Advisor Tech Talk (6/2/21)


By: Gerelyn Terzo 

AdvisorTech-focused firms have been busy in the capital markets, doing M&A deals, raising equity and debt, pursuing bank licenses and jumping on the SPAC bandwagon. Below is a roundup of the latest developments. 

  • Acorns: Fintech startup Acorns is preparing to go public by merging with a blank-check firm. The company, which is behind a savings and investment app, revealed it will combine with Pioneer Merger Corp, a publicly traded SPAC. The deal, which is expected to close in H2 2021, places a value of $2.2 billion on the combined entity. Acorns will be listed on Nasdaq and will trade under the symbol OAKS, a play on its tagline — “from acorns, mighty oaks do grow.”
  • FreedomPay: In another sign of legacy banks teaming up with fintechs, merchant payments platform FreedomPay and JPMorgan are collaborating to bolster the startup’s commerce platform in the U.K., the EU, Switzerland and some of the Nordics region. The companies will add “contactless card payment, digital wallet acceptance and PCI-Validated P2PE security” to FreedomPay’s Next Level Commerce platform. They will also bolster their in-store payment features at brick-and-mortar locations.  
  • GBB: The U.K.-based GBB, a challenger bank that supports regional SME property developers,  has hired seasoned industry executive Sue Hayes as CEO. GBB is currently in pursuit of becoming a fully licensed bank and has 30 years of operating history behind it. Hayes joins from neobank rival Aldermore and is also an alum of HBOS, Santander and Barclays. GBB has its sights set on “getting the North building again” through property development loans.
  • Mission Lane: U.S.-based credit startup Mission Lane has scooped up Honeydue, a personal finance fintech company, in an attempt to bolster its debit and digital banking offerings. The combined company plans to introduce a new debit card dubbed Mission Money, for which Eugene Park, CEO and co-founder of Honeydue, will lead product development. Honeydue boasts more than 500,000 registered users across half a dozen countries.  
  • Pipe: Miami, Fla.-based Pipe, a marketplace for investors and startups seeking capital, has attracted USD 250 million to its coffers in an oversubscribed round that values the company at $2 billion, crowning it with unicorn status. Participants included Greenspring Associates, which led the round, as well as new backers Counterpoint Global of Morgan Stanley and the CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund. Earlier this year, Pipe raised $50 million in equity. 
  • Uncapped: London-based fintech startup Uncapped has raised $80 million in a round comprising equity and debt. Proceeds will be directed toward an expansion into banking and the launch of financial services designed for “digital entrepreneurs.” Lakestar, which is also a backer of Spotify, led the round. Previous backers include All Iron Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Mouro Capital and White Star Capital.
  • Wealthify: UK-based investment fintech Wealthify has teamed up with Tink, an open-banking firm, to deliver automated payment initiation services (PIS). As a result of the partnership, Tink’s technology will be integrated into the Wealthify app. The collaboration streamlines the process for investors, who will now be able to transfer funds while being onboarded and add to their accounts automatically rather than manually.