F|T: The FinTech Times – FreshBooks boots CEO, FinTech leaders pressure Liberals on open banking 

Plus: WonderFi has now purchased assets from nearly half of Canada’s regulated crypto trading platforms.

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“We are still waiting”: FinTech leaders urge Liberals to enact much-delayed open banking rules (BETAKIT)

A coalition of Canadian tech leaders have penned a new letter to Canada’s finance minister, pressing for a clear roadmap on the long-overdue rollout of open banking.

The letter, which was coordinated by the Council of Canadian Innovators, has 36 signatories as of Wednesday afternoon, including executives from Canada’s FinTech startups and scale-ups, such as Borrowell, Helcim, Koho, and Neo Financial. 

Google-parent Alphabet dissolves stake in trading app Robinhood

Google-parent Alphabet said on Monday it had dissolved its stake in trading app operator Robinhood Markets. The disclosure comes months after Alphabet slashed its stake in the company by nearly 90 per cent. It had around 612,214 Robinhood shares after that sale.

As economic conditions turned murky because of the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes last year, the app lost some of its charm as its customer base stayed on the sidelines.

FreshBooks president and CEO depart as company lays off six percent of employees (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based accounting software company FreshBooks has restructured its leadership team and cut six percent of its staff, announcing that president Mark Girvan and CEO Don Epperson are being replaced by two of its existing leaders, Mara Reiffan and Wayne Jackson, as interim co-CEOs.

FreshBooks is laying off employees and closing down its operations in Raleigh, North Carolina, about eight months after BetaKit reported that FreshBooks laid off 10 percent of its employees, or 80 members of its 800-person team.


Float just launched Canada’s first high yield product for businesses

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We’re on a mission to simplify spending for Canadian companies and teams with our smart corporate cards and spend management software. Now, there’s one more reason to choose Float for your business.

Learn more and signup at www.floatcard.com

Crypto Exchange Blockchain.com Raises $110 Million at a Fraction of Prior Valuation (BNN BLOOMBERG)

Blockchain.com, which operates a cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service, closed a $110 million round of funding led by UK-based Kingsway Capital, the latest sign that crypto-focused venture-capital investments are picking up amid this year’s rebound in digital-asset prices.

Like many crypto companies, Blockchain.com has faced challenges since prices of most tokens tumbled in 2022.

WonderFi-owned Bitbuy acquires customers of fellow regulated Canadian crypto exchange Bitvo (BETAKIT)

Bitbuy, a subsidiary of Toronto cryptocurrency company WonderFi, has purchased all of the client accounts of Calgary-based Bitvo.

The Bitbuy-Bitvo deal, which closed on November 14, marks the latest in a slew of acquisitions that WonderFi has made over the past couple of years. With Bitvo, WonderFi has now either wholly acquired or purchased assets from nearly half of Canada’s regulated crypto trading platforms.

Advent to buy UK payments firm myPOS valued at over $500 million (REUTERS)

Advent International has signed a deal to buy payments firm myPOS as part of the London-based buyout group’s latest push into digital payments, director Fabio Cali told Reuters.

The fund will acquire the UK-based provider of payments services for small merchants through a new vehicle called Circle that it plans to expand through further acquisitions in the fast-growing sector, Cali said.

Float launches new high-yield product geared toward Canadian SMBs (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based FinTech startup Float has launched a new product for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) called Float Yield.

The launch of this offering comes as some FinTech firms have pulled back their SMB products amid current economic conditions.

According to Float co-founder and CEO Rob Khazzam, Float Yield “signals a strategic leap forward” for the company’s platform as Canada’s SMBs struggle with inflation.

Coinbase, Crypto Startups Cut VC Investing as Downturn Lingers (BNN BLOOMBERG)

Coinbase Global is one of the most important investors in the world of cryptocurrency. It’s the all-time biggest backer of industry startups in terms of number of deals, according to PitchBook data. But in recent months, its investing activity has fallen off.

While overall crypto venture funding tumbled 63% to $2 billion in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, many corporate VC businesses cut back even more rapidly.

Revenue growth is more complex than ever. Here’s how your finance team can drive value (BETAKIT)

The finance department touches every single area of the business, from internal operations to customer contracts. Yet the finance function has been relatively stagnant, often seen as “bean counters” warning of new spending while the rest of the organization embraces technology and new techniques.

A recent report by Float featured interviews with startup finance experts, exploring in detail why financial transformation is essential for startups now, impacting their people, processes, and systems.

If you created a bitcoin wallet before 2016, your money may be at risk (THE WASHINGTON POST)

A company that helps recover cryptocurrency discovered a software flaw putting as much as $1 billion at risk from hackers. Now it’s going public in hopes people will move their money before they get robbed.

Hoping to be the go-to platform for blockchain devs, Uniblock secures $3.1 million CAD (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Web3 startup Uniblock has secured $3.1 million CAD ($2.3 million USD) in pre-seed financing as it looks to become the default platform for blockchain developers.

The startup’s goal is to consolidate Web3 integrations into one toolkit, allowing developers to easily scale their projects. Uniblock claims to have over 1,000 customers using its platform.

Q3 2023 marked a three-year low for venture deal volume in Canada (BETAKIT)

The third quarter of 2023 marked Canada’s slowest quarter for venture capital (VC) activity in three years, according to a new report from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).

The CVCA partly attributed the slowdown in investment to a decline in megadeals during the quarter and its resulting impact on average deal size. Per the report, only seven megadeals closed in Q3, nearly halving the average deal size quarter-over-quarter to just $8.9 million.

Watchdog Marred by Wirecard Now Leads Europe’s Fintech Crackdown

The regulator’s letter was scathing, a laundry list of failings ranging from insufficient controls to flawed risk management that culminated in the order to shrink the fintech’s deposits.

That heaped pressure on Solaris SE, the recipient of the September letter, to renegotiate a key acquisition. It’s also in talks to raise fresh money despite a difficult funding environment to ensure its financial strength keeps up with growth ambitions.

The hardball approach now appears to be the norm at BaFin, leading what’s arguably Europe’s biggest clampdown on firms that are challenging traditional finance.

JPMorgan’s Blockchain Business Onyx Searches for Its Identity—and Revenue (THE INFORMATION)

In early 2022, JPMorgan Chase proudly claimed it was the first bank to enter the metaverse through its Onyx unit.

Onyx’s quick shift into and out of the metaverse shows how the nascent unit at the 200-plus-year-old bank is still trying to figure out what it wants to be.

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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