F|T: The FinTech Times – Wealthsimple, Coinbase, WonderFi make staff cuts

michael katchen wealthsimple
Plus: Wave CEO Kirk Simpson to step down three years after acquisition by H&R Block.

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After hiring freeze, Wealthsimple makes staff cuts (BETAKIT)

Wealthsimple has laid off approximately 13 percent of its staff. The layoffs follow nearly a week after it was revealed that Wealthsimple had enacted a hiring freeze amid changing market conditions.

“If you’ve been with us over the past two years, you know it’s been a time of immense volatility,” CEO Mike Katchen’s letter to employees reads.

Fintech Giant Klarna Slashes Fundraising Ambition (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

The Swedish payments firm is in talks with investors about a deal that could value the company at around $15 billion, the people said, less than it was seeking just last month. The Wall Street Journal reported Klarna was in talks to raise up to $1 billion at a low $30-billion-range valuation. One of the people said the current talks could yield at least $500 million. There is no guarantee a deal will take place.

Amid crypto crash, WonderFi makes case for long-term survival (BETAKIT)

In a corporate update call, Vancouver-based WonderFi laid out how the crypto crash has impacted the company and the steps it has taken to survive the market downturn—including laying off 15 to 20 percent of its staff. WonderFi also shared its plans to become listed on the TSX.

Coinbase lays off 18% of workforce as executives prepare for recession and ‘crypto winter’ (CNBC)

CEO Brian Armstrong pointed to a possible recession, and a need to manage Coinbase’s burn rate and increase efficiency. He also said the company grew “too quickly” during a bull market.

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Wave CEO Kirk Simpson to step down three years after acquisition by H&R Block (BETAKIT)

The move comes three years after Wave was acquired by international tax preparation company H&R Block for $537 million CAD in 2019, in what was then one of the largest ever Canadian tech exits.

Startup Luxembourg wants Canadian founders to know its country is a gateway to the European market (BETAKIT)

Leaders of Startup Luxembourg, the brand for the country’s tech ecosystem, are on a trade mission to Canada, including a stop at Collision 2022, to entice Canadian founders to launch in Europe through Luxembourg.

How Crypto Lender Celsius Overheated (COINDESK)

Celsius, which resembles a bank while touting itself as a democratized interest income and lending platform, is rumored to be insolvent following a freeze on withdrawals over the weekend. Founded in 2018, Celsius had more than $8 billion lent out to clients and $12 billion in assets under management by May of this year, according to the company.

CapIntel closes $14.2 million CAD Series A to fuel US expansion of wealth management sales platform (BETAKIT)

After establishing a presence in Canada, CapIntel has raised $14.2 million CAD in Series A funding to take its wealth management sales platform to the US. Meanwhile, fellow Toronto-based FinTech Altrio has closed $8 million to grow its team and bolster its real estate investment software.

Crypto fund Three Arrows Capital faces potential insolvency after lender liquidation (THE BLOCK)

Sources declined to share the names of those firms on the record for fear of reprisal, but three people said the liquidation totaled at least $400 million. They added that the firm has maintained limited contact with its counter-parties since being liquidated.

With Canadian tech IPOs on pause, private markets face a higher bar (BETAKIT)

Last year, we saw many tech companies forgo private capital raises, opting for a public launch instead. After a sleepy decade averaging approximately one tech IPO a year, 16 tech companies with offering sizes larger than $50 million debuted on the Toronto Stock Exchange during this period of explosive activity.

But markets oscillate, and like a pendulum, it has swung the other way, with private market growth capital once again the pathway of choice for tech firms.

PayCargo, a fintech for the freight industry, raises $130M (TECHCRUNCH)

The funding, a Series C, is coming from a single investor, Blackstone Growth, and PayCargo — based out of Coral Gables, FL — said that it will be used to expand into more geographies, to build out more products around financial and business data, and potentially also for M&A, since the area of providing services to the shipping industry is as fragmented as the shipping industry itself.

FTX buys registered crypto trading platform Bitvo to expand into Canada (BETAKIT)

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval and closing conditions. FTX did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.

Inside a Corporate Culture War Stoked by a Crypto C.E.O. (THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Jesse Powell, a founder and the chief executive of Kraken, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, recently asked his employees, “If you can identify as a sex, can you identify as a race or ethnicity?”

He also questioned their use of preferred pronouns and led a discussion about “who can refer to another person as the N word.”

And he told workers that questions about women’s intelligence and risk appetite compared with men’s were “not as settled as one might have initially thought.”

FinTech startup Swoop raises £5.4 million to target US expansion through Canadian office (BETAKIT)

Irish FinTech startup Swoop has raised $8.4 million CAD in Series A funding to fuel its US expansion from its newly established Toronto office. Elsewhere, US-based Nuula has joined forces with two Canadian FinTech firms in Caary and OneVest to launch what it calls its super app in Canada, and RBC has inked some private open banking partnerships with Yodlee and Plaid.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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