Fintech funding round-up: 12 January 2018
Quickly following Wednesday’s (10 January) fintech funding round-up, here’s more action. Features Ladder, Petal, Fisco, Equitise and Xinja.
Right at the top of this report is Ladder. The California-based life insurance firm has raised $30 million in Series B financing, led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Thomvest Ventures, as well as Ladder’s existing investors: Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners.
The Ladder team built its proprietary technology from the ground up, and launched its digital solution in California in January 2017. It says it has since expanded to nearly every state across the US. With this latest funding, Ladder says its next (vague) steps are to continue to develop its platform capabilities and expand its marketing initiatives nationwide. It will also make its offering available to partners via the Ladder API.
Staying in the US, New York-based Petal, a credit card start-up, has raised $13 million in Series A funding, led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures – and including Third Prime Capital, RiverPark Ventures, and the Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund. Petal’s existing investors from its $3.6 million seed round (announced last September) also participated in this round.
Petal’s plan is to expand credit access to people who are “unfairly shut out of today’s credit system”. To do that, Petal is using machine learning and also takes a swipe at “the 50-year old technology used to determine who’s creditworthy”.
Over in Japan, financial information provider Fisco will launch a fund of more than JPY 300 million ($2.66 million) to invest in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies this month.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Fisco will invest its own money and raise capital from two other listed (and unnamed) fintech companies. It will aim for investment returns of about 20% per year. “In addition to investing directly in virtual currencies like Bitcoin, the fund will seek to profit from price differentials among domestic and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges. It is being described as the first fund of its kind in Japan.”
In Australia, people will be able to invest (starting from $50) in emerging start-ups and small businesses with the launch of Equitise’s new equity crowdfunding offering. Equitise has secured a retail equity crowdfunding licence through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), with neobank Xinja becoming the first company to raise capital from the public.
According to Xinja, investors will be able to invest (starting from $250), with a minimum target of $500,000. Xinja is preparing for its 2018 product launch – and says it is not a bank yet, but is working with regulators to become one.