Online small business lender stops lending(?)
Dealstruck, which focused on making small business loans of up to $500,000, stopped making new loans last month. Dealstruck was four years old and had raised around $10 million in equity financing. Existing borrowers will still be serviced, but the team is “looking for strategic options to … continue delivering on [their] mission to provide unique, appropriate, and affordable financing to small businesses nationwide.” A brief post-mortem blamed investor capital and a “deal that fell through”, allegedly a potential acquisition by a Utah-based bank. Interestingly enough, the website seems to be taking applications again, though this has not gotten much coverage.

Experian getting in on financial data aggregation
Finicity, a financial data aggregation platform and API provider based in Utah, has raised $42 million in a funding round (both equity and debt) led by Experian. Finicity has other business as well, including the popular Mvelopes budgeting system and payments company Aurora, a card issuing processor and program manager.

Fifth-Third’s third deal in four months
After announcing and investment in GreenSky in September, and AvidXchange a few weeks ago, Fifth-Third has announced that they co-led ApplePie Capital’s $16MM funding round. ApplePie has made 120 loans for roughly $50 million since launching in 2015, making the average loan size over $400,000 – much larger than the typical fintech lender. ApplePie focuses on making loans to franchisees of major brand-name chains. Fifth-Third is also exploring acquiring some of the loans as well.

BlueVine is growing like a weed
Bluevine, a small business receivables factoring lender, has raised another $48MM in a Series D. The round was funded by existing investors including Citi Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank,and the Rakutan Fintech Fund. This follows a $40MM funding round back in January of this year. While traditionally handling smaller deals (and having lent $200MM already), Bluevine has raised its max factoring credit line to $2 million, which will allow it to compete with the larger traditional players. They will continue to offer lines of credit, which have been integrated with QuickBooks, of up to $100,000.

Fintechs are giving money away
What do you do with billions in VC funding? Give it away, of course! That’s what SoFi did recently on the Ellen Show. After raising a monster $1 billion Series E round led by SoftBank last year, SoFi decided to give away $500 to everyone in the audience. Of course, the money was actually in a SoFi Invest account you had to register for…

VCs going global, find opportunity in Brazil
Nubank, a Brazilian fintech company that offers a “no-fee” credit card and mobile app, has raised $80 million in a Series D round. Both Nubank and its investors (DST Global, Sequoia, Founder Fund, etc.) see opportunity to expand given the economic turmoil in the country. In fact, Nubank has been the first investment in this region of the world for many of its major investors. Nubanks claims they have more than 150,000 customers (and have had 7 million applications for the card), and 90% of their customers pay their balance each month.

Renaissance Technologies, the most successful hedge fund ever
While not a fintech play, I have enjoyed following Jim Simons and Renaissance Technologies for the last 10 years or so, especially during my time running a hedge fund and subsequent work in Investment Consulting. Bloomberg recently published a great article tracking some of the formations of the company, and background of current quants who work there. Not much is revealed as Renaissance has always been secretive, but a good read with interesting personalities.

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