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Swipe & Trade

Swipe & Trade
October 7 2020

The percentage of Americans who own stocks is falling, according to the Wall Street Journal: only 55 percent own stocks today, compared to 67 percent in 2002. This trend is worrisome because investing in public markets has traditionally been one of the most important wealth creation mechanisms in the U.S., in addition to homeownership. 

This worrying trend has juxtapositioned with zeal over the stock options on Robinhood. This has led some personal finance companies to venture into a new category- linking spending and banking with investing. 

Among the most interesting is Stash’s “stock back” program, which is essentially an alternative form of rewards. Individuals who pay with their Stash debit card at a given merchant (say, Starbucks) receive fractional shares of that merchant’s stock as a reward for spending.

Stash’s program gives consumers who might not otherwise be investors an opportunity to participate in the market and learn about its opportunities (and risks!), which is hugely important from a financial inclusion standpoint.

Stash's program aimed to expand the total addressable market but also increase equity in investing and wealth creation by serving the underbanked population. The technology integration will create a better UX and increase word-of-mouth promotion among users, thus achieving scale in customer acquisition. 

In the Spotlight - Spending/Investing Fintech:

Stash Financial, Inc., or simply Stash, is an American financial technology and financial services company based in New York, NY. The company operates both a web platform and mobile apps, allowing users to incrementally invest small amounts. 

Square, Inc. is an American financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment company based in San Francisco, California. The company markets software and hardware payments products and has expanded into small business services. It has expanded into a personal investing and financial management segment with bitcoin trading and stock investing. 

Venmo is a mobile payment service owned by PayPal. Venmo account holders can transfer funds to others via a mobile phone app; both the sender and receiver have to live in the U.S. It handled $12 BN in transactions in the first quarter of 2018.

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
2030 Companies | 249 Funding Activities | 68 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Axis Security launched last year with the idea of helping customers enable contractors and third parties to remotely access a company’s systems in a safe way, but when the pandemic hit, they saw another use case, one which had been on their road map: helping keep systems secure when employees were working from home. The company announced a $32 MM Series B investment led by Canaan Partners, with participation from existing investors Ten Eleven Ventures and Cyberstarts. Today’s round brings the total raised to $49 MM, according to Axis.

Datasaur, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 batch, announced a $3.9 MM investment today to help solve that problem with a platform designed for machine learning labeling teams. The funding announcement, which includes a pre-seed amount of $1.1 MM from last year and $2.8 MM seed right after it graduated from Y Combinator in March, included investments from Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, and OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman.

Imvaq Therapeutics Corp., an innovative cancer immunotherapy company founded by world-leading researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), announced the closing of its $15 MM Series B financing. The company is developing novel viral-based, armed immune-stimulating therapies to treat a variety of solid tumors including skin cancers, sarcoma, as well as hard-to-treat tumors such as triple-negative breast cancer. The Series B financing was led by Hanne Capital, joined by existing Series A investors. Imvaq has raised over $25 MM in capital to date and these funds will enable the company to catalyze the Phase 1 clinical development of its first therapeutic candidate MQ710, a novel 2nd-generation viral immunotherapy based on armed Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA), and to advance additional novel assets in its pipeline.

Elevate Security, the first human risk management platform of its kind, today announced $8.25 MM in funding as well as the hiring of a veteran marketing leader, Suresh Balasubramanian, to accelerate growth. The Series A1 investment round was led by the Foundry Group, with additional investments from Salesforce Venture and Shasta Ventures. Existing investors Costanoa Ventures and Defy also participated in bringing Elevate Security's total funding to $18.3 MM. The investment round and hiring of senior marketing leadership will help to expand go-to-market capabilities, catalyze growth, and to further revolutionize the way the industry manages employee risk.

J2 Global, Inc., a leading Internet information and services company, today announced that it has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire leading savings destination RetailMeNot for approximately $420 MM from Vericast, a premier marketing solutions company.

The billionaire Issa brothers behind one of Britain's biggest petrol station operators have moved into pole position to clinch the biggest deal of their career: the takeover of Asda that will value the supermarket chain at more than £6.5 BN.

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