The Top Performers and Failures in Fintech in 2023

2023 has been a historic and eventful year for the world of fintech. Throughout these past 12 months, we’ve seen a multitude of stories that have made a significant impact on the industry. From monumental events involving tech behemoths to unexpected acquisitions and closures, the world of fintech has been anything but predictable.

One of the biggest stories of 2023 came not from a startup, but from the tech giant Apple. In April, Apple launched a program that allowed Apple Card customers in the U.S. to open a savings account and earn interest through an Apple savings account. Initially offering a competitive APY of 4.15%, this move marked a significant foray into the world of fintech for Apple. However, by year’s end, its partnership with Goldman Sachs had crumbled, leaving the future of this venture in question.

Similarly, another major player in the space, Mastercard, made headlines when its CFO expressed strong dissatisfaction with India’s UPI system. While highlighting the system’s capabilities, the CFO also underscored its “incredibly painful experience” for ecosystem participants who ended up losing money. This commentary drew attention to issues within India’s mobile payments rail, which sees over 10 billion transactions monthly.

On a global scale, China’s two dominant mobile payment solutions, WeChat Pay and Alipay, announced that foreign users could now pay at Chinese retailers by linking their foreign credit cards. This historic move paved the way for a more seamless experience for travelers visiting China.

On the acquisition front, Visa’s $1 billion buyout of Brazilian fintech startup Pismo and Robinhood’s $95 million acquisition of X1, underlined the continued consolidation within the industry. Both of these acquisitions marked significant moves by fintech incumbents to expand their reach and offerings.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. ZestMoney, a once-promising Indian fintech company, ultimately had to shut down after facing challenges in finding a buyer. The company’s closure was a poignant example of the harsh realities that many fintech startups face. Additionally, digital mortgage lender’s public debut via SPAC suffered a downward spiral, with the company’s stock plummeting to a mere 63 cents by December.

We also saw the emergence of new players in the space, with Vesey Ventures, a new venture firm founded by three ex-managing directors of Amex Ventures, closing a $78 million debut fund in early April and Slope, a business-to-business payments platform, securing a venture round of $30 million with major participation from OpenAI’s Sam Altman.

Despite the ups and downs, the fintech industry remains dynamic and ever-evolving. As we move into 2024, it’s clear that the world of finance and technology will continue to intersect in new and exciting ways. Stay tuned for what promises to be an eventful year in fintech.


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