Welcome to The Interchange! If you received this in your inbox, thank you for signing up and your vote of confidence. If you’re reading this as a post on our site, sign up here so you can receive it directly in the future. Every week, I’ll take a look at the hottest fintech news of the previous week. This will include everything from funding rounds to trends to an analysis of a particular space to hot takes on a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there and it’s my job to stay on top of it — and make sense of it — so you can stay in the know. — Mary Ann
Hellooo! I am writing this newsletter on the plane back to my home in Austin after being at Disrupt in San Francisco this week. It was my first IRL Disrupt, and even though I am on the team and was aware of all the planning and preparation behind the scenes, I was still blown away by how incredibly professional and well done it was. We had about 10,000 attendees, tons of great panels and speakers, engaged audiences and the super exciting Battlefield competition, among other things.
But I am tired, so be warned this newsletter may be a bit abbreviated. 🙂
I had the honor of kicking off the entire show recording the Equity podcast LIVE with Alex Wilhelm and Natasha Mascarenhas, where we shared some interesting new news about Domm Holland, co-founder of the now-defunct, one-click checkout startup Fast. We had an absolute blast recording in person instead of looking at each other on Zoom. Thanks to all who attended so early that morning!
Then on Wednesday, I moderated a panel titled “How to compete without losing your mind and runway.” Ramp CEO Eric Glyman and Airbase founder Thejo Kote were good sports and joined the amazing Ruth Foxe Blader of Anthemis to talk about what it’s like competing in this current environment. Despite being competitors in the spend management space, Eric and Thejo kept it chill and no fights broke out onstage. Meanwhile, Ruth shared some insight from the investor side. I’ll have a story with more details about what they discussed that will publish sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Also on Wednesday, I moderated a fireside chat with Brex co-CEO and co-founder Henrique Dubugras and YC continuity managing director (and early Brex investor) Anu Hariharan. It was standing room only and Dubugras spoke candidly on a number of topics such as just how much the company spent on that billboard campaign, what really led to its decision to stop working with SMBs and the lessons learned after that decision caused a bit of an uproar in the startup community. He also revealed some new customers for the company’s Empower software product: Coinbase, SeatGeek, SuperHuman, ScaleAi and Medical Genomics. Again, I’ll be writing up a story with more details about what we discussed that will publish sometime in the next couple of weeks.
And finally, on Thursday, I interviewed Rippling CEO and co-founder Parker Conrad. He discussed what he describes as “the biggest launch” of his career — the company’s new global payroll product, which he is not shy about saying will directly compete with the likes of Deel. You can read more about that here. He also discussed some takeaways from his experience at Zenefits, saying that he was taking compliance “very seriously” at his new company. Rippling’s move into the payroll space comes about one month after it announced an expansion into spend management, which puts it in direct competition with the likes of Brex, Ramp, Airbase, TripActions and many others in the space.
As the Fintech Fund’s Nik Milanović (who also spoke at Disrupt about community) noted in this tweet, “The @plaid team has been busy in the last week:
- Faster digital onboarding
- More fraud controls
- Privacy Controls suite
- Crypto wallet onboard
Meanwhile, payments infrastructure provider Finix revealed another way it’s going head-to-head with Stripe. In a blog post, the startup said: “Finix is further expanding its In-Person Payment offerings, rolling out more software development kits and APIs to pair with a suite of point-of-sale payment terminals from multiple manufacturers. The best part? Only a single integration is required.”
As reported by TC’s Catherine Shu: Cross-border payments startup Thunes is partnering with Visa in a move that will add more than 1.5 billion new endpoints to Visa Direct’s digital payments network. This enables many more consumers and small businesses to send funds to markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where digital wallets are often the default payment methods.
Fellow fintech enthusiast and newsletter writer Marcel van Oost is launching a new fintech community. You can learn more here.
Fundings and M&A
Well, I had a wonderful time at Disrupt meeting my wonderful colleagues (we genuinely respect and like each other!) and so many of you. Already looking forward to next year. Oh, and a heads-up that I’ll be out all of next week, taking a much needed break, so you won’t be getting the Interchange in your inbox on October 30. But I’ll be back the following week! That’s it for this week. See you again in two weeks! Until then, take good care. — xoxoxo, Mary Ann