FinTech companies are becoming media companies 👀; Song rights as NFTs? 🤔; Adidas + Coinbase. Probably nothing… 🤷♂️
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Good day Everyone,
And happy Saturday! The week was super intense, hence, I invite you to take a look at the three stories that were moving the headlines this week in the financial technology world. You can uncover other stories, keep the FinTech pulse daily and get at least X5 more by becoming a subscriber. Join the community here:
And here’s a mix of 3 awesome FinTech stories from this week:
FinTech companies are becoming media companies 👀
The deal 👉 The US-based banking and wealth management app MoneyLion acquired Malka Media, which helps firms make online content and advertise their products via online creators.
MoneyLion, which went public via a Spac earlier this year, will pay $10M in cash and another $30M in stock for Malka, with a further $35M in stock dependent on revenue and Ebitda targets being met.
What is it? 🤔 Founded in 2012, Malka operates across a host of digital media and content sectors, covering entertainment, sports, gaming, live streaming, and brand storytelling.
The firm has 170 people working across every digital medium, from creative advertising campaigns and original branded content to e-gaming live streams, podcast series, feature-length documentaries, sports representation, and marketing.
The partnership turned acquisition 😎 Following a four-year partnership, MoneyLion has decided to buy the firm in the hope that some of Malka's millions-strong audience can be turned into customers, "turning content and culture into commerce".
✈️ THE TAKEAWAY
FinTech company = media company? 🤯 At the core, the principal aim of this acquisition is to bolster MoneyLion’s marketing capabilities across digital channels and improve its in-app content creation. First and foremost, MoneyLion will now have access to Malka’s content creator network, which reaches more than 40M people a month. That’s massive! These creators can now thus advertise its brand to their online communities, and followers can purchase MoneyLion products while watching the content, which is a much more efficient customer acquisition system than just putting ads on third-party platforms. Furthermore, MoneyLion already operates a blog called MoneyLife, where it uploads articles and videos educating users on financial concepts like credit, investing, and crypto. It will now use Malka’s expertise to create more evergreen and engaging content to drive user retention. All in all, Buying Malka Media supports MoneyLion’s user acquisition and also underscores the growing pressure on FinTech to drive retention. Success is no longer measured by adoption alone but also by user engagement. Which is becoming more and more critical.
Song rights as NFTs? 🤔
The money 💸 Less than 3 months after announcing a $16M seed round led by Founders Fund and Paradigm, NFT music rights startup Royal has raised another major round of funding, banking a $55M Series A from Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto investment arm. Not too shabby! 🤯
Joining the round alongside a16z Crypto are a number of musical artists, including The Chainsmokers, Nas, Logic, and Kygo. CAA and NEA’s Connect Ventures, Crush Music, Coinbase Ventures, Founders Fund, and Paradigm also participated in the round.
The USP 🥊 The Royal platform is aiming to wed music rights with NFTs, allowing users to buy shares of songs through the company’s marketplace, earning royalties as the music they’ve invested in gains popularity.
The startup hence partners with musicians and allows users to buy NFTs which represent a collective ownership in works from those artists.
The effort is helmed by Justin Blau, an EDM artist who performs under the name 3LAU, and JD Ross, a co-founder of home-buying startup Opendoor.
✈️ THE TAKEAWAY
Expanding the horizons. We have seen a growing interest primarily from visual artists to put their digital works on the blockchain, which effectively led to a number of platforms springing up and maturing to simplify the process of monetizing their art. Yet, there have been fewer efforts focused on musicians, and this is where Royal comes into play. Royal hence represents a very early, but a promising foray into NFT functionality outside the spheres of visual art and gaming. Of course, there’s a compliance element tied in, especially when it comes to securities laws, but that’s inevitable if Royal and other platforms want to have a proper impact. At the end of the day, democratizing access to asset classes is a huge part of crypto’s future, and it’s definitely super exciting.
Adidas + Coinbase. Probably nothing… 🤷♂️
The announcement 📣 Adidas Originals, a brand of the German sportswear clothing firm Adidas that is particularly focused on sneakers, has announced a partnership with the crypto exchange giant Coinbase. The news was announced on Twitter.
“We partnered with @Coinbase. Probably nothing,” Adidas Originals wrote in a Wednesday tweet. Coinbase affirmed the partnership with “gm @adidasoriginals. Welcome to the party, partner!”
The bells rang… 🔔 The partnership follows an announcement made earlier that Adidas will launch an ‘Adi-verse’ in partnership with The Sandbox, a toolbox that lets users people develop blockchain-based virtual worlds.
The Sandbox @TheSandboxGameHey @adidasoriginals, impossible is nothing in the Metaverse. What if we invite all of the original thinkers and do-ers to design our future together? https://t.co/xQrfAWHBky https://t.co/fTCaqf6fho
SAND, the native cryptocurrency of The Sandbox is currently down almost 17% though. Good time to buy? 🤔
✈️ THE TAKEAWAY
It’s all Meta 🙌🏼 At the core, Adidas’ and Coinbase's partnership is all about the Metaverse push, which currently is one of the most exciting developments in digital space globally. And Adidas obviously wants a piece of it. The possibility of major brands building metaverses, virtual reality worlds where people interact with digital avatars & environments, has been attracting plenty of attention lately, the biggest illustration of which is probably Facebook changing its name to Meta. Although it’s not clear yet as to what exactly the partnership is going to be all about, we can already see the growing dichotomy of how brands approach the metaverse. Given that Coinbase is soon to launch its own NFT marketplace, everything becomes even more exciting.
🔎 What else I’m watching
Amazon goes deeper into FinTech 👉 The rumors are true: Amazon is making moves into the quick-service restaurant (QSR) space, partnering with Starbucks to bring its “Just Walk Out” frictionless checkout technology into the latter’s stores. The coffeehouse chain that it has launched a new concept in midtown Manhattan in which consumers, after checking into the store by inserting their credit card, scanning a code in Amazon’s app, or hovering their palm over the Amazon One device, can grab their items and leave, with their purchases automatically charged to their card or account. POS players, you better watch out!
India & crypto🇮🇳 The Indian government submitted a long-awaited crypto bill at Parliament's Winter Session that would enable the Reserve Bank of India to create a CBDC framework. The bill would also ban all private crypto except for "certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of crypto and its uses." No uniform definition of crypto assets currently exists in the country.
BNPL Christmas🎅 One in five (22%) UK consumers are planning to spread the cost of Christmas through ‘buy now, pay later’ services, according to a survey from BNPL provider Butter. Food is the number one thing cash-strapped consumers are planning on buying now and paying later for, Butter found when polling nearly 5,000 consumers. A small majority (54%), said spreading the cost of Christmas shopping better allows them to manage their finances. Is BNPL going to become the norm? 🤔
💸 Following the Money
Japan-based credit card provider and bank Nudge Inc. has received a new round of funding from Sony Innovation Fund and Insignia Ventures Partners. The new round of funding totals $10M and will allow Nudge to create financial services through collective action.
Payhawk, a UK-based FinTech company, has closed a Series B funding round led by US-based investor Greenoaks with $112M, valuing the company at $570M. Payhawk reduces the amount of manual work caused by disconnected tools for cards, payments, invoices, and expense management by combining those elements in one platform and therefore acting as a one-stop shop for finance teams.
Global payments processor Mastercard has acquired payments as a service (PaaS) company Arcus Financial Intelligence to improve the delivery of real-time payment applications and bill pay solutions across Latin America.
👋 That’s it for today! Thank you for reading and have a productive weekend! And if you enjoyed this newsletter, invite your friends and colleagues to sign up:
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