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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

U.S. mobile bank Chime raises $200 million, valuing its business at $1.5 billion

San Francisco-based mobile banking startup Chime announced this morning it has raised an additional $200 million in Series D financing led by DST Global, valuing its business at $1.5 billion. The oversubscribed round also included participation from new investors Coatue, General Atlantic, ICONIQ Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, along with existing investors Menlo Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Cathay Innovation and others.

To date, Chime has raised approximately $300 million, including last year’s $70 million Series C, which then saw the company valued at $500 million.

With the new funding, Chime has now raised the most funding and has the highest valuation among other U.S. challenger banks.

The company is now one of of several going after a younger, millennial audience who no longer sees the need for banks with physical branches, and who are sick of being nickel-and-dimed by bigger banks’ numerous fees. Like others in this space, Chime offers a “no fees” bank account, which won’t penalize users for things like dropping below a minimal balance or even overdrafts.

On top of this, is a modern-day banking app with features that make it look like it was actually built by a technology company – not a traditional bank. That’s because its team’s background is a mix of both tech and finance. Chime’s co-founder and CEO Chris Britt had previously worked at Flycast, was an early comScore employee, and worked at Visa and Green Dot; co-founder and CTO Ryan King spent time at Plaxo and Comcast before Chime.

Chime also includes a couple of innovative features that help to differentiate it from the other mobile banking apps on the market. This includes an automatic savings feature that rounds up purchases to pocket the change; another feature that automatically saves 10 percent of your paycheck into Chime’s savings account; and one that offers a no-fee paycheck advance that makes your money available sooner.

To date, customers have opened over 3 million FDIC-insured bank accounts on Chime, which makes it the largest brand in its category, the company claims. (This appears to be true. SoFi had 500,000 members as of last year, but Simple doesn’t disclose its account base beyond “hundreds of thousands.” Moven and Varo Money are smaller, according to American Banker’s round-up.)

Its size, scale, and growth trajectory, perhaps, have aided Chime in poaching a few execs from its other fintech businesses – including rivals. For example, the company recently added Chime VP Risk Brian Mullins, who was the former Head of Risk Ops at Square; and Chime GM, Lending Aaron Plante, who was the former Business Unit Leader for Student Loans at SoFi.

The company says it plans to use the new investment to continue to accelerate growth and launch new products, including those in lending and credit. It also plans to double its San Francisco-based team to over 200 employees and expand its leadership.

“We’re excited to welcome some of the world’s leading growth investors to Chime,” said Chris Britt, Chime Founder and CEO, in a statement about the funding. “Banking should be free, helpful and easy to use but traditional banks are reluctant to embrace this reality. We aim to set a new standard in the industry by using technology to create services that are truly aligned with the best interests of consumers.”


Source: TechCrunch

Galaxy S10 5G isn't the only 5G phone coming. Here are the others from LG, OnePlus and more – CNET

The 5G revolution is nearly upon us. Here’s when to expect super-fast 5G devices from top phone makers.
Source: CNET

Roku vs Amazon Fire TV: Which streaming device is best for Netflix, Hulu and YouTube in 2019? – CNET

This battle of the sticks and boxes pits the streaming specialist against one of the most powerful companies on Earth. Who wins?
Source: CNET

Save the Lemurs! Eat the Crickets!

Researchers are encouraging the people of Madagascar to embrace bugs as a source of protein, in order to take pressure off endangered lemurs.
Source: Wired

States Need Way More Money to Fix Crumbling Voting Machines

“We are driving the same car in 2019 that we were driving in 2004, and the maintenance costs are mounting,” one South Carolina election official told researchers.
Source: Wired

Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer concept is a boxy plug-in hybrid crossover – Roadshow

Named after a ski resort, the concept has a 43-mile all-electric range.
Source: CNET

Alfa Romeo Tonale concept previews an electrified compact SUV – Roadshow

It’s Alfa’s first plug-in hybrid.
Source: CNET

Aston Martin's AM-RB 003 debuts in Geneva and is gunning for McLaren – Roadshow

Aston’s pint-sized Valkyrie is bringing bleeding-edge tech to an increasingly crowded supercar segment.
Source: CNET

More Atomico promotions sees three new Partners at the European VC firm

Atomico, the European venture capital firm founded by Skype’s Niklas Zennström, sometimes feels like it’s on a perpetual hiring and promotions spree, even if a number of partners have also departed over the years.

Most recently, in November Sophia Bendz, the former Spotify Global Director of Marketing, promoted to Partner. Bendz had already spent two and a half years as an Executive-in-Residence at the London-based VC firm. The same month, Partner Carolina Brochado left to join Softbank’s Vision Fund to help it source more deals in Europe.

Today we can add three more Partner promotions to the list, including Bryce Keane, who for the past two and a half years has been Atomico’s Head of Communications.

Prior to joining Atomico, Australia born Keane (who I promised not to refer to as the Aussie spin doctor — sorry!) founded the PR arm of creative agency Albion and worked with a number of now household names in European tech, such as TransferWise, years before the company was a celebrated fintech unicorn.

He also co-founded 3beards, which among other projects (involving beards, beer and the Unicorn Hunt jobs board), was the custodian of one of London’s most popular tech networking events, leading one BBC journalist to dub Keane “the social secretary for London’s tech community”. With my aversion to both crowds and heaping any resemblance of praise on PRs, I couldn’t possibly comment.

But what I will say, having covered TransferWise from Day One and reporting on Atomico pretty relentlessly over the years, is that Keane is possibly one of the hardest working flacks I know and certainly one of the best briefed, typically making it his business to know the founders and startups he supports at least as well as anyone. Well, almost anyone.

Also being promoted to Partner is Alison Smith, Atomico’s Chief of Staff. She has been with the VC firm for four years and as Partner will continue to lead key projects for Atomico, both internally and externally.

And last but definitely not least is Camilla Richards, who for the past four years has been Head of Investor Relations, overseeing Atomico’s own fundraising and its important relationship with LPs.

In her new role, she’ll continue to manage those relationships, as well as facilitating introductions between founders and LPs where new business opportunities arise or if direct investment makes sense.

“Bryce, Alison and Camilla have the ambition, shared mission and energy we need as we continue to build Atomico. I’m proud to have them as Partners at Atomico and excited to see what they will achieve in the years ahead in their new roles,” says Atomico’s CEO and Founding Partner Niklas Zennström in a blog post.

Meanwhile, in addition to Atomico’s three new Partners, the European VC firm is making a number of promotions within its investment team. Senior Associate Stephen Thorne becomes a Principal, and Associates Hillary Ball, Will Dufton and Adam Lasri are moved up to Senior Associate. Notably, I’m told Lasri will also be relocating permanently to Paris, becoming Atomico’s first full-time investment member on the ground in the French capital city.


Source: TechCrunch

Mercedes Remakes the Minivan as an All-Electric Luxury Ride

The German automaker’s MPV has room for eight, 249 miles of range, and makes the kiddie karter look good.
Source: Wired

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