Axios Pro: Fintech Deals

January 26, 2023

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Happy Friday eve!

Situational awareness: Stripe co-founders told employees that executives have set a 12-month timetable on whether to go public or allow employees to sell private market shares, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Also, the Dutch central bank has fined Coinbase $3.6 million for failing to obtain the necessary registration in The Netherlands before it launched.

1 big thing: From a whinny to a whimper

Data: CB Insights; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: CB Insights; Chart: Axios Visuals

The glory days of the fintech unicorn ended last year.

Why it matters: The drop in companies worth more than $1 billion illustrates the loss of confidence by investors across broad swaths of the fintech space.

Details: Only 69 fintechs earned unicorn status last year, a 58% drop from the prior year, according to CB Insights.

Yes, but: The 2022 total is still much higher than any year prior, except for the 2021 banner year.

Between the lines: The weak funding market last year handed the reins back to investors, empowering them to set terms that are more costly to the company. For example: higher liquidation preferences.

Of note: The funding slowdown worsened substantially during 2022, with a mere four unicorns birthed in Q4, per the data.

Zoom in: Notable new unicorns included Uniswap ($1.7 billion) and Bilt Rewards ($1.5 billion).

Bottom line: It's hard being a late-stage startup in this market.

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