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FinTech Insights From the Experts: FT Partners' Steve McLaughlin

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  • (0:30) - Rise Of FinTech: FT Partners Maps the Money Flow
  • (7:40) - Where Are the FinTech IPOs?
  • (14:20) - How Do Private Companies Navigate A Down Round?
  • (20:10) - What Are VC Investors Looking for in FinTech?
  • (30:40) - Crypto Speculation vs. Long-Term FinTech Investment
  • Mind Over Money Archive


Welcome back to Mind Over Money. I'm Kevin Cook, your field guide and storyteller for the fascinating arena of behavioral economics.

One of the most dramatic stock market moves after the Covid shutdown was in Software. The need for more Zoom calls and remote tools and bandwidth saw SaaS subscriptions in corporate America soar.

Twilio did a survey of hundreds of global IT professionals in 2021 to ask them about the scope of projects they pulled forward and the results were astounding. The conclusion was that, on average, we had witnessed "10 years of digitization in 10 months."

Frankly, I never understood why Zoom shares soared to a $100 billion valuation when Skype was always free and worked just as well. But that's marketing for you, on and off of Wall Street.

What I actually found more interesting was the rise of FinTech in a place most investors weren't watching. In 2021, I became aware of the research of Steve McLaughlin at FT Partners. He had been tracking the VC investments in private companies for years and the scoreboard for that year was record shattering.

In Q3 alone, there were $36 billion in deals for over 900 FinTech companies. This was due to private companies like Chime and Bolt raising hundreds of millions and watching their valuations soar into the multi billions.

And this frenzy was likely fueled by the flashy FinTech IPOs like Robinhood (HOOD - Free Report) , Coinbase (COIN - Free Report) , SoFi, and Affirm, the "buy now/pay later" (BNPL) company that partnered with Amazon.

And let's not forget Square -- I mean Block -- plunking down $29B for its own BNPL bolt-on, Australia's Afterpay.

In October of 2021, I summed up all this "innovation exuberance" -- whether rational or not -- in the article and video...

Unicorn Stampede: How FinTech Innovation and VC Warchests Fuel Markets

I think most Software investors can guess what has happened since the market peaked in late 2021.

Block (SQ - Free Report) and PayPal (PYPL - Free Report) now trade at valuations under 3 times sales.

And the private FinTech valuations and deal flow also peaked and plunged. Looking at FT Partners data, 2021 saw $520 billion in total activity, including $34 billion in IPOs, $141 billion in private financing, and $345 billion in M&A. The 2022 total was $218 billion with zero IPOs.

By the way, you can find this data in various charts and research reports that Steve shares on Twitter @FTPartners and on LinkedIn. You can also go directly to

Here's a few of the topics I asked this Goldman Sachs alum to learn more about the trends and dynamics of FinTech.

Why didn't we get the big IPOs we were looking for from Stripe and Plaid?
What's on the "innovation frontier" for FinTech after fads like BNPL fade?
What happens when a multi-billion dollar "unicorn" is underwater on that peak valuation?
What do you think of companies like MicroStrategy (MSTR - Free Report) putting so much of their balance sheet -- with leverage -- into Bitcoin?

On the podcast, Steve answers these questions and whole lot more, including capital raising insights on Klarna, the Swedish fintech company that provides online financial services for online storefronts, including payments technology and BNPL.

Be sure to listen for a firehose of knowledge from the most-connected man in FinTech!

About FT Partners

Financial Technology Partners (aka “FT Partners”) is the only investment banking firm focused exclusively on the financial technology sector. They broadly define the sector as the dynamic convergence of technology-based solutions and financial services.

The firm was founded by Steve McLaughlin, Managing Partner, formerly a senior investment banker in Goldman Sachs & Co.'s Financial Technology Group and Financial Institutions Group in New York and San Francisco. The firm's Founder and senior bankers are all highly experienced investment bankers formerly with the financial technology, M&A and investment banking groups of Goldman Sachs & Co in New York, San Francisco, London and Los Angeles.

FT Partners has built a firm of 200+ professionals with deep expertise to serve clients in the complex FinTech sector, with a full suite of strategic and financial advisory services. And with years of transaction experience on some of the largest transactions in history, they bring their unique research and finance approaches to maximize shareholder value.

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