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Digital Banking: Chime and Plaid are Leveraging ACH Payment Methods to Help Businesses Streamline Operations




Digital bank Chime notes that if you’ve ever tried to schedule an automatic bill payment from your bank account or received a direct deposit, then you may appreciate how convenient these transactions might be. We may be able to avoid many late fees if we settle transactions in this manner.

Chime explains that these transactions are handled via the ACH network, which offers a method of completing payments electronically.

Chime notes that an ACH transfer is an electronic or digital movement of money from one bank account to another. In an ACH payment, you have one individual or entity that’s sending a payment and another that receives it. This payment is handled via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network, Chime explained.

When handling these types of payments, there are certain details required such as where the funds are coming from and where they’re being sent.

As noted by Chime, the following info is needed:

  • Bank acct no. and routing info for the individual or business sending the payment
  • Bank acct no. and routing info for the individual or business that will receive the payment
  • Name on the account and name of the bank
  • Amount to be sent

Chime’s blog points out that if any piece of information mentioned above is not provided, then an ACH transaction can’t be completed.

Chime also mentions that an ACH transfer can be performed via debit and credit. The digital bank further notes that an ACH debit transaction involves the withdrawal of funds from a bank account. An ACH credit transaction takes place when funds are deposited into a bank account.

In these types of transactions, you have the person or business sending the money. You also have the person or business receiving funds. Both the sender and the recipient’s banks are also involved and the ACH operator that handles electronic debits and credits also ensures the transaction is successful, Chime’s blog post added.

Chime also mentioned that if you’re initiating an ACH payment, then the direction the funds are moving determines if it’s a debit or credit. Some examples of ACH credit and ACH debit transactions are as follows:

ACH Credit:

  • Employer-originated direct deposit payments
  • Direct deposit payments for tax refunds or stimulus checks
  • Direct deposit payments of government benefits
  • Payments received by businesses for goods or services

ACH Debit:

  • Automated bill payments scheduled from a checking account
  • Transfers of money between accounts you own at different banks
  • Electronic payments made to businesses for goods or services

Chime’s blog post further explained that ACH payments can sometimes be referred to as “push” or “pull” transactions (depending on which way the funds are moving).

Personal finance specialist Rebecca Lake, the blog post’s author, writes:

“[ACH] works in reverse when you’re receiving a payment. So, if you set up direct deposit with your employer, you’d receive an ACH credit or push transaction once the money hits your account. Your employer would pull the money from its bank account to pay you, resulting in a ACH debit.”

She adds:

“In general, ACH payments are convenient and simple to process. (It’s a lot simpler to schedule an ACH payment than write a paper check!) And, since they’re electronic with a digital paper trail, they’re also easy to track.”

Fintech Plaid reveals that in 2019, there were around 23 billion ACH transactions transferring more than $51 trillion. Same-day ACH transactions “more than doubled in 2018, and the value of those payments increased 83% this past year.”

Plaid pointed out that ACH expansion has “outpaced economic and population growth.” However, most consumers don’t actually realize they are leveraging the network—or even know what it is, Plaid notes.

Plaid adds that ACH powers things such as paychecks sent through direct deposit, recurring bill payments, and peer-to-peer exchanges including PayPal and Venmo.

Plaid helps onboard users for ACH payment by “eliminating microdeposits, which can shorten your onboarding process by several days.” Many ACH processors take a flat fee per transaction instead of a “percentage fee” often charged by payment card networks, Plaid noted

Plaid also revealed that 72% of employees say that “being paid by ACH deposit helps them control their finances.”

Meanwhile, Chime’s blog post notes that “most likely, you use ACH payments far more than you think.” The blog adds that an easy way to begin taking advantage of the benefits of ACH payments is to set up direct deposit for your paycheck, tax refund or even stimulus checks.

You may go ahead and enroll in direct deposit with Chime and potentially get paid up to two days early.

Notably, Chime has held discussions with various banks regarding its plans to conduct a stock market flotation, which may value the company at over $30 billion. This could happen by the end of this year, according to Reuters which cited sources familiar with the matter.

Chime’s management claims that their average customers spent 33% more during 2020 via the digital banking platform than in 2019.

Chime CEO Chris Britt says people “don’t really want to touch ATMs anymore.” He added that people “don’t want to handle cash as much as they used to” and they are “getting more and more comfortable with paying for things through apps, managing their accounts through apps.”

Chime has also managed to gain customers by providing US consumers with early access to their stimulus checks. Britt claims that this is part of an “obsession” to support clients during these unprecedented times.

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Sustainable Startups: allplants – Making Plant-Based Living the Future




When investing, your capital is at risk.

Before you buy an electric car, or stop travelling overseas, chew on this for a second. 

Researchers at the University of Oxford discovered in a study that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, and eliminating meat and dairy from your diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by up to 73%. In fact, if everyone successfully cut these foods out of their diets, global farmland use would decline by a whopping 75%, equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and the EU combined. 

Switching to a fully (or at least mostly) plant-based is the single most impactful change any individual can make for the future of the planet. And the best part is, that doesn’t even mean sacrificing on taste like it may have twenty years ago.

We sat down with Jonathan Petrides, co-founder of the superstar plant-based brand allplants to find out more about how sustainability sits at the core of the business. 

How did allplants come about? Was there a specific problem you envisioned solving? 

In late 2015, my brother and I both experimented with eating no meat, dairy or eggs. At the time, it felt like a huge step and we didn’t know where to start. We created allplants to make it exciting, easy and delicious to eat more plants, and less meat, at a moment’s notice.

We’d taken on the challenge after learning that eating a plant-based diet is the most impactful decision any individual can make to lighten our footprint on the planet. After a few months, we both felt more energetic, passionate and emboldened by the change of diet, so we set out to help others to give it a go on their terms.

What advice would you give to other early stage businesses looking to make a meaningful impact on the world? 

It doesn’t matter what sector you are in, there’s positive change to make in every industry. Go hunting for those neglected negative externalities and you’ll be amazed at how creative you and your team will get at solving the wasteful, destructive and irresponsible business as usual norms and flipping them into something you, your team and your customers will be proud to be part of.

Also, it’s worth a thoughtful question to narrow your focus to that area where your company has a responsibility to act and an opportunity for outsized impact,  as well as the leverage to bring about change.

For example, it doesn’t make much sense for us, a food company, to channel a significant amount of energy into advancing the renewables sector. We can actively support the energy transition but there just isn’t enough crossover compared with something like flipping everyone’s diets onto plants, nutrition or farming for us to choose that as our point of impact. It’s really easy to be pulled in the direction of general travel and public opinion, but if it doesn’t truly align, it will be tough to generate major impact. Focus your energy where it’s going to make the biggest difference. 

What advice would you give to an individual looking to reduce their environmental impact?

Not to overwhelm you with statistics, but the numbers paint a pretty good picture:

Livestock is the leading cause of resource consumption, accounting for 30% world’s water consumption, 45% of global land use and 91% of Amazon destruction. It’s also the leading cause of ocean dead zones, habitat destruction and species extinction (90% soybean grown is fed to livestock). I’d suggest giving Mike Berners-Lee’s novels How Bad are Bananas and There is no Planet B a read, if you want to educate yourself on this topic.

The most significant action anyone can take in addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and soil health is eating more plant-based. Assuming that individual isn’t Jeff Bezos… Jeff, if you’re reading this, you can do a hell of a lot more!

Why do you think crowdfunding is a good option for sustainable businesses? And why did you choose this for allplants?

Since day one, every allplants employee has been an owner of allplants and we’ve always hoped that our customers and community could become owners too. Building communities that are really invested in and supportive of the highs and lows of a business’s journey is really valuable to help us enable sustainable and ethical practices. 

Our business works, and can continue to inspire the planet to eat more plants, because of the strong community of chefs, customers and team behind the scenes. Building a community of owners is our way of bringing more people on the inside, as we continue accelerating the movement and share in making the change we want to see in the world together..

In your opinion, how do you get more people investing in sustainable businesses like yours? 

I don’t think we need to encourage this, it’s happening.

Investing in any business looking to drive a more sustainable future is simply sound business. That’s why you’re seeing major private equity and global markets mobilise away from destructive industries and get behind innovative industries building the future. 

Our planet needs change right now, and it needs it fast. Businesses, governments and households across the world are continuing to become more and more aware of this, and meanwhile the imperative for change also continues to escalate – with growing biodiversity loss, climate warming, rising sea levels. So we have an ever growing need, and an ever-growing awareness which is rapidly turning into demand for change.

Any business at the sharp-end of making this change happen fast is racing into an important, growing and massive market.

Looking to the future,  what can we expect to see next from allplants? 

From a sustainability perspective,we have massive ambitions. In the next five years, we will have thoroughly audited our entire supply chain, literally walking through absolutely everything: waste, emissions, working conditions, diversity, and farming practices – from all the way up-stream where the seed is planted, through to manufacturing and out to customers. We’ll be reporting our findings and subsequent improvements made (both good and bad) publicly. 

Part of pushing for sustainability is maintaining transparency and coming to terms with the fact that there is always something more we can be doing. We want to look beyond just our own supply chain and out into the food system as a whole. By engaging with everyone involved, we can improve industry practices, collaborate on policies and work with other innovative brands who have ideas that may very well change the world.

In 2020, allplants raised £4,503,887 from 1,857 investors on Seedrs. 

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

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Meet the Founder of Juggling King Rum Company




In 2019, UK consumers bought 35 million bottles of rum, contributing £1 billion to the sector’s annual revenue. 

The Juggling King Rum Company, one of the UK’s first seed-to-bottle production companies based in Guernsey, intends to capitalise on the beverage’s global and growing popularity. It’s crowdfunding campaign, which has now successfully raised over £390,000 from more than 500 investors, will help the startup accomplish this by growing its production capabilities by a factor of ten.

With the campaign coming to a close in the next few days, we sat down with founder Jack Gervaise-Brazier to discuss what’s next for the brand.

What is The Juggling King Rum Company’s vision?

Our vision is to break boundaries, and that starts with our ability to make ‘seed to bottle rum’. We’re one of the only brands in the UK that can do this, with proven ability to grow cane in Guernsey. We worked hard to develop cane farming capabilities using different composts and soil mixtures to create optimal growing conditions, and now we’re able to use it to create something the rum market has never seen before.

Our second product is now in development and the opportunities are endless! We’re aiming to embrace the rum revolution and go global with a multinational brand in this vertical.

What inspired you to start the company?

There is a lot of uniqueness and heritage to Guernsey. What inspired me was a belief that we could harness all that history to create a truly international rum business, based on modern approaches. There is a real gap in the market for non-blended, premium rum with powerful branding and heritage, and that’s exactly what we’ve developed – rum with depth of character, and true personality based on fact not fiction.

Who is The Juggling King Rum Company’s target customer and what is the plan to acquire customers at large scale?

This of course will vary depending on the product in question, but the target customer for our first product is 25-55, of any gender, who wants a rum with an ‘edge’. They have an appreciation for craftsmanship and character and they probably have a slightly mischievous nature just like we do. They’re ‘more than a little different’.

What’s been the biggest success for the business so far?

We recently appeared on The James Martin Show, where he endorsed us for having an ‘excellent product’. One thing led to another and we were then signed with Master of Malt, making our products available in over 125 countries! 

What listings do you currently have and what are the plans for expansion with trade and retail partners?

We’re currently listed with multiple restaurants, bars and hotels located in the Channel Islands and via Master of Malt online where we can be distributed both nationally and internationally. Next, we’re going to focus geographically in the UK initially and further afield whilst developing out our brand-owned online presence.

What do you anticipate to be the biggest challenge moving forward?

Prior to this fundraise the biggest hurdle was production capacity. We see a lot of promise and potential for growth in this sector, but we need resources to be able to scale and meet demand in international and domestic markets. That’s why a large portion of the proceeds from this round will be dedicated to increasing our production capacity 10-fold. That way, we can shift our focus to distribution growth.

What are you looking forward to most about this Crowdfund?

Watching the proceeds help grow the business and achieve our ambitions!

What was Michael Owen’s first reaction to The Juggling King’s rum?


What’s the biggest hack you’ve learned in starting a business?


What’s been a silver lining of lockdown?

Being able to spend more time ensuring our crowdfunding was a success!

To find out more, and to invest in The Juggling King Rum Company, visit the pitch now.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa

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What’s Next for Fintech: The Future of Retail Investing




[Editor’s note: This is the third article (see first article and second article) in a special series we are publishing from Wharton Fintech ahead of LendIt Fintech USA. They are covering topics that will be addressed at the big annual event next week. This piece is by Rittik Rao, Wharton MBA Class of ’22.]

Consumer investing is an industry in the midst of change; from mutual funds to hedge funds to brokerages, the traditional methods of accessing the market are under severe pressure from industry disruptors like ETFs, no-fee brokerages, robo-advisors, and more. These disruptors have already had a significant impact on the industry: over $1.5tn has left equity mutual funds since 2009; a quarter of asset/wealth managers believe that at least 20% of the business will be lost to fintech in the next 5 years; a tepid consumer market, lowering fees, and escalating competition have driven consolidation in the asset/wealth management industry to record levels. During all this, the retail investing landscape is primed for further disruption, specifically innovations in product and distribution.

Key trends driving disruption in retail investing

  • Rise of passive – once a way “just to get market exposure”, passive has evolved to be a main vehicle through which many investors access the market. Contrary to the belief of some, passive is not “dumb money”; while some passive vehicles do chase broad market-cap indices like the S&P 500, much of the innovation in passive has come from being able to access narrow, specific markets, or from codifying sophisticated investment strategies into algorithms and being able to price them at pennies on the dollar. Active mutual funds, across asset classes, sectors, and geographies, have consistently and persistently failed to generate alpha for the last 15+ years, presenting an opportunity for passive. Investors have agreed and pumped over $3tn into passive funds within the same time frame.
  • Demographic shifts – America’s aging population is introducing key demographic shifts, namely millennials entering their prime earning years and intergenerational transfers from baby boomers to gen X and millennials. Millennials prefer using technology at higher levels than previous generations, with some studies estimating them to be 30% more likely than gen X to use fintech. Millennials have been a large trend in CPG markets for a while due to their large consumption power ($1.4tn+), but in wealth markets they are just beginning to experience substantial growth (higher student loans, lower wages, etc.). Millennials stand at ~5% of investable wealth, up from 1% in 2013. While millennials are a key trend, it would be myopic to not account for gen X and baby boomers becoming more tech-forward over time.
  • Tighter technology integration – technology is not new to the investment industry, but historically it was concentrated on the institutional side of the market (quant funds, institutional buyers, CIOs, etc.). Technology is being rapidly incorporated into the retail side of the market, from filtering investment options to apps that guide investing to the products themselves. A good investment option is no longer enough – consumers want a story of how they can invest in the future and want a modern platform to interact with their investment options.

Innovations in Product

The last wave of product innovation in retail investing dealt with getting investors access to broader swaths of the market and more sophisticated investment strategies. This meant making exposures like emerging markets, quantitative investing, hedge fund replication, etc. and strategies like retirement saving, growth, etc. broadly and cheaply available. While this brought in lots of assets, investor demand has now turned towards deepening exposures. 

The next wave of innovation is in access to thematic exposures, differentiated asset classes, and using unique data/sophisticated algorithms to create novel investment strategies. The “democratization” of finance is a theme echoing across fintech, and applies strongly in retail investing with Robinhood leading the way here as they popularized commission-free stock trading. Retail investors want the same access to investments as institutions. Firms like Solactive and Indxx generate indices inexpensively to deliver specific exposures like 5G, cryptocurrency, China internet, etc. Firms like Motif (now closed) and Thematic use large datasets and analytics to create thematic portfolios customized to investors’ preferences; this sort of “direct indexing” has been predicted to compete with ETFs in the future. Fundrise, EquityZen, SeedInvest, and others allow access to asset classes like real estate, pre-IPO stock, startups, etc. 

Innovations in Distribution

While product innovation has brought significant assets into the retail investing, this has led to a paradox of choice. Investors have more choices than ever, from ETFs to robo-advisors, and often struggle to find their ideal allocations. Distribution is key: a firm could have the best product, but if it is unable to communicate this to investors and get the product into the right hands, it cannot achieve scale. Robo-advisors have made some headway in piercing this fog of products; Betterment, Wealthfront, and others push portfolio recommendations to investors depending on assessments of risk tolerance. Some ETF issuers, notably iShares, allow investors to construct portfolios using component ETFs on their website. These efforts put financial products in perspective for this market: investors have goals and mean to use products to meet those goals; the product is not necessarily the end-goal, and successful innovation for this market needs to reflect this reality. 

Disruptions in distribution are happening on both the end-retail and wealth management sides of the market. In both cases, increasing investment knowledge by retail investors is driving a push away from fully trusting financial advisors or brokers and towards a guided, not directed, investment model. Investors want their needs made into customized recommendations and also be presented with flexibility in their options (ESG, thematic, other enhancement options). For end-retail, investors need more tailored investment options through gathering more data on lifestyle, risk, assets, human capital, total wealth, etc. This means a deeper understanding of a customer’s financial position and needs.

Some robo-advisors have certain elements to meet customer needs, but a unified player would speed the transition to truly autonomous finance, where investors can have both ease and satisfaction from dealing with an autonomous system. On the wealth management side, model portfolios ($2.7tn market) have changed wealth managers’ jobs, giving them scale from asset managers and allowing a renewed focus on fundraising. A newer phenomenon, “paper” models threatens the traditional sides of the industry by introducing free models and sophisticated implementation options from asset managers. This gives wealth managers more implementation options to bring to retail clients and allows for a greater degree of customization to client needs and goals.

As we gear up for the LendIt Fintech Conference, I’m most excited to hear how retail investing will continue to evolve during the panels on: Can Digital Banks Sustain the Momentum, featuring Chime, Dave, Current, and MoneyLion (Tues, 2:25pm); The Rise of Specialized Banking, featuring Cheese, First Boulevard, Daylight, and Ando Inc (Tues 4:20pm); The Digital Banking Divide – What Traditional Banks are Learning from Neo Counterparts (Thurs 2:25pm), and ESG Investing for Social Impact, featuring Betterment, Open Invest, Impact Shares, and Haitou Global (Thurs 3:35pm).

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Insurtech Ignatica Raises $7 Million Pre-Series A Funding




Ingatica, an Insurtech that offers a digital self-service and automation solutions for insurers, has closed on a USD $7 million pre-series A funding. The investment was led by Lingfeng Capital, with participation from SOSV Investment Funds, Australia-based Artesian, HK-Based AFG Partners Fund, as well as other investors.

According to a note from the company, the funding was driven by the “stunning growth” the company saw over the last 18 months.

President and co-founder, Travis Callahan said they are very excited about the progress made over the last year:

“… and thanks to our investors and partners in this round of funding we are poised to accelerate our growth across Southeast Asia, China, Japan and into Europe and North America.”

Ignatica’s platform seeks to enable insurers to quickly build and launch new products at low cost, while reducing administration costs and improving the experience for consumers. Today, legacy insurers are stymied by legacy systems that make launching new products and managing policies a challenge as well as expensive. Ingatica is striving to offer an alternative path for these firms.

Adhish Pendharkar, co-founder and CTO at Ignatica, explained that their ability to transform data on demand is key to their success:

“We help insurers adapt to the changing markets and create new products, policies and businesses while keeping cost down and moving quickly to market.”

Ignatica’s SaaS offerings allow insurance product managers to create and edit coverages and plans, dynamically adjust pricing, and change product configurations in seconds. They also are said to enable servicing and back-office operations to be automated and pushed to the front edge for digital self-service for even the most complex insurance products.

“The insurance industry is going through an era of unprecedented transformation, with consumers seeking the convenience of buying and interacting with insurance services easily with nothing more than their mobile phone,” said CEO and co-founder Manuel San Miguel. “Our platform not only lets insurers be fast and agile about launching products to meet these customer needs, it also empowers them to truly move into the era of digital servicing.”

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