In a move to expand the addressable financial and demographic markets, financial technology startups have introduced various tools making it easier to save and manage wealth. After a period of learning, larger companies, previously wary of getting into the micro- side of financing, investing, wealth management, are increasingly interested in empowering startups that show success in the sphere.
Pick #1. BlackRock, World’s Biggest Investing Company, Is Planning to Nickel-And-Dime You
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, handling more than $6 trillion, led a $50 million investing round in micro-investing site Acorns. The personal finance app allows customers to automatically invest spare change from everyday purchases, such as those made via credit card transactions, in exchange-traded funds from BlackRock and Vanguard.
To date, Acorns has signed up more than 3.3 million investment accounts, and also offers an automated retirement account.
“Through micro-behaviors, the next generation of investors can take achievable steps towards building their well-being.” – Rob Goldstein, BlackRock’s COO
BlackRock already has an internal division focused on digital wealth, acquired robo-advisory startup FutureAdvisor, and is part owner of European robo-advisor Scalable Capital. The FutureAdvisor deal allowed BlackRock to build out its institutional capabilities, private labeling the software to other RIAs and banks.
BlackRock and Acorns said they will be focused on developing investing tools in collaboration to encourage the “savings and investing behaviors of the next generation of investors.”
Pick #2. Goldman Sachs, Apple Team Up on New Credit Card
Apple and Goldman Sachs have been working for months on a new credit card product that would bear the Apple Pay brand.
The product would be Goldman’s first credit card offering and could help the bank’s effort to expand its consumer products. For Apple, the deal could help it extend its Apple Pay brand.
The new card would fit into the suite of consumer products that Goldman recently began offering, like a savings account and an array of personal loans through its consumer banking service, Marcus. Goldman hopes to use those new products to reduce its reliance on trading revenue in the years to come.
Apple already has one branded credit card, offered by Barclays. That card allows users to earn points they can use for Apple gift cards or for financing the purchase of new Apple products.
Pick #3. Maritime Bank Appoints VeriME as its Verification Partner
Largest Vietnamese bank, Maritime Bank, joins forces with VeriME to leverage their blockchain-based VaaS platform and enhance the bank’s digital services as well as customers’ checkout experience.
The partnership follows VeriME’s successful conclusion of its TGE in March and will be leveraging the platform’s enterprising Know-Your-Customer (D-KYC) & Payment Authentication Services (D-SECURE) to enhance the bank’s digital services and checkout experience for customers being served through their credit cards, retail banking, and loan services.
VeriME solution allows for not only authentication of users, but also for facilitation of full chargeback and dispute protection for business partners and merchants.
VeriME has established global partnerships with over 30 businesses comprising more than 300,000 online merchants and their consumers. The platform’s vision is to become the leading provider of a unified, decentralized VaaS platform, connecting customers’ identity to businesses through their personal mobile devices. VeriME also partnered with Military Bank and CFC, bringing VeriME’s solution to more than 5 million addressable customer opportunities.
Pick #4. Amazon’s Cloud Is Sitting on at Least $12.4 Billion of Future Revenue
Amazon disclosed in its latest quarterly report that it had $12.4 billion in backlog revenue for Amazon Web Services. The balance represents the total value of signed contracts that didn’t get reported as revenue because the agreements run for multiple years.
On average, the remaining life on those contracts is 3.2 years, which means Amazon has over $12 billion of sales that will turn into revenue over that stretch.
Microsoft reported contracted revenue of $61 billion as of the end of March and expects to recognize 60% of that over the next 12 months. Salesforce said in February that it has $13.3 billion of business that’s contracted but not billed.
AWS reported revenue growth of 49% in the first quarter to $5.4 billion. Based on the new disclosure, an average of $4 billion in backlog revenue will convert to sales every year, which accounts for less than 20% of AWS’ projected $22 billion revenue run rate for 2018.
That means the majority of its revenue comes from shorter commitments, and AWS has to find ways to get those customers to spend more every year, said Prasadh Cadambi, a partner at KPMG.