Odds and Ends 

PayPal to acquire Swift Financial to bolster small business lending

Global payments processing company PayPal announced this morning that it has agreed to acquire Swift Financial, which provides small business owners with working capital. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition will give PayPal better tools to expand its own Working Capital product. For PayPal, the acquisition should bolster a portion of the companys business that has seen increased competition over the years. It first launched a Working Capital product for businesses back in 2013, and since then has seen competitors like Square and Kabbageemerge as offering…

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Fintech startup Klarna taps Permira for around $250M at $2.5B valuation

Klarna, the Swedish startup that works with e-commerce businesses and retailers to provide financing and other payment services, today announced that it has picked up yet another large investment, its third inside of two months. Permira, the private equity firm and prolific late-stage tech investor, has taken a minimum 10 percent stake in the fintech business. Klarna and Permira are not confirming the exact amount getting invested, or the valuation. But TechCrunch understands that it is more than $225 million, and the FT is reporting a value of $250 million….

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Mobile savings and investment service Acorns is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017

Acorns is quickly turning into an oak tree in the financial services space. The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created. Those are hefty numbers to post for any financial services company, especially considering that Fidelity (one of the nations largest money managers) will do approximately 60 million trades over the same period. However, those numbers also arent directly comparable. Acorns relies on micro-transactions,…

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LendUp gets strategic investment from PayPal and adds to its executive team

LendUp has built business providing personal loans to customers that traditional financial institutions wouldnt touch. As it looks to expand intocredit cardsand other services, the company has raised some strategic funding from PayPal and also has expanded its executive ranks. LendUp wants to provide better financial products for the people who most need them, serving a demographic that most banks ignore, or worse, charge exorbitant fees to use their services. Its a group the LendUp team likes to call the emerging middle class, and the company hopes to give them…

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Plaid puts out a request for startups in nine underserved fintech sectors

Plaidwants to make it easier for financial services companies to serve consumers and businesses, but it also sees significant holes in the fintech ecosystem. As a result, the company has issued a Y Combinator-like request for startups to tackle particular issues where it believes significant innovation is lacking. In case you dont know, Plaid is a kind of picks-and-shovels tool provider for the fintech developer community. Like Yodlee before it, Plaid enables startups and other tech companies to more easily connect with banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions,…

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Brazils fintech boom offers new vertical opportunities for investors

Romero Rodrigues is a managing partner at Redpoint eVentures, the Brazilian-focused arm of the Silicon Valley venture firm Redpoint. More posts by this contributor: Brazils tech-sector bright spots beckon asit begins to emerge from long economic crisis Latin Americas chronic inefficiency could drive more O2O commerce growth Fintech is booming around the world. Global investments in fintech companies have continued to rise during the last two years. After international financing for fintech startups hit $19 billion in new funding rounds at the end of 2015, the volume cranked up even higher. Fintech…

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The real promise of regulatory technology

Kabir Kumar is a director at the philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network. The future of banking is algorithmic. Bringing together big data and predictive analytics is already enabling financial service providers to make better real-time decisions on loans and other products, with a more flexible, customer-centric user experience. But if banking can be algorithmic, what about financial regulation and supervision? Financial authorities could someday run digitally, but getting there is not going to be easy. In many countries, regulators today often use fax machines, let alone cloud-based software and analytics….

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Nav raises $13 million to help small businesses with credit scores

Goldman Sachs isleading a $13 million investment in Nav, a startup that helps small businesses with financial advice and credit scores. Billionaire Steven Cohens Point72 Ventures is also investing, along with Clocktower Ventures and the CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund. Thisfollows $25 million that was invested in the company last year, and is considered part of the same Series B round, bringing the total to $38million. Other investors in that round included Kleiner Perkins, Crosslink Capital and Tencent. The companys co-founder and CEO Levi King, is a serial entrepreneur who previously…

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