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Amazon expands its palm payment technology to all Whole Foods stores
Amazon expands its palm payment technology to all Whole Foods stores, Robinhood eyes UK expansion, hiring for key positions, and global Fintech funding plummets 48% QoQ
Hope you had a fantastic weekend! My career in financial services started in peer-to-peer lending and LendingClub was our North Star. LendingClub will report its second quarter earnings this week along with Visa and Mastercard. I have deep respect for all three companies, so won’t hide it - I am super excited!
In the meantime, a few headlines from the previous week:
Amazon expands its palm payment tech to all Whole Foods stores,
Robinhood eyes UK expansion, hiring for key positions, and
Global Fintech funding plummets 48% QoQ
Thank you for reading and have a great day!
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Amazon Expands Palm Payment Tech to All Whole Foods Stores
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is expanding its Amazon One palm recognition technology to all 500+ Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. Amazon One allows customers to use their palm for identification, payment, loyalty membership, and entry at various locations. The technology has reached a milestone with over 3 million uses and is now being integrated into Whole Foods Market stores, making it possible for customers to pay with a simple palm hover over an Amazon One device. Apart from Whole Foods, Amazon One is available at sports stadiums like Bridgestone Arena, Climate Pledge Arena, T-Mobile Center, T-Mobile Park, and NASCAR Raceway.
Amazon One provides a fast, convenient, and secure solution for businesses to streamline identification and payment processes. It allows customers to link to loyalty programs, verify age, and gain secure access to various venues and buildings. The technology has partnerships with American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and major banks across the U.S., enabling cardholders to use Amazon One for quick and convenient identification and payment. Amazon One was initially introduced in 2020 at Amazon Go, the cashierless convenience stores by Amazon.
Robinhood Eyes UK Expansion, Hiring for Key Positions
Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD) is seeking to hire key positions in the United Kingdom, as it prepares to make another attempt at entering the market and winning over local investors. The company is looking for UK-based regulatory experts and an operations lead with experience in securities and brokerage. The company earlier announced its plans to launch brokerage services for individual UK retail investors by the end of this year. Robinhood initially tried to enter the UK market in 2020, and more recently in 2022, through an acquisition attempt of London-based crypto trading firm Ziglu, which was later scrapped.
The UK market has traditionally been challenging for US stock-trading apps due to competition from established players and new challengers like Freetrade, Lightyear, and Revolut. Nevertheless, the rival investing platform Public.com is launching its offering in the UK ahead of Robinhood, allowing retail investors to trade more than 5,000 stocks and access research and data services. The company aims to expand its product offerings in the UK and eventually move into other parts of Europe. Robinhood reported 23.1 funded accounts and 11.8 monthly active users in its first quarter 2023 filing.
Global Fintech Funding Plummets 48% QoQ
Global Fintech funding declined 48% QoQ to $7.8B in the second quarter of 2023, the lowest level since 2017, CB Insights reported in its “State of Fintech Q2’23 Report”. The quarter-over-quarter decline was largely influenced by the extraordinary $6.5B funding round by Stripe in the previous quarter. Without this exceptional deal, the funding drop would have been limited to 9% QoQ. The payments sector was hit hardest, experiencing a 75% QoQ decrease in funding to $2 billion. The number of Fintech deals declined 22% QoQ to 845 deals, representing a bigger drop than the overall venture ecosystem, which saw a 16% QoQ decrease in deal count.
Despite the overall slowdown, one notable exception was the LatAm & the Caribbean region, which saw fintech funding more than double, reaching $0.5B in the second quarter of 2023, the only major region experiencing quarter-over-quarter growth. While typically the largest deals in the region happened in Brazil and Mexico, this quarter’s top deal went to the Cayman Islands-based DeFi platform Kross Wallet, securing a $100M seed round. Finally, the Fintech IPO market experienced a slight resurgence, with five IPOs taking place in the second quarter, all from non-US-based Fintech companies, with four of them based in Asia.
PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) and Block (NYSE: SQ) seem like a perfect illustration of growth vs. profitability choice. Over the last 5 years, Block grew its quarterly revenue at a mean of 60.90%, compared to just 15.09% for PayPal…
…but PayPal has delivered a mean EBITDA Margin of 20.72%, compared to just 0.57% for Block.
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Cover image source: Amazon
Disclaimer: Information contained in this newsletter is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. You should do your own research or seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.