<drum roll> Here are the four most surprising fintech developments of the past week (in no particular order):
One: Stealthy mobile payment startup Clinkle hires long-time CFO of Netflix, Barry McCarthy, as its COO
McCarthy was CFO from 1999 to 2010, taking Netflix public in 2003, then overseeing its finances as a public company for seven years. It’s pretty unusual for a big-name public company exec to take on an exec role at a startup, especially one in mobile payments. And one that hasn’t even officially launched yet to boot. McCarthy is on the board of three startups: Chegg, Eventbrite and Wealthfront, a startup in the investment space.
>> LinkedIn profile of McCarthy
>> A nice overview of the news at TechCrunch
>> An interview with McCarthy at AllThings D
Two: New mobile PFM, Level Money, beats Square Cash to #1 in iOS app store (finance)
As soon as Square launched its P2P payments app, Square Cash, it quickly rocketed to number two in the Finance section of the iPhone app store (see Chart 1 below) and number 55 across all free apps in all categories. But it never got higher, and a week later it’s hanging in at number 11.
The reason it missed the top slot? Another newcomer, Level Money, a great-looking new PFM, was being featured by Apple in the App Store and maintained the top ranking during that period (see Chart 2). During its time as a promoted app, Level Money maintained a top-20 ranking among all 500,000+ free apps (see Chart 3).
Chart 1: Square Cash app ranking in Free Finance in Apple App Store
Chart 2: Level Money app ranking in Free Finance in Apple App Store
Chart 3: Level Money ranking among all free apps in the Apple App Store
Three: Amex customers have put $1 billion into its Bluebird prepaid card
At this year’s SourceMedia Payments Forum, American Express revealed key metrics about its highly touted Bluebird prepaid program sold in Walmart stores:
- 1 million new accounts
- $1 billion in total loads
- Average load of $1,000 per account
- 87% of accounts new to Amex
- 53% over age 35
Thanks to the attendees who tweeted the metrics @leimer (Bradly Leimer) and @JimMarous among others.
Four: Four fintech startups snapped up last week
Compared to other tech sectors, fintech has experienced less M&A activity in the past few years. Everything moves a little slower in a highly regulated, fraud-magnet segment. Buying fintech is not like bolting on a photosharing app. That said, it was a busy past 10 days on the M&A front:
- Betterment buys ImpulseSave to boost its auto-savings features (Finovate post)
- UK’s FundingCircle buys Endurance Lending to enter U.S. market (Techcrunch)
- Blackhawk acquires Intelispend (Digital Transactions)
- Wonga buys Germany’s BillPay to expand outside United Kingdom (Techcrunch)
Photo credit: Fab Festival