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TransferWise, a London-based international money transfer platform, has raised $280 million in Series E funding at around a $1.6 billion post-money valuation.

Why it matters: Because TransferWise is among a burgeoning group of unicorns that are facing serious competitive challenges from newer startups, while still trying to disrupt the established order. Consider it the downside of early success, as TransferWise says its 2 million monthly users collectively transfer more than £1 billion. It's also notable for being a VC-backed money transfer company that no longer allows users to transact via Bitcoin.

The deal was co-led by Old Mutual Global Investors and IVP, with Sapphire Ventures, Mitsui & Co. and World Innovation Lab also coming in as new investors. Return backers included Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford and Richard Branson. Some of the round is a secondary being used for founder liquidity and early employees.

Bottom line: "One way to think about TransferWise's Borderless account is that a multi-currency account is a feature of its core international money transfer business, whereas for challenger banks, money transfer and currency exchange is a feature of its bank accounts." – Steve O'Hear, TechCrunch

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.