Top Headlines in Fintech #014

“The Bill [Gates] memo in 1995, it does feel like that to me. I think it’s as big.” - Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comparing AI to the early internet

Back in the mid-1990s, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates famously distributed an internal memo that described the internet as a “tidal wave” that would influence every part of the tech company’s business. Fast forward to today and Microsoft’s current boss, Satya Nadella, believes that the same could be said for the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) tech.

Image by Bloomberg 

In an interview with Bloomberg, Nadella compared today’s generative AI to the early days of the internet, noting that it evokes the same feelings as the Gates memo of nearly 30 years ago. To that end, Microsoft has earmarked $13 billion to invest in OpenAI, the company behind the famous ChatGPT chatbot that has taken the world by storm. 

Takeaway: The Microsoft chief also says the company’s relationship with OpenAI is an example of a partnership that is “working really well,” which is not always the case with tech pairings. One example of this is bank and fintech partnerships, which don’t always prove to be a match made in heaven. 

According to an EY survey, more than one-third of bank partnerships never “operationalize,” as a result of poor strategies, scalability problems and an organizational alignment that misses the mark. Nevertheless, more than half  of banks continue to expect the role of fintech partnerships to be “very important” in their plans by 2025. 


At long last, payments giant PayPal has named a new boss. Alex Chriss, who currently oversees the small business division at Intuit, will take the reins from Dan Schulman as the new chief executive of PayPal in September. 

For his part, Schulman has been at the helm of PayPal since 2015 and announced his retirement in early 2023. Chriss will have his work cut out for him, with PayPal’s stock stuck in the doldrums. 

Image by LinkedIn

Takeaway: Being a fintech CEO requires its own unique skill sets, not least of which include innovation, financial inclusion, an understanding of the customer and ability to protect them/cybersecurity, collaboration, partnership, and competitiveness, as outlined by CarbonEdge.

AI & Fintech 

Card-issuing platform Marqeta has introduced an artificial intelligence-powered question-and-answer tool called Marqeta Docs AI. The tool is designed to slash the amount of time spent on coding and paves the way for Marqeta to integrate AI into its broader suite of products. Ultimately Marqeta Docs AI is meant to improve the “time to value” (TTV) for customers.

Takeaway: In addition to TTV, other metrics used to value fintech companies include Lifetime Value (LTV), which estimates the value that a customer brings a company throughout the duration of the relationship, and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), or the costs associated with securing a new customer across areas like marketing. 

The nation of India is looking to bolster digital payments via AI-driven voice transactions. India is building voice-driven and offline digital payments infrastructure to bridge the divide between rural and urban areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking to bring larger swaths of India online through the country’s Universal Payments Infrastructure (UPI), launched in 2016, and this roll-out is part of that endeavor. Thanks to this system, approximately 350 million residents access UPI for transactions. 

Image by Unsplash 

Adyen: Dutch payments-processing company Adyen, which goes head-to-head with Europe’s Stripe, has said no to share buybacks after the company lost close to $20 billion of its market value in one day as investors fled the stock. Adyen has been facing headwinds in the way of an e-commerce market that is becoming more mature and increased competition, particularly in North America. 

Adyen stock plummeted nearly 40% after the company missed first-quarter earnings estimates. Investors had come to expect strong revenue results after the company reported steady increases since going public. Adyen, which was listed in 2018, has been hurt by the rising interest rate and high inflation environment. 

Takeaway: As short-term interest rates continue to hover in the 5.25% area, fintechs continue to face uncertainty in the economy. However, economists are no longer predicting a recession at the end of the year. Nevertheless, rates are likely to remain elevated for a while.

Card Giant Backing 

After receiving backing from card giant Mastercard, Africa’s largest wireless company MTN Group’s fintech unit is looking for more investors. According to a Bloomberg report, the company is looking to sell as much as 30% of its fintech division to a group of investors. MTN’s fintech division boasts 60 million users in Africa and is valued at $5.2 billion. Mastercard has already taken a minority stake in MTN, sending shares of the company higher by nearly 5%. 

Takeaway: Fintech’s profile is on the rise in Africa as a result of insufficient banking options and the ability of fintech innovation to service the unbanked and underbanked. Younger generations, in particular, are using their mobile devices more and more to overcome any gaps in traditional financial services. 

Image by X Corp

Stock Spotlight

PayPal 1-Month Chart by TradingView

SoFi Stock Year-to-Date | Image by TradingView

Weekend Reads


The worst appears to be over for the U.S. economy, with economists now saying there is no recession in sight as inflation finally begins to cool. However, now all eyes are on the Federal Reserve and whether policymakers will choose to keep rates unchanged at the next FOMC meeting in September. Fintech is certainly paying attention as this affects interest income, savings rates, the cost of capital and more.

In the meantime, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will be making a speech at Jackson Hole this week in a speech entitled “Structural Shifts in the Global Economy” and could give some indication on the direction of monetary policy for the rest of the year. Powell will be joined by central bankers from across the globe.