IOU Financial filed their full-year 2020 financial results, boasting a total of $84.9 million in originations. Though at a $3.2 million net loss and decrease of 45% in originations from 2019, IOU representatives attest the firm weathered the worst of the pandemic and has left the other side prepared to take part in fueling “the recovery ahead.”
Shares of IOU are trading at about 8 cents, creating a market cap of just under $10 million. In 2020, Neuberger Berman acquired a significant stake in the company and agreed to purchase up to $150M in loans a year over two years. Founder and CEO Phil Marleau will transition into an advisory role on June 10th, replaced by Robert Gloer, COO.
“Robert and I have worked side-by-side since the Company was founded,” said Marleau. “Together, we underwrote our first small business loan in December 2009 and have since originated nearly US$1 billion in loans. IOU’s resilience and success are a direct result of the team’s considerable efforts over the past decade – a team that Robert and I have built and led. I look forward to continuing our partnership in an advisory capacity and as Director.”
IOU Financial originated $12.1M in funding to small businesses last month, the company revealed. It was IOU’s biggest loan volume month since the beginning of the pandemic.
The figure was included in an announcement regarding the company’s intention to repurchase up to $2M of Convertible Debentures.
“The move to repurchase corporate debt comes after a year of strategic initiatives as part of IOU’s Pandemic Resilience Plan that focused on reducing corporate expenses while reaffirming commitments from its diverse portfolio of funding sources and capitalizing on new opportunities to continue to support small businesses in 2020,” IOU said.
“IOU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (‘Pandemic Resilience Plan’) put the Company in a position of strength to consolidate its stake in developing the opportunities ahead,” said Phil Marleau, CEO. “We are proud to be able to stand with our network of brokers and small business owners as we prepare for the economic recovery with great optimism.”
Before the pandemic, IOU originated $154M in funding for all of 2019.
deBanked employees were summoned to an all-hands meeting in the company’s modest Brooklyn, NY headquarters yesterday afternoon to bear witness to a special announcement.
“We’re launching a SPAC,” deBanked president and chief editor Sean Murray said to a stunned room. “I’ve been writing about fintech for more than ten years, but an inspirational meme posted by a bot on twitter got me thinking. And I was just like, ‘You know what? F*** it, let’s just buy the whole fintech industry.'”
Everyone quickly agreed that it was a genius move.
“What was the last stimulus? like what, $1.9 trillion or something? We’ll raise at least 10x that amount in our IPO,” he continued. “No financial technology company is off limits, we’re going to buy them all. I can’t believe no one has thought of this yet!”
Murray realized that such a brilliant strategy was likely to rattle the largest banks and he said that he had already placed calls to Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan and David Solomon at Goldman Sachs to ease them into his swift rise to financial power.
“I mean did I actually speak to them? Technically per se not really, but I heard them speak on Clubhouse of which I am an elite exclusive member,” Murray said.
When pressed for details about this Clubhouse conversation, Murray backpedaled and said he actually just read an article about Clubhouse but that the article referenced Elon Musk and that he was basically just as important as the famed bankers. Several sources who wished to remain anonymous said that Murray was only invited to Clubhouse after shamelessly begging for an invitation on twitter.
Attempts to verify his membership revealed a profile picture where he is giving a thumbs up while holding a glass of scotch, one of which he said came from a bottle that cost more than I would ever make in my whole life. A fact check, however, revealed that it was really just expired apple juice that a building maintenance worker had left out near the common area garbage disposal.
When asked to explain this, Murray said, “Bro, why do you think we’re doing a SPAC? Once we have the money, we’ll be drinking freaking Apple computers!”
By the end of the big company meeting, Murray pulled out a joint and began puffing it furiously through a mouth hole he cut open in his 7 simultaneously-worn covid masks, prompting one staff member to ask if his fanciful plan was at all related to New York’s newly enacted marijuana law.
“Wait, you mean this sh*t’s legal now?” he asked. “F***, make it two SPACs then!”
April Fools 🙂
Funding Circle US revealed originations of £581M in 2020, equivalent to about $800M at current exchange rates. More than 90% of the company’s American borrowers were making full regular payments on their loans, Funding Circle reported. Approximately 7% were on a “payment holiday” at year-end or were not paying.
Funding Circle’s US loans generate low annual returns, its highest being a projected return of 4.1% to 4.9% for its 2016 cohort. Its 2020 cohort is projected to generate an annual return of between 1 – 3%.
Overall, Funding Circle reported a total net loss of £108.1M (approx $150M US) on just £103.7M in revenue, a massive loss that stemmed entirely from the first half of the year, attributed mostly to a write-down in “fair value.”
Funding Circle’s primary market is the UK. When comparing the market with the US, the company said that the US is in an earlier stage of development even though the market is 5x larger.
deBanked is hosting a livestream broadcast tomorrow beginning at 10:30 AM from a venue in Midtown Manhattan with guest speakers from two broker shops and a business funding company. There is no need to register for anything. Anyone can tune in live at deBanked.com/tv to watch it. The broadcast will run for 2.5 hours and end at 1 PM. This is an-person event being broadcast with no Zoom or virtual conversation. The event will also be recorded and made available free.
deBanked’s massive in-person conference, Broker Fair, will return to NYC later in the year on December 6th at Convene at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan.
Square bought a majority stake in Tidal, a music streaming service owned by Jay-Z, for $247 million.
Jay-Z will be joining the Square board and Tidal artists will keep their ownership in the firm. Jack Dorsey announced the move on Twitter, seeming to assuage worries from the first post.
“Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces,” Dorsey wrote. “We believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. Making the economy work for artists is similar to what Square has done for sellers.”
Square is acquiring a majority ownership stake in TIDAL through a new joint venture, with the original artists becoming the second largest group of shareholders, and JAY-Z joining the Square board. Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!
— jack (@jack) March 4, 2021
Dorsey and Jay have been friends for years and were spotted hanging out with Beyonce on a yacht in the Hamptons this summer. Dorsey and Jay-Z last month went in on a multimillion Bitcoin trust fund to support Bitcoin development in India and Africa.
Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Rumi, Blue Ivy w/ Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in the Hamptons — Aug. 24th. pic.twitter.com/bNEz0Nch2y
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@Bey_Legion) August 25, 2020
Jay-Z bought Tidal in 2015 for $56 million, but despite working with top music artists like Coldplay and Kanye West, the service has struggled to compete with Apple and Spotify. After a year of closed venues, Billboard reported that last year Tidal had a cash problem and was missing payments to rights holders. Tidal got a cash injection from the sale, while Square spent less than 1% of the firm’s value to bring Jay-Z’s leadership and network of music industry heavy-hitters into the fold.
“I said from the beginning that Tidal was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers,” said Jay-Z in a press statement. “Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey. Jack and I have had many discussions about Tidal’s endless possibilities that have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board. This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”
The combined company will be called NextPoint Financial.
NextPoint will acquire LoanMe at an enterprise value of approximately US$102 million, US$18 million of which is payable in cash, approximately US$49 million of which is payable in NextPoint common stock equivalents and with the balance of which reflects the assumption of existing corporate net debt at LoanMe.
“We are a one-stop financial services destination empowering hardworking and credit-challenged consumers and small businesses to get to the NextPoint in the financial futures,” the company said of its newly formed self.
The company says that LoanMe had originated $2 billion since inception, 340,000+ borrowers since inception, and has a $200 million loan portfolio. Liberty Tax, meanwhile, processes 185,000+ SME tax returns, 1 million+ US consumer tax returns, and 400k+ Canadian tax returns.
Combined, the company projects $317M in revenue in 2021.
“NextPoint has obtained a commitment for a new US$200 million revolving credit facility, advances under which may be used for NextPoint’s general corporate purposes, including to fund the Liberty Tax and LoanMe cash purchase prices, and to fund potential future acquisitions,” the company said in a public release.
Affirm, an online buy-now-pay-later platform, was listed on the Nasdaq on Wednesday at $49 a share under the ticker AFRM. Based on outstanding shares sold to IPO investors, the company saw an $11.9B valuation. Minutes after public sales began at noon, the price shot up to $100/share.
Company founder Max Levchin spoke through the big Nasdaq screen in Times Square as he virtually rang the starting bell. Levchin championed the hard work of the Affirm team.
Hear from the CEO of @Affirm, Max Levchin (@mlevchin) on the company improving the lives of consumers by empowering shoppers with honest financial products. @Affirm joins us this morning to ring the Opening Bell in honor of its IPO. #AFRM pic.twitter.com/QfkZsgXItM
— Nasdaq (@Nasdaq) January 13, 2021
Affirm makes money when a customer uses their tech to make a purchase at the point-of-sale.
Levchin is a member of the “PayPal mafia,” a co-founder of the online payments firm that went on to establish massively successful tech startups. Members of the “mafia” include Tesla’s Elon Musk, Linkedin chairman Reid Hoffman, and Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelmen.
After publishing earnings this summer, the San Francisco-based firm filed for an IPO on Nov 18. The move revealed revenue of $465M for the first 3 quarters of 2020 with a $66M net loss.
Embedded with the company’s S-1, were comments from Levchin that said:
“The barely-readable fine print makes only one thing clear to consumers: You’ll never know exactly what your purchase will really cost you,” Levchin wrote. “With most of the payments industry deriving profits from late fees, overdraft charges, and gimmicks like deferred interest, it’s not hard to agree that there has to be a better way; it’s time to evolve payments again.”
Levchin took to Twitter to post about the firm, championing the millions of transactions the platform has serviced since 2013, all without one late fee.
“More than eight years ago, we set out to take on credit cards and change the way we pay,” Levchin wrote. “We built Affirm from the ground up to align with the needs of consumers and merchants and to succeed when they succeed.”