Section 32 closes on $525M fund, says there is 'a zone of commoditization that you have to avoid while investing in AI' | TechCrunch


Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech (formerly The Interchange)! This week, we’re looking at a new finance-based dating app, Robinhood’s earnings results and the startup in which PayPal Ventures made its first investment. Let’s dive in!

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The big story

A new dating app was released just in time for Valentine’s Day, but there’s a catch: You must have at least a 675 credit score to use it. Launched by financial platform Neon Money Club, Score is a dating app for people with good to excellent credit, and it seeks to help raise awareness about the importance of finances in relationships. TC’s Dominic-Madori Davis gave us a look at what the startup aims to do and how it came about. Reading all the comments on X and LI was also quite entertaining!

Analysis of the week

Robinhood’s stock got a big boost last week when the company posted a surprise profit in the fourth quarter “driven by higher interest income from customers paying back loans and a rebound in trading,” according to Reuters. It also revealed that it could be breakeven or profitable by next year. Shares climbed to their highest price last week in nearly two years and closed at $14 on Friday, up 17% from a close of $11.94 on February 13. When public fintechs do well, it usually means good things for privately held fintechs. CEO and co-founder Vlad Tenev spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt last year — read all about that here.

Dollars and cents

Finom, a European challenger bank aimed at SMEs and freelancers, has raised €50 million ($54 million) in a Series B equity round of funding.

FlowFi, a startup creating a marketplace of finance experts for entrepreneurs, closed on $9 million in seed funding. Blumberg Capital led the investment.

Bold, a financial technology company building an electronic payments infrastructure in Colombia, raised $50 million in Series C funding in a round led by existing investor General Atlantic.

Rasa, an enterprise-focused conversational generative AI platform with financial services companies as clients, raised $30 million in a Series C round co-led by StepStone Capital and PayPal Ventures. Notably, this marked PayPal’s first AI investment.

What else we’re writing

India is facing a quandary in enforcing long-delayed rules to curb the dominance of PhonePe and Google Pay in the country’s ubiquitous UPI payments network, which processes over 10 billion transactions monthly.

After recent launches in the U.K. and Ireland, workforce management platform Rippling is continuing its ambitious international expansion with the opening of its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Sydney, Australia. The company also poached Eisar Lipkovitz from JPMorgan to serve as its new chief product officer.

Apple’s recent move to boost the interest rate for its Apple Card savings account to 4.5% is now prompting a competitor to do the same. Cash App announced it will now offer “up to” a 4.5% APY (annual percentage yield) for its Cash App Savings customers, with a few caveats.

Other high-interest headlines

Bolt, once worth $11B, slashes share price 97% in buyback 

Venture capital’s optimistic that fintech deals will rebound in 2024

Parlay raises $1.3M to offer inclusive access to financial resources for small businesses

Mia Share raises $6.5 million to facilitate digital tuition payments

Sequoia pressures former leader Moritz to leave Klarna board seat

Airbase appoints Forrester veteran Mathew Schulz to procurement role

Fintech garners over one-third of last week’s €745M invested in European tech

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





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