SoftBank invests $100M in Konfio
Konfio, an online lending platform that helps micro-businesses obtain affordable funding, closed their series D round of with a $100M investment from SoftBank. The Mexican fintech utilizes a propriety algorithm that allows lenders to measure creditworthiness of small-scale business owners.
SoftBank is the latest investor in Konfio, joining Goldman Sachs, QED Investors, Vostok Emerging Finance, and 8 other VCs looking to capture growth in Latin America. As of today, Konfio has raised $402M.
Sequoia Capital raises $3.4B
Storied venture capital firm Sequoia Capital raised around $1B for late-stage U.S. investments and around $2.4B for venture and growth equity deals in China, according to the SEC.
Sequoia, famous for funding Google, Instagram, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Snap and WhatsApp, has also ventured into the Chinese startup space.
Sequoia invested sizable stakes in Chinese companies like Alibaba, Ant Financial, JD.com, an e-commerce firm, TikTok, and Yitu, one of China’s most prominent machine learning researchers. The VC giant looks to raise over $8B for a global fund, which would be the largest VC capital raise in history.
Nigerian unicorn Interswitch valued at $1B
Founded by Mitchell Elegbe in 2002, Interswitch invented a financial platform to digitize Nigeria’s paper and cash-based economy. The company describes themselves as “an Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company”. The Nigerian fintech has had tremendous success scaling operations, as they’ve expanded into 23 African countries since inception.
The Nigerian Unicorn confirmed their $1B valuation after Visa took a minority stake in the company. The size of the stake was not disclosed.
The company currently provides the majority of the back-end technology needed to sustain Nigeria’s online banking system, a system that serves Africa’s largest economy. Interswitch also provides a variety of personal and commercial finance products, including a credit card operated on the Discover network, and a mobile payment service.
Robinhood hits 10 Million accounts
Robinhood eclipsed 10 million in accounts according to a company press release.
The online trading platform, mostly used by millennials to trade stocks and crypto, has soared in popularity, adding 9 million users over three years.
Robinhood attributes this growth to their unique value proposition: 0 fees on all equity trades. Five years later, retail brokers TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab all followed suit and dropped commission fees on trades, a direct acknowledgement of Robinhood’s immense success.
After a round of funding back in July, the Menlo Park startup is valued at $7.6B. Their founders and co-CEOs, Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev, have repeatedly said “Robinhood’s long-term strategy involves public listing.”
Turkey to finish testing digital Lira in 2020
Turkish President Erdogan stated that Turkey should finalize testing of the digital Lira in 2020. The program outlines that the first trials of the nationalized crypto should be conducted and finished by the end of 2020.
The government also plans to concurrently develop a nationwide platform for instant payments to support the new digital Lira.
Turkey joins Ecuador, China, Senegal, Singapore, Tunisia, and several other countries in developing a national digital currency for mass adoption. Turkey looks to go to market in late 2021 or early 2022.