Partnering as a competitive advantage

Plus; CFPB to regulate Big Tech, Plaid is a CRA, Klarna IPO & What happened to Worldline?

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Hey Fintech Nerds 👋

This week, I had so much more to say about Fintech and bank partnerships. This time from the bank’s perspective. It takes two to make a thing go right. That’s your Rant this week. 📣

Big week in Fintech.

Plaid is a Credit Reporting Agency;

The CFPB wants to regulate Big Tech and Fintech wallets;

Klarna is gonna IPO,

Adyen stock pops 30%,

Bitcoin hits $37k rumoured to acquire Melio hated by the market, so they backed away.

and the UK published super thoughtful Stablecoin rules.

Maybe Fintech it’s time for some Fintech counter-narratives (coming next week)

You’ll find my perspectives on some of that in Things to Know 👀

Here's this week's Brainfood in summary

📣 Rant: The Great Erosion of Banking Pt3: Partnerships as a competitive advantage

💸 4 Fintech Companies:

  1. Aleph - If Spreadsheets had Enterprise Data Access

  2. Finerio - Plaid for Mexico

  3. Node - Wallet for e-commerce data

  4. Triple A - Pay and Collect in Crypto without Crypto.

👀 Things to Know:

If your email client clips some of this newsletter click below to see the rest

Weekly Rant 📣

The Great Erosion of Banking Pt3: Partnerships as a competitive advantage

Banks need growth. Fintech companies need revenue.

Partnerships fix this.

I'm not surprised to see Navan partnering with Citi or Gusto partnering with JP Morgan.

Everyone wants to partner.

But partnerships take work, and most of y'all are not ready for that jelly. 

(Yes, I'm British and said y'all, but if I, a middle-aged white guy, can't quote Kellis in his substack, what is the internet even for?).

Bain says 84% of Banking executives see FinTech partnerships as a growth driver, but 2 out of 3 fall below expectations.

It's a cliche that "partnerships take work." I've watched the phrase wash over people who acknowledge the obvious-sounding nature of the words, but their eyes show they haven't understood. 

But I've realized cliches are compression algorithms for complex truths. 

The "work" required is not obvious if you don't understand the incentives, pressures, and goals of your partner. 

The missing half is the bank side.

So let’s dive in 🏊‍♀️

Thesis: Partnerships are the low-hanging fruit, obvious competitive advantage. Yet almost no bank does it well or on purpose. Partnerships take understanding and work. Understanding the unique nature of the other business and how to navigate it for the best outcome.

  1. Examples of Banks and Fintech companies partnering

    1. Navan is bringing Fintech experience to Citi's existing card base.

    2. Gusto will power payroll for JP Morgan's SMB customers

    3. Why did these work? Timing, macro, and aligning incentives.

    4. The four types of partnership are distribution, product, platform, and operations.

    5. The most successful partnerships are in payments, fraud, and KYC/AML operational partnerships

  2. Understanding Fintech companies. 

    1. Fintech companies need cost-efficient distribution.

    2. Fintech companies need rapid and profitable growth.

    3. They want to move quickly or not at all.

    4. Big is best but specialists can be supremely helpful.

    5. Capability matters

  3. Finding the ideal Fintech partner.

    1. Understands the barriers to a partnership a bank has

    2. Finds banks that are going to be capable of partnering

    3. Helps navigate relationships and processes 

    4. Goes the extra mile to "go live."

    5. Set up their partner bank for partner success.

  4. Making partnerships a priority for your bank

    1. Partnering well is a competitive advantage; almost no FI has executed well

    2. You can succeed if you refuse to let complexity be an excuse

    3. And make this a top Exco priority

  5. How to make partnerships a competitive advantage

    1. Innovation teams aren't the answer

    2. Partnering > Procurement

    3. Create the map and tooling

    4. Consistent, multi-year tech investment to support partnerships

    5. Partner business integration is a capability to develop

    6. Partner technical implementation management is critical

    7. Partner success requires constant effort

  6. The growth lever almost no bank uses could be yours.

1. Banks and Fintech companies starting to partner.

a) Navan is bringing Fintech experience to Citi's existing card base. Citi and Navan offer a "jointly branded" travel and expense system for Citi Commercial card holders. Citi has 7m commercial card holders, spending $42bn annually. Any travel users who book via Navan will no longer require users to file expense reports. If 10% of those users travel with Navan, that's a massive uplift.

A Citi executive noted, "Customers have been asking for this capability for some time." 

Banks can't build quickly enough. 

But they can partner.

Navan used to require all users to use a card issued by Navan. Since flipped that, they've launched Navan Connect to partner with other issuers. That shifted Navan's business model from monetizing interchange (swipe fees) like a Neobank into subscriptions and trip fees.

💡 The shift in business model at Navan creates aligned incentives with card-issuing banks. This increased the time to market for Citi and gave their customers an experience in line with the best expense management providers. Interchange isn't the only business model. 

b) Gusto will power payroll for JP Morgan's SMB customers. Customers of SMB payment solutions from Chase will be able to run payroll from their banking dashboard. Chase has 5m SMB customers and 200,000 users of their payment solutions. 

Where services like Square have differentiated on becoming the "SMB operating system" by moving into payroll, the traditional banks and providers have struggled here. 

JP Morgan expects to be live with the service in 2024 and cited "time to market" as a key reason for the partnership.

💡 Partners improve time to market for legacy players. They bring a distribution advantage to Fintech adjacent businesses like Gusto. 

c) Why did these work? Timing, the market, and maturity. 

  1. The incumbent financial institutions have lost market share to new competitors in spend management or payment acceptance. 

  2. Interchange is no longer the best revenue source for Fintech companies. Where once everyone was launching a card, now it's at best a wedge into other things.

  3. Fintech companies are reaching scale. Companies like Navan and Gusto are now large enough to handle enterprise scale.

Three years ago, incumbents saw Fintech companies as more of a direct threat only. Fintech companies were not struggling for the next funding round and would launch multiple products to grow quickly. Everyone's a competitor when funding is everywhere.

The pandemic also taught regional and smaller banks that partnerships can be a lifeline. PPP loans via partnerships happened quickly in an emergency.

What changed?

Interest rates.

Fintech companies had to find profit. That's not surprising.

Perhaps more surprising is that the bank's share prices are still in the toilet despite fantastic earnings. 

The market knows banks are not growing and are losing market share. The smart banks have figured out that partnerships can be the natural win/win. This is a real sign of some segments of the Fintech market reaching a maturity phase.

(More broadly, I'm seeing a theme of early-stage Fintech companies that sell to incumbents to help them catch up to competitors. Fintech is an Ourboros, it seems)

d) The four types of partnership. The Navan and Gusto examples are cases where the bank expands its product experience for its existing customer base. Bain defines four types of partnership, which I found a helpful model. 

  1. Distribution. Reach new customers (e.g., through Banking-as-a-Service, the bank has more cardholders and deposits).

  2. Product. Improve the bank's offering to existing customers (e.g., Offering payroll to SMBs)

  3. Platform. Improving the core systems of a bank (e.g., Core banking changes to Finxact, nCino, or Thought Machine).

  4. Operations. Streamlining internal processes (e.g., payments, fraud, or data sharing).

e) Banks have focussed on payments, fraud, and KYC/AML operational partnerships. These have the highest chance of success and ROI. Banks are underwhelmed by loan improvement performance. 

2. Understand the Fintech company.

a) Fintech companies need cost-efficient distribution. Gusto and Navan may have grown their customer base by double digits with a single partnership if things go according to plan. 

The bank has rapid time to market and the ability to compete with companies like Square or the new spend management companies like Ramp, who often anchor on expenses. The Citi exec said using Navan and not having to do expenses is "like magic." Could you imagine that kind of enthusiasm from a bank 5 years ago?

b) Fintech companies need rapid and profitable growth. Most venture-backed Fintech companies have VCs who want to support that business but whose successes are based on rapid growth. Growth companies need to grow. The option of selling to other Fintech companies is still there but not as "easy mode" as it was two years ago. 

Those VCs are looking hard at the companies delivering and those not. We've seen exits, down rounds, and pain in this market. A massive contract with a financial institution can make a massive difference to these companies. If it solves a huge problem for the institution, that's a win/win.

c) They want to move quickly or not at all. The time and cost involved in onboarding with a bank can be massive. It can take 6 months to get a PoC, a further 6 months to get a contract, and once that's done, another 12 months to go live. Assuming the Fintech company made it that far, an EY survey found that 40% of bank and Fintech partnerships fail to operationalize

d) Big is best, but specialists can make a huge difference. If you're in a bank, you need a counterparty who is more battle-hardened and can pass strict 3rd party and supplier due diligence. The older the company, the more likely they are to be able to do that. But don't write off the specialists. Former bankers and Fintech operators found some companies or have sizeable Fintech companies as clients. 

3. The Ideal Fintech partner (or what to look for in a Fintech as a Bank).

What a bank wants, what a bank needs, whatever makes them happy sets you free...

The ideal partner understands:

a) The potential blockers to partnering. Banks have difficulty changing their technology, run on an annual budget cycle, and have a consensus decision-making process. While you might meet people from the organization who want to partner, the ability to execute that partnership can be challenging.

b) How to find a capable partner. The trick is to screen for FIs who are capable of partnering. There are financial institutions that have already partnered with a Fintech, perhaps in an adjacent category. Go in with an understanding of a clear business need that FI has and find a champion who is credible and can get you to the right budget holders. 

c) The principles for partnering. Find the right sponsor, align to priorities, and help them navigate the internal processes and relationships needed.

  1. Finding the right sponsor. The right sponsor will have a budget or know where it sits and how to get it. They'll know what sign-offs and approvals are needed and have a track record of helping other companies get this done before.

  2. Navigate the people. There's constant tension and politics between various teams and departments in a large organization. The right sponsor can help you navigate these, but you will likely have to do a dog and pony show for countless stakeholders and groups.

  3. Navigate the processes. Planning, contracting, compliance, and technical integration are non-trivial. Every FI does them slightly differently, but you need a game plan for how you're going to handle the technical and non-technical stuff. Your sponsor should help you shape this, but often, they might not know.

👉 Be ready to demonstrate financial stability, how you manage disaster and business continuity, security, and certifications.

d) Goes the extra mile to achieve "go live." Assuming the startup passes a PoC phase and gets a contract complete, nearly 50% fail to go live. The hard work begins when the contract is signed. 81% of banks told Cornerstone they struggled to integrate with a Fintech company because they lack experience with APIs. The ideal Fintech partner adds technical support over and above what they'd offer many companies. Going the extra mile to figure out the end-to-end solution and how services interact securely saves time, money, and effort for the banks. This means

👉 Has a demonstratable V1 that requires zero tech integration to go live

👉 Hand hold the integration and "own" the end to end flow

👉 Get compliance processes in order and help the bank do the same

👉 Figure out customer service infrastructure and what happens when something goes wrong

e) Set up their partner bank for partner success. It's one thing to have a contract; it's another thing to get usage for it. Most Fintech partners benefit if the financial institution interacts with their product at scale. Getting to that scale is a constant effort. It's customer success, but it's also their customer's success. Plenty of mature Fintech companies have this motion in place, but the nuance here with large FIs is maintaining that as people change jobs, the internal re-org and sponsors can shift. 

4. Recognize the opportunity and make partnerships a priority.

a) Partnerships can be a huge competitive advantage. I can't name a single FI who does partnerships exceptionally well. There are plenty of great humans trying and some successes. But not consistently.

Precisely because so few do it well, it would position banks in a much stronger position vs each other if they're the ones that can crack it. 

b) Don't let complexity be an excuse. A partnership is brought to life through technology and change processes designed decades ago to solve many problems in the organization. A partner manager or innovation team can help Fintech companies run this gauntlet, but it's still a gauntlet. 

There are giant technology companies that have global scale complex challenges with billions of users. They also have plenty of processes and committees, but they're designed for a world where other APIs and partners exist. For example, companies like Airbnb, Nubank, and Wise use Twilio for SMS. (Natwest does, too, but the point is about who can adopt APIs because they're ready and capable).

Complexity isn't an excuse.

c) Fixing this means making partnerships a top priority at Exco. I get it. A million things are a priority, but nearly all are improved with better partnerships. Break the cycle of same old suppliers, same old results. The C-suite has a busy day job, but so often, urgent takes the place of important. And if the share price is eroding, what's more important than working to make that better via partnerships?

90% of surveyed leaders say partnerships are important or very important to Fintech strategy in the next 3 years.

I'd go further.

I'd say it's a competitive advantage that none of your competitors are using well today.

5. How to make partnering a competitive advantage.

Partnerships are still the exception, not the rule.

Changing that means:

a) Innovation teams aren't the answer. Today, for a Fintech company, a really great innovation team is often the best way into an FI. But it's no replacement for getting directly to the budget holder and sponsor. I'm sorry to every great talent who works in one reading this. The issue isn't you. The problem is that innovation is a department instead of partnerships being the focus. An innovation team often doesn't have a budget, might find something interesting, but then has to try and get buy-in internally. 

👉 Appoint an Exco sponsor for partnerships and a defined budget for partnerships holistically. 

b) Partnering > Procurement. The way FI contract and spend with partners wasn't designed for the digital or Fintech age. Procurement teams are often built to deal with giant suppliers like IBM, Microsoft, or Salesforce. Those giant enterprise deals are complex and require special skills to avoid pricing or contract traps. That game isn't suited for partnerships. Changing how the organization partners is an enormous lever for future revenue, cost-cutting, and opportunity.

It's tempting to see setting up this function as a business unit. But it is a capability every business unit should have (perhaps with support from existing innovation teams, etc). Partner managers are worth their weight in Gold.

👉 Identify or hire partner managers and partner integration specialists.   

c) Create the map and tooling. Map where there are opportunities to partner, which business lines, and which problems partners could help with? Then, map out how that partnership will happen. For example, if a distribution partner passes a proof of concept, what happens next? What are the stages of contracting they go through, and who's accountable?

👉 Create a visual roadmap you can give to partners

👉 Create an FAQ for partners

👉 Assign a single point of contact

👉 Build a portal with an onboarding process map, document upload and management, compliance and contracting management and all API docs

d) Consistent, multi-year tech investment to support partnerships. If I ran a bank, I'd also want a multi-year approach to making the entire technology stack as partner-friendly as possible. This means having clean, well-documented APIs between systems and 3rd parties. So often, "tech roles" in banking are career bankers who own an iPhone (there are exceptions to this, obviously). But it's still far too common to see bankers LARPing as being a technology company. You can tell if they describe themselves as a "tech company that does banking." Dead giveaway.

👉 Figure out how to fund something without the annual budget-fighting shenanigans.

e) Partner business integration is a capability to develop. If you're re-selling a partner, there's an obvious impact on sales, marketing and customer support. But the more complex layer is how both organizations will be successful or manage failure modes once they've gone live. The bank default is a "target operating model." The Fintech one can run the gamut of "Here are the docs, you figure it out" to "Here's your dedicated support team and documentation." Knowing which to use, when, and where is a skill for partner integration every bit as much as service integration is for product launches.

👉 What incentives could you give business units to have this in-house or work with a partnership team?

f) Partner technical implementation management is critical. Technical integration can't be left to the "change" function. Each business unit might have its own tech teams; there might be central ones or some mix. But none of those teams own responsibility for making partnerships a success. Things can get stuck in "document missing" or "working as designed" black holes without the right focus. 

g) Partner success requires constant effort. This is listed last, but it is where the work is. Everything led up to the contract going live, but that's when the work started. Measuring performance, understanding each other's goals, and being available for each other over time. People and faces may change, but committed organizations will drive better ROI.

👉 Set up weekly meetings between the P+L owner at the bank and the sales or revenue lead at the Fintech company

It's not enough to "do a partnership." It's time to work on them.

6. The growth lever almost no bank uses well could be yours.

There are simple steps any bank can take to get better at partnering.

They'll take effort but deliver incredible time to market, and ROI banks alone wouldn't reach.

Banks and Fintech companies need each other.

Banks are the worst-performing sector despite record profits. Fintech companies are facing massive valuation resets and are taking a battering in public markets.

Yet financial services are the plumbing of the economy.

And the economy is how we get stuff done. 

The whole financial services industry has to work together.

Partnerships are an obvious and available answer.


4 Fintech Companies 💸

1. Aleph - If Spreadsheets had Enterprise Data Access

Aleph helps enterprises pull data from sources like CRMs, accounting, HR, eCommerce, and open banking and make them available in Excel or Google Sheets. Listing Y Combinator, Notion, and Zapier as customers is used by teams who have to create regular or ad-hoc reports from different data sources. 

🧠 The future of spreadsheets is better spreadsheets. SaaS has attempted to be the cure-all for the past decade, but the spreadsheet is incredibly sticky because it's so configurable. Inverting the model is counter-intuitive but brilliant. Give the spreadsheets superpowers.

2. Finerio - Plaid for Mexico

Finerio is an open finance platform aggregating data from over 120 financial institutions. Use cases are to accelerate account opening, fraud prevention, and alternative underwriting models. Finerio is collaborating with regulators and FIs from the outset, sharing its findings and revenue to build an ecosystem. 

🧠 Great timing and great approach. While the UK is arguing about premium APIs and the US has regulators pushing for "zero fee" API access, Finerio has learned the lessons of other markets. Collaborate with regulators and FIs from the outset and build the standard. Execution will still be critical, but this is a smart approach.

3. Node - Wallet for e-commerce data

Node wants to end the risks of data leaks, 2FA resets, and for merchants, the fraud risk that comes from guest checkouts. Node is a simple service that lets consumers store key e-commerce data (like card details, email, and address) on their local device and submit it to e-commerce services with one click. 

🧠 Another counter-intuitive but simple flip, but I worry about competition. The edge is the logical place for data to sit. Account compromises, fraud, and horrible customer experience of 2FA is pain for merchants and consumers. Nobody wins. But why should this service come from Node and not Apple? Or Klarna? 

4. Triple A - Pay and Collect in Crypto without Crypto.

Triple A allows merchants to accept Crypto without touching Crypto in APAC. Companies like Razer, Farfetch, and iStudio offer a white-label solution.

🧠 Why now and why this? That was my question when I saw it, and then I saw the clients and the markets. Farfetch is the social network running on Ethereum L2, gaining significant traction as a Bluesky/Mastodon competitor. Razer is the gaming laptop and accessories maker, one of the darlings of the Singapore tech scene. Two clients don't make a trend (we've seen Expedia accept Bitcoin in the mid-2010s, for example). But the timing of Crypto disappearing and becoming a way to transact across borders without relying on the dollar? That's interesting and a growing trend. 

Things to know 👀

Plaid has created a new legal entity with ready-made solutions for companies using cashflow data to underwrite lending. This was something many companies had built on top of Plaid, but by becoming a CRA, Plaid can offer it "out of the box." Cashflow data helps consumers who are "thin files" (no credit history) get lending by proving they are generally good with money and pay bills on time. 

🧠 They're not the first to be a CRA but possibly the biggest. Finicity has been a CRA for many years, and Pinwheel, the Payroll data provider, is too. Plaid is a market leader and can make this underwriting default.

🧠 The CFPB is reshaping the US Fintech lending landscape. They published a draft rule that makes open finance mandated for DDA accounts, and now they're proposing Fintech and Big Tech wallets to their regulatory oversight. 

🧠 Cashflow is helpful data for profitably lending to good consumers without a credit history. Direct deposit accounts see the present, not the past. As a lender, if you predict a customer is about to go bad, the credit file from Experian or Equifax is, at best, 30 days old.

🧠 Customers are buying Plaid's opinion on good and bad transactions; being a CRA gives a regulatory wrapper. e.g., Paying a Netflix bill on time differs from Capital One or Amex. A direct deposit into a Chex-system (Citi, Wells) account might be a lower risk than a non-Chex DDA account. How does Plaid weight these?

The CFPB has proposed it has oversight of Big Tech and Fintech consumer wallets. They define this as "larger companies with more than 5m transactions per year." Positioned as a crackdown on regulatory arbitrage, complaints about these apps have been rising recently and that deposit insurance "might not always apply." Rules would apply UDAAP and consumer privacy to create a "level playing field" between banks, credit unions, and Big Tech. The CFPB has opened a request for comment on the proposed rules, with responses due by January 8, 2024.

🧠 This is not the CFPB kicking Big Tech or Fintech. At least I don’t read it that way. It may be politically convenient to frame it that way. There wasn’t a neat way to ensure non-banks protected consumers at the federal level.

🧠 Same activity, same regulation? Most larger wallets like CashApp, Venmo, and Apple Pay are subject to MTL rules, meaning they have a reasonably high bar of examination and rules already. But the rules are often State by State and don’t ideally solve some of the risks the CFPB is concerned about. Bringing consumer wallets under the CFPB is actually a neat fix. The Fed and the OCC have wider and different mandates. The CFPB is about consumers, lending practices, unfair acts, and deceptive practices. 

🧠 Mo' complaints, mo' regulation. In a way, these wallets are a victim of their success. They've done well, but there will always be mistakes or unhappy customers. Under this framework, the CFPB could bring complaints to those larger wallet providers and bring them to the forefront of examination discussions. 

🧠 This looks timed to pass before the election. If comments are due by January, could the CFPB sneak this in before November 5, 2024? 

Klarna is informing investors it has kicked off preparations for a listing expected to be as soon as next year, according to Sky News. The news follows Klarna suffering an 85% down round from $45.6bn to $6.7bn last year, cutting 10% of its global workforce. Klarna's founder had previously stated the requirements to list were becoming established in the US, hitting sustainability and significant growth potential. Klarna also reported $11.9m QoQ profit, with credit losses dropping 56% after improving its underwriting precision. 

🧠 Has Klarna proven it's model can be profitable? Klarna had a history of being unprofitable in European markets, collecting data and then tightening credit quality to hit profit. This was the game plan when it entered the US market, but the scale of losses shocked observers. It now appears they've turned that around and can be sustainable. 

🧠 Or is their growth driven by a distressed consumer? The UK regulator, the FCA, says 27% of UK adults used BNPL in the past month, up from 17% a year ago. Klarna's revenue is up, but the jury is still out on whether this is a net positive for consumers.

🧠 Will regulatory headwinds ever hit? The answer to that depends on elections in the UK and the US. If we have a Labor and Democrat regime in ~2025 in the UK and the US, you have to imagine the CFPB and FCA will look much closer at BNPL. If it's Conservative and Republican, that's less likely (indeed, the Conservatives recently dropped that idea in the UK)

🧠 $6.7bn to $15bn changes the narrative. If Klarna hadn't taken that massive down-round (while the Fintech world collectively gasped), this would seem like a big drop from $46bn. But because it did, suddenly, it doesn't seem so bad. If you had told the 2020 version of you that a BNPL company was going to IPO at $15bn, that would be interesting (especially as the $15bn is based on a public comp to Affirm)

🧠 Everyone discounts the shopping app side of Klarna. The shopping discovery side of Klarna is a wedge into consumer spending that non-Klarna customers cannot fathom. Consumers actively use it to discover new products, allowing Klarna to bring their merchants a steady stream of new customers in a way other payment methods don't offer. This data moat is one heck of an asset. 

Good Reads 📚

Payments company Worldline stock dropped 70% after it cut earnings forecasts two weeks ago. The company spun out of French IT giant Atos in 2014 and, at its IPO, was the second-largest payments company in Europe. Worldline was one of the few to offer everything from merchant-acquiring POS terminals to card issuing. 

The company made multiple acquisitions, including Ingenico building up €10bn of Goodwill (debt) on its balance sheet. It completed its last acquisition in April 2023, now operating in 40 countries with 1.25m merchant customers. At first glance, this "roll up" makes sense, with revenues growing from €1.1 billion in 2014 to €4.4 billion in 2022 with a 2.5x headcount. 

The company has had to exit key merchants due to KYC/AML risks and is seeing softness in its core markets linked to consumers no longer discretionary spending. 

🤔 Europe is a complex market with multiple regulators, banks, and payment systems. This all adds cost. Despite being "a single market." Companies operate with 100s of regulators, banks, and payment systems with their own quirks and challenges. This cost doesn't go away simply by doing M&A. Revenue grows, but cost grows with it.

🤔 The mid-2010s was the decade of payments M&A. Just as it made sense to take out a mortgage with super low rates, corporations could take out debt incredibly cheaply to fund growth in the past decade. 

🤔 That debt has to get paid back, and interest rates are higher. Corporate bond terms typically aren't 30 years but closer to 8.5 years. As some of that early 2010s debt needs re-financing, it will be at a much higher rate.

🤔 If the economy is stumbling, payments companies' earnings drop, but costs remain high. With less income and higher costs to service debt, the M&A strategy looks much weaker. 

🤔 When earnings drop, stocks are getting crushed. We saw this with Adyen, which didn't beat expectations despite earnings and revenue growth. Wordline missed, and didn't have a great explanation why. 

🤔 M&A vs tech growth are two very different strategies. Jareu Wade described Worldpay as lots of little payments companies in a trenchcoat. The same is true for Wordline. Adyen, by contrast, is building every last bit of tech and regulatory capability in-house. This has a high capex impact in the short term, but in the longer term, it does help them grind out efficiencies vs. the M&A model. 

Bonus: If you watch one thing this week. Watch this.

That's all, folks. 👋

Remember, if you're enjoying this content, please do tell all your fintech friends to check it out and hit the subscribe button :)

Disclosures: (1) All content and views expressed here are the authors' personal opinions and do not reflect the views of any of their employers or employees. (2) All companies or assets mentioned by the author in which the author has a personal and/or financial interest are denoted with a (3) Any companies mentioned in Rants are top of mind and used for illustrative purposes only. (4) I'm not an expert at everything you read here. Some of it is me thinking out loud and learning as I go; please don't take it as gospel—strong opinions, weakly held.