Axios Pro: Fintech Deals

November 08, 2022

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1 big thing: Cohen Circle looks to make an impact

Betsy and Daniel Cohen. Photo: Cohen Circle

Betsy and Daniel Cohen, fintech SPAC and embedded finance pioneers, are rebranding their investment firm Cohen Circle and diving deeper into impact investing, Ryan writes.

Driving the news: Cohen Circle consolidates all the public, private, and venture investments the mother-son duo have made, which totals more than $5 billion in capital raised.

Of note: They plan to double down on fintech investments, particularly in embedded finance, while launching an impact investing arm with an all-women team.

  • Amanda Abrams became CEO of the firm in 2021. She had been general counsel at CardConnect, the first company the Cohens took public through a SPAC merger, and served as managing director for many of the SPACs that followed.

Context: As founders of The Bancorp, one of the first federally regulated entities to offer banking services to non-bank tech companies, the Cohens helped pioneer the concept of embedded finance before it had a name.

  • More recently, the pair have taken several fintech firms public through a series of SPAC mergers, including companies like CardConnect, International Money Express, Paya, Payoneer, and Perella Weinberg Partners.
  • While best known for their SPAC investments, they also have made late-stage venture investments into companies like Taulia, BillGo, Railsr and Ocrolus.

What they're saying: "There is a wide variety of needs to be served, so we decided that we would broaden the description ... because it really is a circle," Betsy says.

  • "It's a circle of experience, knowledge, networking, deal identification, understanding business models — a whole range of things that are all a part of that circle."

On launching an impact fund with an all-woman team:

  • "Providing women of deep knowledge, great accomplishment and stature the opportunity to be front and center on a cutting-edge investment team is important."
  • "I'm old enough to have been the first in many things ... and I'm sensitive to the fact that, as was said, 'You can't be it if you can't see it.'"

On the current SPAC market:

  • "SPACs are a tool that, for the right company, with the right management team and the right product that needs capital, they're the right answer."
  • "We will continue to be active in the sense that we'll be looking for opportunities and the right companies. But the market of investors has shifted its interest, so we put that in our back pocket."

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