From the Launchpad — Propel Venture Partners’ Newsletter

Newsletter | December 18, 2019

Welcome to From the Launchpad, Propel Venture Partners’ update on financial services, technology, and exciting innovators who are rethinking and rebuilding the industry.

Portfolio Company Updates: An Active Fall

The companies we back had an exceptionally high amount of progress over the past few months.

Product Launches and version upgrades are the core work of these startups:

  • Brave launched the 1.0 version of its browser in November and has tripled its number of daily users in the past year.
  • Civic Wallet is about to launch, and over 100,000 people have joined the waitlist.
  • Kasisto is aiming to “democratize conversational AI across the financial services industry” with KAI 3.1.
  • Taulia launched an AI-powered cash flow forecasting solution that gives treasurers greater accuracy and efficiency.
  • TravelBank is launching SuperItinerary, a system that combines expense management, trip information, and marketplace partners for SMBs.

New Funding — Our first investments in Latin America and Asia are advancing in rounds:

  • Neon raised R$400 million in its Series B investment round and will focus on expanding its online banking offerings throughout Brazil.
  • Groww raised US$21.4 million as a part of its Series B funding round and plans to hire talent and build super-scalable technology that further supports its wealth management platform for mutual fund investors in India.
  • TravelBank received a capital investment from actor Will Smith and Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda’s Dreamers VC.
  • Aura closed a $130 million asset-backed revolving credit facility with Varadero Capital, L.P.

Partnerships have been helping our portfolio companies build momentum and broaden their reach:

  • Prosper and BBVA USA are collaborating to provide customers with a fast and simple application process for HELOCs.
  • Hippo acquired Sheltr, a platform for home owners to keep ahead of maintenance and repair issues.
  • A partnership between Covered and Homebot will enable loan officers and real estate agents to help homebuyers with insurance decisions.
  • With its latest partner, Mutual of Omaha, Ease continues to help insurance brokers better serve small businesses.
  • Coinbase and other founding members, including Circle and Kraken, have formed the Crypto Rating Council, to assist crypto marketplace participants in complying with U.S. federal securities laws.
  • Datasine has joined IAB UK, a trade association for digital advertising.
  • Stripe’s newly launched corporate card includes an introductory offer for Guideline 401(k) plans.

Recognition — Our portfolio companies have been earning accolades — and they’re especially good at building talented teams:

  • CNBC’s 2019 Upstart 100 listed Grabango among the most promising venture-backed start-ups — globally and across all sectors.
  • LinkedIn Brasil’s Talent Awards, which recognizes exemplary approaches to recruitment and professional development, named Neon as one of three “Rising Star” finalists in the country.
  • The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 ranked Kasisto among the fastest growing companies in technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech; and Analytics Insight recognized Kasisto as one of the “Top 100 Artificial Intelligence Companies of 2019.”
  • Taulia CEO Cedric Bru earned a ranking on the 2019 Top-Rated CEOs for Diversity: Small/Mid-Size Companies list based on “ratings provided by diverse employees (non-Caucasian) who anonymously rated their CEOs” on the website Comparably.
  • The “Future of Retail-Tech Emerging Landscape in Israel” report by Deloitte, Salesforce & Nielsen Innovate included ChargeAfter.
  • The 2020 Wealthfront Career-Launching Companies List ranked Hippo among the best places to start a career in technology.

Influence — Brave has been addressing important issues for governments:

  • Brave’s chief policy and industry relations officer wrote a letter to U.S. senators and representatives on Congress’s homeland security committees about the cybersecurity threat “malvertising” poses to U.S. federal agency and employee devices.
  • The same officer from Brave also testified before legislators from ten governments, about “real-time bidding” and how it exposes voters to extensive profiling, at the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and “Fake News.”

Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

At Money20/20 Las Vegas in October we co-hosted our fourth annual Fintech Detox Brunch with Silicon Valley Bank, and Ryan Gilbert chaired the Entrepreneurship & Investing session track. He was also was:

  • The opening speaker for the Global Investor Summit at the Singapore Fintech Festival in November; and will be
  • A speaker at the Paris Fintech Forum in January.

Rohit Bodas hosted a delegation of U.K. startups and investors led by the Lord Mayor of the City of London at our office last week. He also:

  • Spoke on the investor panel at BayBrazil’s Brazilian Founders & Silicon Valley Investors event at Stanford University earlier this month;
  • Spoke about “Neobanks: Opportunities and Challenges” at ICICI Bank’s What’s Next in FinTech conference in Mumbai in November; and
  • Will be speaking at Innovate Finance Global Summit in London in April.

Jay Reinemann provided insights for “Latin America: Global Investors’ New Fintech Frontier,” a white paper from Lendit and Finnovista.

We’ll return to the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio on May 12 for Propel Summit 2020. We wish you a wonderful upcoming year.

We hope you enjoyed From the Launchpad. If you have any feedback on how it could be more useful or would like to be added to the distribution list, please email Krista Peters.

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