F|T: The FinTech Times – Brex burning bucks while Klarna mulls IPO

Plus: Visa partners with Plug and Play to support Canadian FinTech.

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Brex Is Burning $17 Million a Month, Raising Questions About Future Growth

One of the pandemic-era darlings of the fintech sector is stuck in a rut.

Brex, which issues credit cards and manages cash for businesses, burned an average of about $17 million a month in cash in the fourth quarter, the company told staff at an all-hands meeting earlier this month. Brex has enough cash to last through March 2026, according to the data given to employees in early January, although Chief Financial Officer Ben Gammell emphasized to staff at the all-hands meeting that the company had to continue reducing its cash burn. 

(The Information)


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Visa Canada, Plug and Play team up to support Canadian FinTech startups

Visa Canada is partnering with global accelerator and venture capital firm Plug and Play to help fuel the growth of early-stage FinTech startups in Canada.

Through this collaboration, qualifying Canadian FinTech firms in the payments space will be able to tap into Visa’s products, expertise, and network via the American payments giant’s Fintech Fast Track Program. Startups will also have access to exclusive events and potentially even more programming down the road. 


Fintech Klarna CEO Signals IPO in US May Happen ‘Quite Soon’

Klarna Bank AB, the Swedish fintech that was once Europe’s most valuable startup, may soon launch a stock market listing in the US, according to Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

The CEO pointed out that the US is a natural choice for an initial public offering given that it is the firm’s largest market by revenue. “So it is obviously leaning toward that direction,” he said.

Speculation has been rife about when Klarna will IPO, with the UK and its home market of Sweden being other potential possibilities for a listing.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Nesto enters brokers channel through partnership with M3 Mortgage Group

Montréal-based online mortgage lender Nesto has entered into a partnership with M3 Mortgage Group that will see its platform become available to over 8,500 brokers in M3’s network.

“To further deliver our mission at scale, we want to distribute Nesto mortgages via the channels that are most attractive to Canadians,” Nesto co-founder and CEO Malik Yacoubi said in a statement.

Results from a Mortgage Professionals Canada survey released in March 2023 found that 45 percent of first-time home buyers were most likely to use the services of a mortgage broker.


Bilt Nabs $3.1 Billion Valuation, Ken Chenault Joins as Chairman

Bilt Rewards raised equity in a transaction that more than doubles the startup’s valuation to $3.1 billion as consumers continue to flock to its loyalty program, which converts rental payments to points that can be used for air miles and other rewards.

The New York-based startup plans to use some of the proceeds to expand its rewards network to include small restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners and other local merchants. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell has also joined the company as an independent director.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Interest rates remain unchanged (for now). What does that mean for Canadian tech in 2024?

Though it maintained interest rates on January 24, the Bank of Canada signalled it is beginning to contemplate cuts.

Canada’s tech sector could be poised for a recovery if interest rates do drop, but the playbook is much different this year for founders and investors, cautioned several industry insiders speaking to BetaKit.

The fastest hiking cycle on record, the Bank of Canada’s rate increases over the last two years battered the white-hot tech sector as deal flows slowed and valuations dropped. With those rates unchanged (for now), here’s what Canadian tech should expect in 2024. 


Digital wealth management startup Nest Wealth acquired by Objectway Group

A decade after its inception, Toronto-based wealth management tech startup Nest Wealth has been acquired by Italy-based Objectway Group.

Nest Wealth provides digital solutions aimed to help financial institutions, asset managers, and custodians manage client investments.

As part of the deal, Objectway plans to add Nest Wealth’s client onboarding and financial planning solutions to enhance its own wealth and investment management offering.


‘We want to be the AI company for finance’: What’s on the mind of MindBridge’s new CEO

Although the Great White North has lived up to its billing during Stephen DeWitt’s visit to Ottawa this week, the new chief executive of MindBridge Analytics seems to be enjoying every minute of it. “I’m having a blast,” says the 59-year-old tech industry lifer.

DeWitt sees a day in the not-too-distant future when MindBridge software will be an integral part of a customer’s entire financial workflow, analyzing everything from payroll deductions to credit card transactions. “We have a very simple mission: we want to be the AI company for finance,” he says.

(Ottawa Business Journal)

UK-based Liberis launches embedded lending solution in Canada

London, United Kingdom (UK)-based embedded finance platform Liberis is launching its offering to small businesses in Canada.

Through Liberis’ platform, Vagaro Capital is offering SMBs up to $150,000 in financing, with payments being taken as a percentage of revenue. With Liberis, partners run the entire financing approval and underwriting process within their own ecosystem.

The Canadian expansion follows Liberis securing $112 million in debt financing from HSBC Innovation Banking and BCI Capital in early December 2023.


US Will Sell $117 Million in Bitcoin Seized From Silk Road Drug Trafficker

The United States has announced plans to sell about $117 million worth of Bitcoin seized from a convicted drug trafficker who operated on the now-shuttered Silk Road dark web marketplace.

According to the Justice Department, the United States successfully recovered over 2,933 Bitcoin from the Farace family, valued at about $117 million today. The government had listed the approximate value at about $133.5 million when the forfeiture notice was published on January 10.


Vinod Khosla headlines CIX 2024 investment summit

Elevate, the nonprofit behind the Toronto tech festival of the same name, will host the first CIX investment summit this March after acquiring the brand. 

Founded in 2008 as the Canadian Innovation Exchange, the annual conference aimed to showcase and award Canada’s most promising early-stage and scaling startups.

Elevate has also announced one of its keynote speakers for CIX 2024: Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and founder of Khosla Ventures, which has invested in over 1,000 startups, including Canadian tech companies Deep Genomics and Blockstream.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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