Apr 29, 2021

Stripe backs Step - the digital bank for teens

Stripe
Step
onlinebanking
Fintech
Joanna England
3 min
Stripe backs Step - the digital bank for teens
Payments giant Stripe continues it's startup investment streak and has also announced plans to acquire tax software fintech, TaxJar...

The digital payment solutions giant, Stripe, has re-invested in the San Francisco-based teen banking fintech startup, Step. 

The Series C round raised US$100m in capital from a number of backers, including Coatue, TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, actor Jared Leto, and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, for the enterprise. 

Step provides a free FDIC-insured bank account and Visa card to teenagers. The accounts are backed by Evolve Bank and there is no subscription charge for its usage. Users don’t pay for their accounts and there are also no overdraft fees. 

The mobile banking app enables parents to set controls and limits on spending and encourage responsible finances. According to data released by the company, 88% of the platform’s users say this is their first bank account. 

Big backers

To date, Step has seen great success in the marketplace. The company has raised more than $175m from investors and now has 1.5m users.

Stripe, which was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, previously led Step’s $22.5m Series A round in 2019.

Step's Series B funding round also brought in $50m, and has a distinctly celeb-tinged reputation with investors including Justin Timberlake and the pop duo The Chainsmokers.

Users get access to a free, FDIC-backed bank account, a spending card and P2P payments platform to send and receive money instantly.

CJ MacDonald, chief executive of Step, said the company is aiming to improve the financial futures of the next generation. “Step is the only banking platform that enables teens to start building a positive credit history before they turn 18 and does not charge fees of any kind.

He has previously spoken about the importance of financial literacy for young people. “Money is just one of those things where I think the more educated and equipped you are early, the better decisions you can make down the road,” he told PYMNTS. “And you can also prevent yourself from making costly mistakes. I mean, the average American doesn't have $400 in emergency savings and pays $350 a year in banking fees. If we can help this next generation just ultimately be smarter and more educated as it pertains to money, I think we'll all be better off.”

Kyle Doherty, managing director at General Catalyst and Step board member, explained, “Gen Z is flocking to modern financial solutions that can be easily embedded within their digital lives and Step has a unique model for how to do this right.”

TaxJar acquisition

The news follows on from Stripe’s recent announcement that it plans to acquire TaxJar. The fintech, which builds software for online businesses that automates the reporting and filing of sales taxes, will most likely be integrated with Stripe’s billing services.

Currently, No terms have been disclosed but the Boston start-up had raised more than $60m from investors including Insight Partners.

Stripe chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara said of the move, “With TaxJar, we will help millions of internet businesses running on Stripe with their sales tax and make it easier for them to sell internationally.”

Stripe also recently closed a $600m funding round that valued the TaxJar at $95bn and has been investing heavily in fintech startups, including Ramp and Check

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Apr 28, 2021

Endeit pledges $301.9m in investments to internet startups

endeit
venturecapital
investment
Fintech
Joanna England
3 min
Endeit pledges $301.9m in investments to internet startups
The Dutch-German growth capital firm Endeit Capital has already invested over $300m in European B-stage internet scale-ups...

One of Europe’s first internet investors, Endeit Capital, has announced it will invest $301.9m in funding to boost digital maturity to Europe's technology scale-ups.

The company, which has been investing in the internet and digital commerce industry since 2006, has already helped build 35 successful businesses over the past 15 years through its Endeit Capital III Fund.  

According to reports, Endeit Capital has invested more than $300m over the past two decades in the Nordics, Benelux, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

This latest funding drive has been launched to tackle a lack of later-stage venture capital in Europe because while European early-stage capital saw a record high in 2020, the European ecosystem historically has a lower supply of late-stage capital than other ecosystems. Currently no time-scale has been released regarding the funding drive.

Endeit Capital funding

The Endeit Capital III is supported by entrepreneurs, family offices, institutional investors and the partners of Endeit themselves. The investors subscribe to the central idea behind Endeit Capital III, which is to support those internet companies in Europe that help to foster and develop the innovation potential and digital maturity of Europe, versus global superpowers such as the US and China.

Since its inception, Endeit has had roots in Endemol, now one of the world’s largest and most successful providers of entertainment content. 

Both owners Hubert Deitmers and Martijn Hamann have been closely involved in growing Endemol out of a single European country to a publicly listed firm active in 23 countries worldwide. While at Endemol, they acquired and built more than 80 businesses and then sold Endemol for billions.

Endeit started its first fund aiming to apply lessons learned from Endemol, namely helping international entrepreneurs in media, technology and internet to efficiently scale and position their companies internationally both organically and via a structured Buy and Build strategy. 

To date, Endeit has invested heavily in 35 companies and 35 acquisitions. Many of them have been acquired by publicly quoted buyers across three continents, such as Time Warner, Xerox, Newscorp, Protolabs, Lightspeed, Macromill, TMG and Cimpress.

Successful portfolio management

News of the investment strategy follows on from the April 22nd announcement that Endeit Capital’s portfolio company Bux, Europe’s leading neo-broker, raised $80m to facilitate the company’s rapid expansion, and provide an ever-increasing number of young Europeans with the possibility to invest without commission.

Speaking about the latest funding announcement, founder and managing partner Hubert Deitmers, explained, “This financing round of Fund I II has been a huge success, where we could establish the fund within a short time frame in its ‘First and Final close’, despite COVID-19. It’s rewarding to see that ten entrepreneurs that Endeit had previously invested in are now investors themselves in this third fund.”

He continued, “Alongside our trusted network of partners, we have a real contribution to make. As fundamental shifts in technology happen, a spirit of invention and purpose is required – we support those internet entrepreneurs who can drive the change to make Europe more competitive and who have the ambition to become global market leaders”.

Deitmers said that the next generation of European internet companies will be accelerated by core technologies, like machine learning, AI and quantum computing. These are the technologies that will fundamentally change the world. 

“We are deeply convinced that we need to develop this knowledge within Europe and want to help ensure that European companies developing these technologies find the right environment in their home markets, rather than outside of Europe.”

He concluded, “There is huge potential in building European winners who scale globally, taking a massive share of the respective market. We have grown global market leaders out of Europe before. To foster this digital maturity, we see and seek the opportunity in funding and growing great teams in Europe that build global market leaders on these core technologies”

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