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More Than Half of Mortgage Borrowers Didn’t Shop Around

When it comes to getting a mortgage, comparing lenders and shopping around can get you the best rates, but a recent survey by LendingTree shows most people are not doing that. The company recently surveyed more than 1,000 homeowners to find out why some compare and save, while others believe they got the best rate without seeing competing… The post More Than Half of Mortgage Borrowers Didn’t Shop Around appeared first on RISMedia. When it comes to getting a mortgage, comparing lenders and shopping around can get you the best rates, but a recent survey by LendingTree shows most people are not doing that. The company recently surveyed more than 1,000 homeowners to find out why some compare and save, while others believe they got the best rate without seeing competing loan estimates. Here’s are the key findings from the survey: 56% of mortgage borrowers didn’t compare offers from more than one lender to find their best rate. Women, baby boomers and low-income borrowers were less likely to shop around. But why not shop around? The majority of respondents who didn’t shop around say they were confident they got the best rate (48%)—though that may not have been true. Nearly half of those who compared rates were able to save money. 46% of borrowers who shopped around for mortgage rates say the first offer they received was not the lowest rate. A third of homeowners say mortgage rates impacted their homebuying time frame. Notably, 23% bought a home earlier than planned to take advantage of low rates. That jumps to 36% among millennial homeowners and 28% among first-time homeowners. Real estate agents are the No. 1 way homeowners get connected with their lenders, representing nearly a third (31%) of borrowers. Further, 51% of homeowners first met with a real estate agent to kick off the homebuying process before meeting with a bank to learn how much house they could afford. 55% of homeowners borrowed the maximum amount for which they were preapproved, but this can lead to unaffordable monthly payments. First-time homebuyers were more likely to take out the maximum mortgage than those who have owned before (59% versus 50%). Prospective borrowers should use a monthly payment calculator to better understand the impact of payments on their budget. The takeaway: “Though many people might not realize it, shopping around for a mortgage before you buy can help you get a lower rate and save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your loan,” said Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economic analyst and report author. To view the full report, click here. The post More Than Half of Mortgage Borrowers Didn’t Shop Around appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMay 18th, 2022

These 44 pitch decks helped fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AHelping fintechs manage dataProper Finance co-founders Travis Gibson (left) and Kyle MaloneyProper FinanceAs the flow of data becomes evermore crucial for fintechs, from the strappy startup to the established powerhouse, a thorny issue in the back office is becoming increasingly complex.Even though fintechs are known for their sleek front ends, the back end is often quite the opposite. Behind that streamlined interface can be a mosaic of different partner integrations — be it with banks, payments players and networks, or software vendors — with a channel of data running between them. Two people who know that better than the average are Kyle Maloney and Travis Gibson, two former employees of Marqeta, a fintech that provides other fintechs with payments processing and card issuance. "Take an established neobank for example. They'll likely have one or two card issuers, two to three bank partners, ACH processing for direct deposits and payouts, mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and lending," Gibson told Insider. Here's the 12-page pitch deck a startup helping fintechs manage their data used to score a $4.3 million seed from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Y CombinatorE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Branded cards for SMBsJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym.TandymJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is no stranger to the private-label credit-card business. As a former Capital One exec, she worked in both the card giant's co-brand partnerships division and its tech organization during her seven years at the company.Now, Glaspie-Lundstrom is hoping to use that experience to innovate a sector that was initially created in malls decades ago.Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym, which offers private-label digital credit cards to merchants. Store and private-label credit cards aren't a new concept, but Tandym is targeting small- and medium-sized merchants with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Glaspie-Lundstrom said that group often struggles to offer private-label credit due to the expense of working with legacy players."What you have is this example of a very valuable product type that merchants love and their customers love, but a huge, untapped market that has heretofore been unserved, and so that's what we're doing with Tandym," Glaspi-Lundstrom told Insider.A former Capital One exec used this deck to raise $60 million for a startup helping SMBs launch their own branded credit cardsCatering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersAutomating accounting ops for SMBsDecimal CEO Matt Tait.DecimalSmall- and medium-sized businesses can rely on any number of payroll, expense management, bill pay, and corporate-card startups promising to automate parts of their financial workflow. Smaller firms have adopted this corporate-financial software en masse, boosting growth throughout the pandemic for relatively new entrants like Ramp and massive, industry stalwarts like Intuit. But it's no easy task to connect all of those tools into one, seamless process. And while accounting operations might be far from where many startup founders want to focus their time, having efficient back-end finances does mean time — and capital — freed up to spend elsewhere. For Decimal CEO Matt Tait, there's ample opportunity in "the boring stuff you have to do to survive as a company," he told Insider. Launched in 2020, Decimal provides a back-end tech layer that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to integrate their accounting and business-management software tools in one place.On Wednesday, Decimal announced a $9 million seed fundraising round led by Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, alongside Service Providers Capital and other angel investors. See the 13-page pitch deck for Decimal, a startup automating accounting ops for small businessesInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 22nd, 2022

Check out these 41 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Catering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 6th, 2022

More Than Half of Mortgage Borrowers Didn’t Shop Around

When it comes to getting a mortgage, comparing lenders and shopping around can get you the best rates, but a recent survey by LendingTree shows most people are not doing that. The company recently surveyed more than 1,000 homeowners to find out why some compare and save, while others believe they got the best rate without seeing competing… The post More Than Half of Mortgage Borrowers Didn’t Shop Around appeared first on RISMedia. When it comes to getting a mortgage, comparing lenders and shopping around can get you the best rates, but a recent survey by LendingTree shows most people are not doing that. The company recently surveyed more than 1,000 homeowners to find out why some compare and save, while others believe they got the best rate without seeing competing loan estimates. Here’s are the key findings from the survey: 56% of mortgage borrowers didn’t compare offers from more than one lender to find their best rate. Women, baby boomers and low-income borrowers were less likely to shop around. But why not shop around? The majority of respondents who didn’t shop around say they were confident they got the best rate (48%)—though that may not have been true. Nearly half of those who compared rates were able to save money. 46% of borrowers who shopped around for mortgage rates say the first offer they received was not the lowest rate. A third of homeowners say mortgage rates impacted their homebuying time frame. Notably, 23% bought a home earlier than planned to take advantage of low rates. That jumps to 36% among millennial homeowners and 28% among first-time homeowners. Real estate agents are the No. 1 way homeowners get connected with their lenders, representing nearly a third (31%) of borrowers. Further, 51% of homeowners first met with a real estate agent to kick off the homebuying process before meeting with a bank to learn how much house they could afford. 55% of homeowners borrowed the maximum amount for which they were preapproved, but this can lead to unaffordable monthly payments. First-time homebuyers were more likely to take out the maximum mortgage than those who have owned before (59% versus 50%). Prospective borrowers should use a monthly payment calculator to better understand the impact of payments on their budget. The takeaway: “Though many people might not realize it, shopping around for a mortgage before you buy can help you get a lower rate and save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your loan,” said Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economic analyst and report author. To view the full report, click here. The post More Than Half of Mortgage Borrowers Didn’t Shop Around appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMay 18th, 2022

Check out these 45 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingDeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Helping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Johnson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersHelping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Guto Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo Parejo.KaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed round 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series A Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounder.GleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingBetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay Davis.AtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Data science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of Counterpart.CounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BCrypto staking made easyEthan and Eric Parker, founders of crypto-investing app Giddy.GiddyFrom the outside looking in, cryptocurrency can seem like a world of potential, but also one of complexity. That's because digital currencies, which can be traded, invested in, and moved like traditional currencies, operate on decentralized blockchain networks that can be quite technical in nature. Still, they offer the promise of big gains and have been thrusted into the mainstream over the years, converting Wall Street stalwarts and bankers.But for the everyday investor, a fear of missing out is settling in. That's why brothers Ethan and Eric Parker built Giddy, a mobile app that enables users to invest in crypto, earn passive income on certain crypto holdings via staking, and get into the red-hot space of decentralized finance, or DeFi."What we're focusing on is giving an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't access DeFi because it's just technically too difficult," Eric Parker, CEO at Giddy, told Insider. Here's the 7-page pitch deck Giddy, an app that lets users invest in DeFi, used to raise an $8 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceRetirement accounts for cryptoTodd Southwick, CEO and co-founder of iTrustCapital.iTrustCapitalTodd Southwick and Blake Skadron stuck to a simple mandate when they were building out iTrustCapital, a $1.3 billion fintech that strives to offer cryptocurrencies to the masses via dedicated individual retirement accounts."We wanted to make a product that we would feel happy recommending for our parents to use," Southwick, the CEO of iTrustCapital, told Insider. That guiding framework resulted in a software system that helped to digitize and automate the traditionally clunky and paper-based process of setting up an IRA for alternative assets, Southwick said. "We saw a real opportunity within the self-directed IRAs because we knew at that point in time, there was a fairly small segment of people that was willing to deal with the inconvenience of having to set up an IRA" for crypto, Southwick said. The process often involved phone calls to sales reps and over-the-counter trading desks, paper and fax machines, and days of wait time.iTrustCapital allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using tax-advantaged IRAs with no monthly account fees. The startup provides access to 25 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin — charging a 1% transaction fee on crypto trades — as well as gold and silver.iTrustCapital, a fintech simplifying how to set up a crypto retirement account, used this 8-page pitch deck to raise a $125 million Series AA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 17th, 2022

Check out these 44 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Deploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Helping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Johnson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersHelping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Guto Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo Parejo.KaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed round 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series A Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounder.GleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingBetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay Davis.AtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Data science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of Counterpart.CounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BCrypto staking made easyEthan and Eric Parker, founders of crypto-investing app Giddy.GiddyFrom the outside looking in, cryptocurrency can seem like a world of potential, but also one of complexity. That's because digital currencies, which can be traded, invested in, and moved like traditional currencies, operate on decentralized blockchain networks that can be quite technical in nature. Still, they offer the promise of big gains and have been thrusted into the mainstream over the years, converting Wall Street stalwarts and bankers.But for the everyday investor, a fear of missing out is settling in. That's why brothers Ethan and Eric Parker built Giddy, a mobile app that enables users to invest in crypto, earn passive income on certain crypto holdings via staking, and get into the red-hot space of decentralized finance, or DeFi."What we're focusing on is giving an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't access DeFi because it's just technically too difficult," Eric Parker, CEO at Giddy, told Insider. Here's the 7-page pitch deck Giddy, an app that lets users invest in DeFi, used to raise an $8 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceRetirement accounts for cryptoTodd Southwick, CEO and co-founder of iTrustCapital.iTrustCapitalTodd Southwick and Blake Skadron stuck to a simple mandate when they were building out iTrustCapital, a $1.3 billion fintech that strives to offer cryptocurrencies to the masses via dedicated individual retirement accounts."We wanted to make a product that we would feel happy recommending for our parents to use," Southwick, the CEO of iTrustCapital, told Insider. That guiding framework resulted in a software system that helped to digitize and automate the traditionally clunky and paper-based process of setting up an IRA for alternative assets, Southwick said. "We saw a real opportunity within the self-directed IRAs because we knew at that point in time, there was a fairly small segment of people that was willing to deal with the inconvenience of having to set up an IRA" for crypto, Southwick said. The process often involved phone calls to sales reps and over-the-counter trading desks, paper and fax machines, and days of wait time.iTrustCapital allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using tax-advantaged IRAs with no monthly account fees. The startup provides access to 25 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin — charging a 1% transaction fee on crypto trades — as well as gold and silver.iTrustCapital, a fintech simplifying how to set up a crypto retirement account, used this 8-page pitch deck to raise a $125 million Series AA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 18th, 2022

First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. Tacks on Massive Layoffs With Bankruptcy Filing

The shifting mortgage market has sent ripples throughout the lending industry that have manifested in waves of layoffs as companies look to adapt to the changing times. While this has become a common trend in the past six months, some companies have struggled more than others. That’s been the case for First Guaranty Mortgage Corp.… The post First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. Tacks on Massive Layoffs With Bankruptcy Filing appeared first on RISMedia. The shifting mortgage market has sent ripples throughout the lending industry that have manifested in waves of layoffs as companies look to adapt to the changing times. While this has become a common trend in the past six months, some companies have struggled more than others. That’s been the case for First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. (FGMC), which announced yesterday that it had filed chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on June 30 along with its affiliate Maverick II Holdings, LLC. “While we have made considerable efforts to address our ongoing financial challenges related to the state of the mortgage market, we ultimately must do what is best for our borrowers and consumers,” said FGMC CEO Aaron Samples in a press release. The company claims in the petitions that it has experienced “significant operating losses and cash flow challenges” due mainly to the volatile mortgage lending market. “In 2021, intense competition for mortgage originations, in part due to the collapse of the refinancing market, resulted in a sharp decline in the Debtors’ performance,” read an excerpt from the filing. “The Debtors’ margins on the sale of loans also declined dramatically.” Like many mortgage companies that have seen their profits tumble amid the current market shift, FGMC’s filing painted a picture of its financial woes as mortgage rates have climbed in 2022. For the four months ending April 30, 2022, the Texas-based company tallied $23.3 million of after-tax net loss, which is partially attributed to lower origination volumes. Despite the company raking in $1.7 billion in mortgages during that time, FGMC indicated that its sales profit gains “continued to be very weak.” The bankruptcy filing comes less than a week after the Texas-based mortgage lender laid off nearly 80% of its workforce on June 17. According to a WARN notice sent to the Texas Workforce Commission, FGMC terminated 428 of its 565 employees. Initial reports regarding the firings indicated that the layoffs were caused by “significant operating losses and cash flow challenges due to unforeseen historical adverse market conditions for the mortgage lending industry, including unanticipated market volatility.” While the layoffs indicate the persisting strain mortgage companies have had to endure under rising mortgage rates and shrinking refinance originations, the approach in which FGMC fired its workers harkens back to a now-infamous wave of layoffs conducted by Better.com CEO Vishal Garg.  National Mortgage Professional (NMP) reported that Samples fired workers during a 10-minute virtual meeting on Microsoft Teams. Based on former employee accounts featured in NMP, Samples cited “several general economic hurdles” plaguing FGMC, like market compression and geopolitical issues, as reasons for terminating everyone on the call immediately. RISMedia also spoke with a former FGMC employee impacted by the layoffs, who confirmed what the reports indicated. The former employee requested that they be anonymous in this story and drew comparisons between FGMC’s firings and the Better.com Zoom-call firings. “For Better Mortgage, they didn’t show much empathy,” they say. “It was pretty similar to last Friday. There was a brief call over Microsoft Teams, and he said, ‘if you are in the call, your job has been cut.'” Admittedly, the former employee said the announcement came as a surprise despite a general understanding that the mortgage lending environment has been in flux for the past year and a half. “Our business was shrinking for sure, but there was some niche in the industry,” they say, highlighting FGMC’s work with non-qualified mortgages as an example of products that the company could have leaned on during the market shift. On June 15, FGMC announced a new stand-alone second lien program that the company touted as an “exciting new addition” to its suite of non-QM products under its affiliate Maverick Solutions. “The market is still there, so they were optimistic and were coming up with new products,” the former employee continues. “Our impression was they’ll be alright.” Several other former employees took to social media to lament the loss in the days following the layoffs. “One constant in my nearly 30 years in the mortgage industry is that when I find a job that feels like home, I am going to give well over 100% and will not leave until they kick me out,” wrote Stacy Lighton, a former VP of Credit Policy at FGMC, on LinkedIn. “My most recent position as vice president of Credit Policy was with First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation, a company that felt like family until last Friday when most of the staff was abruptly released.” Other impacted employees painted pictures of the unexpectedness of the incident. “FGMC cut about 80% of its workforce on Friday and has stopped accepting new mortgage applications,” read a LinkedIn post by former FGMC Account Executive Tina Ogden Smith. “The company laid off around 500 employees without severance payment,” the post continues. “Sure sign of doors closing in near future.” According to the former employee, a severance package was not offered immediately after the layoffs occurred. However, they tell RISMedia that FGMC has since offered severance, including a week’s work-worth of pay for every year they worked at FGMC. Employees weren’t the only ones blindsided by FGMC’s behavior, as lender partners indicated that they were also left without updates on whether the company would purchase and fund loans that had already been approved for purchase. “I’m positive I am not alone when wondering ‘will you be honoring your commitment to purchase these loans, and when can we expect them to be purchased?’” wrote Dani Hernandez, vice president of mortgage at UpEquity in Austin, Texas. In her letter to FGMC, which was posted on LinkedIn, Hernandez indicated that the last communication UpEquity received from FGMC was two weeks ago, and the company was told that FGMC would “honor these locks and pricing.” “Now FGMC has gone radio silent,” Hernandez wrote. “Please let your lender partners know if we should be looking for other investors to sell these loans to or if and when you will be funding these loans you’ve committed to purchasing. “Leadership at FGMC, we understand this is a difficult time, but you owe it to your lender partners to let us know what is happening, so others do not suffer,” the letter concluded. While FGMC’s bankruptcy filing isn’t expected to affect closed mortgages, the company indicated that it has “taken action to accommodate the maximum number of borrowers who have started but not yet completed the loan process.” “FGMC is finalizing debtor-in-possession financing that will enable it to close and fund approved consumer loans under existing terms and conditions,” FGMC stated. The company also indicated that it identified one or more potential partners to provide optionality to support the pipeline of in-process loans. The debtor-in-possession financing still needs to be approved by the Court. The same applies to an “employee incentive and retention program” that FGMC is trying to develop. “As part of this process, the Company retained a portion of its workforce to manage the day-to-day business,” Samples said. “We are requesting that the court approve a variety of motions that will promote a smooth transition for all pertinent parties while also preserving value for the benefit of the Company’s stakeholders.” The post First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. Tacks on Massive Layoffs With Bankruptcy Filing appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJul 1st, 2022

Are Most People Debt-Free When They Retire?

I believe that it was Josh Billings, the pen name of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw, who once proclaimed, “ Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.” Managing debt is a challenge many of us face. ‌According to the Federal Reserve Bank of […] I believe that it was Josh Billings, the pen name of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw, who once proclaimed, “ Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.” Managing debt is a challenge many of us face. ‌According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly report on household debt and credit, household debt totaled $15.58 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of $340 billion. That brings the total debt balance to $1.02 trillion more than it was at the end of 2020. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Still, getting out of debt is no easy task. It requires some sacrifice, discipline, and patience. What’s more, you may have to change your habits. And, along the way, there will be unexpected expenses that can siderail your repayment plan. However, getting out of debt should be a financial priority. For example, you’ll have more income. Take, for example, a $200,000 30-year mortgage ‌at‌ ‌4.5%‌ ‌interest. ‌Having to pay that mortgage every month will cost you $1,013 a‌ ‌month. Even worse? ‌The bulk of that will go toward interest rather than building equity. Now, if you didn’t have that debt, you could use that money towards something else. You could build an emergency fund, splurge on a vacation, remodel your kitchen, or even retire early. And, as an added perk, your credit score will improve. But, it’s just not the financial freedom. Being debt-free means less stress, better cognitive function, fewer illness, and improved relationships. All of which become more important in retirement. Good Debt vs. Bad Debt You could certainly argue that having no debt is a good thing. ‌‌‌However,‌ ‌many people‌ ‌cannot‌ ‌afford‌ ‌big-ticket items without borrowing money and taking‌ ‌on‌ ‌debt. ‌It must, however, be able to increase your net worth or make a significant impact on your life. This type of debt is actually considered good. And, the most common examples would be: Education. A person’s earnings potential increases if they have more education. ‌It is also no secret that education contributes to employment prospects. Owning a‌ ‌business. The money you borrow to start your own business is also considered‌ ‌good‌ ‌debt. ‌Becoming your own boss can be both financially and psychologically rewarding, even if it isn’t easy. The property you own. You can earn money from real estate in many ways. ‌Buying a house, living in it for a few decades, then selling it for a profit is the simplest method. Residential real estate also can be used to generate income by renting it out. ‌In addition, commercial real estate can provide cash flow and capital gains. There is another end of the spectrum, however. This is where debt is taken carelessly and provided no value for the debt-taker. Examples would be depreciating assets like cars or clothing. There are many types of debt, and not all of them can be easily classified. ‌Often, it depends on your financial situation. ‌Paying off high-interest credit cards with a debt consolidation loan from a bank or other reputable lender, for example. Because you’re not paying as much in interest, this is considered a good debt. Debt Before Retirement Even if you have what’s considered good debt, experts strongly agree that this should be paid off before you retire. “The key thing that we tell our clients is that when you retire, so should your debt be retired,” Ken Moraif, senior advisor of Retirement Planners of America, recently told Yahoo Finance Live. “We really encourage people to be debt-free.” That means no car loans, credit cards, or mortage. “Not having any debt — if bad things come — technically you can live on very, very little if you have to if you have no debt,” he said. “Because no matter how well you’ve done getting up to that if you take a big giant loss like a 2008 or a Y2K or others, that could impact your ability to retire or to stay retired.” “Managing cash flow is the cornerstone of a retirement plan because retirees typically live on a fixed income derived from their investment portfolios, Social Security, pension plans, and the like,” adds Robert Westley, a certified public accountant, and financial planner. “Routinely, retirement income is lower than preretirement income, and therefore debt repayments that were once manageable preretirement begin to consume a proportionately larger share of income.” But, how many people are actually debt-free when they retire? Debt Is Leading to Retirement Insecurity Among Seniors Again, debt is something most people are accustomed to. ‌But retiring with debt is an entirely different‌ ‌story. The challenge of living comfortably on a fixed income becomes even more difficult when you must pay recurring bills with interest. ‌However, according to a study by the personal finance site MagnifyMoney, 46% of all Americans are expecting to retire in debt. And, this is especially true among seniors. In a report published by the Congressional Research Service in 2019, the percentage of elderly households with‌ ‌any‌ ‌type‌ ‌of debt‌ ‌increased‌ ‌from‌ ‌38%‌ ‌in‌ ‌1989‌ ‌to‌ ‌61%‌ ‌in‌ ‌2016. ‌As of 2016, the amount owed had increased from about $7,500 to over‌ ‌$31,000‌. Moreover, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the total debt burden for Americans over 70 has increased 543% since 1999, to $1.1 trillion. Likewise, debt among those in their 60s ballooned by 471% to $2.14 trillion, including mortgages and auto loans. Other age groups also saw increases in their total liabilities during this period as well. But seniors significantly outpaced them in terms of percentage increase. Average retirement debt by generation. Consumer debt rose 5.4% to $15.31 trillion from 2020 to 2021, according to a study by Experian consumer debt. The jump is a hefty $772 billion. ‌And,‌ ‌it’s more than double the 2.7% increase over the previous two years. Here’s a look at the average amount of debt each generation holds. FYI, includes credit card debt, student loans, personal debt,‌ ‌and‌ ‌auto‌ ‌loans. Mortgage debt is excluded from these totals. Generation Z (18-24): $20,803 Millennials (25-40): $100,906 Generation X (41-56): $146,164 Baby boomers (57-75): $95,607 Silent generation (76+): $39,859 There is a bit of good news though. While the baby boomers are now entering retirement age, they are also decreasing their overall debt levels year over year, just like the silent generation. Moreover, these generations have less debt then in 2020. On the flip side, the other genrations have increased their average debt. This was particularly true with Gen Z who experienced an almost 30% jump. Experian‌ ‌explains that this is still the smallest average balance of any generation and a generation experiencing a series of firsts. ‌For example, buying a car, moving, and going to‌ ‌college. ‌This can complicate a previously simpler budget by adding new debt obligations. If you’re curious, here’s the average consumer debt balance by type: Mortgage: $220,380 HELOC: $39,556 Student loan: $39,487 Auto loan and lease: $20,987 Credit card: $5,221 Personal loan: $17,064 Total average balance: $96,371 Retiree Debut Doubled During the Pandemic Many older Americans have been affected by the COVID-19 virus. ‌Retirement was forced for some due to unexpected medical issues, job loss, or caring for family members affected‌‌ ‌‌by‌‌ ‌‌the‌‌ ‌‌virus. “Unplanned early retirement can leave retirees in a tough spot financially as they simultaneously lose out on time when they had planned to save for retirement and face a longer retirement in which they have to cover expenses,” writes Mary Beth Franklin. If you retired because of sickness, you may have additional medical expenses as well. A survey done by Clever Real Estate asked 1,500 Americans if they were experiencing difficulties with their retirement or debt during the pandemic. ‌In the report, State of Retirement Finances 2021, government statistics, retirement statistics, and research from nonprofit organizations are compiled. “Unfortunately, half of U.S. households can’t maintain their pre-retirement standard of living throughout retirement,” Francesca Ortegren, chief data scientist at Clever Real Estate, wrote in the new report. “Many Americans are forced to tighten budgets and give up luxuries during retirement.” Overall,‌ ‌retirees‌ ‌took on an additional $9,979 in non-mortgage debt in 2020, more than doubling their debt to nearly $20,000. ‌According to the report, retiree debt was up by 104% from the previous year. ‌While working age adults have more debt, non-retirees increased the amount of their debt only by 13% or about $5,000 during the pandemic. Don’t Panic: Manage Your Debt “Debt can negatively impact your ability to live off the sources of income you’ve established to pay your bills after you stop punching the clock,” explains Paul Humphrey, CFEd® for Kiplinger. “Debt payments subtract from the income of Social Security and savings in an IRA or other investment vehicles that you really need to be living your best life.” ‌Even‌ ‌a mortgage, which is most common among retired individuals,‌ ‌can‌ ‌impair‌ ‌your‌ ‌financial‌ ‌flexibility, he adds. But, don’t stress over your finances just yet. Again, not all debt is bad. In fact, very few of us are debt-free when we retire. However, you should get concerned when you cross the $50,000 “red line.” “The proverbial red line here for retirement savings-endangering debt is $50,000 or more of either mortgage or non-mortgage debt,” says Humphrey. If you have debt around or over that threshold, then it’s time to worry. And, more importantly, find ways to manage your debt. Develop a budget to track your expenses. Having a budget helps you keep track of what you’re earning and spending. ‌When you are aware of your income and expenses, you can reduce unnecessary expenses or eliminate them. The‌ ‌50/30/20‌ ‌budget is a simple budgeting method that doesn’t require detailed budget‌ ‌categories. ‌As a result, you spend 50% of your after-tax income on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings or debt repayment. Stop accumulating debt. You won’t pay off your debt using this strategy alone. But, you will keep yourself from getting into more debt. It’s a good idea to cut back on your credit cards. For example, freezing‌ ‌your‌ lines of ‌credit. Or, only using cash when shopping. Pay off debts using the snowball method. “The snowball method of debt payments involves paying off the smallest debts under your name entirely as soon as possible,”explains Kiara Tayor in a previous Due article. “Then, once those debts are done, move on to the next highest obligations, then the next highest, and so on until you are debt-free.” In‌ ‌this way, you’ll save money on interest and rebuild your credit score all at the same time. “Of course, if you decide not to pay off your debts ASAP, you may wish to invest in life insurance,” adds Kiara. ‌You might owe some of your debts to your surviving spouse, for example, if you die unexpectedly. ‌Your spouse, children, and other family members can be provided with enough cash to repay your debts with a comprehensive life insurance policy that comes with guarantees. Have an emergency fund. For “just-in-case” circumstances, emergency savings can be very ‌valuable. ‌If you are trying to save up for an emergency, you should save at least six months of your salary. If you lose your job, get injured and are unable to work, or when other unplanned but necessary expenses arise, you can use this money to cover your expenses. Ask creditors for a lower interest rate. You stay in debt longer if you have high interest rates because so much of your payment goes toward interest. ‌You may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate with your credit card provider if you ask them to do so. ‌A good payment history is more likely to result in negotiating lower rates with creditor. However, creditor decisions are at their discretion. You can also use tools like Trim or Truebill tonegotiate your inflated bills. Also, these tools can can track your expenses and cancel unwanted subscriptions as well. Transfer balances. Consider‌ ‌transferring your credit card balance to a credit card with a low introductory rate. ‌A new card with zero percent interest for a year may allow you to transfer some high-rate balances. ‌If‌ ‌so, figure out how you are going to pay off the balance during the interest-free period, and make sure you don’t run up new fees. Consolidate your debts at the best interest rate. Consolidating your debts with a bank or credit union allows you to manage them more easily since you make only one payment to the bank or credit union instead of several payments to all of your existing‌ ‌lenders. ‌You may be able to get a better rate from a bank or credit union than the interest rates on the loans you have. As such, you should shop around before you consolidate. Refinance. You might consider refinancing your mortgage. Here you can take advantage of the lower mortgage interest rate than you are currently paying on other loans. ‌It’s possible that you would have to increase your mortgage amount. ‌The cash will come in handy if you pay off expensive debt like credit cards. Ask for a payment plan. Unless you have a plan to pay it off, don’t charge medical expenses to credit cards. You may be able to negotiate assistance plans with medical providers. ‌It’s best to avoid in-office financing offered by doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals, however. Often, this ‌can‌ ‌often‌ ‌be‌ ‌more‌ ‌expensive‌ ‌than‌ ‌a‌ ‌personal‌ ‌loan. Earn more money. By paying off your debt faster, you become debt-free faster. ‌Identify ways to generate extra funds for your debt payment. ‌It may be possible for you to earn extra money through home sales, a side hustle, or income derived from‌ ‌a‌ ‌hobby. Consider negotiating a raise or working more hours at your full-time job to earn more. Retain your retirement savings. Avoid cashing out retirement accounts. ‌A 10% penalty applies to withdrawals from 401(k)s and traditional IRAs if you are younger than 59.5 ‌A qualified plan may also subject you to more taxation Speak to a credit counselor. Finance and debt management organizations are usually nonprofits. ‌An affordable payment schedule is the goal of a debt management plan. ‌Credit counseling agencies divide your monthly payment among your creditors. With the help of a credit counselor, you can create a personalized debt management plan. ‌The goal of credit counseling is to make your accounts payment in full without being in default. Credit counselors can be found at‌ ‌the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Financial Counseling Association of America. Frequently Asked Questions Should you be saving for retirement if you have debt? Getting out of debt might seem like a‌ ‌top‌ ‌priority. ‌However, saving for retirement is a matter of time. It’s also impossible to get back the money you’ve lost. Considering this, it’s a good idea to begin saving money now for your retirement. ‌It doesn’t matter how small your savings are. The easiest way to start saving for retirement is to open a traditional or Roth IRA. ‌Additionally, you should take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) matching plan. ‌It’s basically‌ ‌free‌ ‌money. And‌ ‌who‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌need‌ ‌more‌ ‌of‌ ‌that? Start paying off your credit card debt after you have saved for retirement. ‌By your golden years, you’ll be debt-free. What’s‌ ‌the‌ ‌best‌ ‌way‌ ‌to‌ ‌pay‌ ‌off‌ ‌debt? Spending within your means, especially with a credit card, is one of the best ways to reduce debt. ‌Ideally,‌ ‌you would avoid racking up interest by paying your bills in full and on time each month. Consider “snowballing” your payments if you have several accounts. ‌Taking care of smaller debts first will help you see results quickly and give you motivation to keep going. When should I consider debt consolidation? If you don’t have any income left over after living expenses and debt payments, you may have to consider debt consolidation. Make sure you change your spending habits if you choose this option. A consolidation loan won’t help if you spend more than you earn. In the past, a common way to simplify debt was to consolidate it. If you received eight different, it was easy to let one slip through the cracks. ‌With the internet, you can, however, set up automatic‌ ‌payments. Are you ever done saving? Simply put,‌ ‌no. It’s important to keep your savings account in the black for expected expensee. These include home maintenance, taxes, or utility costs. Also, you should save for acute emergencies like replacing your tires. ‌However, you should plan for them as they will happen eventually. Is being debt-free worth it? Paying off your debts enhances your financial well-being. ‌You’ll have more financial freedom and feel less stressed. And, it ensures that you’re retirement savings won’t run dry. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old while attending the University of Utah he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine, Finance Expert by Time and Annuity Expert by Nasdaq. He is the Founder and CEO of Due. Updated on May 31, 2022, 3:39 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 31st, 2022

After George Floyd"s murder, Wall Street promised billions of dollars to help Black Americans. 2 years later, here"s where that money went and how it"s being used.

CEOs at five banks serving primarily Black clients share how Wall Street's commitments are shaping up two years after George Floyd's murder. America's largest banks promised change after George Floyd's murder. Insider looked at how Black financial leaders felt about the progress two years later.Spencer Platt/Getty Images After George Floyd's murder, America's biggest banks made promises to Black Americans.  CEOs of Black-owned or Black-serving banks have been able to make substantial progress. But the largest US banks need to continue investing in Black communities, they said.   As Dominik Mjartan approached JPMorgan's towering global headquarters on New York City's Park Avenue on a Friday afternoon in September, he couldn't help but feel skeptical. Mjartan, the CEO of Optus Bank, a South Carolina lender with $350 million assets under management, was there to meet Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan. The meeting was no pairing of equals. JPMorgan, a global finance giant, is about 1,000 times as big as Optus Bank in terms of the assets it manages.Mjartan, a white bank executive with over a decade and a half of experience serving Black communities and other underserved groups, was there to discuss the $30 billion commitment Dimon made after George Floyd's murder. But he had doubts about whether Dimon and his CEO peers were genuinely committed to closing the racial wealth gap. He thought: Is this genuine? Or is this a moment?"Whatever cynical views I had before that meeting, they just disappeared almost in the first five minutes," Mjartan, an immigrant from Slovakia, said. "Jamie is an honest and humble guy. He is committed."   In the weeks and months following Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, Dimon and the CEOs of America's largest banks — most notably, Bank of America and Citi — made a promise to the nation, to the tune of about $32 billion. Their pledge was supposed to make the US economy more equitable for Black Americans. Two years later, Insider spoke with several banks that are Black-owned or serve Black customers. They described the investments as game-changing.CEOs of five banks primarily serving Black communities said they were able to acquire customers at faster rates, lend to more Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, service more mortgages for Black families, and improve their technology in ways that were previously out of the question. But to chip away at the racial wealth gap ⁠— the massive wealth discrepancy between Black and white Americans ⁠— Dimon, Citi CEO Jane Fraser, and their Wall Street peers need to sustain their investments of capital and time at the current pace, according to CEOs of Black-serving banks.For Mjartan, the future is hopeful. After that meeting with Dimon, he had separate meetings with Fraser and multiple execs at Wells Fargo. They invested in the bank he runs, which primarily serves Black customers. Since then, his bank has been able to hire several more employees, modernize its digital-banking services, and boost the amount it has loaned from $60 million before 2020 to more than $160 million today."We were so capital-starved and resource-starved for decades," Mjartan said. "I've never seen anything like this, and it's genuine and it's real."Wall Street made a strong down payment JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon led Wall Street in committing $30 billion to advancing racial equity after Floyd's murder.Stripe; PayPal; Square; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/InsiderAfter Floyd's killing, JPMorgan made a $30 billion commitment to racial equity, Citi's was $1.1 billion, and Bank of America's was $1.25 billion; part of all the commitments was tens of millions of dollars directed to Black-owned and Black-serving banks, known as minority-owned depository institutions, or community-development financial institutions. It's important to note that the infusion of this capital was not in the form of grants but in equity stakes, from which America's largest banks stand to profit. But the terms of the investments are clear and fair, multiple CEOs of Black-led or Black-serving banks said.Jeannine Jacokes, the CEO of the Community Development Bankers Association, said the members of the industry group, which include Black-owned and Black-serving banks and credit unions, felt they were finally getting the attention they deserved. Jacokes was a Senate staffer who helped draft the federal government's policies in the 1990s that created the special designation for banks and credit unions that serve historically marginalized communities."It's a great down payment. It's a good start," she said. "I hope that it isn't a moment. I hope that it is a movement because these are systemic problems that we are trying to solve here." We were so capital-starved and resource-starved for decades.Banks serving marginalized communities have been historically underfunded, industry experts say. But the need for their services hasn't waned. Black Americans remain far more likely to be underbanked compared with white Americans, in part because of decades of racist policies. Researchers agree that white Americans greatly benefited from New Deal programs and numerous post-World War II policies, while Black Americans were discriminated against. When Black Americans started to access welfare benefits at a higher rate starting in the 1970s, there was backlash among conservatives seeking to clamp down on social programs.Without a bank account or access to bank loans, many Black Americans turn to payday loans or cash-advance loans, which carry onerous terms of repayment and are widely seen as predatory. But the investments of 2020 could significantly increase the number of Black Americans in the banking system, multiple bank CEOs said.OneUnited Bank's chief operating officer, Teri Williams, said she's inspired by the investments but that she worried it was a "moment not a movement."Jeffery SalterTeri Williams, the chief operating officer and president of OneUnited Bank, a Black-led, Black-serving bank, received an investment from Citi. Though she would not disclose the terms or amount, she said the investment had allowed the bank to reach many new customers and provide new products. The bank recently rolled out a program for same-day small loans of up to $1,000 that don't require a credit check and have an annual percentage rate of 47%, which is significantly lower than a typical payday loan, which has an APR of more than 300%. "We'd like to wipe payday loans off the map," she said. "This loan is an example of the types of products and services that our community needs. And it's one that a lot of banks don't offer."Williams added that the bank's lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs "increased dramatically" from 2020 to 2021. OneUnited was also able to invest in a new phone-technology system, allowing customers to obtain answers or get to a live agent more quickly."Our abandonment rate, the rate at which people hang up before reaching someone, went from 15% down to 3%, with it sometimes being as low as 1%," Williams said. "It's allowed us to better service our customers and retain our customers." Detroit's First Independence Bank received investments from JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. Kenneth Kelly, the chair of First Independence, said the effect had been that his and other Black-owned banks were now able to move past "survival mode." First Independence Bank CEO Kenneth Kelly (right) with Damon Jenkins, the bank's regional market president. Kelly shared how the bank has been able to grow because of investments from top banks.CRWN Media"For every dollar of equity invested, it allows our banks to hopefully lend up to nine times that," he said. "These investments are certainly off to a very good start that will allow our banks to really begin to grow in a way that they can materially have an impact in all of the communities that we're serving." Kelly said there'd been a "significant" increase in terms of the mortgages and loans they'd been able to give to customers. Southern Bancorp, an Arkansas bank, received an equity investment from JPMorgan. CEO Darrin Williams said that because of the investment, the bank was able to acquire a small community bank, thus increasing its customer base and number of branches. It's also on track to acquire another small bank. Southern Bancorp is now making more loans, particularly those of $10,000 or less, which are helping people purchase cars, start businesses, and fix up their homes, he said. In 2020, the bank made about 7,200 loans; in 2021, the number rose to more than 8,000 loans."It's fueling growth and innovation," Williams said. The investments are a work in progress Wall Streets investments have enabled Black-owned and Black-serving banks to increase their products and lending.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy the end of last year, JPMorgan had allocated more than $18 billion of its $30 billion racial-equity goal. As part of that, the bank funded $13 billion in loans to help create and preserve 100,000 affordable housing units. It opened or spruced up more than 300 branches with community centers providing free education and resources for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. It took equity stakes totaling more than $100 million in 15 Black-owned or Black-serving banks and credit unions, and spent an additional $155 million with 140 Black and Hispanic suppliers. This is in addition to the $2 billion it spends with them annually. "Our goal is to use this playbook and share it with other institutions," Carolina Jannicelli, the head of community impact at JPMorgan, said. "We are very interested in scaling this impact beyond just JPMorgan Chase." Bank of America has deployed over $450 million, or just under half its $1.25 billion five-year commitment. Specifically, the bank invested $43 million total in 22 Black-owned or Black-serving banks and about $300 million in about 100 equity funds that provide capital to minority entrepreneurs and small-business owners. In February 2021, Bank of America expanded its community-homeownership commitment to $15 billion. The program, made up of grants to help with down payments, is directed at helping low- and moderate-income people purchase their first home. "This isn't just about the $1.25 billion," said Ebony Thomas, racial equality and economic opportunity executive at Bank of America. "Sometimes when progress isn't fast, people lose sight. But we are making progress. It will not be overnight. Progress is incremental."According to an April report, Citi has invested $1 billion of its $1.1 billion goal, including $44 million in 11 minority depository institutions and community development financial institutions and $88.6 million out of its $200 million pledge to companies founded by women and/or racially or ethnically diverse founders. It also spent over $1.2 billion with diverse suppliers in 2021 and closed $16.5 million in affordable-housing loans with minority-owned banks for a total of over $36 million. "I'm most proud, though, of the work we've done internally to diversify our teams and embed racial equity across our business practices and policies so that it becomes institutionalized at the firm — this is one of our key measures of success and critical to the longevity of these efforts," Brandee McHale, the head of community investing and development at Citi, said. Wells Fargo has made $450 million in financial commitments focused on supporting Black Americans since Floyd's murder, according to a company spokesperson. In March this year, Wells Fargo came under scrutiny after a Bloomberg report said it approved just 47% of its Black mortgage applicants compared with 72% of its white applicants in 2020. Kleber Santos, Wells Fargo's head of diverse segments, representation and inclusion, gave context to the statistic, saying the bank had to adhere to guidelines prescribed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He added that the bank was committed to advancing diverse homeownership. "We're focused on answering the question: How can we create enduring relationships here?" Santos said.Here's the breakdown so far: JPMorgan has allocated more than $18 billion of its $30 billion racial-equity goal, according to the bank. Citi has invested $1 billion of its $1.1 billion goal, according to an April report.Bank of America has deployed over $450 million, or just under half of its $1.25 billion five-year commitment, according to the bank.Wells Fargo has deployed over $275 million of its $450 million pledge, per a spokesperson. The future CEOs of banks serving Black communities said Wall Street needed to continue investing capital and time to reduce inequity in America.Chandan Khanna/Getty ImagesThe $32 billion that America's largest banks committed after Floyd's murder has the potential to reshape the country, as long as it's a starting point, multiple CEOs of Black-owned and Black-serving banks said."We didn't get here overnight," Darrin Williams, Southern Bancorp's CEO, said. "And we won't resolve these challenges overnight, either." Indeed, there is a long way to go. In a 2021 Pew Research Center survey of Black adults, less than half of respondents said they had an emergency fund to weather three months of hardship, and some reported taking multiple jobs to make ends meet. Black Americans, who were among those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, are also more likely to experience unemployment than white Americans.  Compounding this is the fact that Black Americans are more likely to have their homes undervalued in appraisals and are more likely to be denied mortgages than white Americans. For example, Black Americans were over twice as likely as white Americans to be denied home-purchase loans in 2019, and Black borrowers who did get those loans were charged higher rates, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency. "What's being done now is the right amount of response, but it really does have to be long-lasting. It can't just be short term," OneUnited Bank's Teri Williams said.Strengthening banks that serve Black Americans is just one part of the equation to solving the racial wealth gap, Valerie Wilson of Economic Policy Institute, an independent think tank, said. The other parts include raising pay, especially in low-wage sectors, improving diversity within the banking system to better serve nonwhite customers, and continuing to support Black-owned businesses as well as historically Black colleges and universities, Wilson and multiple Black bank CEOs said.  Nicole Lee Ndumele, a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, a policy institute focused on the economy, agreed, saying "sustained effort" was needed from both the private sector and the public sector.Despite inflation and fears of an approaching recession, Jannicelli, the JPMorgan exec, said the Wall Street giant was prepared to sustain long-term efforts to improve the lives of Black Americans."We ultimately want to drive change and see a reduction of the racial wealth gap," Jannicelli said. "We're using all of our resources: philanthropic, business, and human. That is our commitment well beyond the five-year time period." For Mjartan, the CEO of Optus Bank, 2020 has been influential for his bank and the Black communities he serves.  "I do mean transformational," he said. "I'm not just being hyperbolic here." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 24th, 2022

After George Floyd"s murder, Wall Street promised billions of dollars to help Black Americans. Two years later, here"s where that money went and how it"s being used.

CEOs at five banks serving primarily Black clients share how Wall Street's commitments are shaping up two years after George Floyd's murder. America's largest banks promised change after George Floyd's murder. Insider looked at how Black financial leaders felt about the progress two years later.Spencer Platt/Getty Images After George Floyd's murder, America's biggest banks made promises to Black Americans.  CEOs of Black-owned or Black-serving banks have been able to make substantial progress. But the largest US banks need to continue investing in Black communities, they said.   As Dominik Mjartan approached JPMorgan's towering global headquarters on New York City's Park Avenue on a Friday afternoon in September, he couldn't help but feel skeptical. Mjartan, the CEO of Optus Bank, a South Carolina lender with $350 million assets under management, was there to meet Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan. The meeting was no pairing of equals. JPMorgan, a global finance giant, is about 1,000 times as big as Optus Bank in terms of the assets it manages.Mjartan, a white bank executive with over a decade and a half of experience serving Black communities and other underserved groups, was there to discuss the $30 billion commitment Dimon made after George Floyd's murder. But he had doubts about whether Dimon and his CEO peers were genuinely committed to closing the racial wealth gap. He thought: Is this genuine? Or is this a moment?"Whatever cynical views I had before that meeting, they just disappeared almost in the first five minutes," Mjartan, an immigrant from Slovakia, said. "Jamie is an honest and humble guy. He is committed."   In the weeks and months following Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, Dimon and the CEOs of America's largest banks — most notably, Bank of America and Citi — made a promise to the nation, to the tune of about $32 billion. Their pledge was supposed to make the US economy more equitable for Black Americans. Two years later, Insider spoke with several banks that are Black-owned or serve Black customers. They described the investments as game-changing.CEOs of five banks primarily serving Black communities said they were able to acquire customers at faster rates, lend to more Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, service more mortgages for Black families, and improve their technology in ways that were previously out of the question. But to chip away at the racial wealth gap ⁠— the massive wealth discrepancy between Black and white Americans ⁠— Dimon, Citi CEO Jane Fraser, and their Wall Street peers need to sustain their investments of capital and time at the current pace, according to CEOs of Black-serving banks.For Mjartan, the future is hopeful. After that meeting with Dimon, he had separate meetings with Fraser and multiple execs at Wells Fargo. They invested in the bank he runs, which primarily serves Black customers. Since then, his bank has been able to hire several more employees, modernize its digital-banking services, and boost the amount it has loaned from $60 million before 2020 to more than $160 million today."We were so capital-starved and resource-starved for decades," Mjartan said. "I've never seen anything like this, and it's genuine and it's real."Wall Street made a strong down payment JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon led Wall Street in committing $30 billion to advancing racial equity after Floyd's murder.Stripe; PayPal; Square; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/InsiderAfter Floyd's killing, JPMorgan made a $30 billion commitment to racial equity, Citi's was $1.1 billion, and Bank of America's was $1.25 billion; part of all the commitments was tens of millions of dollars directed to Black-owned and Black-serving banks, known as minority-owned depository institutions, or community-development financial institutions. It's important to note that the infusion of this capital was not in the form of grants but in equity stakes, from which America's largest banks stand to profit. But the terms of the investments are clear and fair, multiple CEOs of Black-led or Black-serving banks said.Jeannine Jacokes, the CEO of the Community Development Bankers Association, said the members of the industry group, which include Black-owned and Black-serving banks and credit unions, felt they were finally getting the attention they deserved. Jacokes was a Senate staffer who helped draft the federal government's policies in the 1990s that created the special designation for banks and credit unions that serve historically marginalized communities."It's a great down payment. It's a good start," she said. "I hope that it isn't a moment. I hope that it is a movement because these are systemic problems that we are trying to solve here." We were so capital-starved and resource-starved for decades.Banks serving marginalized communities have been historically underfunded, industry experts say. But the need for their services hasn't waned. Black Americans remain far more likely to be underbanked compared with white Americans, in part because of decades of racist policies. Researchers agree that white Americans greatly benefited from New Deal programs and numerous post-World War II policies, while Black Americans were discriminated against. When Black Americans started to access welfare benefits at a higher rate starting in the 1970s, there was backlash among conservatives seeking to clamp down on social programs.Without a bank account or access to bank loans, many Black Americans turn to payday loans or cash-advance loans, which carry onerous terms of repayment and are widely seen as predatory. But the investments of 2020 could significantly increase the number of Black Americans in the banking system, multiple bank CEOs said.OneUnited Bank's chief operating officer, Teri Williams, said she's inspired by the investments but that she worried it was a "moment not a movement."Jeffery SalterTeri Williams, the chief operating officer and president of OneUnited Bank, a Black-led, Black-serving bank, received an investment from Citi. Though she would not disclose the terms or amount, she said the investment had allowed the bank to reach many new customers and provide new products. The bank recently rolled out a program for same-day small loans of up to $1,000 that don't require a credit check and have an annual percentage rate of 47%, which is significantly lower than a typical payday loan, which has an APR of more than 300%. "We'd like to wipe payday loans off the map," she said. "This loan is an example of the types of products and services that our community needs. And it's one that a lot of banks don't offer."Williams added that the bank's lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs "increased dramatically" from 2020 to 2021. OneUnited was also able to invest in a new phone-technology system, allowing customers to obtain answers or get to a live agent more quickly."Our abandonment rate, the rate at which people hang up before reaching someone, went from 15% down to 3%, with it sometimes being as low as 1%," Williams said. "It's allowed us to better service our customers and retain our customers." Detroit's First Independence Bank received investments from JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. Kenneth Kelly, the chair of First Independence, said the effect had been that his and other Black-owned banks were now able to move past "survival mode." First Independence Bank CEO Kenneth Kelly, right, said the bank had been able to grow because of investments from top banks.CRWN Media"For every dollar of equity invested, it allows our banks to hopefully lend up to nine times that," he said. "These investments are certainly off to a very good start that will allow our banks to really begin to grow in a way that they can materially have an impact in all of the communities that we're serving." Kelly said there'd been a "significant" increase in terms of the mortgages and loans they'd been able to give to customers. Southern Bancorp, an Arkansas bank, received an equity investment from JPMorgan. CEO Darrin Williams said that because of the investment, the bank was able to acquire a small community bank, thus increasing its customer base and number of branches. It's also on track to acquire another small bank. Southern Bancorp is now making more loans, particularly those of $10,000 or less, which are helping people purchase cars, start businesses, and fix up their homes, he said. In 2020, the bank made about 7,200 loans; in 2021, the number rose to more than 8,000 loans."It's fueling growth and innovation," Williams said. The investments are a work in progress Wall Streets investments have enabled Black-owned and Black-serving banks to increase their products and lending.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBy the end of last year, JPMorgan had allocated more than $18 billion of its $30 billion racial-equity goal. As part of that, the bank funded $13 billion in loans to help create and preserve 100,000 affordable housing units. It opened or spruced up more than 300 branches with community centers providing free education and resources for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. It took equity stakes totaling more than $100 million in 15 Black-owned or Black-serving banks and credit unions, and spent an additional $155 million with 140 Black and Hispanic suppliers. This is in addition to the $2 billion it spends with them annually. "Our goal is to use this playbook and share it with other institutions," Carolina Jannicelli, the head of community impact at JPMorgan, said. "We are very interested in scaling this impact beyond just JPMorgan Chase." Bank of America has deployed over $450 million, or just under half its $1.25 billion five-year commitment. Specifically, the bank invested $43 million total in 22 Black-owned or Black-serving banks and about $300 million in about 100 equity funds that provide capital to minority entrepreneurs and small-business owners. In February 2021, Bank of America expanded its community-homeownership commitment to $15 billion. The program, made up of grants to help with down payments, is directed at helping low- and moderate-income people purchase their first home. According to an April report, Citi has invested $1 billion of its $1.1 billion goal, including $44 million in 11 minority depository institutions and community development financial institutions and $200 million to companies founded by women and/or racially or ethnically diverse founders. It also spent over $1.2 billion with diverse suppliers in 2021 and closed $16.5 million in affordable-housing loans with minority-owned banks for a total of over $36 million. "I'm most proud, though, of the work we've done internally to diversify our teams and embed racial equity across our business practices and policies so that it becomes institutionalized at the firm — this is one of our key measures of success and critical to the longevity of these efforts," Brandee McHale, the head of community investing and development at Citi, said. In May 2021, Wells Fargo announced it fulfilled its March 2020 promise, made before Floyd's murder, to commit $50 million to 13 Black-owned banks. In May of last year, the bank announced it would invest $20 million over five years to support Black entrepreneurs. And in February, the bank committed an additional $20 million to diverse-led small-business owners in Los Angeles. But in March this year, Wells Fargo came under scrutiny after a Bloomberg report said it approved just 47% of its Black mortgage applicants compared with 72% of its white applicants in 2020. Kleber Santos, Wells Fargo's head of diversity and inclusion, gave context to the statistic, saying the bank had to adhere to guidelines prescribed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He added that the bank was committed to advancing diverse homeownership. "We're focused on answering the question: How can we create enduring relationships here?" Santos said.Here's the breakdown so far: JPMorgan has allocated more than $18 billion of its $30 billion racial-equity goal, according to the bank. Citi has invested $1 billion of its $1.1 billion goal, according to an April report.Bank of America has deployed over $450 million, or just under half of its $1.25 billion five-year commitment, according to the bank.Wells Fargo fulfilled its March 2020 promise to commit $50 million to 13 Black-owned banks and is working on other commitments.  The future CEOs of banks serving Black communities said Wall Street needed to continue investing capital and time to reduce inequity in America.Chandan Khanna/Getty ImagesThe $32 billion that America's largest banks committed after Floyd's murder has the potential to reshape the country, as long as it's a starting point, multiple CEOs of Black-owned and Black-serving banks said."We didn't get here overnight," Darrin Williams, Southern Bancorp's CEO, said. "And we won't resolve these challenges overnight, either." Indeed, there is a long way to go. In a 2021 Pew Research Center survey of Black adults, less than half of respondents said they had an emergency fund to weather three months of hardship, and some reported taking multiple jobs to make ends meet. Black Americans, who were among those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, are also more likely to experience unemployment than white Americans.  Compounding this is the fact that Black Americans are more likely to have their homes undervalued in appraisals and are more likely to be denied mortgages than white Americans. For example, Black Americans were over twice as likely as white Americans to be denied home-purchase loans in 2019, and Black borrowers who did get those loans were charged higher rates, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency. "What's being done now is the right amount of response, but it really does have to be long-lasting. It can't just be short term," OneUnited Bank's Teri Williams said.Strengthening banks that serve Black Americans is just one part of the equation to solving the racial wealth gap, Valerie Wilson of Economic Policy Institute, an independent think tank, said. The other parts include raising pay, especially in low-wage sectors, improving diversity within the banking system to better serve nonwhite customers, and continuing to support Black-owned businesses as well as historically Black colleges and universities, Wilson and multiple Black bank CEOs said.  Nicole Lee Ndumele, a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, a policy institute focused on the economy, agreed, saying "sustained effort" was needed from both the private sector and the public sector.Despite inflation and fears of an approaching recession, Jannicelli, the JPMorgan exec, said the Wall Street giant was prepared to sustain long-term efforts to improve the lives of Black Americans."We ultimately want to drive change and see a reduction of the racial wealth gap," Jannicelli said. "We're using all of our resources: philanthropic, business, and human. That is our commitment well beyond the five-year time period." For Mjartan, the CEO of Optus Bank, 2020 has been influential for his bank and the Black communities he serves.  "I do mean transformational," he said. "I'm not just being hyperbolic here." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 24th, 2022

Futures Rise Ahead Of Biggest Fed Rate Hike Since The Dot Com Bubble Burst

Futures Rise Ahead Of Biggest Fed Rate Hike Since The Dot Com Bubble Burst May the 4th is here, and US futures are up slightly ahead of a key Federal Reserve meeting in which the Fed is widely expected to raise rates by 50bps, the biggest hike since the dot com bubble burst in May 2000, and to release plans for balance-sheet normalization; Chair Powell’s post-meeting press conference will provide guidance on potential for bigger rate hikes at subsequent meetings and policy makers’ assessment of the neutral rate. As DB's Jim Reid puts it, "if you're under 43, did 3 years at university and then joined financial markets then you won't have worked in an era of 50bps Fed rate hikes. This will very likely change tonight as the Fed are a near certainty to raise rates by 50bps. In fact it'll be the first time the Fed have hiked at consecutive meetings since 2006. So we enter a new era that won't be familiar to many." In any case, investors have already priced in the Fed’s largest hike since 2000 - in fact, OIS contracts currently price in around 160bp of additional hikes over the next three policy meetings -  and they will scrutinize Chair Jerome Powell’s speech for clues on the pace of future rate increases and balance-sheet reduction. Some traders are betting on an even larger 75 basis-point hike in June. As such, even though global financial conditions are already the tightest they have ever been (according to Goldman), S&P and Nasdaq futures are both up 0.5%, while 10-year yields drifts lower, having stalled again near 3% at the European open. "Powell’s words about how aggressively the Fed will tame inflation are likely to shape market sentiment for the next couple of weeks at least," said technical analyst Pierre Veyret at ActivTrades in London. Lyft tumbled 26% in premarket trading after the ride-hailing company’s second-quarter outlook disappointed Wall Street. Global bonds have slumped under a wave of monetary tightening, with German 10-year yields around 1% and the U.K.’s near 2%, while US 10Y yields are circling 3%. Adding to the tightening outlook, European Central Bank Executive Board Member Isabel Schnabel said it’s time for policy makers to take action to tame inflation, and that an interest-rate hike might come as early as July. Meanwhile, Iceland’s central bank delivered its biggest hike since the 2008 financial crisis and India’s raised its key interest rate in a surprise move Wednesday. “There is a difficult set up in general for risk assets” as valuations remain stretched despite a drop in equities, Kathryn Koch, chief investment officer for public markets equity at Goldman Sachs & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. She added that “some people think stagflation is a real risk.” In premarket trading, Didi Global was 6% lower and Chinese technology shares slumped as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the ride-hailing giant’s chaotic 2021 debut in New York.  Advanced Micro Devices jumped 5.7% in premarket trading after the chipmaker gave a strong sales forecast for the current quarter. Starbucks gained 6.6% after the coffee chain reported higher-than-expected U.S. sales, outweighing the negative impact of high inflation and Chinese lockdowns. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Lyft (LYFT) shares slump 27% premarket after the ride-hailing company’s second-quarter outlook disappointed Wall Street, highlighting investors’ willingness to dump growth stocks at the first hint of trouble Uber (UBER) slipped as Lyft’s results hit the more diversified peer. Uber said it rescheduled the release of its 1Q financial results and its quarterly conference to Wednesday morning from the afternoon, after rival Lyft gave a weaker-than-expected outlook Airbnb (ABNB) jumps 4.5% premarket after its second-quarter revenue forecast beat estimates, with the company seeing “substantial demand” after more than two years of Covid-19 restrictions Livent (LHTM) shares surge 23% premarket, with KeyBanc highlighting an increase in the lithium product maker’s 2022 Ebitda guidance Match Group (MTCH) slips 6.7% premarket as analysts say the miss in the dating-app company’s guidance takes some of the shine off its revenue beat Didi Global (DIDI) led a drop in U.S.-listed Chinese internet stocks after news of an SEC investigation into the ride-hailing company’s 2021 debut in New York added to investor concerns around the sector Skyworks Solutions (SKWS) shares drop 2.5% premarket after the semiconductor device company gave a forecast that was below the average analyst estimate Herbalife (HLF) sinks 17% premarket after slashing its full-year forecast and setting second-quarter adjusted earnings per share outlook below the average analyst estimate Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) rises as much as 7.5% in premarket trading, with analysts positive on the demand the chipmaker is seeing from data centers Akamai (AKAM) falls as much as 14% after analysts noted that a slowdown in internet traffic and the loss of revenue due to the war in Ukraine hit the company’s first-quarter results and full-year guidance JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in an interview Wednesday that the Fed should have moved quicker to raise rates as inflation hits the world economy. He said there was a 33% chance of the Federal Reserve’s actions leading to a soft landing for the U.S. economy and a third chance of a mild recession. “The Fed remains very focused on bringing inflation down, however, any further hawkish pivots will likely be tempered to some extent by the desire to achieve a soft landing,” Blerina Uruci, U.S. economist at T. Rowe Price Group Inc., wrote in a note. In Europe, declines for retailers and most other industry groups outweighed gains for energy, media and travel and leisure companies, pulling the Stoxx 600 Europe Index down 0.6%. The DAX outperforms, dropping 0.4%, Stoxx 600 lags, dropping 0.5%. Retailers, financial services and construction are the worst performing sectors. Here are the biggest European movers: Flutter Entertainment rises more than 6.9% its 1Q update matched broker expectations. Jefferies says a strong U.S. performance fuels confidence that a profitability “tipping point” is nearing. Kindred shares advance after its second-biggest shareholder, Corvex Management LP, said it believes Kindred’s board should evaluate strategic alternatives including a sale or merger. Fresenius SE shares rise as much as 4.2% on beating 1Q expectations. The beat was driven by the Kabi pharmaceutical division, which benefited from a positive FX impact, according to Jefferies. Siemens Healthineers rises after the German health care firm upgraded its earnings guidance. The beat was driven by a “strong performance” in its diagnostics division, Jefferies says. Stillfront shares rise as much as 10% after the Swedish video gaming group presented its latest earnings. Handelsbanken says the report provides good news, justifying some relief in the shares. Yara and K+S climb after the EU’s proposal to sanction the largest Belarus potash companies. Yara may see higher input prices but its market share may rise in wake of a ban, analysts note. Skanska falls as much as 12% after the construction group presented its latest earnings. The report was overall in-line, but construction margins were a weakness, Kepler Cheuvreux says. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks declined for a third straight day, with the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy decision and a U.S. regulatory probe into Didi Global weighing on sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell by as much as 0.5%, with Chinese internet giants Tencent and Alibaba the biggest drags. The sector declined on news that the U.S. regulators are investigating Didi’s 2021 trading debut in New York. India’s stock measures fell the most in the region as the domestic central bank hiked a key policy rate in an unscheduled decision. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Vietnam also fell as some markets returned from holidays, while Japan and China remained closed. All eyes are now on the Fed’s interest-rate decision on Wednesday, with policy makers expected to hike by 50 basis points, the biggest increase since 2000.   “We have two forces of gravity working on Asian equities -the rising interest rates and the lockdowns and weaker growth in China,” Herald van der Linde, head of Asia Pacific equity strategy at HSBC, told Bloomberg Television. The MSCI Asia gauge has dropped more than 13% this year as rising borrowing costs, China’s Covid-19 lockdowns and rising inflation hurt prospects for corporate profits. Shanghai’s exit from a five-week lockdown that has snarled global supply chains is being delayed by infections persistently appearing in the community. “The most important decision Asian equity investors have to make throughout this year may be duration, how to position themselves if inflation is going to peak,” van der Linde added. In rates, treasuries advanced, outperforming bunds and rising with stock futures, although price action remains subdued ahead of 2pm ET Fed policy decision. Intermediate sectors lead the advance, with yields richer by ~2bp in 5- to 10-year sectors, before Treasury’s quarterly refunding announcement at 8:30am. Yields little changed across 2-year sector, flattening 2s10s by ~1.5bp; 10-year at ~2.96% outperforms bunds and gilts by ~3.5bp. Dollar issuance slate empty so far; two borrowers priced $3.7b Tuesday taking weekly total past $8b as new-issue activity remains light; at least two borrowers stood down from announcing deals. Bund and gilt curves bear flatten. Euribor futures drop 7-8 ticks in red and green packs following comments from ECB’s Schnabel late Tuesday. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the dollar was steady to slightly weaker against most of its Group- of-10 peers. Treasuries were steady, with the 10-year yield nudging 3%. The euro hovered around $1.0520 and European bonds fell. The pound rose past the key $1.25 level and gilts fell in line with euro-area peers, as traders braced for the FOMC rate decision later Wednesday and eyed Thursday’s Bank of England meeting. Data from the British Retail Consortium showed shop price inflation accelerated to 2.7% from a year ago in April, the most since 2011. Australia’s dollar advanced against all its Group-of-10 peers and the nation’s sovereign bonds extended losses as retail sales rising to a record high boosted bets for central bank tightening. Retail sales surged 1.6% in March to A$33.6b, more than triple economists’ forecast for a 0.5% increase. Bitcoin is bid this morning, in contrast to the recent contained sessions, posting upside in excess of 3.0% on the session; albeit, yet to mount a test of the USD 40k mark. In commodities, oil rallies after the European Union proposed to ban Russian crude oil over the next six months; however, sources indicate that Hungary and Slovakia will receive an extend phase-our period in order to appease their known opposition. WTI drifts 3.2% higher with gains capped near $105 so far. Spot gold steady at $1,868/Oz. Most base metals trade in the green Looking at the day ahead, the main highlight will be the aforementioned Fed decision, along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. On the data side, we’ll also get the final services and composite PMIs from around the world, UK mortgage approvals and Euro Area retail sales for March, and US data for the March trade balance, the ISM services index for April, and the ADP’s report of private payrolls for April. Finally, earnings releases include CVS Health, Booking Holdings, Regeneron, Uber, Marriott International and Moderna. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,180.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.4% to 444.21 MXAP down 0.3% to 167.37 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 553.87 Nikkei down 0.1% to 26,818.53 Topix little changed at 1,898.35 Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 20,869.52 Shanghai Composite up 2.4% to 3,047.06 Sensex down 1.2% to 56,318.69 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,304.68 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,677.57 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.00% Euro little changed at $1.0527 Brent Futures up 3.6% to $108.77/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,870.11 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 103.40 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A lot is riding on how Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell parries a question he’ll surely be asked after Wednesday’s monetary policy decision: is a 75-basis-point rate hike in the cards at some stage? The negative-yielding bond is nearing extinction: there’s only 100 left in the world. That’s down from over 4,500 such securities last year in the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Negative Yielding Debt index, following a surge in yields as investors bet on imminent interest-rate hikes. The EU plans to ban Russian crude oil over the next six months and refined fuels by the end of the year as part of a sixth round of sanctions to increase pressure on Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine The ECB should consider raising interest rates as soon as July as inflation accelerates, ERR reported, citing Governing Council member Madis Muller North Korea launched what appeared to be a medium-range ballistic missile Wednesday, as Kim Jong Un ramps up his nuclear program ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s first visit to Seoul Iceland’s central bank delivered its biggest hike since the 2008 financial crisis to try to curb inflation and rein in Europe’s fastest house-price rally. The Monetary Policy Committee in Reykjavik lifted the seven-day term deposit rate by 100 basis points to 3.75%, accelerating tightening with its largest move yet since the pandemic. The increase was within the range of outcomes indicated by recent surveys of market participants A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were cautious amid holiday closures and as markets braced for the incoming FOMC. ASX 200 was rangebound as strength in financials was offset by tech and consumer sector losses. Hang Seng underperformed amid a tech rout and after a wider than expected contraction in Hong Kong’s advanced Q1 GDP, while China’s COVID-19 woes persisted with Beijing tightening its restrictions. Top Asian News Hong Kong Plots Different Covid Path to Xi’s Zero Tolerance Beijing Shuts Metro Stations and Suspends Bus Routes Didi Leads Slump in U.S.-Listed Chinese Shares Amid SEC Probe Record India IPO Opens to Retail Amid Fickle Markets: ECM Watch European bourses, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%, are modestly softer after another subdued but limited APAC handover amid ongoing regional closures. US futures remain in tight pre-FOMC ranges, with participants also awaiting ISM Services and ADP. In Europe, sectors are mostly lower with the exception. US President Biden's administration is reportedly moving towards the imposition of human-rights related sanctions on Hikvision, according to FT sources; final decision has not been taken. Top European News Hungary Voices Objection to EU Sanctions Plan on Russian Oil U.K. Mortgage Approvals Fall to 70.7k in March Vs. Est. 70k European Energy Prices Jump as EU Proposes Banning Russian Oil Boohoo Plunges as Online Clothing Retailer’s Growth Wilts FX DXY anchored around 103.500 awaiting FOMC and Fed chair Powell for further guidance. Aussie gets retail therapy and hawkish RBA rate calls to consolidate gains made in wake of 25 bp hike; AUD/USD pivots 0.7100 and AUD/NZD 1.1050. Kiwi elevated following NZ labour data showing record low unemployment and strength in wages, NZD/USD tightens grip of 0.6400 handle and closer to half round number above. Loonie on a firmer footing ahead of Canadian trade as oil prices bounce, USD/CAD towards base of a broad 1.2850-00 range. Indian Rupee rallies after RBI lifts benchmark rate and reserve ratio at off-cycle policy meeting, former up 40 bp to 4.40% and latter +50 bp to 4.50%. Euro, Yen and Franc remain in close proximity of round and psychological numbers, circa 1.0500, 130.00 and 0.9800 respectively. RBI raises its key repo rate by 40bps to 4.4% in an off-cycle meeting; Also raises the cash reserve ratio by 50bps to 4.5%. Will retain accommodative policy stands but will remain focused on the withdrawal of accommodation. Fixed Income Bonds attempt to nurse some losses before FOMC and a busy agenda in the run up, including ADP, Quarterly Refunding details and the services ISM. Bunds back from a 152.44 low to 153.00+, Gilts edging towards 118.00 from 117.55 and 10 year T-note fractionally above par within a 118-17+/06 range. German Green issuance well received as cover climbs from prior sale and retention dips, albeit with the average yield sharply higher. Commodities WTI and Brent are bolstered amid the EU unveiling the sixth round of Russian sanctions, seeing a complete import ban on all Russian oil, benchmarks firmer by circa. USD 3.5/bbl However, sources indicate that Hungary and Slovakia will receive an extend phase-our period in order to appease their known opposition. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -3.5mln (exp. -0.8mln), Gasoline -4.5mln (exp. -0.6mln), Distillate -4.5mln (exp. -1.3mln), Cushing +1.0mln. India is looking for Russian oil at under USD 70/bbl on a delivered basis in order to compensate for additional components incl. securing financing, via Bloomberg sources; adding, that India has purchased over 40mln/bbl of Russian crude since late-Feb. OPEC+ sees the 2022 surplus at 1.9mln, +600k BPD from the prior forecasts, according to the JTC report. Several OPEC+ officials expected the current oil pact to continue, according to Argus Media. US Event Calendar 07:00: April MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -8.3% 08:15: April ADP Employment Change, est. 382,000, prior 455,000 08:30: March Trade Balance, est. -$107.1b, prior -$89.2b 09:45: April S&P Global US Services PMI, est. 54.7, prior 54.7 09:45: April S&P Global US Composite PMI, est. 55.1, prior 55.1 10:00: April ISM Services Index, est. 58.5, prior 58.3 14:00: May Interest on Reserve Balances R, est. 0.90%, prior 0.40% 14:00: May FOMC Rate Decision; est. 0.75%, prior 0.25% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I feel like I aged 20 years after the first half of the Champions League semi-final last night. Luckily the second half was less stressful and Liverpool are through to the final. I don't think I got those 20 years back though. Talking of age, if you're under 43, did 3 years at university and then joined financial markets then you won't have worked in an era of 50bps Fed rate hikes. This will very likely change tonight as the Fed are a near certainty to raise rates by 50bps. In fact it'll be the first time the Fed have hiked at consecutive meetings since 2006. So we enter a new era that won't be familiar to many. In terms of what to expect later, our US economists are also calling for a 50bps hike in their preview (link here), which follows the comment from Chair Powell before the blackout period that “50 basis points will be on the table” at this meeting. Looking forward, they further see Powell affirming market pricing that further 50bp hikes are ahead, and our US economists believe this will be the first of 3 consecutive 50bp moves, which will eventually take the Fed funds to a peak of 3.6% in mid-2023. We’re also expecting an announcement that balance sheet rundown will begin in June, with terminal cap sizes of $60bn for Treasuries and $35bn for MBS, with both to be phased in over 3 months. See Tim’s preview on QT (link here) for more info on that as well. While the Fed might have already begun their hiking cycle 7 weeks ago now, the sense that they’re behind the curve has only grown over that time. For example, the latest inflation data from March showed CPI hitting a 40-year high of +8.5%, meaning that the Fed Funds rate was beneath -8% in real terms that month, which is lower than at any point during the 1970s. Meanwhile the labour market has continued to tighten as well, with unemployment at a post-pandemic low of 3.6% in March, and data out yesterday showed that the number of job openings hit a record high of 11.55m (vs. 11.2m expected) as well. That means the number of vacancies per unemployed worker stood at a record high of 1.94 in March, which speaks to the labour shortages present across numerous sectors at the minute. Ahead of the decision later on, the S&P 500 surrendered an intraday gain of more than +1% to finish the day +0.48% higher, in another New York afternoon turnaround. Energy (+2.87%) and financials (+1.26%) did most of the work keeping the index afloat after dipping its toes in the red late in the day, while only two sectors ultimately finished lower, staples (-0.24%) and discretionary (-0.29%). A sizable 35 S&P 500 companies reported earnings before the close, but there weren’t any standout results to drive an index-wide response. Indeed, the mega-cap FANG+ index only slightly underperformed the broader index at +0.11%. In Europe the STOXX 600 was up +0.53%, closing before the New York reversal. In line with the turnaround, overall volatility remained elevated, with the VIX index (-3.09pts) closing just below the 30 mark. Ahead of today’s FOMC decision US Treasuries continued their recent back-and-forth price action. The 10yr yield ended ever so slightly lower at -0.1bps. That masks continued rates volatility, however, with the 10yr as much as -8bps lower intraday after having moved above 3% in the previous session for the first time since 2018. The back-and-forth was matched by real yields, as 10yr real yields were as many as -11bps lower before closing down just -0.1bps, comfortably in positive territory for only the second day since March 2020 at 0.14%. The curve flattened as short-end rates moved higher, with 2yr yields gaining +5.1bps, after most tenors were lower earlier in the session. In Europe, yields on 10yr bunds moved above 1% in trading for the first time since 2015 shortly after the open. Yields did then swing lower, but subsequently recovered to be down just -0.2bps at 0.961%. However, bunds were one of the stronger-performing European sovereigns yesterday, and the spread of both Italian (+2.2bps) and Spanish (+1.1bps) 10yr yields over bunds widened to fresh post-Covid highs in both cases, at 191bps and 106bps respectively. Asian equity markets are mixed in a holiday thinned session ahead of the Fed’s key rate decision later. The Hang Seng (-0.90%) is trading in negative territory as a decline in Chinese listed tech stocks is weighing on sentiment. Elsewhere, the Kospi (-0.15%) and S&P/ASX 200 (-0.08%) are fractionally lower. Meanwhile, markets in Japan and mainland China are closed today for holidays. Oil prices are slightly higher amid rising prospects of an EU embargo of Russian crude oil. As I type, Brent and WTI futures are c.+1% up to trade at $106.09/bbl and $103.53/bbl respectively. Early morning data showed that Australia’s retail sales rose for the third consecutive month, advancing +1.6% m/m in March and going past market estimates for a + 0.5% gain. It followed a +1.8% rise in February. Looking at yesterday’s other data releases, US factory orders grew by a stronger-than-expected +2.2% in March (vs. +1.2% expected). And over in Europe, German unemployment fell be -13k in April (vs. -15k expected), whilst the Euro Area unemployment rate in March fell to 6.8%, which is the lowest since the single currency’s formation. Finally, Euro Area PPI in March soared to 36.8% (vs. 36.3% expected), which is also a record since the single currency’s formation. To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Fed decision, along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. On the data side, we’ll also get the final services and composite PMIs from around the world, UK mortgage approvals and Euro Area retail sales for March, and US data for the March trade balance, the ISM services index for April, and the ADP’s report of private payrolls for April. Finally, earnings releases include CVS Health, Booking Holdings, Regeneron, Uber, Marriott International and Moderna. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/04/2022 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 4th, 2022

Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara

     Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Luana Lopes Lara, Kalshi, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This… Read More The post Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara appeared first on The Big Picture.      Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Luana Lopes Lara, Kalshi, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest, Luana Lopes Lara is a co-founder of Kalshi. They are a derivatives trading marketplace, where you can go and trade event contracts on such disparate occurrences such as COVID-19, economic outcomes, interest rates, Federal Reserve, politics, climate and weather, culture, the Oscars, the Grammys, science and technology, all sorts of really fascinating places. They are the only such marketplace that has been approved for the sort of events trading by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the CFTC, which makes them both fascinating and — and unique. There’s nothing else like them. This provides a way for individuals and institutions to hedge all sorts of really interesting events. And as opposed to having think about, well, if this happens, what’s the ramification in gold, or oil, or inflation, or interest rates, you can actually bet on that exact event and hedge your business or your portfolio. It’s really quite fascinating. I thought this was really interesting conversation, and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Kalshi Co-Founder, Luana Lopes Lara. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My special guest this week is Luana Lopes Lara. She is the co-founder of Kalshi, one of the only derivative trading marketplaces that allows the trading of event contracts in order to hedge against major business and political events. Kalshi is the only marketplace to receive approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, who regulates the trillion-dollar derivatives industry. Luana Lopes Lara, welcome to Bloomberg. LARA: Thank you so much. I’m very happy to be here. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s start just with that unusual intro, you’re the only CFTC-approved way to trade on the outcome of events. Explain that a little bit. LARA: Right, exactly. Kalshi is a financial exchange that allows people to trade on the outcome of a lot of different events. So things from, will inflation keep going as high as it is right now, will the Fed raise rates to like, well, 2020 with the hottest year on record? And what really sets us apart is that we’re the only — the first and only ones regulated by the CFTC to do this in the United States. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s talk about that because I love the story about you guys. You and your co-founder, you start calling attorneys, and one day, you end up calling like 60 or 70 lawyers in a single day. And pretty much every one of them said, “People have been trying to do this since the 1980s. It’s never been approved. Just forget about it, it’s not happening.” Tell us about that. LARA: Right. So we really wanted to build Kalshi the right way. So to view the exchange that is sustainable and — and can be a pillar of the financial world, we wanted to make this really big, get the right partners on board, and really try to build something that’s going to outlast CME. You know, like, CME is around there for like 150 years. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: And the way to do that, for us, was to build a proper financial exchange, to build this right. And we knew that getting regulated was the first step and like figuring out how to do it right. But obviously, me and my co-founder were both computer scientists, we knew nothing about regulation. So we sat down and put on a spreadsheet the names and — and emails of – of 65 different lawyers that we thought maybe could be related to this, and we called one by one. I think we split who was going to call who. And all of them were just like, “That’s not going to happen. The CFTC won’t allow this. It has already — they already said no to this in the past.” But because of a friend of a friend of a friend, we ended up getting to Jeff Bandman, who works with us till today. He’s an ex-official of the CFTC, and he really understood the Commission and – and helped us — started — helping us start navigating the entire situation. And yeah, it was two years of — of — of that entire engagement and iteration of the CFTC with all their core principles and concerns that they had, to address them and — and really ended up getting regulated in November 2020. RITHOLTZ: So it sounds like it wasn’t so much that the CFTC was against the idea of event contracts in order to hedge on these circumstances. They just didn’t like what was presented them previously, over the previous 40 years, or — or did something change that they suddenly said, “Oh, we used to think this was a bad idea. Now, we think it’s a good idea.” LARA: I think it was — it’s more of the first. I think it was about presenting to them why we thought event contracts were so important, and how they could really be used for hedging. And every day hedging like — like retail, and Americans every day can hedge things like inflation, like rates, risks that we see and read about like in the news or on TV every day. And it was really like presenting to them and getting them to comfort with how these markets work, how they weren’t easy to manipulate, how the rules could — could operate. So really getting them to comfort with how the exchange, the markets, and all of our contracts could — could operate, and that’s what took that long. It wasn’t — in my opinion, it was more like explaining what we wanted to do. They were fantastic from the beginning to really listening and working with us. It wasn’t that they were just like, “No, we’re never going to do this.” RITHOLTZ: I — I think it’s interesting that it took people from outside of the world of finance to bring an idea into finance from a technology perspective and say, “Whatever the logistical hurdles we have to meet in order to receive regulatory approval,” that wasn’t like an ideological problem. To you, it was a, “Well, this is a logistical problem that we have to solve. And once we solve it, we can get this going.” So how long did the back and forth with the CFTC take to get approval? LARA: Yeah. No, it was two years or two years and a half. RITHOLTZ: Wow. LARA: And yeah, we used to say it’s like we were climbing a very high mountain, and then as we started climbing more, we would see it’s actually twice as high and it would keep – and it would keep multiplying. Because the thing is we would go to them and — and they would have concerns and issues, so we would go back and solve the issues. A lot of it, as you mentioned, was related to technology. We did analysis on similar markets on what we could do, and viewed the surveillance systems and all of those things, and going back to them, and then they were like, “Okay, that’s fine.” But we have all these other issues now, and then we would go back and — and figure them out and — and — and do that one by one. It was like walking in the desert a little bit. We didn’t know where — where the end was. But it ended up working out. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s talk a little bit about your platform. This is unlike futures and it’s unlike derivatives, and that when you are purchasing a contract, you are putting up the full dollar amount. It’s not like where you’re putting up 10 cents on the dollar, or one cent on the dollar. If you’re making a $1,000 bet, you are posting a $1,000. How much did that factor influenced the CFTC that this wasn’t just going to be reckless speculation and — and people fooling around, this was really hedging? LARA: Right. So we are fully cash collateralized. So every — as you said, every dollar that you can lose or every dollar that you — you trade, you have to have it with us before. And I think this really helps with the safety of the platform and it really started from us. We really want to start in a way that is very safe for everyone, and we can really understand the system before going like too far ahead. And we really see this as very important. So all the funds are fully cash collateralized. But obviously from — from the CFTC perspective, it adds to their comfort to the fact that there can’t be like leverage or margin or more risk added to the system, that all the money is collateralized, and the retail is protected because of that. RITHOLTZ: So equities, you can put up half the – the dollar amount, 2 to 1, futures or something like 10 to 1. Options, if you go out of — out of the money and far enough into the future, it’s — it’s a 100 to 1. Is there ever a plan to move away from the 1 to 1, dollar for dollar, maybe not option 100 to 1? But certainly, margin and equity market seems to be pretty reasonable at 2 to 1. LARA: At the moment, we’re really focused on retail and fully cash collateralization — fully cash — being fully cash collateralized. But at — in the future, I think our goal is to be like the New York Stock Exchange for events. So having — being really the — the central place of the ecosystem, and having like different brokers and institutions, hedge funds, market makers plugged into us, the exchange. At that point, it would make sense to start considering something like that. But right now, we’re completely focused on retail and having it fully cash collateralized as well. RITHOLTZ: Right. So once — once it becomes a big institutional exchange, then — then you can explore that. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: So since it’s retail, let’s talk a little bit about retail. Gamification is a real big issue. We’ve seen Robinhood do this. We’ve seen a number of other sports gambling platforms doing this. What are your thoughts about gamification when it comes to events trading? LARA: Yeah. I think the gamification question is a very interesting one, because I think it’s less about the asset class and more about the actual platform and the mechanics. So for example, you can trade equities on Robinhood, or Charles Schwab. The conversation about gamification is a lot more on Robinhood than on Charles Schwab, even though the underlying like is the same, you’re trading equities. So we really believe event contracts are — have a very big economic purpose and can be used for hedging and all of those things that we — we talked about. And the gamification would come only in the platform. But we’re very, very focused on building a platform that’s safe, easy to understand and to use, but not — not gamified. RITHOLTZ: So let’s go over some of the type of events that you guys trade. You could — you can make bets on COVID-19 and vaccination, on economics, inflation, mortgage rates, politics, climate and weather, world culture, science and technology. Let — let’s — let’s take some examples from this. I’d love the idea, will the 30-year fixed rate mortgage be above 3.9% on April 15? In other words, if I’m buying a house and closing on it, and concerned that rates might rise, I could take a trade against that and hedge that position. And I don’t have to be a billion-dollar hedge funds. I could just be someone buying a house. LARA: Exactly. I think all of our contracts have economics purpose, and they can really be used for hedging. For example, all of our COVID markets, during the Omicron wave, you could really see like even before the news started reporting it, the amount that it was taking up of. And then we’ve talked to the users, and they are, “Oh, wow, like I — I might not be able to go back to school. I want to hedge like that — that situation and all of that.” So a lot of the contracts I’m very interested in, for example, is the half point rate hike for — for March. I think it’s — it’s a market that went up a lot during, I think, one of the — there was some news that that it was going to go up … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … by that. And then it went down again. And — and other ones are GDP and inflation, really just getting into the economic situation we have nowadays. RITHOLTZ: Number of Americans — so these are all “yes or no” contracts that — that’s … LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: … pretty clearly determined. It’s black and white. Will 254 million Americans be vaccinated by May 1st? But I saw a contract, will America achieve herd immunity by September 1st? Who is the determiner of whether or not herd immunity — how do you define those terms? LARA: Yeah, that’s a great question. All of our markets are like legal binding documents. So they’re like 40 pages determining what the real rules are, to really make sure that there’s no room for indeterminacy or anything of the sort. So this market, specifically, I’m not exactly sure. I think it’s definitely the CDC or some number around there. But if you – like, all of our rules, if you go to our rulebook, it has very specifically defining where — which number we’re using, how we’re using, which target, if it has to be above or below a certain number, and it ends up being very determined. But for COVID markets, we’re using CDC numbers for — for some of our sources. RITHOLTZ: So I mentioned world culture, that’s kind of interesting. Is there a lot of activity in who’s going to win Best Picture or who’s going to be the Best Actress at the Oscars? How — is that a seasonal thing when — each year or how does that trade? LARA: Yeah. Launching the Oscar markets were – it was very important for us because they were the very – very first regulated derivatives, I guess, in the entertainment industry and Academy Awards. We have traded more than 150,000 contracts … Ryan Wyrtzen: Really? LARA: … in the Oscars so far. RITHOLTZ: Wow. LARA: … and it’s only been a couple of weeks. And we really expect the — the trading there to — to be a lot higher, closer to — to the ceremony … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … or during the ceremony. But it’s interesting, a lot of people say that the Oscars are — are dead or irrelevant. But the movie industry is so big too nowadays, that there’s so much — so many people that are so impacted by the results of these awards, and things of that sort. And yeah, on the seasonality point, I think that the interesting thing about the entertainment industry is that you have awards, for example, like the Oscars or the Grammys, and we also have markets on. But you have weekly things, for example, album, sales numbers … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … Billboard charts, and things like that, that we offer markets on every week and have a lot of room for like modeling and alpha, and things of that sort. RITHOLTZ: So — so I know studios spend a lot of money on marketing and promoting, leading up to the Oscars. Because if a — let’s say a small independent film wins Best Oscar, it seems a huge — it gets a huge uptick in subsequent box office and — and other sales or streaming rights. I’m wondering if part of their marketing plan is going to include hedging on Best Oscar. They can not only spend, you know, a million dollars on promotion, they could buy a contract that offsets not winning Best Oscar. LARA: Yeah, that’s our goal, is to get all of them to come and really hedge all this risk that they have. RITHOLTZ: So — so where’s the volume today? Where are you seeing the most amount of activity? Is it — is it inflation and Fed activity? Is it GDP? What — where — where’s all the money flowing in on your platform? LARA: Right. It’s actually interesting, because when we launched, we really expected it to be category specific or concentrated in specific categories or economics, entertainment, transportation, technology. But it really is about what — what the news are. So what’s top of the New York Times? What’s in the newspaper the whole day? And what’s in the news? And right now, as you mentioned, the Fed March meeting is — is very — is a very — it’s a market with a lot of … RITHOLTZ: It’s live. It’s hot. LARA: Right. It’s very hot. Yeah, for sure. But for us, we’ve — we’ve seen this, like news-based activity lot, like the Omicron wave, as I told you. When the infrastructure bill was passing, there was a lot of activity over there; or when Jay Powell was going to get renominated, there was a lot of activity in that market. So it’s really about what’s in the news and what people see their risks associated with, and where they think there’s most room to make money. And right now, the Fed rates, people are really disagreeing on that. And there’s a lot of volume and volatility on that market. RITHOLTZ: So — so you guys didn’t exist when Brexit had come up. That was before your time. But you have been around with Russia and Ukraine, and I noticed there’s not a lot of activity there. Why not do a futures contract on will Russia — it’s obviously too late today. But in January or December, you could have done a “Will Russia invade Ukraine by February 1st, March 1st, April 1st?” LARA: Right. We avoid any contract that’s related to war, terrorism, assassination or — or violence of any kind. We don’t want to have those — those markets on our platform. But we do have markets that are adjacent to that. So for example, markets on the price of ruble or — or the price of oil, natural gas in the U.S. and Europe. So we have markets that are adjacent. We just don’t want to have markets directly related to war, terrorism, assassination, or those things. RITHOLTZ: Makes sense. You don’t want to incentivize anybody to misbehave. LARA: Right. Exactly. RITHOLTZ: In the past, I’ve heard futures described as a marriage between hedgers and speculators. So if you’re an airline, you want to hedge the price of oil. But someone got to be on the other side of that trade, so incomes speculators. Are you seeing that same sort of relationship amongst Kalshi clients? LARA: Yeah. I think Kalshi is one of the most pure forms of exactly this hedging and speculation match. I think one – a very simple example to understand this, if you think of rain in New York City, right? Like, you can have like an ice cream truck buying – an ice cream truck will be really — really hit if — if it rains for like a lot of days, because people will buy less ice cream. So they can buy a “yes” contract to really hedge that offset that they have. On the other side, there can be someone that is going to speculate, and seeing there’s a forecast for 20% rain in the next couple of days and they are willing to take the — the “no” side because they think that there’s only a 20% chance it’s going to rain and — and it seems like they can make money. So then you can really have a match of like people that actually need to have a contract for hedging, almost like insurance, and people who – who because of forecasting and probability and — and what they think the fair value is, is going to take the other side. And then at the settlement, for example, if it does rain, it ends up being that everyone is happy because the speculator makes money, because they were correct. No. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: The — the hedger is protected against the event. LARA: Right. Yes. Right. RITHOLTZ: And the speculator won the trade. LARA: Right. Exactly. And exactly, you — you got it totally right. RITHOLTZ: So — so let – that raises a really interesting question. Who are your clients? Are they hedge funds and institutions? Are they retail investors, or is it a whole spectrum of people? LARA: We really focus now on — on retail. And our — our biggest amount of users right now is the traditional option trader, like informed retail options traders. But the way that we see this — this growing is we want to keep growing within the retail trading and options trading community. And then our next step is getting brokerages on board so that you can now go and trade on event contracts through your interactive brokers or e-trade account. And then after that, building enough liquidity to start bringing more prop shops in and — and smaller firms and then hedge funds and — and then institutions, and maybe we can have maybe a Burger King hedging, I don’t know, price of plastic straws or something like that. RITHOLTZ: So — so the platform eventually becomes an exchange? LARA: Exactly, exactly. I think we — we see it as a buildup of liquidity from — from retail that’s like smaller amounts, but — but — but higher velocity to — to hire bigger and bigger institutions, all the way to become like a full-fledged financial exchange like the New York Stock Exchange or CME. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about how you guys, you and your co-founder, created Kalshi. You kind of were the opposite of Facebook. You know, Mark Zuckerberg famously said, “Move fast and — and break things.” Companies like you and Coinbase and BlockFi spent a lot of time getting approval from the regulators. Tell us a bit about why you took that approach as opposed to moving fast and breaking things. LARA: Yeah. I think a lot of times people are making the short-term trade-off for speed. And in finance, I think it’s different. You can – obviously, you go to market faster if you choose the unregulated route. But with finance, there’s been like a lot of historical examples of unregulated platforms getting meaningful volume and then being shut down by regulators, because they weren’t properly regulated and doing things right from the start. We really think that the opportunity really shrinks if — if you don’t take regulation into account, because then you can’t get real money in the platform. You can’t get real good partners, as we just talked about brokers, market makers, hedge funds onboard. Sometimes you can’t even offer products to U.S. customers. It really boxes into something small, very quickly. And that’s — for us to be the New York Stock Exchange for events, because that’s our goal, the only way to do that was to do it right from the start, going through the regulated path, and — and eating on the cost of the two years and a half waiting, but — but making sure that we’re set for success. RITHOLTZ: So your — your co-founder, Tarek Mansour, he was an equity derivatives intern at Goldman Sachs in 2016. The same year you were a quantitative trader at Citadel Securities. So you guys both had a pretty bright career path. Had you not decided to go out and launch this whole new platform? Tell us what motivated you to say, “Goldman, Citadel, that looks too easy. Let’s — let’s launch a — a new startup.” LARA: Well, that — that’s funny because actually most of our MIT time, we were both very focused on just getting finance jobs and never even thought about starting a company. But yeah, we were both very interested in math, financial history, finance from — from the very start of — of our school years and — and we worked with various financial firms. As you mentioned, Tarek worked at Goldman. I worked at Bridgewater, Five Rings Capital, which is a small prop shop, and then Citadel Securities. At those internships, we really saw the behavior that we say is the Kalshi behavior over and over again. It’s like firms making trading decisions based on events. As we think the European Central Bank is going to raise rates, let’s take this massive position, or really find the structure to make that work. But the idea really crystallized in our heads when we were working, both together, at Five Rings. And there, we were playing this game almost the whole day. It’s called the “maker market” game that people — that everyone would be putting like bids and offers in the probability of something. And then the other person could only tighten the spread or — or trade against you. And there was a single — there was a day that we were just trading — playing this game the entire day. And then I — I don’t remember exactly what market it was, but I took a massive position on Trump doing something. I don’t remember exactly what it was. And everyone thought I was crazy and debated me a lot on that. But I ended up being right. And then when I was — we were walking back to — to where the interns were staying, it was stuck in my head, like why isn’t there a place for people to do this? Like, we love doing this? We do this the whole day. Like, we see in every place we work at, like very big positions, people are trading based on events. Like, why is there no place to do this? And then I sat down and started talking to Tarek about it. Like, why isn’t there — why don’t — why don’t we do it? And we stayed the whole night up talking about it. And it was just something we were so passionate about from the finance side, the product side, everything we always loved. And if there was going to be someone to figure it out, it was going to be us. It just then leaves us the idea for another six months, up until we were like, OK, like, this is a calling, we have to do it. RITHOLTZ: So — so when you say your desks are – and you guys are trading back in 2016, trading events, you couldn’t credibly bet any sort of volume on events like Kalshi does today. You had to go to secondary or tertiary markets. So you’re betting on gold if you’re thinking about inflation. LARA: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: You’re betting on oil if you’re concerned about war. It’s – it’s always once removed, which raises the issue. Even if you’re right, you may not express itself in a market the same way that the bet was supposed to go. LARA: Right. Exactly. I think that in the beginning of COVID, you had this exact thing happening with — with the economy and how you would think about the S&P. And the beauty about event contracts is that it’s direct exposure in what you think. There’s not like a lot of variables for you to keep track of or — or think about of things that can go wrong. That’s why we also think it’s very – it’s the most like natural way of investing, especially if you think for retail. They can’t like keep track or have full desks of people trying to understand what’s going on. It’s a lot easier to do when you have one opinion, and you have a very clear way to get exposure on what you believe in being right or wrong. RITHOLTZ: So — so you’ve spoken about the gambling industry and how incentives are somewhat cloudy. How does your platform correct for that? LARA: Right. The key part about gambling is that the house takes a position in the bets. So the house has an interest on the outcome of — of the bet or — or the market, if you want to call it that, but it’s more just the bet. We are just a financial exchange. So we — you can think of Kalshi a matching agent. We match people that believe something will happen with people that believe something will not happen. If they have equivalent prices, we match them. So we have no interest in whether the market will go away a certain way. We do have an affiliate trader that’s there to provide liquidity so that people can trade, especially as we start the exchange. But the exchange doesn’t take any positions ever. We’re simply matching other participant orders. So there’s no conflict of interest between us and our members. RITHOLTZ: So — so when you look at a racetrack and the odds are set on horses, those odds don’t quite add up and the shortfall is the house take. So it’s never quite 50/50. What does it cost to trade on this platform? What — what’s the — so in other words, if I’m betting a $100 that something is going to happen and I win, do I get $200 back or how — how does that work? LARA: Right? So — so the way that it works is that the “yes” and the “no” prices are from 1 to 99 cents, and whoever is right gets $1. So let’s say I’m buying a “yes” for 40 cents, it means there’s someone buying a “no” for 60 cents. And if I am correct, I make $1, which means I’m profiting 60 cents which is from my counterparty, RITHOLTZ: Right. What – what’s the cost of that trade? Meaning, how does Kalshi make money, and I assume since it’s fully collateralized, there’s a float. That’s going to be a good source of revenue over time. LARA: We don’t make money on float. All of our — our — all of them, user member funds are in a fully regulated CFTC Clearinghouse, which is FTX derivatives, the U.S. derivatives, they are clearinghouse. And we make money on a transaction fee. So we have a small transaction fee that varies on the price of the contract. RITHOLTZ: But what is it averaged ballpark? What does that cost? LARA: I think it’s less than 1%. RITHOLTZ: All right. So, we will have a conversation after we’re done, and I will show you that – I think it was Schwab. When they moved to free trading, their float became 57% of the revenue. So we’ll have a conversation. We’ll see if we can help raise your — your revenue target and – and we’ll go from there. Because especially — it’s one thing if you’re looking at events that are days and weeks out. But if you’re making bets on will 2020 be the hottest year in history, hey, you’re sitting with that money for 12, 11, 10 months. There’s a lot of top line to be gained from — from a little float. We’ll — we’ll work that out with the CFTC. That will be — that will be easy. You guys raised $36 million in a Series A. Sequoia Capital was the lead, probably the most storied venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Charles Schwab, not the entity I was talking earlier about Charles Schwab in the float. But Mr. Charles Schwab was an investor. Henry Kravis is an investor. Silicon Valley Angel is one of the early investors. And were you with Y Combinator when you were first launching? LARA: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So — so that’s quite an esteemed list of — of people who said, “Hey, there’s some value here.” Tell us a little bit about the experience at Y Combinator and then doing an A round with some really boldface names. LARA: Yeah. Our experience at Y Combinator was actually very different from most of the other startups. Like, we were measuring regulatory traction, and other startups are measuring user growth, or revenue or — or things — things of that sort. Yeah, and about the Series A, getting a DCM was — was a key part of — of that Series A. I think Kashi is really one of those asymmetric type of investments. We are going to face obviously a lot of challenges and — but we — if we execute against those challenges, we’re going to have massive outlier potential. And we were really trying to find partners and investors that really understood the long-term vision of the company, and share that obsession that we have with event contracts and — and building this entire trading ecosystem. So Alfred from Sequoia is one of those people. He — he did a PhD in these types of markets. He really, really understands it and sees the potential. And obviously, it’s — it’s a Sequoia Sequoia, as you said. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: So that was – that was definitely something we thought about. But — but Alfred, specifically, has historically invested in a lot of like paradigm shifting companies like Airbnb and DoorDash. So we really thought it was a good — it was a good fit. And then after Sequoia was our lead investor, we were really trying to fill the round of – with Wall Street investors that could really help us navigate this industry. So yeah, Tarek, my co-founder, he’s obsessed with barbarians at the gate. So — so when … RITHOLTZ: Hence, Henry Kravis. LARA: Right. So when — when one of our seed investors, Ali Partovi, said he could intro and — and we could talk to Henry, I think Tarek was just like absolutely fascinated. And they had a fantastic conversation. He was very interested from — from the very beginning. And with — with Charles Schwab, it was something similar. It was also Ali Partovi introing us to — to him, also very interested in from the start, and he actually told us that our early days at Kalshi looked very similar to his early days starting Charles Schwab. So that was very exciting. And — and yeah, they help us so much till today so it’s fantastic. RITHOLTZ: The funny thing about Schwab is people don’t realize the guy you see with the gray hair in commercials, that’s Charles Schwab. That’s not an actor. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: He really exists and has been running the company. Now, I think he’s chairman. But that was really him for — for a long time. So — so let’s talk a little bit about event hedging. And I like this quote, “These markets are a little like an aggregator of public opinion in real time.” So — so what are the implications of this? And is that the sort of stuff your lead investor at Sequoia was studying when he went to school? LARA: Right. Yeah, this is a very important part of our vision. Over time, we really want Kalshi to become the source of truth for forecasting these events that we have markets on. Because of the prices at Kalshi go from 1 to 99 cents, they directly translate to the probability of the event happening. So let’s say the market might be saying there’s a 20% chance there’s a recession this year. It means that 20 cents means that there’s a 20% chance that the market believes there’s a 20% chance … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … that there will be a recession this year. And the amazing thing is that there’s a lot of theoretical and empirical evidence that they are the most effective and most accurate ways of forecasting the future. They’re way better than polls, way better than like pundits on — on the news, trying to say what’s going on. And it’s mainly for two reasons. I think the first one is because when people put money where their mouth is, they are more — more likely to say what they really think and actually do research and everything. And the second one is that markets really aggregate the wisdom of the crowds. You’re getting a lot of different people’s opinions, when they put money behind their opinion, and really aggregating data, and which makes this a very powerful tool. And I mean, any market lover understands what I’m saying. And yeah, making — and — and part of our — our vision and what we really want to do long — long term is make these forecasts core to people’s lives. It’s really part of our mission. With — with event contracts becoming more widespread, we really hope that people will use data in their lives to prepare better for the future, address uncertainty, inform themselves better, and like try to address a little bit of the very biased world and not very data-driven world that we live in nowadays. So we’re trying to get started with that. We’re really trying to get — we have market tickers like any other equity or things like that. We have tickers for all of our markets. So we’re trying to have tickers and prices to be used by news and things of that sort. So we really try to get this very important data, that we believe is very important data out there. But for Alfred specifically, I think he was doing more than like mathematical and like research. He was doing a stats PhD, so somewhat related to this, but not really on the — on the — on this side, but yeah. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s — let’s talk a little bit about prediction markets that are out there. Historically, they’ve only done a so-so job, partly because they’re not very broad. They’re not that very deep, and the dollar amounts that are traded had been modest. I saw an overlay of about half a dozen different prediction markets before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And you would think they would all be kind of similar, but they weren’t. They were all over the map. Do you have to get to a certain scale that will fix that problem of prediction markets being kind of thin and easily — I don’t want to say manipulated, but one big trade really has an impact on — on how those markets trade. LARA: Right. Exactly. I think we need a — a base level of liquidity and — and volume for — for the forecast to really work and be really useful. And a lot of these like other prediction markets out there, as — as we talked about, they’re unregulated. They have — they’re very new. They just pop up, especially the crypto ones every other day. And it’s hard to build liquidity and real proper volume like that. But we really think that prediction markets are the way to go to have these — these very good forecasts of — of events, but it needs liquidity and needs volume, and that’s what we’re working on. RITHOLTZ: Really kind of interesting, which raises the question, how are you going to scale this up? How are you going to get to 100 million and then a billion, and then who knows what from there? LARA: Right. We have a lot of ways to — to scale the exchange. It’s kind of what we talked about with — with building up liquidity. Right now, we’re really focused on retail. So getting — we have a lot of option traders, or like what we call informed retail traders in the platform, trying to go in more – deeper into different communities, and trying to get them in to test the platform, things of that sort. And then the next step for us is getting brokers in to offer our markets in their platform, so e-trade, interactive brokers, all of those. And then bringing up the volume, we can bring up like actual liquidity providers, prop shops, hedge funds, and then up until, I guess, insurance companies even offloading some risk or — or like actually big institutions, natural hedgers, bringing them in. So the way that we’re seeing it is really starting to build of retail with getting more and more of the current users that we have, which are option traders, and having more retail as we go to the — to the, I guess, brokers. RITHOLTZ: So — so how big can this get? I mean, is this ever a billion dollars a month? How — how large can this sort of event hedging scale up to? LARA: Right. So event contracts are a lot more like tangible, relatable and — and more direct, as we talked about, then all these other assets that — that preceded it. So we really think when we actually plug it in the financial ecosystem, it can properly scale. Obviously, it takes a lot of time to get there because we need to view the entire ecosystem around events. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: It’s a completely new thing. But once it’s properly plugged in the financial system, I can give you some numbers to give some idea, right? I think you mentioned that in the beginning of the CFTC regulating a trillion-dollar industry, like grain futures are $7 trillion industry. RITHOLTZ: Wow. LARA: Commodities, 20 trillion. Interest rate swaps are around, I think, $500 trillion. So not exactly how big the market is, but I think as we expand event contracts, it definitely has a potential to be one of these. RITHOLTZ: Right. Interest rate swaps are $500 billion or trillion? LARA: Trillion. RITHOLTZ: Really? LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: That’s the notational, nothing is going to get offered? LARA: Right. Yes. You got that point. RITHOLTZ: That — that’s a giant amount of money. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: So — so really, startups have a tendency to have this defining moment in their lifespans, where they sort of either pivot or just a moment of clarity, and you could see the whole roadmap laid out. Did you guys have that sort of defining moment at Kalshi? LARA: I would say the biggest — the earliest defining moment we had was actually — before we really started the company, we went to a Y Combinator hackathon. Because before we were like fascinated by it, but we didn’t think it was like going to work. It’s like — it seems so complicated, and like, are we crazy? I think that was the big question in our head, like are we going crazy over here? Then we went to Y Combinator for a hackathon. And there were like these teams with like bunch of servers, crazy computers like — and it was just me and Tarek with our like Macbooks, like try to — to code like a demo of what we were talking about. And then we first presented to Michael then, the CEO of YC and he really didn’t like what we were saying from the beginning. He cut us. Like the first five seconds, he’s like that, like “This is illegal,” like, “What are you doing?” And then we will get very upset. We went in like we – I think we — Tarek even started drinking beer. He’s like, “There’s no way we’re going to be in the Top 10,” which had to present again. And we ended up being in the Top 10. We presented again, and then we ended up being in the Top 3, which were the winners of the hackathon. And I remember that night, when we were going back to — to our friend’s place where we were staying in San Francisco for the hackathon, we were like, “Wow, like maybe we aren’t crazy. Like, we should — like maybe like people believe in what we’re doing.” And it was a very like happy moment for us. And I think right after that, we actually got into the Y Combinator batch. And it was one of the happiest moments we’ve — we’ve had — we’ve had of the company. So that was really like motivating and encouraging, because as I told you, we never thought about being founders. We thought about being like he was going to be — we were both going to be traders full time. So it was like a big shift for us. So that was a very exciting moment. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Let me throw a couple of curveballs at you. You and your co-founder, Tarek, both were named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in — in the finance category. Tell us a little bit about that. What was that experience like? LARA: Yeah. No, it was very excited. We were very honored to be — to be — to be nominated, especially being like the head up of the — of the finance category. We were really excited after all the work we’ve done. And actually, a funny story is that because of the Forbes 30 Under 30, I went viral in Brazil for a little bit, because the Brazilian Forbes wrote a — wrote a piece about how a Brazilian was in the American Forbes 30 Under 30 and that — because it’s very rare to have Brazilians in the list here. So that was — that was — that was a funny story. But yeah, because of the Forbes 30 Under 30, we also ended up ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ, which was very exciting. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. LARA: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And one more — one more curveball. You were a ballet dancer with the Bolshoi. You studied ballet. Tell us about that. LARA: Right. So very different from what I do now, for sure. But I’m from Brazil, originally, and I just came to the U.S. for college. And most of my life before college, I was split between ballet and school. What — what I really loved about ballet was intensity of it all. It was extremely hard to get to the top. It’s extremely competitive. And there’s nowhere to hide, you need to be completely on, you need to give it your all. And yeah, and I — I studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School and it was extremely intense. And — and we had to be extremely disciplined, like measuring our food down to like a four puffs of strawberry before this rehearsal, to be able to get there. But that was –that was one part. And the other part, my — my parents are both engineers and have stem backgrounds. So I was surrounded by that outside of ballet, doing like Math Olympiad and all of that, I also had to get 100 on everything on the math and science side. So I used to do like normal school, I guess, from like 7:00 a.m. because Brazil school’s hours are different. so 7:00 a.m. to like 1:00 p.m., and then ballet from 1 – like 1:30 p.m. to like 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. And then I would actually go study. So that was a very intense part of my life, but I think it really set me up for — for being able to go to MIT and — and — and enjoy everything there. And it’s something that Tarek is very similar to me, he was actually a professional skier before going to college. And — and we have very similar backgrounds. And I think that level of intensity and — and discipline is really what helped us get through the regulatory process and be where we are today. So tough times, but it’s good now. RITHOLTZ: I — do the same thing. I measure my food input down to the quarter strawberry. And you could see it’s how I maintain my girls. So — so we only have certain amount of time left. Let me jump to my favorite questions that I asked all of our guests, starting with what kept you entertained during lockdown? What were you streaming, watching or — or listening to? LARA: Right. I listened to all and — and I’m very into American politics nowadays. So I’m finishing up the 10 American Presidents podcast. But on TV, I think I’m more mainstream. So I just love Succession, House of Cards, West Wing, and so on. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about your mentors who helped shape your career. LARA: Right. So I think at MIT, I had two professors that were very impactful in my career and to me. I think the first one was Patrick Winston. He was my advisor and professor, a lot of artificial intelligence classes. He really helped me navigate MIT and set me up to — and set my mindset to where I wanted to be, to like really psychology. And the other great mentor was Peter Kempthorne. He’s also professor of stats, and really, I started being interested in finance in his glasses. And funnily enough, he’s actually one of directors of — of Kalshi nowadays, because we kept very close contact. And we talk a lot to him about like the dynamics of markets and all the stuff we talked about. And since we started the company, I think our biggest mentors have been Michael, the CEO of YC. Up until today, he’s helped us so much. And Ali Partovi, who’s — who runs Neo, he’s one of our seed investors. And they have been really instrumental in like making us better founders, not just like making the company succeed, but better founders and how to like deal with employees, growing — like growing pains, negotiation, all of those things that, you know, like MIT nerds didn’t really know what to do. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about books. What are some of your favorites and what are you reading right now? LARA: Right. Some of my favorite – my favorite book is this book called “Americana,” but it’s not the novel. It’s actually the 400-year history of American capitalism. But whenever I say Americana, everyone thinks is the novel. And the other one is this book called predict — “Predictably Irrational,” which is … RITHOLTZ: Dan — Dan Ariely? LARA: Right. Yeah. And it’s — it’s very — some — it has a lot to do with what Kalshi does and I think it’s one of the early books I read on — on prediction markets and decision-making, and I thought it was a fantastic book. And at the moment, I’m finally — Tarek will be very happy to hear this. I’m finally reading “Barbarians at the Gate” after he told me for years that I should, but I barely started, so yeah. RITHOLTZ: And Americana is a Bhu Srinivasan, am I pronouncing it right? LARA: Right. He’s that. RITHOLTZ: He was a guest here a couple of years ago. I love that book. That book is just amazing. LARA: That’s book is fantastic. Yeah, it – yeah. RITHOLTZ: Those people think that, oh, all these companies were, you know, freestanding. It was a public private partnership … LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: … for a long time. That — that is a fascinating book and I’m surprised someone, as young as you, has found it. It’s sort of off the beaten path. LARA: Yeah. No. It’s — it’s a fascinating book. It made me — especially not being American, I think it made me understand the country and how it works so well, I think, way better. RITHOLTZ: So — so this is the first time I’m going to ask this question of somebody who is so recently out of college, but you’re 25 now, is that right? LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: So what sort of advice would you give to a college student or a recent college grad who is interested in a career in either startups and technology, or finance and derivative training? LARA: Right. I think the finance industry is very — there’s a very traditional path that people can take. And what really helped me and — and Tarek understand and — and really come up with the Kalshi idea and — and — and understand it and work on it was that we got a lot of exposure to a lot of different types of firms and a lot of different types of roles as well, like we did. I did more of the engineering side, then a little bit of the trading, then a bit of research. And Tarek did like all types of different trainings, because he also worked at Citadel, and Five Rings, and Goldman. And I think that giving yourself a lot of breadth, especially when you’re in college is very important to just understand the industry as a whole, understand when there are gaps, and — and seeing — like finding patterns, like how we found the Kalshi behavior. So I really think it’s about putting yourself out there, trying to learn different things, do different things and — and trying to get a global vision of — of what the industry is and why you want to do, and — and not be too tied to like the traditional path of like entering as like this level and then going up in a big firm and — and things like that. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of trading, and hedging, and investing today that you didn’t know, what do I say, four years ago when you guys were first starting out? You’ve been doing it since 2016, so let’s call it six years ago. LARA: Right. Yeah. So what we’re really doing is — is enabling trading and investing. But if I were an investor, what I think I would have liked to know a couple of years ago is that bold bets are — I would take a lot of bold bets. I think generally that’s – the bets that seem ridiculous at first and there’s a lot of debate, then there’s no way that it’s going to work, are usually the ones that are achieved, like the large outlier results. Definitely, I’m biased because Kashi is hopefully one — is going to be one of those bets for a lot of our investors. But I really think it’s about seeing what the world can be in the future and — and taking bold bets to get there. I think a couple years ago, I’ll be very — if I were an investor a couple years ago, I would be very scared to do that. But now, I would think that’s the way to go to really do meaningful investing. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. We have been speaking to Luana Lopes Lara. She is the co-founder of derivatives trading marketplace, Kalshi. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of our previous 400 interviews we’ve done over the past eight years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week. Sean Russo is my research assistant. Mohamad Rimawi is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureApr 19th, 2022

Americans aren"t likely to lose their homes if the real estate bubble bursts, 2 economists say

"If buyers can't afford to pay their mortgages, they can sell their homes, pay off their mortgages in full, and avoid foreclosure," one expert said. Collectively, US households have gained about $2.5 trillion in excess savings during the pandemic and more than half of US states recorded their strongest-ever personal income growth in 2021.Getty Images There is a growing imbalance of supply and demand in the real estate market. As home prices soar, many fear a repeat of the 2008 foreclosure crisis. But two economists told Insider it's unlikely. Homeowners have a lot more financial power this time. Housing affordability may be plummeting — but that doesn't mean Americans are likely to lose their homes if the real estate bubble bursts.Home prices have soared to new highs as buyers continue to duke it out for the limited amount of homes available for sale. As the imbalance widens, fears of a second foreclosure crisis, like the one in 2008, have flooded financial markets and the Twitterverse. —Yolanda Taylor (@law4community) April 8, 2022 Odeta Kushi, the chief economist at First American, thinks that's unlikely to happen for two reasons. Both have to do with the fact that homebuyers are in a far better financial position than they were in 2008."First, the housing market is in a much stronger position compared with a decade ago," Kushi told Insider. "Accompanied by more rigorous lending standards, the household debt-to-income ratio is at a four-decade low and household equity near a three-decade high."The debt-to-income ratio is a common measure of financial health that compares the total amount of debt a person owes each month to their income. It is considered in mortgage applications.Despite inflation surging to a 40-year high in February, Americans still have a tremendous amount of wealth. Collectively, households have gained about $2.5 trillion in excess savings during the pandemic and more than half of US states recorded their strongest-ever personal income growth in 2021. With the average mortgage borrower currently owning about $185,000 in tappable home equity —  the amount of money a homeowner can access while retaining at least 20% equity in their homes —  the Covid-19 housing market hardly resembles the housing bubble that gave rise to the 2008 foreclosure crisis. Holden Lewis, an analyst at NerdWallet, told Insider he agrees."When the housing market crashed in 2008 and 2009, it was because many people owed more than their houses were worth," Lewis said. "So when they couldn't afford to make their payments, they lacked the ability to sell their homes, pay off their mortgages, and start over. They ended up in foreclosure instead."That's not going to happen this time, he says. According to Lewis, the real estate market is in a far better position as banks and lenders have raised the standards for acquiring loans. "In 2008, the saying was that if you could fog a mirror, you could get a mortgage," he said. "Lending standards were lax, and borrowers didn't even need to prove that they earned enough money to afford their monthly payments."Lending standards are stricter now than they were in 2008. The US government has since enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to help prevent some of the predatory lending practices that spurred the subprime mortgage crisis. No-money-down mortgages are almost unheard of and borrowers have to go through larger hoops to qualify for a mortgage.All these factors combined with historically high home prices and robust homebuyer demand means American homeowners are sitting pretty. "If buyers can't afford to pay their mortgages, they can sell their homes, pay off their mortgages in full, and avoid foreclosure," Lewis said. "There will be few foreclosures for the foreseeable future, and that means a housing crash is unlikely."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 8th, 2022

Transcript: Bill Gross

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Bill Gross is Still Standing, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the… Read More The post Transcript: Bill Gross appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Bill Gross is Still Standing, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast we have an extra special guest. I’m trying to — to maintain low tones and I’m trying to keep my insane enthusiasm down. But holy cow, Bill Gross, the Bond King, spent three hours talking with us literally about everything. This is a pretty amazing conversation. He does not hold anything back. He names names. He calls people out. He — I don’t even want to say he has scores to settle because he did that in his book. He explains what made PIMCO such a — a unique place, how they accumulated trillion dollars, essentially creating the concept of institutional bond trading before PIMCO bond trading was by appointment only. This didn’t exist before then. We cover everything from card counting to inflation, to the Fed, to his book. It’s a Mary Childs book, “The Bond King,” about him. Really, there were no comments left unturned. And we also revealed what his thoughts were about when his bonus was revealed by a certain podcast host about eight years ago, and — and how that came about. His and Mohamed El-Erian’s multibillion bonus pool, how that thing could even exist, Allianz allowed them to do it, and — and how after almost being a parlor game of speculation, how those billions of dollars in who got what bonus pool was finally revealed. This was an absolutely fascinating conversation and an extra special guest. So, with no further ado, my conversation with PIMCO Co-founder Bill Gross. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is the Bond King, Bill Gross, the Co-founder of PIMCO. At one time, Bill’s total return fund was nearly $300 billion. It was the world’s largest mutual fund. Gross controlled more bond money than anybody else in the world. He advised the U.S. Treasury on the role of subprime mortgage bonds in the ’08-’09 crisis. He was named Morningstar’s Fund Manager of the Decade in 2010. They observed no other fund manager made more money for more people than Bill Gross. He is the author of several books, including “Bill Gross on Investing” and most recently, his book “I’m Still Standing: Bill Gross and the PIMCO Express.” Bill Gross, welcome back to Masters in Business. GROSS: Thank you, Barry. Actually, I’m — I’m sitting talking to you, but I’m standing in life, so that’s what the — the title applies, I think, but it’s good to be here. RITHOLTZ: It’s good to have you back. And, in fact, I owe you a debt of gratitude because when you came on the show, you know, it’s got to be six, seven years ago. You were really the first big name that said that I – let’s try this podcast thing out, and you opened the floodgates. So, if I’m lacking in any objectivity, let me disclose that right up front. But — but let’s talk about your career starting with Pacific Life. You’re — you’re a junior guy there, literally, going into the vaults, taking bond certificates and clipping coupons off of that. How — how do you get from that sort of junior intern menial labor to launching a standalone active bond shop? GROSS: We’ll, let me add to that quickly. I — I could only clip coupons for half of the day, I guess. The other half I was off making private placements of loans to fledgling companies such as Berkshire Hathaway and Wal-Mart. I — I visited Sam Walton with his two kids with a dog I struck. They had two Wal-Marts in Bentonville, Arkansas. And same thing with Buffett and Charlie Munger. So, I — I was doing some of that. But to — to — to make the transition, I guess, to managing money, I — I — I did a master’s thesis at UCLA, I just graduated, and it was about convertible bonds, but also about warrants and — and option-related vehicle. So, I was interested in the bond market even though I wanted to get in the stocks. And Pacific Mutual in downtown LA had a $1 billion worth of bonds. And a broker from Weeden & Company, Howard Raykoff, decided to visit and tell me that somebody else in town was trading some bonds from boxes. And — and that was as — as you know, there weren’t any computers or IBM 360s, but we only had one. You couldn’t really buy and sell on the wire, and so it was very difficult to trade. But I convinced him to, you know, let me use $5 million of their bonds and set-up an active trading account. That was the beginning of PIMCO. RITHOLTZ: And before PIMCO, I’ve heard bond trading described as by appointment only. Is it fair to say you and your team invented fixed income trading? Am I — am I overstating that? GROSS: Probably just a little. There was this gentleman, I forget his name in Occidental Life Insurance in L.A. that was doing some of that. There was Jim guy from Lehman who later died that was doing some of that. But I was certainly one of the first, and I was certainly one that pursued it and convinced at least the executives of Pacific Mutual that this could be turned into a business. RITHOLTZ: So maybe I should say PIMCO helped to bring about institutional trading on a level that just didn’t exist before. You guys helped to systematize it. Is that — is that more accurate? GROSS: Yeah, I think that’s true because back then, you know, stocks were the vehicle to trade, and even then, they weren’t traded that actively. Bonds were basically bought and ultimately matured, I guess that — the big banks in the East, the New York, and Boston, and Chicago. And so, yeah, bond trading was — was an afterthought. No one thought that you could sell one bond, buy another, and make some money. And so, it was innovative, and I was glad to be part of it. RITHOLTZ: So, in the book, you describe how PIMCO grew in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but we’ll talk about the latter years later. But that period, following everything that Chairman Paul Volcker had done with the bond market, that really was a — a perfect storm to — to plow into the fixed income space. Tell us about the growth of PIMCO in the 1980’s and 1990’s. GROSS: OK. And — and so you’re right, we started at a great time not in the 70’s because the bear market didn’t really end until ’81, ’82, ’83 depending upon, you know, the maturities of bond. But you — you know, it’s — it’s set-up the premise for total return in bonds where you could not only get a coupon, get an interest payment, but get a capital gain. And when you’re starting at close to 15 percent for a 30-year treasury, you know, it was — it was fairly easy ultimately to get a capital gain, and so that — that helped us. We were also helped by a legislation from the Congress a bill that legislated ERISA, which basically mandated that pension managers had to diversify and not just diversify between, you know, the obvious, but also diversify between East Coast and West Coast. And so, this little company called AT&T, the biggest in the world team according late in the 70’s and liked what they saw, and they hired PIMCO. And that really was the beginning of it all. I mean, who — who wouldn’t open the door to a person or to a company that had just been hired by AT&T. RITHOLTZ: But this is more than just lucky timing for a couple of reasons that I want to go into. We’ll talk a little later about some of the technical aspects that PIMCO really figured out to generate fixed income alpha. We’ll — we’ll circle back to that. I want to talk a little bit about your investment outlooks. These were — were highly regarded. People thought they were both insightful and well-written. And this is at a time when, you know, we kind of take it for granted today that so many people write about financial investing and strategies. When you started doing the investment outlooks each month, that was somewhat unusual, wasn’t it? Tell us about that. GROSS: Yeah, it was very unusual, and I thought about it from a business context. And I said, you know, if I want to be successful at PIMCO, if we want to grow as a company, you’ve got to say hello. And the best way to say hello is to write these investment outlooks. I mean, there were a few. There was a famous guy you know, Barton Biggs from … RITHOLTZ: Sure. GROSS: … Morgan Stanley that was a real good writer. And — and I don’t think Jim Grant had started yet, but he was a excellent writer in the time. So, I wasn’t the only one. But I — I thought that if I’m going to inject some personal vignettes into my forecast for the bond market, the people would read it because they didn’t really read these things that came out of First Boston, and Solomon Brothers, and so on. And so, I — I decided to take a little risk. You know, one of the things that I wrote at the beginning of my book, a quote, it said that, “Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.” And so, I — I decided to have a few guts and opened myself up to people. And some like that and some didn’t but, you know, the — the reputation grew. RITHOLTZ: Well, I want to point out first, you were the — the O.G., the original gangster when it came to financial writing because, of course, there were lots of professional writers and journalists running about it. But as far as I recall you might be one of the earliest people who were managing money to describe what you were doing. I — I want to say it was Howard Marks and you. Pretty much, you were the guys that were putting out regular commentary before, you know, anybody could — could go online and find letters from Warren Buffett or — or things that Ray Dalio wrote or anyone of thousands of other professional money managers. When you began, I don’t think there were many other money managers putting out written commentary the way you guys were. You, Buffett, and Marks are kind of the three that — that blazed this trail. GROSS: I — I think so. And, you know, one of my positive attributes is that I — I wasn’t afraid to take risk and to — to take chances. And so, you know, there were those that, you know, PIMCO and marketing and so on that would suggest that you can’t do that because people would just jump on your ideas and front-run. But, you know, I’m — I’m paranoid in a lot of things, but I wasn’t paranoid in that in terms of thinking that no one really cared. And so, — so why not? Why not tell people what I thought? And I — I think it worked. RITHOLTZ: So, no doubt I remember worked because the firm did well in the 80’s and 90’s. At what point did you come to the realization, “Hey, this is kind of a one of a kind company and it’s going to be special.” Did you ever imagine you would have a trillion dollars in assets under management? GROSS: Well, of course not, but at some point, I did when we were $990 billion. RITHOLTZ: Right. GROSS: But — no, my — my objective was to — was to grow the company to, you know, have a fiduciary responsibility to clients in terms of products and not — not charging them too much or inventing products that ripped them off. But I also want to or wanted to be famous. I mean, that’s — that’s in my book and — and the — the Childs book as well. And, you know, growing into $1 trillion and ultimately ended $2 trillion was — was very productive in terms of being famous and I guess, ultimately, infamous. RITHOLTZ: So now that you look back, which is more important in hindsight, money, power or fame? Greg Dardis: Well, I — I never enjoyed power and I’ve enjoyed some of the money, but after a certain point, it’s not that productive unless you give it away. And so, I — I think ultimately, if those are the three choices and I did offer those to potential recruits who, by the way, would never answer the question because they were afraid that any of the answers would be — be negatively. But I — I — I — I’m certain, you know, I would choose fame again. And I — I was — I was cognizant at the time that fame can turn into infamy that you could fly too close to the sun, et cetera , et cetera from an objective standpoint. But I must say I didn’t think it could happen to me because I was always on the up and up, always honest, always open, and — and why would anybody. And I — I think ultimately, that was eye-opening to me, but I — I do it again. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about the way he PIMCO grew and generated profits for clients. You — you describe a lot of very technical aspects to bond management and trading, which all contributed to fixed income alpha, which I think a lot of people reading your latest book might not have realized all the ways that — that you guys generated outperformance. The — the question I — I ask is how is it possible with all this money laying around nobody thought of this before. Why didn’t anybody else try and systematize total return of fixed income portfolios? GROSS: Well, I think, I mean, a lot of bond managers were and probably still are very conservative. That’s their job to protect principal. And therefore, on the sales side, on the Wall Street side, they were facing the clientele that didn’t really want to accept any of their suggestions, whatever they were, you know, well, just the other way for me and for PIMCO. And, you know, we were very innovative from the standpoint of new products. We were one of the first to — to buy financial futures. We were one of the first to — to fund mortgages — Fannie Mae mortgage. I mean, most — most bond managers didn’t want to go through the problem of segregating principal and interest, and determining performance. It took a long time and a separate staff, and so we did that. And then, of course, in the — later in the global and tips. And — and so — and so the innovation was key, I think, to help with generation. The biggest key was the thrust of what we called secular forecasting, secular outlooks. And I — I — I read a book early on just after I joined PIMCO called “Investing for the Long-Term.” I forget who wrote it. But, you know, you’re focused maybe on the dangers of trading for the short-term because fear and greed on the others that get involved and you tend to make bad decisions. And so, we approached it from the standpoint of three to five years. In terms of the — an outlook, we brought in speakers that spoke to that, many of them, you know, Fed officials or ex-Fed officials, et cetera. And so, I think that really helped us to avoid, you know, the bad — the bad months and the bad quarter by looking at three to five years. So those were several of the case. RITHOLTZ: And when you say investing for the long run, you’re not talking about Jeremy Siegel’s stocks for the long run, you’re talking about something more specific. GROSS: Yeah, and basically it involved forecasting interest rates. And — and to be fair, you know, throughout the period of time that the secular outlook for interest rates was down, down, down. And, you know, during our annual secular forums that we had where we brought in outside speakers and basically set the tone for the next 12 months, you know, for the most part, it was a bullish forecast, which turned out to be true. If we had a forecast, it went the other way for the long-term for the next three to five years and obviously, the company would have disappeared. But — but focusing on that, forgetting about the day or the week or the month, I think it became very successful in terms of position in a portfolio duration-wise, and volatility-wise, and credit-wide. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. So — so let’s talk a little bit about, you know, you as a investor and trader. I’m — I’m kind of entranced by the way I’ve heard the PIMCO trading floor describe your desk was a horseshoe, and the traders and the analysts were arranged in a really specific manner. Tell us a little bit about — about the thinking there. GROSS: Well, I — I thought it was pretty simple, and I don’t really remember the horseshoe. But, you know, I was positioned in the middle certainly, and the traders of which they eventually grew to 20, 30, 40, 50 were, you know, basically positioned in pods: the mortgage people, the high-yield people, the global people, et cetera. And, you know, they would work together and almost independently day-to-day, but I would check and — and others would check in terms of what they were doing, make suggestions, and so on as — as we walked around the floor. So, it — it made a lot of sense. It was a big trading room with — I don’t know how many square feet, but I think functionally it really worked for us. RITHOLTZ: So — so who got to sit close to you and who sat further away? Was that a function of how accurate — how active those markets were or was it, you know, just seniority basis? GROSS: You know, well, it was both. You know, I remember that Scott Simon sat to the left to me, and — and Bill Powers, and I don’t think Chris Dialynas ever sat next to me. He was — he was content to be on the wing, so to speak, and do his own thing. But — but usually, I would be determined as well by who would — who would be quiet as opposed to loud. You know, I — I liked quiet to be able to think myself, and somebody with a loud voice talking to brokers are calling up their spouse, you know, just wasn’t working for me in terms of a trading day. So, you know, the quiet, and function, and seniority all sort of fit in. And I — I didn’t think somebody else picked and I just went along with it until the noise got too loud, and then they were out and somebody else is in. RITHOLTZ: So — so you mentioned the number of your colleagues. In the book, which we’ll talk about in a little bit, you’re very generous in giving lots of credit to your colleagues for being major drivers of — of the firm’s success. Tell us about some of these colleagues and — and how they contributed to PIMCO’s growth. GROSS: Well, they were, you know, we hired some really smart people and really aggressive people, obsessive people that really love to do what they’re doing. Chris Dialynas was one of the first who was my co-portfolio manager so to speak from the early 80’s. He wanted to be a baseball player for the Angels, but decided to take our $20,000 offer. And he came and he — he had gone to the University of Chicago and, you know, studied there about options and so on, and ultimately became instrumental in terms of bringing financial futures to — to the portfolios and suggesting some very creative ideas in terms of Ginnie Mae futures which, you know, some say we — we broke the market, but he was one. And then there was another gentleman Changhong Zhu that came to us from Wells Fargo in San Francisco. He ultimately left after 10 years to go back to China with his family and head up, you know, a key position in the Chinese Central Bank, I think. But he — he would make lots of suggestions and Investment Committee in terms of the convexity and yield curve strategies, euro dollar futures, et cetera. He was perhaps the smartest guy in the floor, including me. And, you know, so I think a lot of the strategies are due to his suggestions. You know, there was a high-yield gentleman, Ben Trosky, who was really a master that all of our mortgage people Bill Powers and John Hague, and Scott Simon that I mentioned were really smart. And their performance and mortgages through the years in terms of their own portfolios, you know, just flowed over into the total return fund. So, all of these people and there are a lot of other ones. You know, we were a team and, you know, the — the term “Bond King” was, I guess, more of a P.R. acceptance than anything else. I — I — I don’t think there was a king, I was a leader and certainly a leader of the Investment Committee. And — and in terms of accepting a standard portfolio for those to manage, but not the smart people. And I think it bared acknowledgement in my book. RITHOLTZ: So, lots of these colleagues eventually became successful, they became very wealthy, and they, you know, hit the eject button and retired. You stuck around for 43 years. That’s a long time. What led to that longevity? That’s pretty unusual these days. GROSS: I — I think it — it was because I loved it. And, you know, the — the standard — the standard idea that you should do what you love is fine. It — it can’t really apply to — to billions of people, you know, throughout the world that they all can’t find jobs that they love. They can’t all paint. They can’t all write music, but this was an area that I loved in terms of buying, and selling, and competing, and making money, and becoming famous, of course. And so, I — I think I stuck around for that long until I was 72 at PIMCO or 71 simply because I love coming in. It — it just — it made my week. And, you know, at PIMCO we would have an Investment Committee until — from 12 to three every day, but after three and certainly in the summertime, I — I could just go across the street and hit some balls and play golf, too. So, I — I wasn’t a — a one-way horse rider, I — I guess, I — I could do a lot of things, but managing money and investing and — and talking about it, writing about it was something I truly enjoyed. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about the two thousands. You guys really, because the way you were positioned, got a very early warning look at what was going on in the bond market and the housing market. You were pretty well-positioned before, during, and after the financial crisis of ’08-’09. How did you manage to — to accomplish that? GROSS: Well, I — I — I give most of the credit, in this case, to Paul McCauley, and Paul is still around. He’s on TV. He’s got that long hair and that southern (inaudible). But — but … RITHOLTZ: At least he got rid of the beard finally. GROSS: Yes. But he was a — an economist at — at heart, and he was a prominent member of Investment Committee. And he — he would speak about Hyman Minsky and his theory about stability turning into instability. And — and as the housing market roared and dipped, we became sensitive to the potential for instability. I — I had a brother-in-law who was a mortgage banker on kind of small scale, and we would have dinner sometimes. He would tell me about no dots and liar loans, and so on before anyone at the Fed knew anything about that. And so, I — I decided to take 10 of our credit analysts and send them out to — throughout the country and pretend that they were buying houses and to see what was going on. They came back and said hey, that this stuff is dangerous, these subprime mortgages, et cetera, et cetera. And so, we (inaudible) to this early on. We voided portfolios of subprime mortgages and high-yield bonds in general anticipating a crisis at some point. So, I — I — I think our Investment Committee, and again Paul McCauley was the leader in this regard. Grant (ph) really helped in terms of anticipating what might happen at some point, that did happen. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. Full disclosure, I know McCauley really well. We’ve gone fishing together in Maine. I’ve had him on the show before, and full credit to him for giving Minsky’s work a wider modern audience. So, given that you were positioned so well during the financial crisis, how did the relationship with the U.S. Treasury develop? Tell us a little bit about that. GROSS: Well, I guess this sounds delicate, but it shouldn’t be. You know, almost all of us were in touch with the Treasury. I mean, I — I talked to Timothy Geithner once over the phone on a Sunday evening when he called me up after it had a few beers and wanted to know what was happening in the economy. But that — that’s the only time I can ever remember talking to the Treasury. We weren’t — unlike BlackRock and Larry Fink, nothing wrong with that, but we were a company on the West Coast that basically did our own research and weren’t in touch with Treasury officials unless they were Fed officials that had retired like, you know, Bernanke and Paul Volcker, and — and others. And so, I don’t really know how to go up. It certainly wasn’t a phone call. They called us and — and said can we help manage a portfolio of mortgages for them, and we said sure. And so, that was basically it. And, you know, there was a rumor that we badgered them into guaranteeing Fannie and Freddie mortgages. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody made a phone call to — to badger or to — to influence in any way. What we did see is that of all the mortgages that Fannie and Freddie were the highest quality and that they were yielding astronomical yields relative to treasuries and — and much wider spreads and — had ever occurred. And so, that was the fascination with Fannie and Freddie. We did well with mortgages, and we did well during the crisis. And after the crisis, PIMCO went from $1 trillion to $2 trillion because we had protected their money. RITHOLTZ: So, we mentioned earlier the — the new book by Mary Childs, “The Bond King” is out. And I know you participated in — in responding to some questions about at least validating certain things are not factually. But it’s pretty easy to read that book and see that she is trying to make the case that PIMCO was the largest holder of Fannie and Freddie bonds, and that you guys bullied the government into guaranteeing them. Make your case. Rebut that premise. Was it simply, hey, we never sp.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureApr 4th, 2022

Transcript: Samara Cohen

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Samara Cohen, BlackRock CIO for ETF and Index Investments, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ:… Read More The post Transcript: Samara Cohen appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Samara Cohen, BlackRock CIO for ETF and Index Investments, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have yet another special guest — extra special guest. Samara Cohen is the Chief Investment Officer at BlackRock where she manages ETFs and index investing. BlackRock is $10 trillion. Their ETF business is over $3 trillion. Their index business is also over $3 trillion. Samara is consistently on everybody’s list of most influential women in finance, but that’s not why you want to listen to this. You want to listen to this because there really are very few people in the world more knowledgeable about managing ETFs, managing indexes, what passive really means, how people should be thinking about the actual engineering of products if you want to have broad market exposure or specific types of beta. Really, I’m going to stop talking and just say with no further ado, my conversation with Samara Cohen. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Samara Cohen. She is BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officer for ETFs and index investments. BlackRock manages up about $10 trillion. The ETF business is about $3.27 trillion. Samara Cohen, welcome to Bloomberg. COHEN: Thank you so much, Barry. I’m happy to be here. RITHOLTZ: I’m happy to have you here. I have so many questions to ask you, but I have to start out with your education, which we usually skim over. So, you graduated UPenn with a B.S. in Economics and — and Finance at — at Wharton, but you also had a B.A. in Theatre Arts. How has theater training helped in your financial career? COHEN: First, Barry, when you hear theater, a lot of people might think that — that I was an actor, so I feel like I need to start with the fact that I was decidedly a backstage kid. My love of theater was very much on the production, design, directing, you know, behind-the-scene side, and that has definitely helped me across the course of my career. But I have to tell you, I came to the University of Pennsylvania to be a theater major, and I left with a dual degree in Finance and Theater. So, finance was something I discovered because I knew I was good at math, in fact, when I started college I didn’t really need to take any math classes because I had all of this credit. And I missed it, and so I discovered markets and economics, and it felt like math with a purpose, so — and I got to combine the financial degree with the theatre degree, which made my parents much more comfortable with the fact that I was spending all of my summers working for regional theater companies basically, but it was a big part of learning who I am. And — and today in my role, I often remember being told that casting is 95 percent of directing, and putting the right person in the right seat is a lot about leading any business, so it definitely has played a part throughout. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So, you — you end up interning at Goldman Sachs on the trading floor pretty early in your career. Tell us what that was like and — and how theatrical was that. COHEN: Well, actually I came to Goldman out of business school. I — well, my first job was actually at BlackRock. That’s where I came out of college. I was at BlackRock for four years, went to business school. And part of why I went back to school after BlackRock was in my head I thought, “Maybe I could further combine this love of finance and love of theater. And how might I do that?” And I loved the idea of going back to school. I’m kind of a voracious learner, and I’d work hard and I liked the idea of meeting other people and seeing what was out there after four years of — of working. And in that summer and actually in the process of figuring out where I wanted to work for the summer, I visited the trading floor. And I walked onto the trading floor, and I thought this is it. It’s a lot like theater. It’s a lot like that like multi-tasking, high-energy collaborative environment where lots of things are happening at the same time. And I thrive in that. And so, actually, the theater — the — the trading floor I found pretty theatrical, and that really worked for me. RITHOLTZ: Yeah, there’s a — there’s a buzz, there’s an electricity on a big trading floor, which I think is one of the things that’s lost from old Wall Street. You can replace it with more efficient algorithms and technology. But man, when you walk onto a big floor, you just feel there’s nothing like that. And ever … COHEN: Right. RITHOLTZ: … have a desire to become a trader? Was that — did that ever appeal to you? COHEN: Until I walked onto the trading floor, the idea really scared me. And you know what? I — actually, I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this. I did not proactively send my résumé to the Securities Division. They reached out to me as part of a diversity hiring effort to get more women onto the trading floor. And the reason I didn’t send my résumé was it sounded really intimidating to me. And so, I think that’s just an important thing to — to note is that sometimes if something’s interesting, even if it’s intimidating, it’s worth checking out because I knew. And yes, there weren’t a lot of women on the floor when I walked out there, but it was really clear to me that I would, you know, once I got my bearing and learned to speak the language, it can be an intimidating place at first, but — but I knew it would be a great fit for me. RITHOLTZ: So, let me make sure I understand the chronology of your career. So, you intern at BlackRock, then you work at Goldman for like 16 years, something like, then you boomerang back to BlackRock. Did I — did I get that right? COHEN: Yeah, pretty much. I went to BlackRock out of college, and then business school from BlackRock, and then Goldman from business school, and then back to BlackRock. RITHOLTZ: That’s really, really interesting. I — I heard the phrase BlackRock boomerang. Is this a thing to people like work at BlackRock, leave, and then, you know, magnetically get drawn back? What’s that about? COHEN: In my case, it was definitely a thing. I don’t know the — like with the total stats are, but it’s definitely true for other people. I mean, people’s careers are marathons and — and not sprints. And — and, you know, part of my marathon — an important part of my marathon actually was that 16 years at Goldman. I think had it not been for that, I wouldn’t have the seat I currently occupy at BlackRock, so I’m pretty grateful for it. But also, I think my — my history with BlackRock and my passion for the firm and its purpose did draw me back as well. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about that seat you have at BlackRock. You recently were promoted to Chief Investment Officer of ETFs and index investments. That sounds like a pretty serious job, especially when we consider at BlackRock, you know, that’s well over $3 trillion in assets. Tell us a little bit about your new job responsibilities. COHEN: I’m really excited about the new job. And — and even more than — than me being in the job, I’m excited about the fact that we have a Chief Investment Officer role for ETFs and index. And it actually is broader than the ETF book. It’s our whole indexing book. And in the — and — and what it means in short is that I’m accountable for — for investment performance in our ETFs and index book, which I love telling people because sometimes they look at me and they say, “Well, I don’t really understand that. Isn’t investment performance the outperformance of a benchmark? And aren’t you, Samara, ETF and index person the benchmark?” So, what is investment performance? And we’ve done a lot of work really in partnership with our clients and articulating what that is. And in the case of ETFs and index, it’s two things. It’s first what we call market quality. What do you expect an ETF? It’s how it trades in the market, secondary market volumes, market quality in stress scenarios, premium discount behavior. There’s a bunch of metrics that we monitor with respect to ETF market quality. Part of my job is to be accountable for performing on those, and the other part is delivering on those index outcomes, which in a world where what we can index is evolving as more markets and more strategies are indexed. It’s also important that we deliver to investors what they had signed on for with that index objective. And so, that’s what it means to be the CIO of an ETF and index book. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned market quality and — and performing within the market, you know, was only less than two years ago we had the big COVID selloff in March, and people were concerned that ETFs were not going to be able to manage the — the pressure, they wouldn’t be able to deal with all of the stress, you know, all the usual criticisms of indexing plus additional criticisms of ETFs. How did ETFs perform during that 34 percent collapse from February to April of — of 2020? COHEN: The people who were concerned before the COVID bout of volatility had a huge and rich set of data to draw from when we emerge from those volatile markets that show that actually ETFs have really supported stressed markets, added liquidity, added transparency. And that was on a full display over the COVID volatility period, particularly in the bond market, where if you think about what was happening across the world, there were traders who were, you know, setting up their — their home desks, their — their home, you know — you know, hundreds of — that one trading floor that we talked about that came thousands and thousands of — of home office trading floors. And the bond market, in particular, still has largely operated in an over-the-counter bilateral basis in the bond market for — for that reason and a whole lot of other reasons. You know, and the treasury market, in particular, became very hard to access while ETF, you could see on your phone they were transparent, they were trading. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: One of the stats that I love to quote that I think is quite indicative of what was happening over that period is, you know, we had an investment grade ETF that traded on one of those volatile days in March — March 24th 90,000 times on exchange. And, of course, every time something prints on an exchange is price formation where its — its underlying bonds — the top holdings of that underlying bond portfolio traded, on average, 30 times. So, 90,000 versus 30. There just wasn’t price formation happening in the bond market, but it was happening in the ETF market with buyers and sellers meeting on exchange, which meant that there wasn’t a whole lot that needed to happen in the underlying bond market to — to support that. And so, really — and — and what’s interesting is you can see a whole lot’s been written by policymakers around the world about this supportive role that ETFs have effectively played in — in stressed markets. The, you know, SEC has written about it, the BOE, IOSCO, so it’s been exciting to have this really rich dataset to draw and looking back at that period. RITHOLTZ: The bond discussion is really interesting, and — and I was referring to equities, but we’ll circle back to that. You know, a lot of people have complained that bond markets are thin. You know, you have a few 1,000 stocks, but there are just countless, countless numbers of bonds — many, many more times of bonds than there are stocks. It seems like the bond ETF universe handled the crash — or plunged maybe is a more accurate word because it was so short — handled it pretty well. Everybody — we saw a lot of money rotate out of stocks into bonds. As a safe harbor, didn’t seem like there were a lot of dislocations or wild price anomalies or an inability to get an execution. The bond ETF universe seemed to behave really well. COHEN: The bond ETF universe behaved well. And as a result, the bond market behaved better. And that’s one of the things that I get really excited about because the fact is I’m really a lifelong markets reformer. That’s the passion that I have. I’ve spent my entire career in the markets and — and my desire, at this point, is to contribute to making them better, making them safer, more efficient, more transparent, and we can measure how bond ETFs actually did that in the bond market. And, in fact, interestingly, as a result of the — the demand for bond ETFs that came out of the COVID period, we had seen the bond market start to trade more electronically big pieces of the bond market portfolios in the bond market. Bond dealers have started to really invest in algorithmic pricing, which creates more transparency, more trading, and more liquidity. So, we’ve written about and we’ve observed this what we call a real virtuous cycle of how ETFs have been integrated into the fabric of — of capital markets across the board. And we can definitely talk about equities, but how in the bond market it has been good for bond ETFs and also good for bonds. RITHOLTZ: So, when we had the great financial crisis since ’08, ’09, I thought that was pretty much the end of the argument that indexing is problematic for markets or ETFs aren’t going to be able to handle pressure. That — that should have been the last word in that. I was kind of surprised to see those same arguments still hanging around. And then March 20202, the execution seemed to go off without a problem. There were a handful of individual stocks that’s sort of pricing get a little wacky. But is this the end of the passivist destroying the markets and ETFs are dangerous argument or is there — are they just going to throw this out every time there’s something else to complain about. COHEN: I love your thoughts on that, Barry. I would hope that it’s a — it’s — it’s closer to the end where we — where we can kind of look forward to — to numerous things that can improve the markets. But look you make an excellent point. I mean, to be fair, in 2008, I was — I was on the bond trading floor actually at Goldman and I didn’t know what an ETF was, like in 2008, you know, in — in the fixed income markets, you didn’t — you know, you — we weren’t talking about what ETFs were. But to your point, it is true. If we look back at the data during those weeks and months when what was so valued by investors was transparency and was so feared was the lack of transparency when all this information was coming out about bank balance sheets and what was on balance sheets, we did see a real pick up in volume and velocity of ETF trading in 2008 and in 2009. And we have repeated stressed market events like the big energy selloff that happened at the end of 2015, the — you know, what we call Volpocalypse that happened in February of 2018 where we have repeatedly seen ETFs perform well under pressure and actually add support to high-velocity markets. And yet this still, you know, comes out from time to time, which feels like kind of the language that comes out around any sort of disruptive technology. But I do think like we talked about that the — the data is pretty clear. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: You are definitely responsible for a lot of capital, and that leads me to a quote of yours that I — I need an explanation on. At BlackRock, there is absolutely nothing passive about index investing. Explain. COHEN: I am on a mission, Barry, to replace the word passive with the word index when people talk about ETFs and index investing because how we manage our portfolios is extremely active. And it goes back to that conversation we had about what investment performance is in the context of an ETF and index investment book. It is delivering the index outcomes, which the reason ETFs and – and index ones exist is that indexes aren’t often easily investable. They could have thousands and thousands of securities in them. And so, depending on how much you — you, you know, are investing, you can’t perfectly replicate the index, and so you need to optimize to deliver that index outcome with as little friction as possible. So that’s delivering the index outcomes. And then there is that huge dimension of ETF market quality, ensuring that the ETFs track the underlying portfolios with, you know, we call it premium discount behavior, ensuring that they’re strong secondary market quality, transparency, and liquidity in the ETFs. So, we have teams of people, not robots, but actual people. And a lot of them, by the way, are women around the world who are actively managing our market quality and investment performance in our ETF and index book. So that’s why there is absolutely nothing passive about it. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. We’ve gone through these periods whether these spasms of anti-indexing sentiment, and it goes all the way back to Jack Bogle and — and the early days of indexing in the 1970’s. Indexing is un-American. It’s — we’ve heard people call it Marxist. It’s going to lead to market crashes. What — what’s your perspective when you hear these things crop up? The – by the way, the latest one is it’s anti-competitive and it’s going to lead to price fixing and a lack of competition due to all this ownership. How do you respond to those sort of backwater, low review silliness? COHEN: I — I begin with — and we’ve written on this this year in — in something we call the Investor Progress Report, but we estimate that there’s about 120 million people around the world who are accessing our ETF and index capabilities. There are more people accessing the markets, and investing in the markets, and participating in economic growth on their terms than never before in history. And from my perspective, there’s really nothing that’s more American than that. So that’s how I think about it. I think ETFs bring markets. They bring the market access. They bring transparency. And increasingly, they bring choice to lots of individual investors who are saving for retirement and thinking about their financial futures with the help of ETFs in ways that they couldn’t before. And a lot of the — you know, one of the pieces that we — that we put out recently points out to the fact that a lot of the households who own ETFs in the United States have — have median incomes of $125,000. So, you’re talking about investors who simply didn’t have market access before who, as a result of ETFs and indexation, can — can get diversified strategies to manage their risk the way more sophisticated institutional investors have and participate in the markets. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about product engineering. Tell us a little bit about what that means. What sort of projects are these teams working on? It’s one of those phrases that definitely resonates. COHEN: I’m glad that it resonates. It’s something that we’ve been using for — for a few years now. And that team, which is global, there are product engineers in — in really every major region of the world. And they do two things. First, they help design the operating models and the investment process for — for new ETFs, how will creation redemption work, what are the characteristics of the index. What — you know, how will the index rebalance? Those types of things when it comes to new ETFs. And the second piece of what they do, which is actually really critical, is they continue to manage the structure of the product over its lifetime. So sometimes, we will identify something in one of those market quality statistics that, you know, let’s say it seems to be trading a little bit wide in the secondary market, and we’ll go out and we’ll talk to market makers and ask what’s happening. And they’ll say, well, it’s a little tricky to hedge because of X, Y, and Z. And sometimes, we can change something structurally and how the market interacts with the ETF to improve its investment performance in market quality. And that’s the purview of our product engineering group. So, I tell all of our teams, you know, I want all of our teams to be able to explain how they contribute to the active management of our ETF and index book, and that’s how the product engineering does by — by identifying the operating model and by continuously assessing and improving it. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about the rest of your team. You have portfolio engineers, risk managers, platform architects, market structure developers, and product operating model designers. That sounds like some very intriguing job descriptions. Tell us about what a market structure developer does or some of those other really interesting titles. COHEN: I think they’re all exciting jobs, and I do have to make a plug for — for anybody who is — is considering going into investing. It’s never a dumb question to ask what — what is the job, but because there are so many different jobs. And I remember when I was in college, I was almost scared to ask that. But — but as you just pointed out, and it’s — it’s, you know, fun for me to kind of hear you walk through it, there are so many different types of ways to be an investor and to participate in an investment platform. So really, we do three things. Number one, we manage day in and day out. We are responsible for the investment performance of our funds, how we’re managing the portfolios through rebalances, through corporate actions, and how we’re managing ETF market quality. That’s number one. Number two is we are continuously improving our platform in the Aladdin technology that we use to manage our portfolios to make things that can be lower touch — lower touch to give us capacity to spend more time on, you know, new markets and new strategies so that platform architecture piece, how we create scale that’s kind of bucket two of what we do. And the third part is ecosystem leadership. And you talked about — you know, we talked about how we engage with liquidity providers, with stock exchanges. Earlier, you talked about the — the COVID volatility. And I think it’s really important and — and was a really interesting case study in the U.S. that a lot of the volatility guardrails that had been put in place by the U.S. stock exchanges over the five years preceding March 2020, market-wide circuit breakers, limit up/limit down, like the whole limit up/limit down framework was really only 10 years old had been tested a few times and had its biggest test in March of 2020. We engaged very deeply with stock exchanges. Remember in the U.S., ETFs are between 30 and 40 percent of daily trading volume, so those volatility guardrails really matter from a market quality perspective. So, focusing on the external environment for our ETFs, that’s what we mean by ecosystem developer. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned Aladdin. I just finished a couple of months ago the book, “Trillions” by Robin Wigglesworth, and he describes the Aladdin system really as the technological backbone of — of BlackRock from the very beginning and the secret sauce to that successful scaling. Tell us a little bit about — for — for a person who may be not familiar with Aladdin, tell us a little bit about that. COHEN: Aladdin is how we — we arm our investment managers, both BlackRock’s investment managers and the investment managers who are — who are Aladdin clients outside of BlackRock with best-in-class risk management tool. And it is the — the DNA of the firm. And I can say that actually because as I’ve shared with you, I was at the firm pretty much at its — at the beginning. BlackRock was started in — in 1988, and — and I started there in — in 1993. And the reason BlackRock was founded really was a group of fixed income markets, specifically mortgage-backed security experts who said, “We can take this technology that’s been built on the sell-side and deliver it directly to clients as a fiduciary to help them create better outcomes.” So, giving — putting better risk management tools directly in the hands of — of clients was really BlackRock’s founding mission. And — and that’s what Aladdin has grown in today. First, it was the system that all of BlackRock’s portfolio managers used, and then it became a system that — that other asset managers wanted to — to access as well, and it is really the — the backbone of how we — we look at risk and we run our portfolios. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. So, let’s talk a little bit about ESG generally, and then we’ll — we’ll — we’ll dig down a little more specifically. Your boss, Larry Fink, famously pens a — a letter each year to Corporate America’s. Tell us a little bit about why we do that and — and what — what’s the thinking behind that. COHEN: Larry writes a letter to start a conversation, and it’s really a conversation with our clients who are owners in all of these companies across Corporate America and — and what we think are — are the top of mind themes for the year ahead. And it’s a good integration of everything we’ve heard from clients, and how we’re thinking about the markets, and how we’re thinking about risk. And it becomes really a — a point of — of bringing people together us inside the firm and us with our clients to — to take a look at the world and what we’ve learned over the past year, and — and what we want to bring to — to the year in front of us. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about corporate governance. How do you think about that in terms of affecting risk? COHEN: The conversation about corporate governance is one we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about because, as — as you know, but it probably bears, you know, speaking to explicitly, in a lot of cases, we vote the shares on behalf of the clients whose money we manage. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: And the question is do those clients want to vote the shares themselves? And something we did in December and it’s actually gone live this month or it went live at the beginning of 2022 was work to give our institutional clients and some of our comingled fund clients, but a — a good portion of our assets the option whether they’d want to vote their shares or not. So, it’s early to say are they going to take it us up on it or not, but that will be very instructive to us because our job is to help them create better financial futures, create better portfolio outcomes. In some cases, they may want to participate in the corporate governance process themselves. In other cases, they may want to intentionally delegate it to us, and we had a very big what we call investment stewardship function where we, you know, were very transparent. We publish the criteria in terms of what we think is important when we engage with companies, but some investors feel like, well, that — that engagement with companies is part of the value proposition that I hire my asset manager for. And some investors may feel, nope, I’d like them to manage my assets, but I want the votes. And we are really hopeful of increasingly being able to give those investors choice. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about ESG generally. You know, for a long time, it’s captured a lot of mindshare. People have talked about it, especially with climate change and the focus on the environment, but it doesn’t seem like ESG is captured as many inflows as it has, you know, sort of mindshare. What are your thoughts on that? Is this going to be a persistent gap or are we seeing more people, especially younger generations more interested in ESG investing? COHEN: I think flows are actually the tip of the ESG iceberg, and what you don’t see below the surface is the integration and evaluation of ESG risk across portfolios. And that has captured a huge amount of time and attention from investors and — and certainly from us. And it’s actually really exciting from — from an investor perspective that reminds me again dating myself here. But when I started at BlackRock, I — it was in — in, you know, 1993, and I think in the five years since BlackRock was founded, interest rates had dropped something like 300 basis points, right, like late 80’s call it 10 percent on the bond to — to seven percent. And one of the big topics of risk in the fixed income market was mortgage prepayments. And so, figuring out how to model that, articulate that, make that transparent better than anybody else, again a big part of BlackRock’s value prop that it was bringing to investors, and we are doing the same thing today with climate risk and with ESG integration. And we have integrated ESG metrics across our portfolios and transition risk metrics, so we can assess what sort of risks are there. And that’s the really the first step. It’s measurement, and transparency, and then decisions around capital commitment, and — and risk taking. RITHOLTZ: So — so I want to restate a little bit of what you’re saying. I’ve traditionally heard ESG described as I want to invest in a way that parallels my personal values, but you’re really describing ESG as a risk management tool, as a way to screen out potentially problematic concerns, sectors, companies, whatever. Am I — am I overstating that or is that a fair translation? COHEN: Both statements are actually true. It’s a spectrum, so what we need to do is give our clients choice and — and clarity, and — and help them articulate because often they’re not even sure where they want to be in that spectrum, but I would say the majority of the conversations that we have right now are much more understanding. Looking at my portfolio today, what are my ESG risks broadly? What are my climate risks? What are my risks to a net zero transition? And then the second question is how do I want to manage those. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. Let’s talk a little bit about no carbon and low carbon. That was kind of a — a hot topic a couple of years ago. I’ve always been a little perplexed by that because if you back out the big carbon producers in the S&P 500 everybody else who’s left are giant carbon consumers. How should we think about something like carbon? Is that the most attractive approach to dealing with I’m concerned about climate change or — or — or global warming? COHEN: It depends on what your goal is. And again, I think a big part of what our work has been is to offer a spectrum for investors who are trying to do different things. And even more importantly and this has been meaningful to me as a personal investor, offer transparency around what it all means. So, something we did in December is we published a metric for all of our public index and all of our ETFs called the ITR Metric, Implied Temperature Rise. And the beauty of this metric is it’s really easy to understand. You can pull up anything on our website. You can see the ITR Metric, and you can see is it Paris-aligned or not, meaning is it, you know, 1.5 degrees or lower or is it higher? And — and we show the spectrum of — of bands and ranges. And — and what you can see is, you know, to your point, 90 percent of — of companies in — in MSCI ACWI are not Paris-aligned … RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: … but step number one is — is getting transparency in terms of your book, and then deciding do you want to take the first step and move to something that is a screen diversion of — of that index or go much further and — and take more targeted exposures. And what we hear from clients is, you know, they want different things, so putting out that spectrum and putting out those measurements really, you know, looking to be champions of transparency in this world, which as it emerges can kind of become a Tower of Babel in terms of the different languages and different metrics. So arming investors, both institutional and personal investors, with the tools to understand what does this mean for me, that’s really been the priority. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting, the old Peter Drucker line is if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And having metrics sounds like a great, great start. So, let’s talk a little bit about what it’s been like the past couple of years with the pandemic, and then last summer delta, it felt like it was ending, and then omicron hit. I keep hearing all these firms are trying to get their staffers back into the office and on the trading desks. Tell us what — what you guys are doing. Are you going to have everybody back in the office? Are you going to be remote? Are you going to be hybrid? What’s your thinking about the world going forward? COHEN: We are going to pilot a hybrid model, and we actually started piloting it in certain parts of the world, including New York City, prior to omicron. And what it was was you are welcome to back — to come back to the office for five days. If you would like to take two remote days, take two remote days, and — and we’ll see how that plays out. And then omicron happened and we kind of, you know, pulled back on the pilot and — and we’ll put it back in hopefully in a few weeks. I’m — I’m in the office right now. RITHOLTZ: I see. COHEN: I like being in the office. And I think we’ve had a whole bunch of learning. So, I mean, of course, our number one priority is making sure that people are safe and that people are healthy, but healthy doesn’t just mean, you know, being safe from the — from — from the virus. It means being mentally healthy. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: And — and one of the things we’ve learned is — is a lot of us really missed the connection with other people. So, creating an environment where you can have those moments of human connection in the office. And, of course, there were moments of human connection that people, you know, particularly with kids of different ages we’re — we’re having at home that they didn’t have before, so trying to take those learnings from the pandemic and employ them in a way that makes people healthier physically and healthier mentally, that’s what the goal is. But I imagine we will be experimenting for a while both based if conditions in the world change and — and as we see how it works in our offices. RITHOLTZ: Yeah, the — the challenge has been how do you manage corporate culture over Zoom or remotely. And BlackRock has a very specific corporate culture. Lots of other firms are trying to maintain that. Finding that right balance seems to be a work in progress that we’re all going to be dealing with over the next couple of quarters or years for all we know. COHEN: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about the rising demand for ETFs. It seems that lots of institutional traders are driving ETF demand. Can — can you talk to that a little bit? I’m curious as to your perspectives. COHEN: What might surprise you to hear is one of the biggest adopters of — of ETFs has been other asset managers. So institutional asset managers, you know, like, you know, BlackRock’s own asset managers outside of the index business who are integrating ETFs into their own pursuit as alpha generally to, you know, use ETFs as a cash equitization tool to look at ETFs alongside other sources of market beta like futures contracts or swap contracts, to look at options on ETFs. Often, we’ve seen — and — and this was actually a very interesting story going into the Brexit referendum, there weren’t a lot of volatility place out there, but there were some U.K. — we had a U.K. equity market ETF and — with options — with options ecosystem around it. An options open interest went up 1,800 percent … RITHOLTZ: Wow. COHEN: … into the referendum because it was a way to play volatility, and sometimes that would be an asset manager’s first experience of an ETF because they were looking for some sort of non-linear payout. And then they would become more interested in integrating ETFs as another wrapper, another tool in their overall toolkit in — in making money. So that has been one of the largest sources of — of adoption of ETF. RITHOLTZ: I have a very vivid recollection, I want to say 15 or 20 years ago. Hearing certain institutions say — or institutional fund managers say, “Look, we want to get exposure either to broad equity market or to the specific sector, but our due diligence and our research process takes so long that by the time we pick a particular company, a particular manager, a particular investment, the move is half over, I could just use the ETF and get instant exposure to X. Do you still see that sort of behavior or am I going too far back in history? COHEN: No, we absolutely see that behavior. Often, you know, people will use the ETF as a placeholder as they do that research and figure out where they want that exposure to be specifically. So sometimes they have longer-term horizon, sometimes they have shorter-term horizons, but again, this is actually a key reason why we see that increase in ETF trading during high velocity markets as they are very convenient and transparent way to manage risk and pivot exposures during fast-moving markets. So, you can make quick changes to adapt your risk profile and work into what your longer-term target state might be, and we do continue to see that. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Let’s talk about thematic ETFs. They seem to have exploded in popularity the past couple of years. How exciting is that for you guys to work on? And what do you see coming down the pipe? What — what’s new and interesting? COHEN: It’s so exciting that we can increasingly index new types of strategies and access new types of markets, and — and that’s really what we’re about, bringing the markets to investors on their terms. And, you know, one of the things that really brought it home for me with some of our climate-focused ETFs was being able to find something that my kids connected to. My daughter is a big environmentalist. She’s a part of her school’s Environmental Action Committee, and I think she never thought that ETFs were — or investing was particularly relevant to her. And talking to her about a climate-focused ETF, it was a conversation. So, part of how we are bringing more people into the markets is helping them connect to the themes that are important to them and then helping them use those as a way to start to construct the portfolios that will deliver the outcomes they’re looking for. RITHOLTZ: So, one of the big things that we’ve seen has been the rise of direct indexing. What are your thoughts on that? Is this a challenge to ETFs? And we’ve seen a lot of big institutions buy direct indexing shop. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts with that. COHEN: Direct indexing is a — is a very important part of the index and — and ETF ecosystem. About half of our book actually is direct indexing versus ETFs. Increasingly actually, there’s also been attention to what — to — to smaller direct indexing opportunities more for individual investors where we — we acquired Aperio to — to offer that service as well. So, I think direct indexing for individuals, for institutions fits nicely into that overall ecosystem. When you come to those things we talked about around what value the ETF wrapper brings, that secondary market liquidity, the transparency, that’s the role that ETFs play, but there’s certainly a role for a — a very important role for direct indexing, too. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. Your bio mentions that you’re an advocate for employee networks. Can you speak a little bit towards that? I — I know this is like a total subject change, but I don’t want to not get to this question. Tell us a little bit about employee networks, and — and what are they? And — and what role do you play with those? COHEN: I’ve been a big beneficiary over the course of my career of the networking and visibility that comes from being part of, you know, in my case, women’s networks. It’s an opportunity to meet and connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise know and an opportunity to — to think more intentionally and — and strategically about your career and — and maybe expand your universe of role models. So that’s how I participated in employee networks. And at BlackRock, one of the things I love about being a — a senior advocate for — for many of the networks is I really believe that you can’t do your best work unless you can talk about your challenges both inside and outside the office. And a lot of times these networks create safe spaces for people to talk about what they’ve struggled with, how they’ve overcome that. And — and — and I find that really inspiring and — and it helps me recruit great people. So — so it’s something that’s very important to me. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay with that topic, finance is notorious for not having a lot of diversity or inclusion. I know BlackRock has a couple of initiatives in that space. Tell us about them. COHEN: I’ve spent my career, you know, being asked the question of — of, well, what’s it like being a woman in finance. And — and we could talk about this for — for a really long time, what’s it like being a woman, what’s it like being a mother, what’s it like being a parent. And — and it’s always hard when you feel different no matter what. No matter what the source of the differences, I think it can be very hard to — to feel safe and to feel secure amid differences. And — and that is what we try to sell for, whether it’s with employee networks, whether it’s, you know, creating mentorships and role models, although I’ll have to say a lot of my — my most memorable mentors weren’t necessarily women. But again, thinking about those challenges, which are different for — for different people, talking about them and making people feel safe and raising what they are, that’s what we try to focus on the most. And — and probably, I think that’s what’s changed the most over the course of my career. I think early in my career I felt the imperative was to, you know, not — not address the fact that there were differences and just get out there and — and try to act like everybody else, and — and that didn’t necessarily work for me. But, you know, it was sometimes hard to talk about that. And so, talking about it like — and having transparency to those things has — you know, has really been the first step and — and one that we have to take again and again. So, I think it’s — it’s not an old conversation, it’s not a dated conversation. I am incredibly proud, Barry, that the leadership team of the ETF and index platform is majority female. And we talk all the time about how to increase our diversity — diversity of thought, racial diversity, geographic diversity because we think if we bring our differences to the table we’ll perform better. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: So, let me throw you a curveball. You’re short of a bicoastal, New York and Boca. How do you split your time? And — and given what we’ve learned about working from home, can you operate from anywhere you have an internet connection? COHEN: I — I live in New York, Barry. I live in New York. I’m in the New York City office right now. I have a home in Florida. And — and I’ll tell you a funny story. My — my husband loves Florida, so we’ve always — we’ve had a home in Florida for a while. He — he’s a — he’s an investment manager, a triathlete. He cycles a lot. He plays a lot of golf. He, you know, does some work from down there. But I was always in Florida for vacations and weekends until the pandemic when during that 2020 spring lockdown I spent about six weeks there and — and liked it more than — than — than I had. So — but now Florida is — is — is really weekends and — and vacations for me. But last night, you’ll like the story. My daughter texted my husband and said, “Hey, dad, I’m wondering. Are you coming home tonight or are you going to be in New York City?” And, by the way, my husband and I were at a restaurant in New York City. So, the kids like to joke that my husband lives in Florida, but — but actually, we are — I am mostly here. And — and between May and November, he is mostly in — in New York City as well. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. So, I know I only have you for so much time. Let me jump to my favorite questions that we ask all of our guests starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days. What have been keeping you entertained when everybody has been stuck at home? COHEN: I have three categories of — of things I stream, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, Barry, the things I watch with my husband, the things I get my kids to sit down and watch with me, and — and the stuff I watch for myself. So — so in each category, my husband and I, we love Ted Lasso. That was one of our favorite things of the pandemic. And we also love Yellowstone. My — my kids will not sit down to watch the same shows together no matter how much I try. So, with my son, we’re watching Boba Fett and the Mandalorian. With my daughter, it’s been Emily in Paris. They are 15 and 13. And, you know, I’ll tell you for myself, I finished the — the sequel to Sex and the City and Just Like That, and I loved it. It was, you know, women around my age talking about dealing with their teenage kids and finding meaning in their lives. And I know the reviews were — were pretty mixed, but I really loved it. RITHOLTZ: We talked briefly, but you didn’t give us any names about some of the mentors who helped shape your career. Tell us about those folks. COHEN: I have had great mentors and sponsors, and I think it’s important to talk about both. I don’t think until more recently in my career I understood what a sponsor was, a sponsor being somebody who will actually work intentionally to — to move your career forward. But the — at Goldman Sachs, I had the, you know, privilege of working with John Rogers who asked me to testify to Congress in front of the House Banking Committee on — to represent Goldman, which was the scariest thing I had ever done. And what John told me, which I will never forget, it — it’s the scariest things that once you do, you are the proudest of — of having done. Marty Chavez, who I also worked for Goldman, was a tremendous mentor. And I think importantly, as I said, I’ve had — I’ve had some great female role models, but I’ve had some awesome male mentors. I think my high school calculus teacher Judy Conan (ph) probably changed the course of my career. So those three are my biggest mentors. At BlackRock, my — my boss Salim Ramji, our Head of H.R. Manish Mehta who was the — you know, had this job before me, they’ve been great sponsors. And I think being intentional about providing sponsorship as well as mentorship is something we think about a lot. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I know you read a lot. Tell us some of your favorite books and — and what are you reading right now. COHEN: I am — I’m sure you are as well, I am a voracious reader and I’m usually reading multiple books at a time. So, the two I am reading right now I kind of usually have something fiction, something non-fiction. The nonfiction book I’m reading is “Digital Body Language,” which in the, you know, situation that we’re in right now, it’s fascinating how — how — how we create a digital body language, how people respond to it and what you need to think about it. That’s my non-fiction book right now. And my fiction book, I’m — I’m a few chapters in and I’m loving it, it’s called “The Louding Voice,” and it’s about a young woman, a young teenager in a rural Nigerian village who gets married very young, and — and is thirsting for an education because she wants to find her louding voice, and that’s probably a theme in everything I read about women — people in general, but often women finding their voices and using them. And one of the books I read recently that — that had a big impact on me, a colleague of mine actually gave it to me when I was promoted to CIO, it was Indra Nooyi’s memoir, “My Life in Full.” And I absolutely love that book. She started out by saying, “I intended to write a book about my career as CEO of PepsiCo and not write about my life as a mother and a wife. I didn’t want to write that book. And what I ended up writing was exactly that book,” because when you’re a mom or a parent and a wife and — and how you show up with that to the office, you know, as a CEO weaving all of that together, she did brilliantly and it was really moving. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I have a book recommendation for your daughter. This is a fascinating book called “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming” by McKenzie Funk that describes, since your daughter is interested in ESG investing … COHEN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … it describes how the entire world to finance slowly started recognizing investment opportunities both at, you know, the individual company level, the ESG level, but also at the venture capital and startup level, and how Wall Street has arms into all these industries that are working on either climate change or, you know, electric cars. And — and — and that book is ready about five years old. So, when they talk about firms like Tesla, they’re still fairly nascent. Maybe it’s seven years old, 2014-2015. But if she’s interested in that, it’s a really well-written book and it’s really fascinating. She may really, really enjoy it. Let’s go on to our next question. Speaking of younger people, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who is interested in a career in either finance or investment management? COHEN: Ask all of your questions. Find people, ask your questions. There are no dumb questions. And — and if it sounds interesting to you, it’s worth having a conversation about it. I wish I had done that more. In a lot of ways, I feel like I — I got lucky. I — I told you I was the product of actually a diversity recruiting effort that led me to the — to the trading floor at Goldman. But if it sounds interesting, it’s worth doing the exploration. And — and networking and finding friends and just saying, hey, can I spend 10 minutes and ask you about your job? Doing that a lot, I think, is an awesome idea. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world of investing today you wish you knew 25, 30 years ago when you were first getting started? COHEN: If you asked me 30 years ago what I thought about the world of investing, I probably would have said Gordon Gekko. I mean, I was really thinking Wall Street. And — and even, you know, when I was in college, that was the — that was the vision that I had. That’s what you had to look like to be — to be an investor. Now what I know is excellence looks like lots of different things in the world of investing. And, you know, if you’re a woman, if you’re a person of color, it’s — you can be excellent. And, in fact, if you’re a theater major, you can find a path. I think there is a superpower in being different. And my mother always suggested that to me 30 years ago, so — so maybe I should say that’s what I wish I’d believe 30 years ago when I was told. Now I know it’s true. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Samara, thank you for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Samara Cohen. She is the Chief Investment Officer for ETFs and index investments at BlackRock. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of the previous several hundred we’ve done over the past eight years. You can find that at iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, wherever you feed your podcast fix. Check out my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week. Mark Siniscalchi is my Audio Engineer. Paris Wald is my Producer. Shawn Russo (ph) is my Researcher. Atika Valbrun is our Project Manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~     The post Transcript: Samara Cohen appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureMar 29th, 2022

Check out these 43 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Helping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Johnson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersHelping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo Parejo.KaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed round 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series A Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounder.GleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingBetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay Davis.AtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Data science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of Counterpart.CounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BCrypto staking made easyEthan and Eric Parker, founders of crypto-investing app Giddy.GiddyFrom the outside looking in, cryptocurrency can seem like a world of potential, but also one of complexity. That's because digital currencies, which can be traded, invested in, and moved like traditional currencies, operate on decentralized blockchain networks that can be quite technical in nature. Still, they offer the promise of big gains and have been thrusted into the mainstream over the years, converting Wall Street stalwarts and bankers.But for the everyday investor, a fear of missing out is settling in. That's why brothers Ethan and Eric Parker built Giddy, a mobile app that enables users to invest in crypto, earn passive income on certain crypto holdings via staking, and get into the red-hot space of decentralized finance, or DeFi."What we're focusing on is giving an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't access DeFi because it's just technically too difficult," Eric Parker, CEO at Giddy, told Insider. Here's the 7-page pitch deck Giddy, an app that lets users invest in DeFi, used to raise an $8 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceRetirement accounts for cryptoTodd Southwick, CEO and co-founder of iTrustCapital.iTrustCapitalTodd Southwick and Blake Skadron stuck to a simple mandate when they were building out iTrustCapital, a $1.3 billion fintech that strives to offer cryptocurrencies to the masses via dedicated individual retirement accounts."We wanted to make a product that we would feel happy recommending for our parents to use," Southwick, the CEO of iTrustCapital, told Insider. That guiding framework resulted in a software system that helped to digitize and automate the traditionally clunky and paper-based process of setting up an IRA for alternative assets, Southwick said. "We saw a real opportunity within the self-directed IRAs because we knew at that point in time, there was a fairly small segment of people that was willing to deal with the inconvenience of having to set up an IRA" for crypto, Southwick said. The process often involved phone calls to sales reps and over-the-counter trading desks, paper and fax machines, and days of wait time.iTrustCapital allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using tax-advantaged IRAs with no monthly account fees. The startup provides access to 25 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin — charging a 1% transaction fee on crypto trades — as well as gold and silver.iTrustCapital, a fintech simplifying how to set up a crypto retirement account, used this 8-page pitch deck to raise a $125 million Series AA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 28th, 2022

The Upshots Of The New Housing Bubble Fiasco

The Upshots Of The New Housing Bubble Fiasco Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com, “The free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America.” - Senator Jim Bunning, September 19, 2008 House Prices Go Vertical The epic housing bubble and bust in the mid-to-late-2000s was dreadfully disruptive for many Americans.  Some never recovered.  Now the central planners have done it again… On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its U.S. House Price Index (HPI) for September.  According to the FHFA HPI, U.S. house prices rose 18.5 percent from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021. By comparison, consumer prices have increased 6.2 from a year ago.  That’s running hot!  But 6.2 percent consumer price inflation is nothing.  House prices have inflated nearly 3 times as much over this same period. Here in the Los Angeles Basin, for example, things are so out of whack you have to be rich to afford a 1,200 square foot fixer upper in a modest area.  Yet the clever fellows in Washington have just the solution. Massive house price inflation has prompted the FHFA, and the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) it regulates, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to jack up the limits of government backed loans to nearly a million bucks in some areas. Specifically, the baseline conforming loan limit for 2022 will be $647,000, up nearly $100,000 from last year.  In higher cost areas, conforming loans are 150 percent of baseline – or $970,800.  What gives? If you recall, ultra-low interest rates courtesy of the Federal Reserve following the dot com bubble and bust provided the initial gas for the 2000s housing bubble.  However, the housing bubble was really inflated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The GSEs relaxed lending standards and, thus, funneled a seemingly endless supply of credit to the mortgage market. The stated objective of these GSEs was to make housing affordable for Americans.  But their efforts did the exact opposite. The GSEs puffed up the housing bubble to a place where average Americans had no hope of ever being able to afford a place of their own.  Then, when the pool of suckers dried up, about the time rampant fraud and abuse cracked the credit market, people got destroyed. If you also recall, it wasn’t until credit markets froze over like the Alaskan tundra in late 2008 that the Fed first executed the radical monetary policies of quantitative easing (QE).  To be clear, QE had nothing to do with the last housing bubble; ultra-low interest rates and GSE intervention did the trick on their own.  QE came after. But now, in the current housing bubble incarnation, the Fed’s been buying $40 billion in mortgage backed securities per month since June 2020.  Is there any question why house prices have gone vertical over this time? The Fed is now tapering back its mortgage and treasury purchases.  This comes too little too late.  And with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now jacking up their conforming loan limits, house prices could really jump off the charts. We’ll have more on the current intervention efforts of these GSEs in just a moment.  But first, to fully appreciate what they are up to, we must revisit the not too distant past… Socialized Losses A moral hazard is the idea that a person or party shielded from risk will behave differently than if they were fully exposed to the risk.  A person who has automobile theft insurance, for instance, may be less careful about securing their car because the financial consequence of a stolen car would be endured by the insurance company. Financial bail-outs, of both lenders and borrowers, by governments, central bankers, or other institutions, produce moral hazards; they encourage risky lending and risky speculation in the future because borrowers and lenders believe they will not carry the full burden of losses. Do you remember the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s? The U.S. Government picked up the tab –  about $125 billion (a hefty amount at the time) – when over 1,000 savings and loan institutions failed.  What you may not know is the seeds of crisis were propagated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression when he established the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) and the Federal Saving and Loan Insurance Company (FSLIC). From then on, borrowers and bank lenders no longer had concern for losses – for they would be covered by the government.  The Savings and Loan crisis confirmed this, and further propagated the moral hazard culminating in the subprime lending meltdown. Obama’s big bank bailout of 2008-09 socialized the losses.  Then the Fed’s QE and ultra-low interest rates furthered the moral hazard.  These are now the origins of the current housing and mortgage market bubble…and future bust. By guaranteeing mortgage securities up to nearly $1 million in some areas the government encourages risky lending by banks and speculation by investors.  Banks are less prudent about who they loan money to because the loans will be securitized and sold to investors.  Similarly, investors speculate on these securities because they are guaranteed by the government. Once again, the government is promoting a “heads, I win…tails, you lose” milieu where banks and investors reap big profits taking on big risks and where the losses are socialized by tax payers.  It also sets the stage for massive grift… The Anatomy of a Swindler FDR – the thirty-second U.S. President – was responsible for setting up Fannie Mae.  But another FDR – Franklin Delano Raines – was responsible for running it into the ground. The son of a Seattle janitor, FDR grew up knowing what it was like to have not.  He concluded at a young age it was better to have. Yet it was while mixing with Ivy Leaguers at Harvard University and Harvard Law School where he really refined his thinking.  He came to believe the government should be responsible for supplying the have nots with tax payer sponsored philanthropy. FDR came out of school with the wide eyed ambition of a lab rat.  He was determined to sniff out his way to wealth…and once and for all, find that ever illusive cheese at the end of the maze. The first corner he peered around smelled remarkably prospective.  But he came up empty.  Three years in the Carter Administration didn’t offer the compensation he’d dreamed of. To have was better, remember.  The next corner FDR peered around was much more lucrative.  He did an 11 year stint at an investment bank. But it was in 1991 when FDR got his big break.  For it was then that he became Fannie Mae’s Vice Chairman.  And it was then that he garnered hands on access to muck with the lives of millions.  Still, he wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. To learn such tips and tricks, FDR studied one of the true masters of our time…Bill Clinton.  From 1996 to 1998, he was the Clinton Administration’s Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.  There he discovered you must have a vision…a mission…a delusion that is so grand and so absurd, the world will love you for it. One evening, in the autumn of 1997, it came to him in a flash.  Staring deep into the pot of his chicken soup, just as it approached boil, he hallucinated an image of a house.  Suddenly a small part of the grey matter of his brain opened up… For where Hoover had foreseen a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, FDR now foresaw much, much more.  A chicken and a car were not good enough.  In FDR’s world, everyone should also get a house with a pot to cook the chicken in and a garage to park the car in.  And he knew just how to give it to them. Yet best of all, FDR also knew he could become remarkably rich pawning houses to the downtrodden.  So in 1999, he returned to Fannie Mae as CEO and got to work on his master plan… Fraudulent Earnings Statements It was a pretty simple four point plan… If low interest rates make housing more affordable, then even lower interest rates make housing even more affordable. So, too, if 20 percent down put housing out of reach for some, then 10 percent down was better. And zero percent down was optimal. Similarly, if a borrower’s credit score doesn’t meet the requisite credit standard, just relax the standard. And lastly, if a borrower’s income is too low to qualify for a loan, just let them state what ever income it is that they must have to get the loan. With the ground rules in place by 1999, FDR began the pilot program that would ultimately ruin the finances of the western world.  It involved issuing bank loans to low to moderate income earners, and to ease credit requirements on loans that Fannie Mae purchased from banks. FDR promoted the program stating that it would allow consumers who were, “A notch below what our current underwriting has required,” get a home. Here’s how it worked… Banks made loans to people to buy houses they really couldn’t afford.  Fannie Mae bought the bad loans and bundled them together with good ones as mortgage backed securities.  Wall Street then bought these mortgage backed securities, rated them AAA, and then sold them the world over…taking a nice cut for their services. FDR had a heavy hand in the action too.  By overstating earnings, and shifting losses, he pocketed the large bonuses a janitor’s son could only dream of.  According to a September 19, 2008 article by Jonah Goldberg, titled, Washington Brewed the Poison, FDR “…made $52 million of his $90 million compensation package thanks in part to fraudulent earnings statements.” Efforts to reform the scheme were stopped by the Democrats in Congress, who weren’t ready to give up the gravy train of money that flowed from Fannie Mae to their campaigns.   “Barack Obama, the Senate’s second-greatest recipient of donations from Fannie and Freddie after [Christopher] Dodd, did nothing.” Now, just 13 years later, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at it again… Here We Go Again On June 23, 2021, in Collins v. Yellen, the Supreme Court decided the President could remove the FHFA director without cause.  The next day, President Biden replaced Trump’s director of the FHFA, Mark Calabria, with a temporary appointment. FHFA, as noted above, regulates government-backed housing lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Prior to getting his pink slip, Calabria had been working to reduce the harm these GSEs could do to the economy. Biden’s replacement immediately reversed course, reinstituting the social engineering policies that brought down the housing market in 2008.  Acting Director Sandra Thomas: “There is a widespread lack of affordable housing and access to credit, especially in communities of color.  It is FHFA’s duty through our regulated entities to ensure that all Americans have equal access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.”  One could mistake these words for those of Franklin Delano Raines.  Certainly, the madness it fosters will be Raines like.  The Wall Street Journal reports: “The problem the [Biden] administration sees is that housing and rental prices are too high.  The fact that the administration’s own policies have caused an inflationary trend in housing along with food, energy and gasoline, among others, is no deterrent. “[…] the administration wants people who would otherwise rent to become homeowners.  These young families would take on the risk and the burden of a mortgage, which the government—through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—will make much cheaper.  Investors, of course, will buy these risky mortgages from Fannie and Freddie because they are backed by the government.  “Here we go again.  The only difference between what the administration is proposing, and what brought about the 2008 financial crisis is that the economy is already in an inflationary period, induced by the administration’s other policies.  This will make homeownership even riskier.  In addition, Fannie and Freddie will be buying mortgages of up to $1 million, instead of $450,000. “But the government’s lower underwriting standards drive down standards for private lenders, too.  Banks and other mortgage lenders—if they want to stay in the business—have to offer their mortgages on similar terms.  People who own homes then dive into the market to take advantage of the low down payments, and housing prices rise even faster. This encourages cash-out mortgages, in which homeowners reduce the equity in their homes, sometimes to buy a boat.  “The process goes on for years until prices are so high that sales growth falls and homeowners can’t sell their homes to pay off their mortgages.  Housing prices then collapse, mortgages go unpaid.  Banks, other lenders, and even Fannie and Freddie incur losses and another financial crisis begins.” But wait, there’s more… The Upshots of the New Housing Bubble Fiasco House prices are already in bubble territory in many places across the county.  At these prices, who’s buying? Wall Street.  Pension funds.  BlackRock Inc.  And many, many others… Institutional investors have securitized the residential real estate market.  Hundreds of firms are competing with regular house buyers.  They’re also bidding up house prices. Invitation Homes, for example, is a publicly traded company that was spun off from BlackRock in 2017.  Invitation Homes gets billion dollar loans at interest rates around 1.4 percent – about half the rate of what regular house buyers get.  Often times they just pay in cash. According to a recent SEC disclosure, Invitation Homes’ portfolio of houses is worth $16 billion.  The company collects about $1.9 billion in rent per year.  Thus it takes only about eight years of rental payments to pay back a typical house that Invitation Homes has bought. Invitation Homes now owns over 80,000 rental houses and has a market capitalization of $24.6 billion.  The company has deep pockets.  Regular house buyers cannot compete. No doubt, this is an ugly situation.  The ugliness hasn’t been created by institutional investors.  They’re merely scratching for yield in a world where capital markets have been destroyed by the Fed.  Of course, there’s no situation that’s too ugly for Washington to not make even uglier. According to a recent White House fact sheet: “As supply constraints have intensified, large investors have stepped up their real-estate purchases, including of single-family homes in urban and suburban areas. […].  Large investor purchases of single-family homes and conversion into rental properties speeds the transition of neighborhoods from homeownership to rental and drives up home prices for lower cost homes, making it harder for aspiring first-time and first-generation home buyers, among others, to buy a home. […] “President Biden is committed to using every tool available in government to produce more affordable housing supply as quickly as possible, and to make supply available to families in need of affordable, quality housing – rather than to large investors.” This logic validates FHFA jacking up the limits for conforming loans.  Indeed, the clever fellows in Washington want to make housing more affordable by allowing more and more people to take on massive subsidized mortgages.  The logic makes perfect sense…so long as you have the intelligence of a box of rocks. We all know where this goes.  We all know where this leads. First time house buyers, competing with institutional investors, will use the government’s relaxed lending standards to chase prices higher and higher.  Then, once the mortgage market is sufficiently riddled with fraud and corruption and tens of millions of Americans are tied into loans they cannot repay, the impossible will happen… House prices will go down! …along with the hopes and dreams of those that got sucked into this wickedness. Sandra Thomas will be flummoxed.  Congress will socialize the losses once again.  And populace rage will be channeled into some new Occupy Wall Street movement.  Then things will really get ugly. These – and many more – are the upshots of the new housing bubble fiasco. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/04/2021 - 09:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 4th, 2021

Meet the typical Gen Zer, who is quitting their job, has over $17,000 in student debt, and is influencing nearly everything you buy

Gen Z has entered the spotlight. From fashion to work, they're setting the tone for the 2020s and poised to take over the economy in a decade. Gen Z is ready for the spotlight.TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images Gen Z, the oldest of whom turn 24 this year, is the new "it" generation. They're setting trends in fashion and in the workplace, influencing consumer and worker behavior. And they're saving more than they're spending and set to dominate the economy in 20 years. Gen Z has stolen the crown from millennials as the media darling of the moment. The generation, the oldest of whom turn 24 this year, is in the spotlight as they begin to wield influence over lifestyle, work, and consumer trends. Look no further than various headlines promising how-to meet Gen Z demands in the workforce or market beauty brands to them.It's a coming-of-age story, and Gen Z is shaking things up as they enter young adulthood. They're the first digitally native generation and they're best reached online, where they're often catapulting new trends. They're innovative, entrepreneurial social activists, ready to create and shape a better world.They were hit by the pandemic during some of their most formative years, which could shape their futures over the long term. The oldest members of the "TikTok generation," who graduated into a recession, run the risk of repeating millennials' economic plight, but they're already showing signs of behaviors that could define them for years, trying to save and invest early and embrace a lifestyle based on thrift.By size and spending power, they're set to take over the economy in a decade, but their spending restraint and skepticism about markets could make that economy very different.While it's hard to capture an entire generation when some members are still teens and others are adults — demographic differences that produce data filled with caveats — here's what life looks like for the typical Gen Zer in 2021.Gen Z emerged in the limelight during the pandemic, taking over as the latest "it" generation.ViewApart / Getty ImagesGen Z is the most ethnically diverse generation in history and set to unseat millennials as the most educated generation, too. But Jason Dorsey, who runs the research firm Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK), says they're not millennials 2.0."They are really a distinctive generation with a different set of parents raised at a different time, that are coming into the world with some different views," he said, adding that the oldest members are entering the life stage in which they're exerting enough influence to take the mantle as the "it" generation.Society feels like it finally understands millennials, he explained, and is switching focus to the next generation, which remains a mystery. That leaves Gen Z "shifting and driving much of the conversation," and he predicted they'll do so for the next 15 years.They're the first generation to grow up in a wholly digital era, making them tech-savvy and mobile-first.Roy Rochlin/Getty ImagesGen Z was born into a world marked by technology, the internet, and social media. The average Gen Zer got their first smartphone just before their 12th birthday. They communicate primarily through social media and texts, and spend as much time on their phones as older generations do watching television.The pandemic heightened their digital behaviors. With ample time to scroll on their phones, they digitally bonded with one another as many moved back home during the pandemic at a similar life stage, Dorsey said.This helped TikTok, Gen Z's favored platform, blow up during the pandemic. By September 2020, the social media app had grown by 75%, and expanded into intergenerational use. It signals the growing influence of Gen Z in leading consumer behavior, much like millennials did with Instagram.Like millennials before them, the typical Gen Zer has had — and will have — their share of economic troubles.Brothers91/Getty ImagesThe pandemic put Gen Z on track to repeat millennials' money problems. As is typical with recessions, the youngest workers were hit hardest. Gen Z students could lose $10 trillion of life cycle earnings due to Covid lockdowns, the World Bank has estimated.A Bank of America Research report called "OK Zoomer" found that the pandemic will impact Gen Z's financial and professional future in a similar way to how the Great Recession did for millennials."Like the financial crisis in 2008 to 2009 for millennials, Covid will challenge and impede Gen Z's career and earning potential," the report reads, adding that a significant portion of Gen Z entered adulthood in the midst of a recession, just as a cohort of millennials did."I'm a little worried about ending up like those who graduated around 2008," Maya Tribitt, a junior at the University of Southern California, previously told Insider. "A lot of the fear people my age have about getting jobs right out of college have come from the horror stories of people 10 years older than us. It's really scary to think that might be our new reality."But the typical Gen Zer is already trying to build wealth, hoping to avoid millennials' record of falling behind.Klaus Vedfelt/Getty ImagesAs of 2017, 70% of Gen Zers were already earning their own spending money, per a CGK survey. That's the same amount as millennials, who are 10 years older on average. A follow-up CGK survey in 2020 found that the pandemic has taught Gen Z how to be frugal. They've begun saving money and investing earlier than previous generations did, and they're seeking good job benefits, Dorsey said.More than half (54%) of Gen Zers are saving more since the pandemic began than prior to it, according to the State of Gen Z report. Thirty-eight percent have opened an online investment account, while 39% have opened an online bank account.Despite investing earlier, though, Gen Z is going to have to work harder to get a return. They're set to earn less than previous generations on stocks and bonds, as Credit Suisse's global investment returns yearbook found Gen Z can expect average annual real returns of just 2% on their investment portfolios — a third less than the 5%-plus real returns that millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers have seen. Their average credit-card debt is $1,963, less than any other generation.Noam Galai/Getty ImagesGen X has the most debt because they're in their prime spending years, followed by boomers, according to an Experian Consumer Debt study. It makes sense. With the oldest members of the generation in their early 20s, and the majority of the cohort still in its teen years, Gen Z has yet to enter their prime earning years or come into full spending power. The oldest are still getting their feet off the ground in the workplace, and most don't have assets like a house and a car as older generations do.That's not to say Gen Z is debt-free. On average, they carry loan debt of $15,574.They have less student-loan debt than other generations — an average of $17,338 — but that's likely to grow as the generation ages into college life.Gen Z has a smaller student-debt burden than other generations.Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesSo says the Experian study.What was once largely viewed as a millennial problem is now becoming an issue for Gen Z. The generation holds 7.37% of the national $1.57 trillion student loan debt, but college is only getting more expensive. That share is expected to grow as more Gen Zers enroll in college.The future of student debt is highly uncertain, as President Joe Biden campaigned on canceling thousands of debt for each student, but he's been reluctant to actually do it since his election. The Democratic Party is in something of a civil war over Biden's authority to cancel debt unilaterally, leaving borrowers at a standstill. Despite their good money habits, the typical Gen Zer drove debt growth during the pandemic. They owe $16,043 on average.Tim P. Whitby/Getty ImagesGen Z had the most debt growth of any generation between 2019 and 2020, with the average balance increasing by 67.2% from $9,593, per the Experian report. But that's still less debt than all other generations have, and Experian said the increase "seemed to track with age — the greatest growth occurred among the youngest consumer group."That growth was mainly across mortgage and personal loan debt; Gen Z owe $169,470 and $6,004, respectively. It seems, then, that homebuying Gen Zers are leading the charge in their generation's debt upswing.But the typical Gen Zer is still set to take over the economy in a decade.Charmedlightph/ Getty ImagesBank of America Research's "OK Zoomer" report found that Gen Z will fare well in the long run. The generation currently earns $7 trillion across its 2.5 billion-person cohort, it stated. By 2025, that income will grow to $17 trillion, and by 2030, it will reach $33 trillion, representing 27% of the world's income and surpassing that of millennials the following year.Research and advisory firm Gen Z Planet recently found that the generation is saving and investing more than it's spending, and now holds $360 billion in disposable income. They're already influencing consumer behavior. The typical Gen Zer is rebelling against all things 2010s, while reviving the trends of the early millennium.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesResearch has shown that, in moments of economic turmoil, humans are more likely to feel nostalgia. Gen Z's version of a nostalgic escape from the pandemic is reviving the fashions from the time before social media took over. From wired headphones to claw clips and baggy jeans, they're reviving the Y2K trends of yore in what Sara Fischer of Axios has deemed a "throwback economy." Corded headphones instead of AirPods, for example, are a way for Gen Z to make an "anti-finance bro" statement.They've also been lusting after an "old money" aesthetic characterized by Oxford shirts, tennis skirts, and tweed blazers, a sharp contrast from the "California rich" look of the Kardashians and the casual outfits of the new millennial billionaire class that characterized the 2010s. Prior to the pandemic, the VSCO girl had the internet buzzing. Characterized by a natural look that embodied a crossover between '90s fashion and a surfer lifestyle, she was a contrast to the contoured faces and lip fillers of Instagram influencers. Gen Z's continued embrace of nostalgia is showing she was no fluke, but the harbinger of a new (old) look.Their love for nostalgia explains why the typical Gen Zer likes to shop at thrift stores.Westend61/Getty ImagesThrifting is booming thanks to Gen Zers in search of sustainable, stylish clothes."I've kind of stopped buying clothes from traditional stores," Gen Zer Grace Snelling told Axios. "People almost respect you if what you're wearing is thrifted, and it looks good because you've managed to pull off a cool outfit, and it's sustainable."Recycling and reselling clothes helps the digitally native generation wear new-to-them outfits on a budget they haven't yet posted to social, avoiding repeating looks. It's also a tool to start a lucrative side hustle, in which some are raking in as much as $300,000 a year on apps like Depop and Poshmark.The trend goes beyond clothing. Gen Z (and millennials) are even increasingly eschewing mass-market home decor for vintage furniture, Insider's Avery Hartmans reported. It's not just fashion. The typical post-college Gen Zer is taking their contrarian views to the workplace.Su Arslanoglu/Getty ImagesGen Z is asserting new norms in the workplace, and eschewing the ones implemented by millennials before them. The New York Times' Emma Goldberg wrote that young 20-somethings are challenging tradition by delegating work to their boss, asking for mental health days, working less once they've accomplished their tasks for the day, and setting their own hours. It's part of what Erika Rodriguez called a "slow-up" in a recent opinion piece for the Guardian, referring to a permanent shift in slowing down productivity with the aim of having more separation from work. But some Gen Zers are quitting their jobs altogether, in what LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky called a "Great Reshuffle." He said his team tracked the percentage of LinkedIn members who changed the jobs listed in their profile and found that Gen Z's job transitions have increased by 80% during that time frame.In August, a study by Personal Capital and The Harris Poll found that a whopping 91% of Gen Zers were keen to switch jobs, more than any other generation. While some are seeking greener pastures in other jobs, others are opting out of working altogether, bolstering the "antiwork" movement that embraces a work-free lifestyle.While the vast majority of Gen Zers haven't yet entered the workforce, it stands to reason they'll be just as, if not more so, progressive than their older peers.They're also creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative both inside and outside work.Part of the Students for Hospitals team.Jalen Xing"Gen Z is innovative and powerful," Emma Havighorst, a 2020 graduate, told Insider last year. "The way we see the world is very different from prior generations."For three years, Havighorst has hosted the podcast "Generation Slay," which profiles Gen Z creators and entrepreneurs like mental-health advocate Gabby Frost and nonprofit founder Ziad Ahmed. She said she thinks the pandemic will produce even more innovators."Necessity breeds invention," she said. "We'll be trying to figure out solutions to problems that plagued past generations."Consider high schoolers Daniel Lan and Jalen Xing, who created homemade face shields for hospitals during the pandemic, starting the initiative Students for Hospitals.More than half (58%) of Gen Z respondents in a DoSomething Strategic survey said that, since the pandemic, they had picked up a new activity or were doing more of something they already enjoyed.But perhaps most significantly of all, the typical Gen Zer is ready for change — and they'll do what it takes to make that happen.RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty ImagesA generation whose childhood was defined by international protest movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, Gen Z has been at the forefront of activism, from the March for Our Lives anti-gun protest and the climate change movement. Arguably its most famous member is the climate-crisis activist Greta Thunberg.2020 also put the generation front and center in the anti-police-brutality demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Social networking app Yubo and Insider polled 38,919 US-based Gen Zers, and found that 77% of respondents had attended a protest to support equality for Black Americans.The generation also played a pivotal role in the 2020 election, Insider's Juliana Kaplan reported, which may have finally captured the elusive youth turnout. Tufts University's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) revealed youth voter turnout for 2020 was up by at least 5% from 2016 — and could have been up by as much as 9%.It seems, then, that change may start with Gen Z.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 28th, 2021

21 Investing Myths That Just Aren’t True

With all of humanity’s collective knowledge available at our fingertips, you’d think investing myths would have disappeared by now. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Yet they persist, largely because too many people consider money a “taboo” subject and avoid talking about it. Many of us also never question these assumptions, so we […] With all of humanity’s collective knowledge available at our fingertips, you’d think investing myths would have disappeared by now. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Yet they persist, largely because too many people consider money a “taboo” subject and avoid talking about it. Many of us also never question these assumptions, so we don’t bother running a quick web search in the first place. These persistent investing myths cost you money though, in a very real sense. Once you move past these myths, a wider world of investing opportunities open up for you. Myth: You Can Time the Market to Earn Higher Returns When it comes to new investors learning how to invest their money one of the biggest myths is that you can time the market and earn better returns. To profitably time the market, you need to get it right twice. You need to buy at or near the bottom of the market, just as it turns upward. Then you need to sell at or near the top of the market, just as it prepares to plunge. The most experienced, best-informed professionals can’t do this predictably. If they can’t do it, you certainly can’t. Imagine you’re standing on the sidelines, telling yourself that you’ll invest “once the market drops.” But the market continues to rise for the next year or two before its next dip. When the dip does come, its low point might still cost more than today’s price. And that’s assuming you were able to buy at the low point, which you almost certainly won’t time properly. In the meantime, you’ve missed out on years of passive income from dividends or rents, or interest. Rather than trying to time the market, practice dollar-cost averaging. While it sounds complicated, it simply involves investing a set amount every month into the same diversified investments, based on what your budget allows for each month. You ignore timing and just mimic the broader upward trend, to earn better returns in the long run. Myth: You Need a Lot of Money to Start Investing A common myth that many people assume is investing a little bit of money doesn’t make sense. They think that investing $5 a month is pointless so they never even bother to start. That couldn’t be further from the truth. And it leads to wasted opportunities to save and invest over time. The truth is, investing a small amount of money can grow into large sums of money. Jon Dulin, owner of MoneySmartGuides, offers this example: “Let’s say you are 25 years old and invest $20 a month for 25 years. During this time you earn an average 8% return — nothing spectacular, just average returns. “At the end of 25 years, your $20 monthly investment has grown to nearly $19,000. If that doesn’t sound impressive, consider that your measly $20 each month could help your child or grandchild pay for college. Or it could pay for a family reunion vacation that you have on a tropical island. “If you instead keep the money invested for another 25 years, when you reach age 75, you’ll have close to $149,000. This can cover several years’ worth of living expenses during retirement.” Don’t make the mistake of assuming a small amount of money is a waste of time. Thanks to compounding, your money will grow into far larger sums over time. Literally anyone can get started even with little capital. Take the first step now and start investing any excess money you have, regardless of the amount. Read more: Invest in Art like the Ultra Wealthy Without Spending Millions Myth: I’m Too Young (or Too Old) to Start Investing The sooner you start and the longer you keep the money invested, the more it will grow. At an 8% return, you’d have to invest $5,467 each month to reach $1 million in 10 years. But it only takes $287 invested each month to reach $1 million in 40 years. That means that even people working for minimum wage can become millionaires if they invest consistently over time. On the other end of the spectrum, some older adults look at those numbers and despair, wondering why they should bother investing at all. But that’s the price of delaying: you need to save and invest more each month to reach the same goal. As the proverb goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Start investing today with what you have, and let compounding work its magic for you. Read more: Don’t Miss These 12 Stocks Pay Monthly Dividends Myth: It Takes Decades to Save Enough to Retire In personal finance, the concept of “financial independence” means being able to cover your living expenses with passive income from investments. To make your day job optional, in other words, allowing you to retire if you like. It takes hard work and an enormous savings rate, of course. If you plod along with a 10-15% savings rate, then yes, it will take you decades to save enough to retire. My wife and I got serious about financial independence at 37, three years ago. We’re on track to reach financial independence within the next two or three years, in our early  40s. How? With a savings rate of 60-65% of our annual income and aggressive investing. Neither of us earns a huge salary either, but we still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with plenty of international travel. We can save so much of our income because we house hack for free housing, avoid owning a car by living in a walkable area, and get full health insurance through my wife’s job. Nor are we alone. Read up on the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early) to see how thousands of other people are achieving fast early retirement. Myth: Popular Companies Make Better Stock Picks The idea that popular companies make for good stocks sounds appealing on its surface. After all, if a company is popular, it’s probably growing its business. But the popularity and even the quality of a business only tell half the story. The other side is the price you pay for it. “Imagine someone approached you with two offers,” illustrates Ben Reynolds of Sure Dividend. “The first offer is to buy a $100 bill for $150. The second offer is to buy a $1 bill for $0.50. We all know the $100 bill is worth much more than the $1 bill… But any rational person would rather buy $1 for $0.50 than $100 for $150.” Two Warren Buffett quotes sum this up nicely: “For the investor, a too-high purchase price for the stock of an excellent company can undo the effects of a subsequent decade of favorable business developments.” “Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is. The time to get interested is when no one else is. You can’t buy what is popular and do well.” The reason it is difficult to do well investing in popular stocks is because they tend to be overvalued. Everyone already “knows” the business is going to be wildly successful, and that’s baked into the price. If there’s any hiccup in results, the price is likely to decline significantly. Also, as evidenced by the GameStop fiasco, amateur traders can make a significant impact on popular investments. Just because something is popular doesn’t make it a good investment. Read more:  Discover these 19 Blue Chip Dividend Stocks Myth: You Need to Spend Time Researching Stocks or Frequently Trading Many people believe that it takes a lot of time to research stock and make frequent trades to make money, resulting in people leaving their investments with a professional or relying on expensive mutual funds. But individual investors don’t need expensive investment advisors or managed mutual funds (more on them shortly). “For most retail investors, utilizing low-cost passive index ETFs is the easiest and cheapest approach,” explains Bob Lai of Tawcan.com. “These index ETFs track a special index, like the S&P 500 or the NASDAQ Composite Index. Because of index-tracking nature, you get to own all the stocks listed in that index.” There’s no need to spend time determining the earning trend of companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon, or Pfizer because you own them all. By owning all these stocks in the index ETFs, you are also not making frequent trades. Counterintuitively, frequent trades generally lead to lower returns. Think of your investment portfolio like a bar of soap: the more you touch it, the smaller it gets. Read more: Related read: Diversify Your Portfolio With These Top 10 International ETFs Myth: Expensive Managed Mutual Funds Outperform Passive Index Funds Experienced, professional investors with the best data available to them still can’t pick stocks or time the market better than passive index funds. Need proof? Over the last 15 years, nearly 90% of managed mutual funds underperformed compared to their respective benchmark index. “The best investment strategy would be to invest in index funds of stocks or bonds that track an entire segment of the market — so you don’t have to worry about which specific security will give you the best return over short investing periods,” offers Kelan Kline, cofounder of The Savvy Couple. “My personal favorite low cost broad market index fund is Vanguard’s VTSAX.” Myth: Only the Wealthy Can Hire Investment Advisors A survey from JPMorgan Chase found that 42% of people who aren’t investing are staying out because they don’t think they have enough to invest. On some level, this isn’t surprising. After all, historically people had to work with private wealth managers who require $100,000 or more. Even many popular index funds required a minimum of $10,000 to get started, just 20 years ago. “That is changing with algorithm-driven investment tools such as robo-advisors,” says Jeremy Biberdorf of ModestMoney.com. “In many cases, robo-advisors have no minimum investment and allow you to invest for a small fee. Even investing a small amount every year can make a big difference.” Robo-advisors also won’t run off with your money or engage in insider trading. Many investors let their guard down and trust human investment advisors without doing any due diligence on them, especially when referred to them by friends of family members. “This makes investors vulnerable to conflicting advice in even the best-case scenarios. In the worst-case scenarios, they are easy prey for scammers. That’s why I call this blind faith in financial professionals the worst investment advice I hear everywhere,” explains Chris Mamula of Can I Retire Yet?. Read more: Can I Retire at 62 With 400k In My 401(k)? Myth: Bonds Are Inherently Safer than Other Asset Classes Bonds offer one type of safety — but leave you exposed to other types of risk. When an investor buys a bond from the US Government or most municipalities, there’s little risk of the borrower defaulting. So investors can sleep at night knowing that as long as they hold that bond, they’ll probably receive their modest interest payments. But bond values gyrate on the secondary market just like stock prices. Investors who plan to sell their bonds rather than hold them can find themselves with paper that’s gone down in value, not up. Which says nothing of the corroding effect of inflation on bond interest payments. When inflation runs at 3% in a year, a bond paying 3% interest-only generates a 0% real return. That in turn means that bonds may not actually protect retirees against running out of money before they die. Sure, the stock market is volatile, but in the long term, it generates an average return of 10% per year. At a 4% withdrawal rate, investors will see their stock portfolio go up in value rather than down, in most years. Even conservative income stock investing, such as in dividend kings, can yield 3-4% in dividends alone, on top of share price growth. But bonds paying paltry 3-4% interest will cause a slow decay in your nest egg. None of that means that you should never invest in bonds. But every investor should understand all the risks — not just the risk of default. Myth: Options Trading is Risky For many, selling options is a risky business.  And strategies such as Iron Condors add to the complexity.   “However, when managed correctly, options trading can be a handy addition to an overall portfolio”, explains Gavin McMaster of IQ Financial Services, LLC. An iron condor is a delta-neutral option strategy that consists of both call options, and put options.  The strategy works if the underlying stock stays within a specific range during the course of the trade. The key with iron condors is trading an appropriate position size (never risk your whole account on an iron condor) and knowing how to manage them. Here are a few quick tips to reduce the risks with iron condors: Never risk more than 2-3% of your account size on any one trade Close the trade before the stock breaks through one of the short strikes Avoid earnings announcements Have one or two adjustment strategies ready in case the trade moves against you Focus on stocks and ETF’s with a high IV Rank “While iron condors can be risky if you don’t know what you are doing, using appropriate position sizing and risk management rules can reduce the risks”, adds McMaster.  Generating income from iron condors can be a superb way to increase the returns on your portfolio. Myth: Pay Off Your Student Loans Before Buying a Home Paying off student loans before buying a home is a common misconception. While there is no “one size fits all approach,” many people believe their student loan debt will prohibit them from purchasing a home, however, this isn’t always the case. “For example, doctors and dentists often carry large amounts of student debt, and typically have relatively high debt to income ratios. Therefore, exploring a Physician Mortgage, which allows individuals to carry more debt, may be a better fit than a traditional mortgage”, explains Kaitlin Walsh-Epstein with Laurel Road. For those nonhealthcare professionals looking to purchase a home while managing high outstanding student loan balances, refinancing their student loans can be a good option. By refinancing to a longer-term mortgage, the borrower may lower their monthly payments. However, this may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. “Refinancing to a shorter-term mortgage may increase the borrower’s monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan.”, adds Walsh-Epstein. Questions to consider: What is your current student loan interest rate? (Calculate the true cost over the life of your loan) What are mortgage interest rates and are they projected to go up or down?  (Currently mortgage rates are low) Do you pay rent each month and if so, how will your rent payment compare to a mortgage payment?  (As well as carrying costs of owning a home) Is the home (or real estate) projected to appreciate in value? The first step is to review and understand your credit score, student loan terms, and financial goals. Working towards making payments to lower your overall debt will help to raise your credit score, yet again increasing your chances of getting into your dream home faster! Myth: The “Rule of 100” In the 20th Century, investment advisors droned out the same advice to most clients: “Subtract your age from 100, and that’s the percent of your portfolio that should be invested in stocks.” They pushed clients to move their money into bonds instead, as they grew older. A sound strategy — back when Treasury bonds paid 15% interest. This century has seen perpetual low-interest rates, and bonds have offered poor returns compared to stocks. This says nothing of the fact that people are living and working longer, so they both have more risk tolerance and need their nest eggs to last longer. Today, investment advisors tend to instead advise subtracting your age from 110 or 120 instead, if they bother issuing such generic advice at all. Everyone has their own unique risk tolerance and needs; as a real estate investor, I can earn safer, higher returns from real estate than bonds, so I avoid bonds altogether. A high earner nearing retirement might appreciate the tax benefits and security of municipal bonds and tailor their portfolio accordingly. Be careful of anyone peddling such a broad rule of thumb as the “Rule of 100.” Read more: Find Expert Tax Preparers Now! Myth: You Must Pay Off All Debt Before Investing There are plenty of great reasons to pay off consumer debt early. You earn an effective return equal to the interest rate, and it’s a guaranteed return on your money when you use it to pay off debt early. Mark Patrick of Financial Pilgrimage explains it like this: “Our family even went so far to pay down our mortgage debt despite record low-interest rates. With that said, throughout the entire process we invested in our retirement accounts, such as our 401(k) account. The benefits are just too good to pass up. “The company that I work for provides a 401k match of up to 6% plus an additional 1% that every employee receives regardless. Therefore, if I contributed 6% of my salary to my 401(k) I would receive an additional 7% in contributions from my employer. I was more than doubling my money right away! “If you decide to wait to pay down all of your consumer debt instead of starting to invest for your retirement you’ll miss out on years of compound interest. Compound interest is one of the most powerful forces in personal finance. The earlier you can get started, the better. For example, if someone invests $5,000 per year from age 25 to 35 and then never invests another dollar, they would likely have more money at age 65 than someone that invests the same amount every month from age 35 to 65. “While I am a huge proponent of paying down debt, it shouldn’t come at the expense of forgoing investing. Especially when you want that money to grow until retirement. Try to find the balance between paying down debt and investing. We certainly could have paid down our debt faster if we decided not to invest throughout the process, but after 15 years in the workforce I’m sure glad we didn’t. Those dollars invested early on have compounded into much larger amounts over the years. Read more: Should you Pay off Debt or Save for Retirement Myth: You Should Pay Off Your Student Loans Before Buying a Home It might make more sense to pay off student loans before buying a house. Or it might not. Ultimately it depends on your goals, your housing market, your loan interest rates, and your other finances. For example, you might live in a housing market where it’s cheaper to rent than own a home. In that case, it makes sense to pay off your student loans rather than rush into buying. Alternatively, if you plan on buying a duplex and house hacking, and thereby eliminating your housing payment, it probably makes more sense to buy. Just think about how much faster you could pay off your student loans, with no housing payment! Think holistically about how owning versus renting for another year or two would affect your finances. Don’t rush into buying a home — but don’t avoid it without deep analysis, either. Myth: Buying Is Always Better than Renting Despite having owned dozens of properties as a real estate investor, I live in a rental apartment. In some markets, renting makes more sense than buying. Look no further than San Francisco, where the median home price is $1,504,311, but the median rent for a three-bedroom home is $4,567. After adding in property taxes and homeowners insurance, it would cost roughly double the monthly payment to buy a median home as rent, despite all the perennial complaints by San Francisco tenants. And that says nothing of maintenance and repair costs, which average thousands of dollars each year for the typical homeowner. Renters don’t have to pay those costs or do that labor. They delegate them to the landlord. Nor do renters need the fiscal discipline to budget money each month for those irregular, but inevitable expenses. Not everyone has that discipline, and they’re better off with the steady, predictable housing cost of monthly rent. Finally, renting allows flexibility. Tenants can sign a month-to-month lease agreement and move out with a few weeks’ notice. Homeowners don’t have the flexibility; it takes months to sell a home, and typically tens of thousands in closing costs. Myth: Your Home Is an Investment Buyers love to delude themselves that they’re buying an “investment” rather than spending money on shelter. It helps them justify overspending on the biggest, fanciest house they can possibly afford. But make no mistake: housing falls under the “Expenses” category in your budget, not the “Investments” category. It costs you money every month, rather than generating it. House hacking marks a notable exception however, since your home helps you avoid a housing payment. Sure, real estate often goes up in value. So do baseball cards, but that doesn’t justify hobbyists spending as much as they possibly can on them, while patting themselves on the back for their wise “investments.” By all means, invest in real estate. But do it by buying true investment properties, or REITs, or real estate crowdfunding investments. The more you spend on housing, the less you can put toward true investments. Read more: House Hacking – 18 Ways to Never Pay Rent Again Myth: You Should Put the Bare Minimum Down When You Buy a Home Making the bare minimum down payment often enables buyers to overspend on housing. They end up overleveraging themselves, mortgaged to the hilt with an enormous monthly payment and little money left to actually furnish the place, or to enjoy any social life. It also leaves homeowners vulnerable to becoming upside-down on their home, owing more than the home is worth. At that point, they become prisoners in their own homes, unable to sell without the lender’s permission. They end up stuck there until the housing market either improves or they pay their loan balance down enough to be able to afford seller closing costs without coming out of pocket. While it sounds nice to put down next to nothing on a home, look at the bigger picture. If you spend far less on a home than you can afford, then a low down payment can serve you well. But if you’re straining against the limits of your budget, beware of putting every last penny into a tiny down payment with a huge monthly bill. Myth: You Should Put Down as Much as Possible on a Home The common wisdom was once to put down as much as possible when you buy a home, and 20% at the very least. However, this locks up a good portion of the money that could be growing at a faster rate with other investments. “Putting down less than 20% does increase the monthly mortgage payment due to the higher interest rate and PMI (private mortgage insurance),” explains Andy Kolodgie of The House Guys. “However, you should compare your expected returns on that extra down payment if you were to invest it elsewhere, to the annual savings on your mortgage. For example, investing in stocks and bonds could allow you to earn more money while providing the added benefit of easy liquidity. “A lesson learned from the 2008 mortgage crisis was you can’t eat equity in your home. During the recession, it was nearly impossible to refinance the equity out of any home, as home prices dropped below most people’s mortgage balance. Putting less than 20% down to stay more liquid and investing in alternative assets diversifies your portfolio, keeping buyers more risk-averse.” Again, look holistically at your personal finances. As you near retirement, it makes more sense to play conservatively with a larger down payment to avoid PMI and reduce your monthly mortgage bill. For younger borrowers looking to buy a first home, it often makes more sense to put down 3-10%, and invest their other cash more aggressively in the stock market or other assets with high return potential. Myth: You Need 6-12 Months’ Living Expenses in an Emergency Fund To hear the pundits crying from their soapboxes, we all need at least a year’s worth of living expenses parked in a savings account in cash to protect us from a financial apocalypse. And some people do. But not everyone. Those with either irregular incomes, irregular expenses, or both do need a deep cash cushion. For example, as an entrepreneur, there have been months where I didn’t earn enough to take a personal distribution for myself from the company, so I earned $0 in personal income those months. Someone like me does need 6-12 months’ worth of living expenses saved in an emergency fund. Salaried employees with safe jobs at stable employers don’t need as much cash in an emergency fund. That goes doubly if they live a predictable middle-class lifestyle with the same expenses month in and month out. They may only need 2-3 months’ expenses set aside in cash. I go a step further with my emergency fund and think of it as tiered levels of defenses, like a medieval castle. The first level comprises cash savings — you can tap it if you need it. I also keep several unused credit cards with low-interest rates, that I can also draw on in a pinch. Then I keep several low-volatility, short-term investments that I can also turn to if needed. All of which means I don’t actually need 6-12 months’ living expenses in cash after all. Myth: More Education Inherently Means a Higher Income From a statistical standpoint, education level correlates strongly with income. People with college degrees earn more than those with high school diplomas on average, and those with advanced degrees earn a higher average income still. On a personal level, it often doesn’t work out that way. I have plenty of friends and family members with advanced degrees, and most of them earn modest, middle-income salaries. Salaries with ceilings, and little room for advancement beyond their specialized niche. I can’t tell you how many teachers I know with several master’s degrees, who earn little or nothing more than their colleagues with bachelor’s degrees. In fact, my friends and family with the highest incomes all stopped at bachelor’s degrees and while some got high-paying jobs, others went into business in some capacity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue an advanced degree if it’s required for your dream job. By all means, pursue your passion. But don’t assume that an advanced degree inherently means an advanced salary. Read more: How to Make $100k/yr As A Brand Ambassador Myth: Gold Offers the Best Hedge Against Inflation Many investors flock to gold when they fear inflation. But historically, gold often performs badly during times of high inflation. From 1980-1984, for instance, gold lost around 10% in value, even as inflation raged at a 6.5% annual rate. Historically repeated itself in the late 1980s as well. Gold actually works best as a hedge against a weakening currency — compared to other world currencies. When investors think the US dollar is about to crumble in value compared to the euro, pound, or yen, that marks a good moment to grab some gold. But investors more generally worried about inflation should consider better hedges against it. Real estate offers an excellent hedge against inflation, for example. It has inherent value: people will pay the going rate, regardless of the value of the currency. The same goes for commodities like food staples; no one stops eating just because inflation surges. Most professional investment advisors recommend holding no more than 5% of your portfolio in precious metals, if that. I personally own none, preferring to invest in stocks, real estate, and the occasional speculative gamble such as cryptocurrency. Article By G. Brian Davis, The Financially Independent Millennial Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 5:10 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Opening Bell: Friday stock bullishness

JPMorgan is optimistic for the stock market in 2022, and a final dispatch from NFT.NYC. This and more, in today's Opening Bell newsletter. TGIF, readers. Phil Rosen here, and I'm happy to share today we're wrapping up the week on a bullish note for a change. A top Wall Streeter dished out a rare bit of optimism amid a sea of gloomy takes. Yesterday was the final day of the NFT.NYC conference, and I have one last dispatch from the scene. It's a story of an impressive 18-year-old I met — who has notched $700,000 in revenue selling physical Bored Ape toys.And now let's scope out the markets.If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on May 05, 2022 in New York City. Stocks opened lower this morning after closing high on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced an interest-rate hike by half a percentage point in an effort to further lower inflation.Michael M. Santiago/Getty1. JPMorgan says stocks are primed to bounce back. And it could happen as soon as this year, as analysts say markets will have a strong outing for the second half of 2022.Analysts said in a note this week that they expect the annualized inflation rate to get cut in half over the next few months, which would lead to central banks pivoting to avoid a recession. Despite other firms on Wall Street calling strong odds for a recession, JPMorgan thinks a downturn won't materialize anytime soon. Instead, it actually forecasts a reacceleration in global economic growth. "While the probability of recession increased meaningfully, we do not see it as a base case over the next 12 months. In fact, we see global growth accelerating from 1.3% in the first half of this year to 3.1% in the second half," JPMorgan said.Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank said this week it sees a 50% of a recession. And Citi, too, put the chances at about 40%. Still, JPMorgan says otherwise, and without a recession, stocks will have plenty of upside."So it is not that we think that the world and economies are in great shape, but just that an average investor expects an economic disaster, and if that does not materialize risky asset classes could recover most of their losses from the first half," the analysts maintained.In other news:Russian oil production dropped from February to mid-May, according to Bloomberg figures.picture alliance/Getty Images2. US stock futures gained upward momentum and the dollar eased early Friday. This came after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell calmed some investor angst by pledging to fight inflation. Get your full morning wrap here.3. On deck today: CarMax, Carnival Corporation, and Cheetah Mobile, all reporting.4. The chief client officer of a $15 billion wealth manager shares high-quality stocks to protect portfolios through a bear market. Aspiriant's Sandi Bragar is focused on shielding from volatility, while also taking risk where there's a strong upside. These are 10 cheap names she thinks will bring big gains in a turnaround.5. Oil is headed for its first monthly loss of 2022. Recession fears have knocked nearly 8% off the price — and traders are starting to bet that it's still got further to fall.6. Russia still earns about 100 million euros a day in gas exports to Europe. And that's despite a 75% cut to supply. One estimate puts Russian gas revenue at about 35 billion euros since the war in Ukraine began.7. Russian commodities traders are scrambling to set up shop in Dubai after fleeing Switzerland. One expert said Middle Eastern jurisdictions will gain in importance for those in the commodity business with Switzerland clamping down on trade rules as the Ukraine war rages on. Get the full details here.8. Within two years, a 28-year-old scaled to nine online income streams. He raked in up to $30,000 a month. He shared how he scaled, which platforms he used — and where the bulk of his earnings came from.9. A 31-year-old who saved over $200,00 in just over two years explained how she invested her money. "The idea of investing terrified me," said Chloe Daniels. Here's how she went from in debt and afraid to a six-figure net worth.Markets Insider10. Lumber prices have fallen as mortgage rates hit a fresh 13-year high. "Fixed mortgage rates have increased by more than two full percentage points since the beginning of the year," a top economist said. Dig into the numbers.Keep up with the latest markets news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn.) Edited by Max Adams (@maxradams) and Lisa Ryan (@lisarya) in New York. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 24th, 2022

Wells Fargo is undergoing a major transformation under CEO Charlie Scharf. But controversies and layoffs continue to dog the bank.

Insider has complied everything you need to know about Scharf's efforts to remake the Wells Fargo, including C-Suite hirings, mortgage layoffs, and more. Charlie Scharf, CEO of Wells FargoWells Fargo; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider Wells Fargo has laid off some employees and fired others in its mortgage division. It's also faced scrutiny over lending and hiring practices.  Here's the latest on what's happening at the bank, and how its CEO is changing its leadership ranks. The road to victory has not been easy for Charlie Scharf. Scharf, 57, was placed at the helm of Wells Fargo in 2019 to help the San Francisco bank navigate its way out of a series of consumer scandals. In that time, he's made some big moves, including overhauling the bank's leadership ranks and beefing up compliance. But controversy continues to haunt to the nation's third largest bank.  Despite Scharf's efforts, Wells Fargo was accused in June of conducting sham interviews with women and nonwhite candidates for jobs that had already been given to others. In March, Bloomberg said the bank had engaged in discriminate lending practices, which Wells Fargo denies. It also recently fired dozens of loan officers it had accused of improperly changing home valuations in its internal system to trigger appraisal waivers. Scharf was put in place specifically to help the bank move beyond a series of scandals that began with the 2016 regulatory fines over the opening of fake accounts. The fake account scandal led to a Federal Reserve asset cap that the bank is still subject to, limiting its growth, all while Scharf has pledged to cut $10 billion in costs from the bank's bottom line.Here's a rundown of what's happened since Scharf took the helm, including layoffs and firings, hiring issues, and what the bank's leadership looks like now. How Scharf is making changes Scharf has dramatically overhauled the bank's leadershipsince he became CEO in 2019. Wells Fargo has brought in more than 90 top executives from outside the bank in that time. Wells Fargo has also "drastically changed" how it operates its $2 trillion wealth management business, Scharf said at a recent industry conference. He said the goal behind some of the moves has been to provide more uniform services and products to investors to clients.Scharf has also said he plans grow businesses that will put Wells in direct competition with banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, including credit cards and investment banking. At the same time, he wants to pare back on mortgage lending business, Scharf said in June.Read more:There's more pain to come for Wells Fargo's mortgage business. Analysts break down why — and how home lending fits into CEO Charlie Scharf's master plan.Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf says the bank is considering pulling back on parts of its mortgage business amid scrutiny over its lending practicesWells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf has called the change in leadership at the bank a 'dramatic change.' Here's our exclusive look at the addition of nearly 90 senior hires.Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf on how the bank is revamping its $2 trillion wealth management armMortgage layoffs, firingsWells Fargo laid off home lending employees in at least five major markets in April as the Federal Reserve starting ticking interest rates higher. The bank had reported in April that its home revenues fell to $1.5 billion in the first quarter, down 33% over the same period a year earlier. In May, Insider reported that Wells Fargo fired dozens of loan officers that it accused of misusing so-called appraisal waivers, which give borrowers and their loan officers the right to bypass a home appraisal on mortgages originated by lenders such as Wells Fargo and sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac if the loan meets certain conditions. The bank terminated the employees "after a robust investigation revealed they engaged in misconduct," a Wells Fargo spokesman told Insider. But some loan officers protested the terminations, telling Insider that some of the instances dated back to the first half of 2020 and that guidance from senior managers at the time was not clear.Read more:Wells Fargo has fired dozens of loan officers accused of misusing appraisal waivers. Some say the bank gave them mixed signals.Here's why high flying mortgage startups like Better and traditional lenders like Wells Fargo are laying off thousands of employees — and it may get way worseLayoffs hit Wells Fargo's home lending unit as mortgage rates climb and originations plummet. Teams across multiple US cities may be affected.Inside the Wells Fargo town hall that had a top exec telling staff 'I love each and every one of you' while explaining that home lending layoffs were inevitableScrutiny over lending practices, hiringIn March, a Bloomberg report revealed that Wells Fargo rejected more than half of Black homeowners' refinancing applications in 2020. A Wells Fargo spokesperson told Insider in June that it is "confident that our underwriting practices are consistently applied regardless of the customer's race or ethnicity." The spokesperson added that Wells Fargo funded "twice as many loans overall" to Black borrowers in 2020 as the next largest bank, if loans originated and purchased from correspondent sellers were included.Then in June, the New York Times reported that Wells Fargo had been conducting sham interviews with women and nonwhite candidates for jobs that had already been given to others, according to interviews with several current and former employees interviewed for the story. The employees did so ostensibly to meet diversity requirements on paper, the report said. A Wells Fargo executive told Insider that the firm's hiring diversity rule — having 50% of all interview candidates be from an underrepresented background — has worked to increase diversity at the company.Read more:Wells Fargo pauses controversial hiring policy that a former exec said led to women and people of color being given 'fake' job interviews, a report saysWells Fargo exec responds to reports that it denied mortgages to Black applicants and held sham job interviews Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022