Axios Pro: Fintech Deals

November 07, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Happy Monday, fintech friends.

1 big thing: Overheard at Web Summit

Illustration of a collage of circles made of money forming a decentralized web.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Fintechs at Web Summit, regardless of stage and size, are facing a strategy shift as the funding market dries up. That's one big takeaway from the Lisbon conference this year.

Driving the news: Later stage companies that were considering an IPO this year or next are pushing that timeline further out. Profitability is back in vogue, especially for neobanks. As is consolidation. Other businesses, meanwhile, are seeking to emphasize their staying power beyond last year's hype.

What they're saying: Thoughts from some of the CEOs who spoke with Lucinda at Web Summit:

Starling Bank

  • The U.K.-based neobank is expecting to maintain its profitability this year and says an IPO is now more likely to come in 2024.
  • A surge in digital banking pushed Starling into the green in 2021. CEO Anne Boden previously said the company could go public in 2023, but that was before the markets soured.
  • "We're a bank, so this environment is very favorable to us," said Boden on stage at Web Summit. But, she added, "the environment at the moment is not good to IPO. We probably will IPO in 2024."

N26

  • Founded in 2013, the $9 billion neobank is at a prime age for an IPO. But its not doing so in this market.
  • "The company is IPO ready, but we do not think the markets are quite ready," said co-CEO Maximilian Tayenthal on the sidelines of the conference. "When the dot-com bubble burst, it took until until 2004 (for markets to normalize again)."
  • Of note: The startup is working toward profitability, with an eye on 2024.

OpenSea

  • The still relatively young startup had a meteoric rise during the pandemic, hitting a $13.3 billion valuation in January. But NFT trading volumes have fallen since then.
  • On stage, CEO Devin Finzer emphasized his belief and message that NFTs are more than profile pictures and artwork.
  • "What we're seeing in this space is there's actually just as much if not more exciting innovation happening at the ground floor. So folks are building new NFT projects centered around gaming," he said.

Jeeves

  • A startup in the heavily funded corporate card market, Jeeves CEO Dileep Thazhmon sees a potential shakeout in coming years.
  • "I think the space is large enough that there will be some form of consolidation. You cannot compete on capital anymore. Capital is not cheap," Thazhmon said on stage.

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