September 12 – 5 Key Stories From The Digital World

By September 11, 2019 Insight

1. Latin America’s digital spring: work in progress

  • Earlier this year Japan’s SoftBank announced a new $5bn technology growth fund aimed at Latin America and quickly followed up with a $1bn investment in Rappi, a Colombian online delivery firm
  • Even before the SoftBank announcement, venture capital investment in Latin American start-ups quadrupled between 2016 and 2018 to $2bn
  • Most countries in Latin America are seeing annual growth rates of nearly 50 per cent in the number of financial start-ups

2. From Investing To Budgeting, How Millennials Are Disrupting Personal Finance

  • Digital-first bank Chime is adding more customers each month than legacy banks such as Wells Fargo or Citibank
  • One report predicts that the 10 largest banks could lose $344B in deposits to smaller competitors over the next year
  • legacy institutions are fighting back, cherry-picking the best financial innovations that their younger competitors develop — investment robo-advisors, AI-based budgeting, and expense monitoring — and incorporating them into their services

3.  Mastercard, R3 to Develop Blockchain Cross-Border Payments Platform

  • two firms have inked a deal to “develop and pilot” the payments solution. It will initially be aimed at connecting faster payments schemes and banks backed by Mastercard’s clearing and settlement network
  • platform will be built on Corda Enterprise, the commercial version of the platform, as opposed to the open-source Corda Network
  • firms hope the new platform will help tackle industry issues such as costly payments processing, liquidity management and a paucity of standardization and connectivity between banks and domestic clearing systems

4. Mapping Airbnb’s Corporate Investment Strategy: Atlas Obscura And Beyond

  • company’s offerings include its main travel and experience blog, a food-focused publication called Gastro Obscura, a series of “local experiences,” and guided group trips around the world
  • Like many of the billion-dollar private companies barreling toward IPOs (or recently out the gate), Airbnb has made a number of investments into startups which align with its long-term strategy
  • Airbnb’s investments seem to be part of a consistent strategy aimed at increasing inventory supply in its own network, and diversifying into other markets

5. SpaceX confirms it’s almost ready to test its orbital Starship

  • company has filed an FCC communication permissions request that, as Elon Musk confirmed, prepares for test-flying the “orbit-class” Starship
  • vehicle will fly much higher than its stubby predecessor, reaching an altitude of 12.5 miles before it comes back to the same landing pad used during earlier tests
  • company hopes to launch its first commercial Starship flight in 2021, and that doesn’t leave it much time to both complete the spacecraft and prove that it can reliably deliver payloads to orbit