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Within Brex’s efforts to spend less money

Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech (formerly The Interchange)! In this edition, I’ll look back at Brex’s latest round of layoffs, the state of fintech investing in 2023 and more! I may be taking some time off in the coming weeks, but fear not, TechCrunch Fintech is not going away. We will be back soon!

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Big story

What goes up must come down. For spend management startup Brex, that was the case with headcount. While interest rates were low, the company saw a spike in business and VC money was easier to come by. Its headcount grew to around 1,300 before it laid off staff in October 2022. As things have come to ground, Brex is trying to reset, announcing this week that it has laid off 282 employees, or nearly 20% of its staff, in a restructuring. The move follows reports that the company spent $17 million in cash each month during the fourth quarter and is trying to preserve its runway.

Analysis of the week

Fintech, oh, fintech. Last year was not easy for you. Fintech investors invested $34.6 billion in startups across 2,055 deals in 2023, down -43.8% and -32.4% year-on-year, according to the data PitchBook data. Valuations are also mostly down, with a median of $19.4 million, down -13% from the 2022 median. Exits also took a dive, with just $5.9 billion in exit value generated across 185 deals in 2023. , which is a decrease of -76.1% and -22.3% on the annual level. But Q4 was good. According to CB Insightsfintech saw eight new unicorns during this period, and equity funding increased by double-digit percentages.

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Dollars and cents

Bilt’s awardswhose platform aims to allow consumers to earn rewards on rentals and daily spending in the neighborhood, announced last week that raised $200 million at a $3.1 billion valuation. General Catalyst led the financing, which more than doubled the New York-based company’s value compared to hers A $150 million raise in October 2022. The increase and jump in value is impressive in an environment where mega-rounds (deals worth over $100 million) are rare. CB Insight’s 2023 State of Entrepreneurship Report found that while mega rounds “were the hallmark of 2021, with 350+ occurring in each quarter . . . in the fourth quarter of 2023, that number dropped to just 78 — the lowest level since 2017.”

What else are we writing?

Swedish fintech company Klarna has announced its first subscription plan“Klarna Plus,” for $7.99 per month, with benefits such as a free additional service fee when using the Klarna one-time card, double reward points and access to exclusive discounts with popular brands.

AND new list compiled by GGV US highlights 50 fintech startups venture capitalists consider hot stuff. We too spoke with GGV’s partner, Hans Tung about what he sees in the sector today.

PayPal will start piloting several new upcoming updates to its service, some of which will take advantage of AI-driven personalization. The company is introducing a new «CashPass» cashback offering called «Smart Receipts,» with personalized recommendations, among other things.

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Follow me on X @bayareapisac for the latest fintech news, coffee posts and more.

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