M1 Finance closes $45M Series C mere months after it raised its $33M Series B

Just months after it announced a $33 million Series B, Chicago-based M1 Finance today disclosed a $45 Series C.

The new financing event was led by Left Lane Capital, the same investor that led M1’s Series B. Bear in mind that so-called inside rounds are now a bullish sign in 2020, as opposed to in prior VC eras when they were viewed more cooly. Other M1 investors include Jump Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures and Chicago Ventures, though only the first two appear to have taken part in this round.

Per M1, the Series C comes just 120 days after it raised a Series B. A good question is why M1 has raised more capital, and why Left Lane Capital wanted to lead two rounds for the consumer-focused fintech provider. Going back to our prior coverage, we can figure it out.

Chicago’s M1 Finance, a consumer-focused fintech platform, reaches $1B under

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Finding Virtue in the Finance Industry

Executive Summary

Over the past few decades, the financial services industry seems to have moved away from its mission of serving clients and supporting the economy in favor of enriching itself. How can this be fixed? Regulation is a critical piece of the puzzle. But, even within the constraints of existing structures, research indicates that well-intentioned finance professionals can buck the stereotypes and succeed without extracting value from the rest of society.  Virtuous role models serve their customers’ interests faithfully, but not in ways that cause harm to other stakeholders. They treat their colleagues with dignity and promote diversity within their organizations and across the industry. And they use their skill sets and networks to contribute to the world beyond their job.

Illustration by Erre Gálvez

Finance can be a force for good in society but, over the past few decades, structural and behavioral changes have pushed the industry away

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Council Post: Trade Finance Receivables: A Growing Asset Class

Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Drip Capital, defining the strategic vision and overseeing product, business development and global operations.

International trade has increasingly become a key force behind global GDP growth. With steady increases in transaction size as well as payment periods, a lot of this trade has become reliant on trade finance facilitation by lenders. In fact, up to 80% of international trade requires some kind of financing.

Since the earliest days of commerce, trade has primarily been financed by institutions and individuals with deep pockets. These financial institutions have been focused heavily on financing large businesses and trading companies that have a reasonable assurance of success.

As a result, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been left out of the trade finance circuit, despite contributing significantly to global trade. The Asian Development Bank estimated that nearly 45% of SMB trade finance applications are rejected by banks and

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Finance Chiefs Call on Executives to Help Fight Poverty, Climate Change

Chief financial officers at companies including

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA,

Ford Motor Co.

and

Verizon Communications Inc.

are calling on other executives to make sure their businesses help fight poverty and climate change.

A group of CFOs on Monday published a framework to help guide companies’ decision-making in areas such as corporate finance and investing to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These goals, adopted in 2015, include ending poverty by 2030, taking action against climate change and improving access to clean water.

The CFOs are urging other finance executives to allocate their companies’ resources to projects that support the development goals and expand their set of funding instruments to include green bonds and other sustainability-oriented tools, executives said.

“Because of the seats we sit in within our companies, us

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Quantifying customer experience programs into dollars and sense (or how I got my honorary finance degree)

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Nancy Porte

I’ve known Nancy Porte for a long time. Probably about seven to eight years. Aside from her genuine niceness, she is one of those people who have the experience and insight to actually teach a teacher. Nancy is the VP of Global Customer Experience at Verint, a company that is focused on CX as its raison d’etre. And she’s really, really good at her job. But she is also really good at thinking through CX-related concepts and values. So, I’d pay attention to what she is saying here. There aren’t too many left-brained applications of right-brained concepts out there. But think about it: Both make it whole-brained. (Here is a link to Verint’s CX video that has Nancy in some clips)

Your stage, Nancy.


We’ve all heard it before: It costs less to keep a customer than to obtain a new customer. Rather than add new logos, companies

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AppZen releases new AI-powered finance software that will compare your spending to the competition

Mastermind Analytics promises to deliver 360-degree, on-demand visibility into company finances with a low-code interface, and it can process unstructured data, too.

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Image: AppZen

A new software product from finance AI analytics company AppZen promises to be “a first of its kind” tool that can provide financial insights “previously unavailable” to finance teams. Called Mastermind Analytics, if it can do what AppZen says it can, it looks to be the tool of bookkeepers’ dreams. 

The goal of Mastermind Analytics is to not only allow finance teams to get on-demand analysis of company finances, but also to provide benchmarks against other companies that AppZen CEO Anant Kale said will show organizations both where they’re leading their peers, and where they’re lagging.

In order to provide thorough financial results, which AppZen calls “360-degree,” Mastermind Analytics audits travel documents, expenses, accounts payable paperwork, and other sources to provide feedback in real time. Kale

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Key use cases to explain YFI’s high value

The crypto industry is known for its dramatic price action, euphoria and bubbles. In the latest sustained fad since the 2017 initial coin offering, or the ICO boom, the decentralized finance niche of the industry now captivates the attention of many participants. One particular asset within this niche, YFI, has pumped to amazing price heights, totaling at least 4,400% gains inside a two-month span. Is this price action warranted, and does the token have actual value?

“YFI’s value lies in its design as a governance token, allowing the community to vote and decide on the direction of the Yearn Finance project,” Jason Lau, the chief operating officer of the OKCoin crypto exchange, told Cointelegraph. “As activity within the project and vaults grow, YFI holders can change strategies, launch new vaults, and potentially even redirect treasury or fees to themselves at a later date.”

“While YFI currently does not offer any

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Understanding the landscape of decentralized finance

It is no longer news that decentralized finance provides crypto holders with a myriad of opportunities to earn passive income. While this is a known fact, I believe that it does not tell the whole story.

Although DeFi’s narrative has successfully captured the attention of crypto investors, there are not enough educational materials out there that encapsulate the workings of the growing horde of protocols responsible for DeFi’s astronomical rise as the new “poster child” of the crypto market.

Some argue that the fast-paced nature of this emerging sector makes it almost impossible to identify and track income-generating opportunities. Conversely, others blame the intricate concepts associated with DeFi.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Viktor Radchenko, founder of Binance’s Trust Wallet, and while exploring the intricacies of some of the quality protocols in this sphere, he agreed that DeFi offers unique profit-generating capabilities. According to Radchenko, the simplest

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5 tech trends that will redefine finance in the next 5 years

As one of the most ancient tenets of human societies, money and finance have been constantly evolving with advances in technology and science. As technology continues to take leaps and bounds and permeates every aspect of life, we can expect banking and finance to change.

So, how will technology transform financial services in the next few years? We asked experts to share their perspectives, and here are five trends we think are worth watching. 

Natural language processing

The past decade has seen tremendous advances in natural language processing, the field of artificial intelligence that extracts meaning and context from spoken and written language. Natural Language Processing (NLP) provides an unprecedented opportunity to obtain value from Word and PDF documents, emails, chat logs, social media posts, and the vast amounts of unstructured data that constitute much of the web.

In the world of finance, we’re already seeing the benefits of natural

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