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Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

Fintech

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Affirm’s IPO pop shows that the 2020 IPO fever hasn’t yet broken. The buy-now-pay-later fintech startup founded and run by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin went public on the Nasdaq yesterday, after having postponed its initial IPO plans in December to raise its share price from $33–$38 to $49. In doing so, Affirm was aiming to avoid a situation in which it underpriced itself relative to market expectations and ended up leaving a large chunk of money on the table, as Airbnb and DoorDash did when they went public last month. But almost as soon as they began trading, Affirm shares…


The Ticker

What you need to know about the buy-now-pay-later startup founded by PayPal veteran Max Levchin that went public today

PayPal co-founder and Affirm CEO Max Levchin makes a gesture while speaking on the show “Closing the Bell.”
PayPal co-founder and Affirm CEO Max Levchin makes a gesture while speaking on the show “Closing the Bell.”
PayPal co-founder and Affirm CEO Max Levchin. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Welcome to The Ticker, a series that examines everything you need to know about companies going public.

Today, Affirm will discover the value of patience.

Originally slated to go public in late 2020, Affirm, the financial services company created by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin that lets customers “buy now, pay later,” pushed its IPO to the new year. That decision was said to have been heavily influenced by the scorching debuts enjoyed by DoorDash and Airbnb, which saw both companies end their first day of trading markedly above projected prices. Although neither of those firms is complaining about how their…


Earlier this summer, Marc Rubinstein wrote for Marker about how Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s Ant Group became the “fintech to beat all fintechs.” Now, the company can add another record under its belt: world’s largest-ever initial public offering to date. New filings on Monday reveal that the Chinese online payments behemoth is slated to raise $34.4 billion in Shanghai and Hong Kong on November 5, bypassing the U.S. stock exchange entirely and shattering the previous $26 billion IPO record held by Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco from last December. …


Alibaba built the “Amazon of the East.” Now, its fintech spinoff is set to be the biggest IPO of the year.

Ant Financial logo on a building.
Ant Financial logo on a building.
A logo hangs on a building of Ant Group, a leading provider of financial services technology in China, on July 23, 2020 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. Photo: Wu Jun/VCG/Getty Images

In an IPO market that’s on fire, the biggest is yet to come: Ant Group, a Chinese online payments giant, created by Alibaba founder, Jack Ma. The company filed for its IPO this week and is expected to be the most valuable company ever to go public on a global stock exchange. The company plans to sell 10% of its shares on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-like exchange and 5% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, according to MarketWatch.

The Chinese company is looking to raise a record-breaking $30 billion in its IPO, which is expected to happen by October (for context, Saudi…


Here’s why the economic downturn is actually benefiting payments and lending startups

Photo: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

Conventional thinking suggests there are two types of companies that would be hit hard in a sudden recession: first, the ones with nowhere to hide because they have exposure to every part of the economy, like payment providers, and, second, the ones who lend to borrowers who can’t otherwise get a loan, since those borrowers are likely the first to default.

Both of these businesses are part of the fintech space, which has surged over the last decade as some industries moved online, brick-and-mortar stores shifted to a tech-enabled model, and big banks retreated from making small loans. …


Humans aren’t always great at making financial decisions — enter autonomous finance

Image: Paper Boat Creative/Getty Images

Spending a few dollars here on a good sale and a few more there on a fine meal is easy to justify. But then you end up with just enough money for avocado toast but not enough to ever set foot on the homeownership ladder.

That is, unless you’re using one of the popular personal finance management (PFM) apps that proactively nudge you to get better with your finances.

Over the past few years, the PFM software market has been growing at breakneck speed. …


More and more consumers are going to realize it’s worth their while to join the no-fee revolution hitting the finance industry

Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images

Charles Schwab, E*TRADE, and now Fidelity have announced in recent weeks something that was inevitable given competitive pressures, but nonetheless important: None is charging a commission on trades of most stocks and ETFs.

It’s a monumental shift for three of the largest legacy players in an industry that finds itself on fierce competitive footing with a number of well-funded upstart institutions from the world of consumer fintech.

Stock trading isn’t the first fee domino to fall in consumer finance, and it won’t be the last. The race toward free or near-free has been roaring for several years. In many ways…


Between the Lines

Bloomberg is one of the best software companies in history, so good luck and best wishes

A Bloomberg Terminal on a desk.
A Bloomberg Terminal on a desk.
Photo: Travis Wise via flickr/CC BY 2.0

“I’m going to kill X” is usually a bad business idea. Generally, there are obvious reasons to kill it (it’s profitable, customers hate it), and there are nonobvious reasons nobody has succeeded yet.

Bloomberg is one of the best software companies in history, and it may be the single best service I’ve ever used — the user interface on the Bloomberg Terminal isn’t great, but the customer service is incredible. If it breaks or doesn’t do something you need, the company is willing to fix it or build it.

When people try to understand the Bloomberg Terminal as a product…

Marker

Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

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