Investment News – September 2021
Big news: Upgrade has been identified as the fastest-growing card in the US, and it is the first time that a fintech company has made it to the Top 50 Visa/Mastercard credit card issuers. Revolut is also spreading its wings further by planning the roll-out of commission-free stock trading, thus taking on Robinhood and eyeing a buy-now-pay-later product rivaling the Swedish fintech unicorn Klarna in Europe next year. Meanwhile, the French video game startup Sorare, held indirectly via Multiple Venture Capital (EUR), has raised $680 million in a Series B funding round, valuing the company at $4.3 billion. The alternative protein producer Eat JUST received an additional $97 million in funding for its cellular meat division Good Meat. We also have exciting news from the Swiss startup scene: AlgoTrader has strengthened its board of directors by a prominent ex-banker.
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Fintech company Upgrade recognized as the fastest-growing card
According to the fintech platform “Fintech Futures”, Upgrade has delivered over $7 billion in credit since its launch in 2017 and aims to double that in 2021 alone. With a 755 percent year-over-year growth, Upgrade has now been identified as the fastest-growing credit card in the US. It is the first fintech company to be listed in the top 50 US-American Visa/Mastercard Credit Card Issuers.
Upgrade offers personal loans and cards, together with credit monitoring and education tools. After three successful quarters in 2021 and raising $105 million in a Series E funding round, an IPO is in sight for Upgrade: “We believe we will be ready to go public in the next 18 months,” Upgrade CEO and co-founder Renaud Laplanche said in August this year.
Sorare raises $680 million for its fantasy sports game
The French video game startup Sorare has built a fantasy football platform based on non-fungible tokens (NTF). Sorare now raised $680 million in a Series B funding round, which values the company at $4.3 billion. The funding round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. Sorare plans to expand to new sports, open an office in the US, hire more people, and invest in marketing campaigns. “What makes Sorare unique is that it has partnered with 180 football organizations, including some of the most famous clubs in Europe, such as Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Juventus”, the tech news platform TechCrunch states.
Sorare is an indirectly held portfolio company of Multiple Venture Capital (EUR).
Eat Just attracted $97 million in funding for cellular meat
Eat JUST, mainly known for producing plant-based egg products, also owns the leading cell-based chicken manufacturer GOOD Meat. The US-based alternative protein producer received an additional $97 million in financing from existing and new investors for Good Meat in September 2021. The funds will be used “to increase capacity and accelerate research and development for high-quality, real meat made directly from animal cells”, Eat Just writes.
In early September 2021, the company revealed a plan to build a cultivated meat facility in Qatar for Good Meat in partnership with Qatari investor Doha Venture Capital and the Qatar Free Zones Authority.
The alternative proteins market is booming worldwide. Read or blog post to find out more about the booming alternative proteins market.
Revolut is taking on big rivals Robinhood and Klarna
The fintech star Revolut – currently valued at $33 billion – plans to offer commission-free stock trading to US clients. The UK-based fintech company has secured a US broker-dealer license, Revolut CEO and founder Nik Storonsky told the business news platform CNBC. The service will be available “in a few months” and will allow for fractional share purchases and investing spare change from card transactions. Storonsky also announced it was likely that Revolut will launch a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) product and thus rivaling the Swedish fintech company Klarna in 2022. BPNL is estimated to be a $100 billion industry.
Prominent ex-banker Martin Wiedmann joins AlgoTrader’s board of directors
The Swiss startup AlgoTrader is a global institutional leader in trading infrastructure for digital and traditional assets. AlgoTrader recently announced that it strengthened its Board of Directors with Martin Wiedmann, former global Head FX Sales at UBS and Credit Suisse. Wiedmann has 30 years of experience in international investment banking and will support the ongoing global expansion of AlgoTrader, especially regarding digital asset banking clients, writes AlgoTrader.
Upgrade’s leadership team, headed by Renaud Laplanche, is a heavyweight band of financial, regulatory, and technology big-hitters – many of them from Laplanche’s previous enterprise LendingClub.
Credit where it’s due
In four years, more than 15m people applied for an Upgrade card or loan, and the business made over $7b in affordable and responsible credit available. Upgrade’s credit products primarily drive this scalable and hard-to-emulate business model, and Laplanche confirms that its strategy is to “monetize our base through credit”.
And this strategy is paying off, with Bloomberg reporting that Upgrade’s signature credit card product generates $1b in new credit lines every year. Upgrade’s website states that its 500’000 customers have borrowed more than $5b between them.
Entry at the Latest Valuation
Upgrade announced that it had raised $105m at a $3.3b valuation, led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, the investment arm of Koch Industries. The profitable startup additionally counts Santander InnoVentures, Silicon Valley Bank, Union Square Ventures, Ribbit, Vy Capital, Uncorrelated Ventures, and Ventura Capital among its existing investors.
By entering at the most recent round valuation, registered Stableton Marketplace users have the opportunity to be part of the Upgrade success story. Register at www.stableton.com to learn more. The end of the subscription for this opportunity is on 17 September 2021.
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