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FinTech: Lloyds To Acquire Stake In Loyalty App Bink

January 4, 2022

Lloyds Banking Group (LON: LLOY), Britain’s biggest mortgage provider, will acquire a minority stake in loyalty app Bink, according to a report by Sky News for an undisclosed amount that may run into millions of pounds. It was also not known how much the transaction valued Bink.


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Artificial Intelligence: AI Surveillance Firm SenseTime Forced To Put Off IPO After US Blacklisting

December 13, 2021

SenseTime, a Chinese AI startup, put its $767 million Hong Kong IPO in abeyance after being placed on a US investment blacklist for allegedly using its facial recognition technology to identify repressed ethnic minorities such as the Uighurs.

Digital Assets: Coinbase Allows Customers To Earn Yield On The DAI Stablecoin

December 10, 2021

Eligible customers in over 70 countries can now access decentralized finance services through crypto exchange Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN). Holders of the DAI stablecoin issued by Makerdao may earn attractive yields on their coin.

Digital Assets: Kickstarter’s Crowdfunding Platform To Move To Blockchain

December 10, 2021

Kickstarter PBC, the crowdfunding platform founded in 2009, will rework its technological process and base it on the blockchain in a bid to “create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality.” More details of the move would be available in a white paper to be released in the coming weeks. However, the new decentralized protocol would reside on the Celo blockchain, an open source and carbon negative blockchain platform.

Alternative Investments/AI: WisdomTree Launches Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Fund (WTAI)

December 10, 2021

WisdomTree Investments, Inc. (NASDAQ: WETF) announced Thursday the launch of the WisdomTree Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Fund (WTAI) on the CBOE. The passively managed ETF will track the WisdomTree Artificial Intelligence & Innovation Index. Charging an expense ratio of 0.45%, the fund will offer investors exposure to businesses primarily involved with the theme of AI and innovation.

Venture Capital: Rapid Grocery Delivery Startup Flink Raises $750M

December 10, 2021

Flink, the grocery 10-minute delivery startup operating out of Berlin and serving 10 million customers in more than 60 cities, has closed a $750 million Series B round led by DoorDash (NYSE: DASH). The lion’s share of the funding will be used to continue the startup’s growth, with a small portion earmarked for strategic acquisitions.

Artificial Intelligence: Chinese AI Company And IPO-Hopeful SenseTime To Land Up On US Blacklist

December 10, 2021

In protest against human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the US is likely to place SenseTime, the Chinese AI company, on an investment blacklist, the Financial Times reported Thursday. Washington will take the action against SenseTime on Friday, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, and alongside similar steps against a host of other countries, sources familiar with the matter told the FT.

FinTech: Mambu Scores Largest Private Fundraise For A Banking Platform

December 10, 2021

Mambu is valued at more than $5.3 billion after $266 million Series E raise. SaaS banking platform Mambu raised €235 million (about $266 million) in a Series E round led by EQT Growth that valued the company at €4.9 billion post money (~$5.3 billion). The funding marked the largest ever financing round for a banking…

Digital Assets: Bitcoin PermaBull MicroStrategy Loads Up On Another $82M

December 9, 2021

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor tweeted about the company’s latest purchase of bitcoin. MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR), which is led by bitcoin evangelist Michael Saylor, has reeled in a fresh tranche of 1,434 bitcoins, paying about $82.4 million in cash at an average price of approximately ~$57,477 per bitcoin, according to a tweet from Saylor. (CryptoNews) After…

Alternative Investments/Digital: First Trust Advisors Files For The Indxx Metaverse ETF

December 9, 2021

The metaverse is catching on fast with stories of plots of virtual land selling for millions of dollars and digital artworks getting snapped up for tens of millions of dollars. The metaverse is, as simply defined by Facebook: “A set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”

Venture Capital: Israeli Fintech Tipalti (“I Handled It”) Nabs $270M At $8.3B Valuation

December 9, 2021

Tipalti, an Israeli startup that automates accounts payables and processes over $30 billion in total annual payments volume, announced a $270 million Series F funding led by G Squared. New investors Marshall Wace and funds and accounts managed by Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), in addition to current investors Zeev Ventures, Durable Capital Partners, 01 Advisors and others also participated in the funding.

FinTech: Digital Neo Bank Monzo Is Closing On A $500M Raise At $4.5B Valuation

December 9, 2021

British digital bank Monzo has turned around its fortunes this year after a surge in the number of new customers took its user base to 5 million and doubled its revenues this year. The bank has pivoted from a situation in 2020 when its auditors expressed doubts over its ability to continue operating as a going concern. The Financial Times reported Wednesday that Monzo is in the midst of closing a $500 million funding round at a valuation of $4.5 billion – a far cry from February, when it was valued at £1.25 billion.

Artificial Intelligence: The AI World News Digest

December 9, 2021

On Wednesday, Google-owned, London-based DeepMind announced an AI algorithm that can perform a wide range of language tasks, and display near-human-level competence on some, such as high school reading and comprehension.

FinTech: Amex-Backed Kabbage Offers Flexible Funding For Small Businesses

December 8, 2021

Kabbage, which is backed by American Express (NYSE: AXP), announced Wednesday the launch of its Kabbage Funding product aimed at small businesses looking for funding including for working capital. Eligible small businesses may avail of flexible lines of credit in the range of $1,000 and $150,000.

Venture Capital: Urban Clean Energy Startup BlocPower Gets $5.5M From The Bezos Earth Fund

December 8, 2021

BlocPower, a Brooklyn-based energy technology startup focused on decarbonization of buildings and cities, received a $5.5 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund. The amount was part of new donations of $443 million that the Fund disbursed to various climate and environmental groups this week.

Venture Capital: Loft Orbital, A Provider Of “Space-Infrastructure-As-A-Service,” Raises $140M

December 8, 2021

Space infrastructure startup Loft Orbital flies customers’ payloads into space aboard its regularly scheduled satellites missions, and as well, handles the entire mission as a service for the customer. It raised $140 million in a funding round led by BlackRock (NYSE: BLK).

Alternative Investments/AI: Mount Yale Launches Growth And Value Alpha Intelligent (AI) ETFs

December 8, 2021

Princeton Fund Advisors, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mount Yale Capital Group, has launched two new Alpha Intelligent funds based on growth or value. The Alpha Intelligent Large Cap Value ETF (AILV) and the Alpha Intelligent Large Cap Growth ETF (AILG) are based on the Ensemble Active Management (EAM) system.

Artificial Intelligence: A $500M Gift From Priscilla Chan And Mark Zuckerberg Funds New Harvard Institute

December 8, 2021

A gift of $500 million from Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, announced Tuesday by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), will fund the Kempner Institute for the Study of Natural and Artificial Intelligence, launched by Harvard University the same day. It represents a new University-wide initiative standing at the intersection of neuroscience and artificial intelligence, seeking fundamental principles that underlie both human and machine intelligence.

Venture Capital: Genesys Closes $580M Round Led By SalesForce Ventures

December 7, 2021

Call center and customer experience software provider Genesys Cloud Services announced Monday its close of a $580 million round led by Salesforce Ventures with participation by ServiceNow Ventures, Zoom Video Communications Inc., BlackRock, D1 Capital Partners and an unnamed West Coast-based large mutual fund manager.

FinTech: UK Fintech Butter Launches BNPL Card

December 7, 2021

Butter, the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) fintech based in the UK, has announced the launch of its BNPL card in a bid to take the battle into the courts of the traditional credit card issuers. Credit cards are already on the back foot and BNPL as a payment option has caught on globally. The new BNPL card from Butter is aligned towards brick-and-mortar shoppers, however.

Artificial Intelligence: Controversial AI Company Clearview To Nab Patent For “A Search Engine For Faces”

December 7, 2021

Clearview AI, the company that has been under fire from governments, tech giants and privacy advocacy organizations for scraping facial images from social media, is on the cusp of bagging a patent for a “search engine for faces” that can roam the internet to find matches.

Digital Assets: Integrates NFT Transactions Inside Its Wallet

December 7, 2021, a block explorer, crypto wallet provider, and digital asset exchange platform, announced its NFT, a marketplace that will allow users to buy, sell, and store NFTs right inside their Wallet.

Alternative Investments/Digital: Defiance Launches The First NFT-Focused ETF

December 7, 2021

Defiance ETFs has launched the Defiance Digital Revolution ETF on the NYSE’s Arca platform. The ETF, which has the ticker symbol NFTZ, will track the performance of the ‘BITA NFT and Blockchain Select Index,’ which comprises NFT, blockchain and crypto stocks, including NFT marketplaces and issuers such as Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), Playboy (NASDAQ: PLBY), and DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG). The index is rules-based and rebalanced quarterly.

FinTech: Now, Cash Back With BNPL, Thanks To Rakuten-Afterpay Tie-Up

December 6, 2021

Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) leader Afterpay (ASX: APT) and shopping rewards and cash back program Rakuten have come together to launch BNPL with the added incentive of cash back. Savvy shoppers looking to make this holiday season a bit easier on their budgets can receive elevated incentives along with the convenience of paying in installments.

Venture Capital: Investing Platform Now Has Tennis Star Maria Sharapova On Board

December 6, 2021

Former tennis star Maria Sharapova has picked up an undisclosed stake in, an investing platform that has more than 1 million users, 90% of which are first time investors. In a nod towards promoting financial literacy, Sharapova said she appreciated how Public broke down the category into simple, educational, user-friendly steps to make investing less intimidating, and helped users take control of their finances more confidently.