond to issues from within the business communication platform.

Ramp says that it has identified more than $10,000,000 in annualized savings for 1,000+ customers, with the average Ramp customer saving in excess of $100,000. Companies using Ramp’s spend management platform range from startups to corporations, and include technology innovators in their own right such as Clubhouse and Finovate alum Marqeta. The technology is integrated with popular accounting platforms such as Netsuite, Sage Intacct, Xero, QuickBooks, and more than 100 others.

Onboarding its first company in 2019 and launching publicly one year later, Ramp has experienced 4x growth over the past six months. Glyman said the company is approaching annualized transaction volume of more than $1 billion.

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Plaid Scores $425 Million in Series D Funding

Plaid Scores $425 Million in Series D Funding

Plaid to DOJ: No acquisition? No problem.

There has been no stopping Plaid since the U.S. Department of Justice put the kibosh on its planned acquisition by Visa at the beginning of the year.

Last week, the financial data connectivity platform announced that it was collaborating with fellow Finovate alum DriveWealth. Before that, the company introduced the first graduates of its diversity-oriented fintech accelerator, FinRise; announced a partnership with Dun & Bradstreet; and unveiled its new income verification tool, Plaid Income.

Today brings news that Plaid has secured a massive $425 million investment in a round led by Altimeter Capital. The Series D round also features participation from Silver Lake, Ribbit Capital, and other current investors, and gives the firm a total capital amount of more than $734 million. Now sporting a valuation of $13.4 billion, Plaid said it will use the additional capital to “grow its platform, invest in infrastructure, payments capabilities and global expansion,” according to the company’s U.K. head, Keith Grose.

In a blog post titled “Digital finance is everywhere, but it’s just getting started,” Plaid CEO and co-founder Zach Perret described how, in some ways, the dream that led to the founding of Plaid “nearly a decade ago” is beginning to come true. “We dreamt of a financial system that was built to empower consumers and unlock financial freedom for everyone,” Perret said. “We are humbled to watch as fintech continues to expand and improve the financial lives of billions of people worldwide.”

More specifically, Perret’s post makes it clear that “scale” is the next big objective for the San Francisco, California-based fintech. In order to meet increasing global demand, as well as deliver on the growing expectations of ever-more-digitally-savvy consumers, Plaid will continue to invest in API technology as well as “tools and services to support enhanced privacy, personalization, decisioning, and automation.”

Founded in 2012, Plaid made its Finovate debut two years later at our developers conference, FinDEVr. The company has grown from an API-building technology infrastructure startup to now also offer key insights into the data access it provides via a suite of analytics solutions. Plaid’s technology enables users to access detailed transaction histories, setup direct debits and payouts, verify borrower assets, user identities, and real-time account balances; and make instant, in-app bank payments.

Since inception, Plaid has analyzed more than 10 billion transactions. Use cases for the company’s technology range from personal finance, lending, and wealth management, to consumer payments, banking, and business finance.

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