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When startups fail, these startups clean up

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When startups fail, these startups clean up

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Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech (formerly The Interchange)! Apologies for being out last week — a cold got the best of me, but I’m back and here to talk about the fact that shutting down startups is big business, Stripe’s new valuation, Klarna’s latest AI update and more.

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The big story

Last week, I wrote about two startups — Sunset and SimpleClosure — that help other startups shut down, raising capital. Beyond the raises, the article was a deep dive into how and why this business has become one that is so sought after by investors. I also covered Stripe’s tender offer that resulted in a 30% higher bump in valuation — to $65 billion — for the payments giant. This means that the company likely won’t go public this year after all. You can hear Alex Wilhelm and I discuss both topics on Friday’s Equity Podcast episode. You can also hear me talk to Nubank CEO David Vélez about a variety of interesting topics below.

Analysis of the week

Klarna has been in the news a lot lately. Last week, a failed coup on the part of one investor, Sequoia Capital’s Matthew Miller, made headlines and resulted in his ousting. This week, the Swedish BNPL giant posted a narrower year loss ahead of its potential IPO. Then the company stirred up a bit of controversy when it said its new AI assistant is doing “the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents.” A spokesperson for the company told me via email that since launching globally just a month ago, the AI assistant had 2.3 million conversations, managing two-thirds of Klarna’s customer service chats. She emphasized, though, that the company had not made any cuts as a consequence of launching this AI assistant. She added: “Klarna’s customer service is supported by 4-5 large global partners who collectively have over 650,000 employees and work with thousands of different companies around the world. When one of the companies, like Klarna, requires less support, these agents are assigned to new tasks at another company … With the AI assistant, our customer service can operate with fewer people and require significantly less resources. However, there still is a need for more experienced and senior staff, for example, with specialized training in complex or sensitive cases.”

Dollars and cents

Nearly two years after securing $20 million in Series A capital, Colombian B2B financial solutions startup Simetrik is back with additional investment to the tune of $55 million in a Goldman Sachs-led Series B funding.

Embat, a Spanish fintech which does what they call “real-time treasury management,” closed a financing round of $16 million Series A led by Creandum.

Deel — the $12 billion HR business — said it is scooping up Zavvy, a Munich-based AI-based “people development” startup building tools for personalized career progression, training, and performance management.

FairMoney, a digital bank based in Lagos and headquartered in Paris, is in discussions to acquire Umba, a credit-led digital bank providing payroll and financial services to customers in Nigeria and Kenya, in a $20 million all-stock deal, sources tell TechCrunch.

What else we’re writing

Google is sunsetting the Google Pay app in the US later this year

Paytm wallet and FASTag products will cease to exist, Bernstein says

Grifin’s new model can automatically invest your money as you shop

Cash App takes on Apple with a 4.5% APY for savings accounts (with direct deposit)

High-interest headlines

Finix launches integrated payments offering in Canada

Robinhood launches a retirement plan for gig workers

Flourish Ventures promotes Narváez and Gupta to Principal

Embedded payments fintech Monite just raised $6M in a round co-led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures

Marqeta ‘still on track’ despite post-earnings stock dip: CEO

Cheese, a neobank for Asian-Americans that pivoted to credit-building, calls it quits (TC first reported on Cheese here)

Morgan Stanley-backed TomoCredit isn’t paying its bills, faces mounting legal challenges

Knock opens funding to individuals through Wefunder

KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech H2’23

CB Insights’ State of Fintech 2023 Recap & Emerging Trends in 2024

PitchBook’s Fintech’s M&A landscape unveiled

Follow me on X @bayareawriter for breaking fintech news, posts about coffee and more.


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