Morning Brief 3.10.20: Sequoia dumps a $21 million fintech investment

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Parting ways

Sequoia Capital has walked away from Finix, a payments infrastructure startup it recently backed with $21 million in venture capital funding, over an apparent conflict of interest with Stripe, TechCrunch reports.

Sequoia was an early investor in Stripe, whose platform enables swift payment integrations for retailers, and apparently Sequoia belatedly noticed some competitive overlap between Stripe and Finix.

The discovery means Sequoia will give up its board seat, information rights, shares and investment returns, but Finix will keep the $21 million. Since its launch four years ago, Finix has raised more than $50 million in funding, most of it in a Series B round last month that included Sequoia’s contribution.

Going Down Under

Marqeta, the Oakland, Calif.-based card processor, is expanding its services to Australia in support of Klarna and DoorDash, two clients establishing operations in the country.

Australia is the first of 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region where Marqeta plans to introduce services, according to a press release.

The move follows Marqeta’s announcement last fall that Visa has certified its platform to issue cards in many Asian countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and New Zealand. Since its launch in 2010, Marqeta has issued more than 140 million payment cards in the U.S.

Local block

China is investing $4.7 million into a central bank-operated blockchain trade finance platform open to banks and businesses in the Shenzhen zone, Coindesk reports.

China’s Bay Area Trade Finance Blockchain Platform enables organizations to store order, logistics and transaction data to streamline B2B transactions.

The People’s Bank of China launched public testing of the platform in the fall of 2018, and since then it's drawn participation from 38 banks including Ping An and Standard Chartered.

Stretching wallets

Visa is partnering with Nigeria-based payments startup Paga to expand mobile payments in the region.

The move enables consumers who sign up for a Paga mobile wallet to receive a virtual and physical Visa card, while merchants that join Paga’s network can accept all Visa cards, Finextra reports. Paga already serves more than 9 million consumers and 17,000 retailers in Nigeria.

Paga, founded in 2009 in Lagos, will soon join the Visa Fintech Fast-Track Program as it works to expand its wallet across Nigeria and Ethiopia while targeting Mexico as its next new market.

From the Web

Bill Gates backs Crest fintech security scheme for Africa and Asia
COMPUTER WEEKLY | Mon March 9, 2020
Cyber security accreditation and certification non-profit Crest has been awarded a grant of $1.4m (£1m/€1.2m) by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help increase cyber security capacity in African and Asian markets and provide safe and secure access to digital financial services for the unbanked.

When Your Hip Fintech App Goes Offline Amid a Market Plunge
WIRED | Mon March 9, 2020
For the second Monday in a row, and the third time in a week, Robinhood stock trading app went down as the markets swooned over coronavirus fears.
Allied Wallet to debut blockchain payments technology in India
VERDICT | Mon March 9, 2020
UK-based payments services provider Allied Wallet has unveiled plans to introduce blockchain payments technology to the Indian e-commerce market.

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