F|T: The FinTech Times – Stripe’s $65B valuation indicates an IPO isn’t anytime soon

Stripe office entrance
Plus: How Flinks is building middleware for open banking.

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Fintech giant Stripe’s valuation spikes to $65B in employee stock-sale deal

Payments infrastructure giant Stripe said today it has inked deals with investors to provide liquidity to current and former employees through a tender offer at a $65 billion valuation.

Notably, the valuation represents a 30 percent increase compared to what Stripe was valued at last March when it raised $6.5 billion in Series I funding at a $50 billion valuation. But it is also still lower than the $95 billion valuation achieved in March of 2021.

A Stripe IPO has been long anticipated and was widely expected to happen in 2024. But with this deal, it appears that an initial public offering may not take place until next year.


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Middleware land grab: Flinks wants to kill screen-scraping and make APIs king

The federal government’s long-awaited legislation to formalize open banking will be a “massive milestone” for Canada’s FinTech startups like API developer Flinks. But even without it, the Montréal-based FinTech platform has spent the last few years quietly setting itself up to become the primary infrastructure for tech companies looking to offer financial services in the country.

Flinks is looking to cement what co-founder and CEO Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf told BetaKit is a unique position in Canadian FinTech. 

“We think we sit at the very middle of the entire ecosystem, the same way Visa or Mastercard is at the middle of their very own ecosystem,” Leboeuf said. “Having that special position … enabled us to come up with a very bold strategy and vision to have the ability to deliver that infrastructure.”


Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people

One month after taking its OpenAI-powered virtual assistant global, the Swedish buy-now, pay-later company has released new data touting its ability to handle customer communications, make shoppers happier, and even drive better financial results.

Klarna boasted in its announcement on Tuesday that the AI assistant “is doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents.”

That statement may raise eyebrows for anyone who remembers the middle of 2022, when the company laid off roughly the same number of employees, then about 10% of its staff.

(Fast Company)

Helcim closes $27 million CAD to bring payment stack to underserved SMBs

Calgary-based FinTech startup Helcim has closed $27 million CAD ($20 million USD) in Series B financing.

The startup’s product suite includes point of sale, invoicing, online checkout, debit and credit cards, and a payments terminal, among other services.

The startup claims to have seen “substantial growth” in 2023, adding it now services merchants across more than 800 industries in every US state and 12 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.


JPMorgan Pulls Former Compliance Chief Out of Retirement to Clean Up Fintech Mess

JPMorgan Chase has called its former global chief compliance officer out of retirement to help the bank assert its rights as a major shareholder in Greek payments fintech Viva Wallet, after disagreements between the two firms culminated in dueling lawsuits.

His appointment marks an escalation in the level of oversight JPMorgan is applying to governance of Viva Wallet, which it paid $800 million to buy 48.5% of in late 2022.

According to a lawsuit filed in the U.K. by JPMorgan against Viva Wallet a week ago, the bank approached Greece’s central bank last year with concerns about “serious governance failings” at the firm and “misconduct” of Karonis, the firm’s CEO.

(The Information)

Finix launches integrated payments offering in Canada

San Francisco-based FinTech company Finix has officially launched its business payments solution in the Canadian market.

Canada marks the first international launch for Finix. In a statement sent to BetaKit, Finix CEO and co-founder Richie Serna said the firm launched a private production beta in the country last year after finding Canada was underserved in terms of integrated payments.


QueerTech acquires accelerator Gradient Spaces to support more 2SLGBTQ+ tech workers

QueerTech, a Montréal-based nonprofit that supports 2SLGBTQ+ tech workers and entrepreneurs, announced this week it has acquired Gradient Spaces, a Toronto-based accelerator for 2SLGBTQ+ startup founders in Canada.

As part of the acquisition, QueerTech said it will maintain key Gradient Spaces’ partnerships and explore new opportunities to expand the accelerator’s impact. QueerTech said it plans to release details on strategic plans and the integration of volunteers in the coming weeks.

Since its founding in 2020, Gradient Spaces has worked to build “affirming, generative, and joyful spaces” for Queer startup founders and ecosystem partners aligned around enabling the success of 2SLGBTQ+ innovators.


Treasury Prime has laid off half its staff

Banking-as-a-service platform Treasury Prime has laid off about half of its nearly 100 employees, CEO Chris Dean confirmed Wednesday.

Treasury Prime laid off teams focused on selling its products to other fintechs, including marketing, as a result of a strategic pivot that will, from now on, have the company focusing its sales efforts exclusively on banks.


How money actually flows from VCs to startups

Speaking with BetaKit, Robert Rosen, Managing Director of Innovation Banking at CIBC, explained what capital call lines are, how they operate, and how liquidity instruments like these help keep Canada’s innovation economy moving.


Initia raises $7.5M seed round to simplify blockchain development

Initia, founded by a group of developers in their late 20s, is trying to bring more interoperability to multichain networks and simplify the process of creating app-specific blockchains, or app chains.

Popular household blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin have captured most users’ attention, but app chains have emerged in recent times to provide developers with more freedom over customization, such as economic and governance structures.

Initia recently raised $7.5 million in seed financing to work on its testnet launch. Led by Delphi Ventures and HackVC, the investment marks a sizable seed-round injection amid the current slowdown of crypto fundraising.


OMERS Ventures’ Laura Lenz explains how startups can stand out when fundraising

VCs are paying more attention to company quality and pushing past what Laura Lenz, a partner at OMERS Ventures, called “ego-raising.” An investor for over 20 years, Lenz has prioritized in-depth diligence for companies regardless of economic cycle. And in her experience, one of the best ways a startup can stand out in the fundraising process is with a high-quality data room.

Speaking with BetaKit, Lenz explained the significance of a well-crafted data room and offered her three-step process for building one.


On The Record with Vlad Tenev

Robinhood is still here, trying to thrive beyond the moment that launched it. Trading volumes on its app have fallen by half since early 2021; stocks and cryptocurrencies don’t hold the same appeal when Treasury bonds pay 5%. The company’s shares are down more than 70% from their peak.

I talked with Vlad Tenev, the company’s 37-year-old CEO, about the way forward. In the sunlit penthouse of Robinhood’s surprisingly anonymous Manhattan headquarters, he sipped bottled green tea and described a Robinhood that looks more like the legacy firms it set out a decade ago to unseat.


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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