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Diagram announces close of $55-million second fund and adds Hamnett Hill as Partner

Vlad Poptamas

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Diagram Ventures (“Diagram”), a venture-builder that co-founds companies that pursue big ideas in the financial and insurance sectors, announced today the successful close of a new, $55-millionsecond fund (“Fund II”) and that serial entrepreneur Hamnett Hill has joined the platform as a Partner.

Diagram teams up with experienced entrepreneurs to build technology companies pursuing big ideas in the financial and insurance sectors. By combining venture capital investment, incubator-style support and access to a unique ecosystem, Diagram helps founders focus on what they love, removing barriers and speeding their path to success.

“With the support of our anchor investor, Portag3 Ventures, Diagram has rapidly gained a strong level of investor interest both in Canada and internationally, leading us to exceed our initial fundraising target of $50-million in less than six months,” said Diagram Co-Founder & CEO, Francois Lafortune. “We are thrilled and honoured with the quality of investors in our second fund. This is a reflection of the quality of the entrepreneurs Diagram has attracted and the success of the companies we co-created with them. We look forward to partnering with more founders to build billion-dollar global companies based in Canada.”

Diagram’s first $30-million fund has made investments in five up-and-coming companies to date: DialogueCollageBreathe Lifenesto, and dfuse, and the early results of Diagram’s venture co-creation model are promising. In less than 3 years, Diagram’s portfolio companies have created more than 250 full time jobs and combined enterprise value in excess of $175m.

“Dialogue’s growth is proof positive that the Diagram model works,” said Cherif Habib, co-founder and CEO of Dialogue. “From the day we began operations, the full support of the Diagram ecosystem — its founder-centric model, access to its network of LPs and large incumbents and the support services offered by the Diagram team — has allowed us to scale rapidly and become Canada’s leading virtual health provider in three years.”

Among the Limited Partners in Fund II, which includes more than 75 angels and family offices, are: Ambassador Bruce Heyman, the former United States Ambassador to Canada and a former Partner at Goldman Sachs; Angela Strange, a General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz; Andrew Chisholm, the former Head of the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman Sachs; Charles Goldman, the President and CEO of AssetMark and the former President of Institutional Platforms at Fidelity Investments; Mark Britto, the Executive Vice President Global Sales and Credit at PayPal; Nicole Junkermann, the Founder of NJF Holdings; Anatol von Hahn, the former Group Head of Canadian Banking of Scotiabank, and Henri de Castries, the former CEO of AXA Global.

“Diagram is a key component in our broader strategy to invest in the next generation of global financial services platforms,” said Paul Desmarais III, Co-Founder & Chairman of Diagram and Chairman & CEO of Sagard Holdings. “The number of international investors in Diagram’s second fund has more than doubled and we expect this will create substantive benefits for our portfolio companies as they expand internationally. My personal commitment to Diagram is unwavering because I have full confidence in the team and that the model works.”

Diagram also announced that Montreal-based serial entrepreneur, operator, and investor Hamnett Hill will join the platform as a Partner.

“Hamnett’s decision to help build Diagram is a vote of confidence in our model. He will be a tremendous thought partner to our founders with his outstanding 20-year entrepreneurial track record. He’s seen it all!” said Dan Robichaud, Managing Partner of Diagram.

Hill, an investor in Diagram’s first fund, co-founded TotalNet, one of Canada’s largest early Internet Service Providers (ISPs);  Zero-Knowledge Systems, a high-profile pioneer in online privacy and security; Radialpoint, North America and Europe’s largest Telco & Cableco consumer SaaS provider, and most recently Smooch.io, the leading B2C omnichannel messaging software provider, which was recently sold to Zendesk (NYSE: ZEN). Exits of companies he has invested in, founded, or run reach into the several hundreds of millions of dollars. He was also the first and largest investor in Goodfood Market Corp. (TSX: FOOD) and sits on the company’s board of directors.

“Diagram’s unique, entrepreneur-focused model and the success it has enjoyed so far drew me to the platform,” said Hill. “I have yet to see anything else like it and I believe this formula represents the way forward to create the next generation of Canadian-based global businesses in the financial technology sector.”

 

SOURCE Diagram

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Fintech

Wirex Launches Enhanced Cryptoback™

Vlad Poptamas

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Today, payments platform Wirex launched a supercharged update of their revolutionary Cryptoback rewards programme. Customers can now earn up to 1.5% back in Bitcoin on Wirex Visa card purchases.

Released in 2018, Cryptoback™ was the world’s first rewards programme that paid out 0.5% in cryptocurrency for all in-store spending with the Wirex Visa card. Thanks to the recent launch of the Wirex Token (WXT), customers can now triple the amount of BTC they earn – making investing in cryptocurrency easier than ever before.

Depending on the amount of WXT held, in-store Wirex card purchases now generate up to 1.5% in Bitcoin. There are three levels of crypto rewards available:

  • 500,000 WXT = 1.5% Cryptoback
  • 100,000 WXT = 1.0% Cryptoback
  • 50,000 WXT = 0.75% Cryptoback

Wirex have calculated that the average UK consumer stands to earn more than £300 in Cryptoback™ every year, just by using their Wirex Visa card for day-to-day spending. Unlike many other cashback programmes, Wirex doesn’t impose restrictions on what customers can do with their rewards. Cryptoback™ can be redeemed instantly into their Bitcoin accounts, or quickly and easily exchanged into fiat for spending.

Enhanced Cryptoback™ is just one of the ways that holding Wirex Tokens allows customers to get even more out of their account. They can also enjoy heavily discounted fees based on the same structure, with access to premium products, merchant offers and airport lounges coming soon. As Wirex co-founder Pavel Matveev explains:

“We created the Wirex Token to be something that provides tangible value and benefits for holders beyond its market trajectory. Enhanced Cryptoback™ is the perfect example of this, as it allows customers to earn and invest in digital currency with a minimum of fuss. We’re looking forward to introducing even more benefits for WXT holders soon.”

 

SOURCE Wirex

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Fintech

Aegis Capital Corp. is pleased to announce its commitment to Equity Research

Vlad Poptamas

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Aegis Capital Corp. continues to expand its equity research platform with the addition of Benjamin Zucker and James Jang. Benjamin joined in May 2019 as Head of Specialty Finance and James joined in June 2019 to head up the Maritime & Special Situations. These new coverage areas will bolster Aegis’ existing research footprint in the Internet/TMT and Healthcare sectors.

Mr. Zucker joined Aegis from BTIG LLC, where he was a Director and lead analyst covering Mortgage REITs and real estate finance companies. Prior to BTIG, Mr. Zucker was a Vice President at JMP Securities LLC where he covered similar sectors. Benjamin began his career in equity research at Pritchard Capital Partners. At Aegis, Mr. Zucker’s coverage will span across several Specialty Finance sub-sectors including Mortgage REITs, Equity REITs, Business Development Companies (BDCs) and Financial Technology firms (FinTech). Benjamin’s current coverage list includes: Medalist Diversified REIT (MDRR), Sachem Capital Corp. (SACH), and Saratoga Investment Corp. (SAR).

Mr. Jang joined Aegis from Maxim Group LLC, where he was a Senior Vice President and lead analyst covering the Industrials, Infrastructure and Clean-Technology sectors. Previously, Mr. Jang was a senior analyst at Sidoti & Co. covering furniture and textiles and was an equity research associate at Canaccord Genuity covering Maritime and Upstream E&P companies. Since joining, Mr. Jang has expanded Aegis’ research platform into the Agriculture, Oilfield Services, and Industrial Technology sectors with coverage of Profire Energy (PFIE), Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII), Yield10 Bioscience (YTEN) and Sigma Labs (SGLB).

Michael Pata Aegis’ Head of Business Development commented: “Hiring Benjamin and James continues to show Aegis’ commitment to equity research, which brings institutional quality analysis to the small and mid-cap universe.”

 

SOURCE Aegis Capital

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Fintech

LexinFintech Announces US$300 Million Private Placement of Convertible Notes with PAG

Vlad Poptamas

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LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: LX) (“Lexin” or the “Company”), a leading fintech platform for educated young adults in China, today announced that it has entered into a convertible note purchase agreement with PAG, a leading Asia-focused private equity firm with over US$30 billion in capital under management, pursuant to which the Company will issue and sell convertible notes in an aggregate principal amount of US$300 million to PAG through a private placement. The private placement is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to close on or around September 16, 2019. The gross proceeds raised from this placement will be approximately US$296.4 million.

The convertible notes will mature in seven years, bearing interest at a rate of 2.0% per annum. The notes will be convertible into fully paid Class A ordinary shares of the Company or ADSs at a conversion price of US$14 per ADS at the holder’s option from the date that is six months after the issuance date.  The holder of the notes will have the right to require the Company to repurchase for cash all or any portion of the notes on the fourth anniversary of the issuance date.

At closing, the Company will appoint to its Board of Directors one person designated by PAG.

Mr. Jay Wenjie Xiao, Founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Company, said, “We are excited to have PAG as our new investor. This investment will enable Lexin to further develop and enhance our consumption-based ecosystem, improve product offerings to our educated adult customers, continue to invest in technology, build up additional consumption scenarios, and provide more consumer benefits to our customers.”

“PAG has a strong commitment to and deep understanding of China’s financial services industry, and we have a demonstrated track record of seeking out and engaging with the industry’s leading companies,” said PAG Chairman & CEO Weijian Shan. “Lexin has an unparalleled platform for meeting young consumers’ credit needs while strictly controlling and minimizing credit risks, which makes it unique, and we are looking forward to supporting the company as it embarks on its next stage of growth.”

Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., BofA Merrill Lynch and China Renaissance acted as the private placement agents to Lexin on the transaction.

 

SOURCE LexinFintech Holdings Ltd.

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