Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech (formerly The Interchange)! I’m filling in for Mary Ann, who is on a much deserved break. This week, we look at Griffin Bank getting its license ahead of some heavy hitters, and we go inside Stripe’s annual letter, some funding rounds, and more!

The big story

A top story for this week was Griffin Bank over in the U.K. The banking-as-a-service company managed to do something that even the region’s most valuable fintech company, Revolut, hasn’t been able to do yet — obtain a banking license. Granted, as Mike Butcher writes, banking licenses are difficult to come by (Griffin’s took a year), but Revolut has talked about securing a banking license for the past three years.

Now that Griffin has a banking license, it offers a full-stack platform for fintech companies to offer banking, payments and wealth solutions via automated compliance and an integrated ledger. More likely, the company will offer banking accounts to businesses rather than consumers.

Analysis of the week

Alex Wilhelm and I read through Stripe’s annual letter. Here are a few things that we thought were worth talking about:

  • The company’s growth is impressive. It hit the $1 trillion total payment volume mark in 2023, while noting its payment volume rose 25%. That said, if the company did, in fact, process precisely $1 trillion last year, it would imply $800 billion in 2022 processing and gains of $200 billion worth of TPV in a single year. At Stripe’s size, it’s quite a result.
  • Stripe saw record startup formation in 2023 despite the decline in venture capital activity in the past year. Not only that, but the payments infrastructure company also reported that those companies were 60% more likely to start collecting revenue within their first year, while 57% were more likely to process $1 million within their first year than those founded in 2019.

Dollars and cents

We have a new unicorn. Perfios, an India-based company providing financial institutions with real-time data aggregation and analysis tools to help them streamline their customer journeys and make more informed decisions, raised an $80 million round of funding that boosted its valuation to over $1 billion. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan led the round. The company said it plans to go public next year.

Manish Singh also wrote about India digital payments app Paytm, which secured a vital license it needed to survive and maintain continuity of several core app features. This came a day before the firm’s banking unit was scheduled to cease operations on March 15 because of regulatory restrictions.

OpenMeter, a startup that developed an open source platform that helps companies more easily track their usage-based billing, raised a $3 million round from Y Combinator, Haystack and Sunflower Capital.

What else we’re writing

Reddit’s IPO could become a potential meme stock in the way the company is choosing to set it up. In a new SEC filing, Reddit’s IPO involves around 22 million shares, priced between $31 and $34. However, this could get real interesting real quick given that Reddit will allow its community members to sell their shares immediately, instead of being subject to the usual lock-up agreements that typically prevent investors from selling shares for six months after the IPO.

Most subscription mobile apps don’t make money, according to an analysis by RevenueCat. Among the 29,000 apps it looked at, the company found that only 17.2% of apps will reach even $1,000 in monthly revenue, but after they hit that point, the odds of them growing further increase.

TikTok expanded its Effect Creator Rewards monetization program to more regions and lowered its payout threshold. It is now in 33 regions across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The program rewards creators for the effects they make through TikTok’s AR development platform, Effect House. TikTok is also updating the program’s payout model, as creators will now receive rewards only for effects used in public videos.

High-interest headlines

HSBC to hire almost 50 bankers for startup, venture lending in US

Green Dot to enable cash transactions for 3 more fintechs

With fintech funding down 70%, here’s what fintech’s high-flyers are worth now 

Maxwell launches POS feature that offers tailored workflows for lenders

JPMorgan sees mixed results from Silicon Valley push

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