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Digital lending platform Blend valued at over $4B in its public debut

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Mortgages may not be considered sexy, but they are a big business.

If you’ve refinanced or purchased a home digitally lately, you may not have noticed the company powering the software behind it — but there’s a good chance that company is Blend.

Founded in 2012, the startup has steadily grown to be a leader in the mortgage tech industry. Blend’s white label technology powers mortgage applications on the site of banks including Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, for example, with the goal of making the process faster, simpler and more transparent. 

The San Francisco-based startup’s SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform currently processes over $5 billion in mortgages and consumer loans per day, up from nearly $3 billion last July.

Today, Blend made its debut as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “BLND.” As of early afternoon, Eastern Time, the stock was trading up over 13% at $20.36.

On Thursday night, the company had said it would offer 20 million shares at a price of $18 per share, indicating the company was targeting a valuation of $3.6 billion.

That compares to a $3.3 billion valuation at the time of its last raise in January — a $300 million Series G funding round that included participation from Coatue and Tiger Global Management. Also, let’s not forget that Blend only became a unicorn last August when it raised a $75 million Series F. Over its lifetime, Blend had raised $665 million before Friday’s public market debut.

In filing its S-1 on June 21, Blend revealed that its revenue had climbed to $96 million in 2020 from $50.7 million in 2019. Meanwhile, its net loss narrowed from $81.5 million in 2019 to $74.6 million in 2020.

In 2020, the San Francisco-based startup significantly expanded its digital consumer lending platform. With that expansion, Blend began offering its lender customers new configuration capabilities so that they could launch any consumer banking product “in days rather than months.”

Looking ahead, the company had said it expects its revenue growth rate “to decline in future periods.” It also doesn’t envision achieving profitability anytime soon as it continues to focus on growth. Blend also revealed that in 2020, its top five customers accounted for 34% of its revenue.

Today, TechCrunch spoke with co-founder and CEO Nima Ghamsari about the company’s decision to go with a traditional IPO versus the ubiquitous SPAC or even a direct listing.

For one, Blend said he wanted to show its customers that it is an “around for a long time company” by making sure there’s enough on its balance sheet to continue to grow.

“We had to talk and convince some of the biggest investors in the world to invest in us, and that speaks to how long we’ll be around to serve these customers,” he said. “So it was a combination of our capital need and wanting to cement ourselves as a really credible software provider to one of the most regulated industries.”

Ghamsari emphasized that Blend is a software company that powers the mortgage process and is not the one offering the mortgages. As such, it works with the flock of fintechs that are working to provide mortgages.

“A lot of them are using Blend under the hood, as the infrastructure layer,” he said.

Overall, Ghamsari believes this is just the beginning for Blend.

“One of the things about financial services is that it’s still mostly powered by paper. So a lot of Blend’s growth is just going deeper into this process that we got started in years ago,” he said. As mentioned above, the company started out with its mortgage product but just keeps adding to it. Today, it also powers other loans such as auto, personal and home equity.

“A lot of our growth is actually powered by our other lines of business,” Ghamsari told TechCrunch. “There’s a lot to build because the larger digitization trends are just getting started in financial services. It’s a relatively large industry that has lots of change.”

In May, digital mortgage lender Better.com announced it would combine with a SPAC, taking itself public in the second half of 2021.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/16/digital-lending-platform-blend-valued-at-over-4b-in-its-public-debut/

Blockchain

The Future of Blockchain Gaming

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blockchain gaming

Blockchain is a fundamental aspect of the future of financial technology. The incorruptible ledger system is gaining attention beyond the realm of cryptocurrency discussions. Though fundamental for hosting a decentralized banking system, blockchain can also be used by developers looking to incorporate detailed public records.

Unsurprisingly, some of blockchain’s most lucrative and popular iterations involve gaming. Though typically associated with Bitcoin and Ethereum, blockchain is now the backbone of the NFT trade. One of its key applications is in creating digital assets and facilitating their trade and collection.

Reuters’ latest report on the first half of 2021 tallied the global NFT market worth to be $2.5 billion—that’s up from $13.7 million in the first half of 2020. Now that NFTs have entered the market, more companies are looking to expand blockchain gaming enterprises.

Already, blockchain has been used to track in-game items, such as weapons, skins, and experience points. That way, these assets can’t be hacked and altered. Currently, most of these assets only have value in the game but could one day be bought and sold in an external marketplace like an NFT.

Another realm set for a blockchain overhaul is online gaming. PR News Wire reports that the market will reach a worth of over $72 billion by the end of the year. With big money and a growing incentive based on public demand, blockchain looks likely to become a standard feature among online gambling promotions from various sites in the future.

In addition to interest from gamers, casinos themselves would benefit from blockchain. Gaming companies are required to provide detailed reports to local regulatory and financial authorities. An incorruptible ledger would simplify this process, while also adding extra safeguards related to sensitive information of users and companies alike.

Building on CryptoKitties Success

One of the biggest players in blockchain gaming is Dapper Labs. The NFT company has helped produce some of the most successful blockchain enterprises, including CryptoKitties and the NBA’s Top Shot NFT business.

Back in 2017, Dapper Labs was new to the scene. The premise of the online game is simple: users spend Ethereum to purchase NFT cartoon cats. Each cat is unique and can be bred with other characters to create new, unique cats.

What began as a cult hit amongst Ethereum holders transformed into solid proof that NFTs were the future of digital collectibles. One of the first major NFT sales came from CryptoKitties, when a user shelled out $170,000, leaving Dapper Labs to collect a small cut related to transaction fees.

In February of this year, Dapp Radar reports that CryptoKitties had raked in $1.2 million in transaction volume since the year began.

Credits: unsplash.com

Creating Organic Value from Blockchain

NFTs are sure to be a major player in the future of blockchain gaming. However, NFTs are largely collectible items; CryptoKitties require minimal attention from gamers—and not everyone found the experience of raising and breeding CryptoKitties to be enjoyable.

The value blockchain brings to gaming revolves around creating a micro-economy within the game itself. This economy is driven by player interest. In other words, the value of a skin or a weapon is based on demand from other users, not what game creators have assigned.

The future of blockchain gaming will rely heavily on this internal economy. However, the precise implications of these economies aren’t yet clear—will it provide more power amongst gamers to influence how and why the game is played? Will creators spend more time integrating collectibles into games, and at what point do they evolve from a standard NFT collectible?

For now, it’s likely video game developers will avoid blockchain. Not only are most studios conservative in approach, but recent concerns about blockchain’s environmental effects have stalled many groups’ interest in the technology.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/the-future-of-blockchain-gaming/

Continue Reading

Blockchain

The Future of Blockchain Gaming

Published

on

blockchain gaming

Blockchain is a fundamental aspect of the future of financial technology. The incorruptible ledger system is gaining attention beyond the realm of cryptocurrency discussions. Though fundamental for hosting a decentralized banking system, blockchain can also be used by developers looking to incorporate detailed public records.

Unsurprisingly, some of blockchain’s most lucrative and popular iterations involve gaming. Though typically associated with Bitcoin and Ethereum, blockchain is now the backbone of the NFT trade. One of its key applications is in creating digital assets and facilitating their trade and collection.

Reuters’ latest report on the first half of 2021 tallied the global NFT market worth to be $2.5 billion—that’s up from $13.7 million in the first half of 2020. Now that NFTs have entered the market, more companies are looking to expand blockchain gaming enterprises.

Already, blockchain has been used to track in-game items, such as weapons, skins, and experience points. That way, these assets can’t be hacked and altered. Currently, most of these assets only have value in the game but could one day be bought and sold in an external marketplace like an NFT.

Another realm set for a blockchain overhaul is online gaming. PR News Wire reports that the market will reach a worth of over $72 billion by the end of the year. With big money and a growing incentive based on public demand, blockchain looks likely to become a standard feature among online gambling promotions from various sites in the future.

In addition to interest from gamers, casinos themselves would benefit from blockchain. Gaming companies are required to provide detailed reports to local regulatory and financial authorities. An incorruptible ledger would simplify this process, while also adding extra safeguards related to sensitive information of users and companies alike.

Building on CryptoKitties Success

One of the biggest players in blockchain gaming is Dapper Labs. The NFT company has helped produce some of the most successful blockchain enterprises, including CryptoKitties and the NBA’s Top Shot NFT business.

Back in 2017, Dapper Labs was new to the scene. The premise of the online game is simple: users spend Ethereum to purchase NFT cartoon cats. Each cat is unique and can be bred with other characters to create new, unique cats.

What began as a cult hit amongst Ethereum holders transformed into solid proof that NFTs were the future of digital collectibles. One of the first major NFT sales came from CryptoKitties, when a user shelled out $170,000, leaving Dapper Labs to collect a small cut related to transaction fees.

In February of this year, Dapp Radar reports that CryptoKitties had raked in $1.2 million in transaction volume since the year began.

Credits: unsplash.com

Creating Organic Value from Blockchain

NFTs are sure to be a major player in the future of blockchain gaming. However, NFTs are largely collectible items; CryptoKitties require minimal attention from gamers—and not everyone found the experience of raising and breeding CryptoKitties to be enjoyable.

The value blockchain brings to gaming revolves around creating a micro-economy within the game itself. This economy is driven by player interest. In other words, the value of a skin or a weapon is based on demand from other users, not what game creators have assigned.

The future of blockchain gaming will rely heavily on this internal economy. However, the precise implications of these economies aren’t yet clear—will it provide more power amongst gamers to influence how and why the game is played? Will creators spend more time integrating collectibles into games, and at what point do they evolve from a standard NFT collectible?

For now, it’s likely video game developers will avoid blockchain. Not only are most studios conservative in approach, but recent concerns about blockchain’s environmental effects have stalled many groups’ interest in the technology.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/the-future-of-blockchain-gaming/

Continue Reading

Fintech

Blackstone bolsters senior team by bringing in ex-Goldman Sachs exec Petrelli for new head of innovations Investments role

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Global buyout giant Blackstone hired Stevi Petrelli as head of Blackstone Innovations Investments (BXI Investments). The

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.altassets.net/private-equity-news/blackstone-bolsters-senior-team-by-bringing-in-ex-goldman-sachs-exec-petrelli-for-new-head-of-innovations-investments-role.html

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Fintech

Blackstone bolsters senior team by bringing in ex-Goldman Sachs exec Petrelli for new head of innovations Investments role

Published

on

Global buyout giant Blackstone hired Stevi Petrelli as head of Blackstone Innovations Investments (BXI Investments). The

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.altassets.net/private-equity-news/blackstone-bolsters-senior-team-by-bringing-in-ex-goldman-sachs-exec-petrelli-for-new-head-of-innovations-investments-role.html

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