In this conversation, we chat with Richard Turrin – an award-winning executive, previously heading FinTech teams at IBM, following a twenty-year career, heading trading teams at global investment banks. He’s also the author of the number one international bestseller, Innovation Lab Excellence. One of his books is Cashless: China’s Digital Currency Revolution, which brings the story of China’s incredible new central bank digital currency to the west. He lives in Shanghai, China, where he’s had the privilege of living in China’s cashless revolution firsthand.
This week, we cover these ideas:
Klarna’s $640 million raise and its $45 billion valuation, and how its business model arbitrages the payments revenue pool to build a lending business
Pinduoduo’s growth path to a $150B marketcap, and the links between shopping, media, and financial mechanisms that help it compete with Alibaba
A comparison of approaches to growth and economics
Implications for crypto assets for capturing “the real economy”
Klarna is raising $640 million on a $45 billion private valuation, with over $1 billion in net operating income. The buy-now-pay-later company has over 90 million active customers and 250,000 merchants. It was founded in Sweden in 2005.
On the other side of the ocean, Chinese ecommerce company Pinduoduo is beating Alibaba with 820 million active buyers, generates over $3 billion in revenue per quarter, connects buyers to 12 million farmers, and has a market capitalization of $150 billion. It was founded in China in 2015.
This week, we look at:
The economics of Southeast Asia’s largest super-app and its $40 billion SPAC valuation
The industrial logic of building out financial features adjacent to the core business of transportation and delivery
Why this model has not worked for Uber, but has worked for Apple, and the broader impact on financial services.
This week, we look at:
China’s Five Year Plan, the industrial logic of the system, and its ramifications for blockchain and fintech in the country
The regulatory challenges faced by Chinese tech companies, including the resignation of Ant Group’s CEO and the anti-competition fines for Tencent
The growth path of the e-CNY digital currency, as well as Beijing’s enterprise blockchain powering the city infrastructure and governance
Footnote: Stripe worth $95 billion, closing $600 million investment
In this conversation, we talk with Anne Boden, the CEO of Starling Bank. Starling has just turned profitable, and reached several significant milestones in terms of 1.8 million clients, $4 billion in deposits, and $1.5 billion of lending.
That is quite meaningfully ahead of our model, and probably ahead of everyone’s model, of where neobanks would be in 2020. While COVID has accelerated the digital lifestyle, Anne credits deeper demographic, technology, and cultural insights and choices she has made in building Starling for success.
Google has done it. In a massive update to Google Pay, the company highlighted exactly the direction of travel for high tech, fintech, and the global banks. It has articulated a vision for competing with Apple Pay and Ant Financial. Let's walk through the features.
If you are in finance and only looking at banks, you are missing out on the real change agents. Here's some cross-industry action that we will unpack this week.
Amazon selected Goldman Sachs to be the lender of choice for small business loans. TikTok maker ByteDance is working with a Singaporean business family to get a financial license. And small business bank Starling is integrating Slack, energy switching service Bionic, and health insurance provider Equipsme into their marketplace. And we might as well talk about the Plaid Exchange launch, and end on the computational economy of Ethereum.
The world is on fire with talk about Uber going public. First, let's talk about who makes money and when. It is becoming a truism that companies are going public much later in their vintage, and as a result, the capital that fuels their growth is private rather than public. The public markets are full of compliance costs, cash-flow oriented hedge fund managers, and passive index manufacturers -- not an environment for an Elon Musk-type to do their best work. Private markets, on the other hand, are generally more long term oriented with fewer protections for investors. This has a distributional impact. Private markets in the US are legally structured for the wealthy by definition and carve-out. As a retail investor, your just desserts are Betterment's index-led asset allocation. As an accredited investor, you get AngelList, SharePost and the rest. I am yet to see Uber on Crowdcube. Therefore, tech companies are generating inequality both through their functions (monopoly concentration through power laws, unemployment through automation), and their funding.