In this analysis, we explore an overarching framework for the M&A activity in the fintech, big tech, and crypto ecosystems. We discuss acquihiring, horizontal and vertical consolidation, as well as the differences between growth and value oriented acquisition rationales. The core insight, however, is about the arbitrage between the fintech and financial services capital markets, as evidenced by the recent transactions for Starling and Figure.
Mike Cagney is the Co-Founder and CEO of Figure, a full stack financial services blockchain company with consumer offerings in market or on the way in lending, banking and more. In late-2019, Figure raised $103 million at a $1.2 billion valuation and continues to grow.
Prior to starting Figure, Mike co-founded and ran SoFi, one of the most successful consumer fintech companies ever.
In this conversation, we discuss Figure’s routes to asset origination and capital markets disruption, Figure’s previously unannounced consumer banking and payments offering, lessons learned building and scaling multiple billion dollar companies and more.
Two things are on my mind: (1) the acquisition of United Capital by Goldman Sachs, and (2) Mike Cagney's Figure securing a $1 billion funding line from Jefferies and WSFS for blockchain-tracked home equity loans. Both are outcomes of complex, interesting, somewhat unexpected processes -- and both are examples of demand-driven market expansion. Let me highlight that again. Both of these are consumer-centric developments, and not product-driven developments, which goes to the core of the problem in the financial services industry.
I reflect on ConsenSys acquiring a broker/dealer focused on municipal bonds, and why we believe that blockchain-native platforms are a fantastic fit for this $4 trillion asset class. Can direct holding of franctional munis enable deeper community participation and usage of common resources? Are there new sources of liquidity to unlock? At the same time, there are real dangers. I compare the evolution of digital lenders and their funding sources against the current possibilities in municipal bond markets. We also look into the reasons that some innovative Fintechs have failed to achieve their stated missions, and what can be learned and done better.