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Summing Up the 10 Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

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Summing Up the 10 Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

Image courtesy of: Raconteur

Summing Up the 10 Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

How hot is fintech right now?

This one statistic sums it up: in 2015, a record amount of fintech deals were done for a total deal value of $24.6 billion. That number is higher than the last five years put together.

With everything seemingly turning up “fintech”, here is a summary and some reflection on the 10 biggest fintech deals of last year.

Summing Up the Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

1. FIS acquires SunGard for $9.1 billion

The acquisition, financed with a mix of 45 percent cash and 55 percent stock, yields a combined company with $9.2 billion in annual revenue, 55,000 employees, and operations in more than 130 countries. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS is the world’s largest global provider dedicated to banking and payments technologies. Their technology underscores $9 trillion in global transactions each year.

SunGard, which was the target of the acquisition, was previously taken over in 2005 by a consortium of private equity firms in the largest tech privatization deal ever. It was valued at $11.3 billion.

2. ICE acquires Interactive Data Corp

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) bought Interactive Data Corporation (IDC) from private equity firms Silver Lake Group LLC and Warburg Pincus LLC. Valued at $5.2 billion, including $3.65 billion in cash and $1.55 billion in stock, the deal allows ICE to expand the markets it serves while bringing in new technology platforms and data services.

ICE owns and operates 23 exchanges and marketplaces, with the most famous of these being the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

3. McGraw-Hill Financial acquires SNL Financial

McGraw-Hill Financial, the parent of the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency, paid $2.23 billion in cash to buy SNL Financial from private equity firm New Mountain Capital.

McGraw-Hill is also known for some of its other subsidiaries, such as S&P Dow Jones Indices and Platts.

4. D+H Corporation buys Fundtech

D+H, a Canadian corporation which was historically a manufacturer of cheques, has recently shifted its focus on more technology-related endeavors. Part of this includes buying global payment services provider Fundtech for $1.25 billion in cash.

In a recent press release, D+H described the transaction as a key piece in their transition to technology: “The Fundtech acquisition significantly advanced D+H in our FinTech journey and was evidence of our commitment to continue providing clients the innovative solutions they need to grow and compete.”

5. Lufax is funded by multiple investors

Lufax, also known as the Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co., is an online Internet finance marketplace in China. Focusing on peer-to-peer loans, Lufax connects individual investors with borrowers for loans of around $10,000 while collecting a 4% fee off each loan.

Domestic and overseas institutions participated in the most recent $1.2 billion financing in December, including the investment arm of COFCO Group and Guotai Junan (Hong Kong). The company is considered a mover and shaker in the Chinese lending space, and is now valued at $18.5 billion.

6. Lufax is funded by multiple investors

Lufax was also responsible for the sixth biggest deal of 2015, as it did an earlier raise in March 2015 for $488 million from a group of investors at a valuation of nearly $10 billion.

7. Markit

Markit, which recently announced a merger with IHS to create a data heavyweight, was also very active last year.

In 2015, it initiated a secondary public offering of its common shares to investors worth $350 million.

8. Learnvest acquired by Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual went all-in on personalized financial planning by buying New York-based startup LearnVest for over $250 million.

9. Neustar acquires TNS

Real-time information services provider Neustar bought caller authentication assets from Transaction Network Services (TNS), an affiliate of Siris Capital Group, for $220 million in cash.

10. Markit buys CoreOne

Earlier in 2015, market data company Markit bought CoreOne Technologies, a global leading provider of regulatory reporting for $200 million.

Original graphic by: Raconteur

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Visualized: The Esports Journey to Mainstream

This infographic plots the journey of esports, from underground niche to a billion-dollar mainstream phenomenon—and it shows no signs of slowing down.

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Visualized: The Esports Journey to Mainstream

Although esports might seem like a relatively new phenomenon, its origins can be traced all the way back to the 1970s.

It was only in the past decade however, that a wave of technological innovation transformed the entire industry from an underground niche into a billion-dollar mainstream phenomenon.

Today, the nascent esports industry competes with some of the biggest sports leagues in the U.S., while global tech giants hastily invest billions of dollars to make their mark in what many consider to be the future of sports and entertainment.

How did it evolve into the industry we know today—and more importantly, will it maintain its furious pace of growth?

The History of Esports

Electronic sports (or esports), are organized, multiplayer video game competitions commonly played by professional gamers. Since its inception, the industry has continued to exceed expectations and reach new milestones every decade.

Note: The timeline of events are an abridged version of major achievements in the industry.

1970s: The Birth of Esports

The earliest known video game competition—the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics—took place in 1972 at Stanford University. The winner of the event received an annual subscription to Rolling Stone magazine.

While it was a modest first prize for the industry, it would set a foundation for future prize pools in the millions of dollars.

1980s: More Gaming Options

The 1980s ushered in better consoles for esports. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) took graphics, controls, gameplay, and video game accessibility to the next level.

Five years later, the Sega Genesis console was released in the U.S. and Japan to compete with Nintendo—which held a 95% market monopoly at the time.

1990s: The First Tournaments

Nintendo increased its commitment to esports by hosting the Nintendo World Championships. After touring 30 cities in the U.S., the finals challenged players to games like Super Mario Bros. and Tetris, with a 40-inch TV awarded to the winner.

Developers and gaming entrepreneurs created a flurry of leagues, including QuakeCon in 1996, followed by both the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) and the Professional Gamers League (PGL) in 1997.

In just a few years, these competitions helped esports gain significant traction.

2000s: The Explosion of Esports

Esports fully burst into the mainstream with Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch for $970 million in 2014. The live video game streaming site gave esports a platform to reach previously unthinkable heights, with popular games like League of Legends (LoL) and Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota) receiving millions of views.

In 2019, Google followed suit with its Stadia streaming service. The cloud-based video game platform aims to eliminate the need for hardware, allowing Google to aggressively compete in the esports space.

A Snapshot of Esports Today

The increasing involvement of developers and global tech giants has not only increased the audience size of esports—it has also led to bigger prize pools, and larger scale competitions across the world.

  • Demographics: 50% of esports viewership now comes from Asia.
  • Engagement: 6 billion hours were dedicated to watching esports in 2018, and will continue to grow to 9 billion by 2021.
  • Buy-in: The price of one of the 12 Overwatch League teams for sale in 2017 was $20 million.
  • Incentives: The Fortnite competition prize pool for the 2018 season was $100 million—equal to the entire esports prize pool in 2017.

It’s clear that esports continues to attract rapidly growing audiences at an unprecedented rate. However, there are still significant barriers inhibiting the industry from reaching its full potential.

The Future of esports

In order to maintain its furious pace of growth, the esports industry must first address five key challenges:

  • Diversity of game genres: The industry will need to produce more game genres in order to appeal to a wider audience outside of its current player base.
  • Geographic expansion of leagues: esports will need to expand to national, regional, and global levels if it wants to tap into bigger advertising budgets. However, while esports gains attention from global media, local events are more difficult to organize.
  • Regulation of competitions: With multimillion-dollar prize pools at stake, new rules and regulations are needed to combat cheating and match fixing.
  • Ownership of media rights: Content rights have not been a focus for publishers, as fan-generated content has served as free advertising for their games.
  • Media alignment: Traditional media brands are still reluctant to associate themselves with esports, as prejudices against competitive gaming still exist. For example, gaming culture is viewed as a harmful distraction, rather than a legitimate sport.

In less than 50 years, esports has evolved into a dominant form of entertainment today, eclipsing film and music industries by a wide margin. With an increasingly mainstream audience, the industry’s popularity and profitability shows no signs of slowing down—despite the challenges it faces.

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Visualizing the Rise of Investment Tech

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Visualizing the Rise of Investment Tech

For the high resolution version of this infographic, click here.

Investors and wealth managers are always looking to capitalize on their investments—and the latest innovations are arming them with more efficient tools to get there.

Fintech solutions are increasingly being adopted among the digitally active population, as 64% of surveyed wealth managers consider digitization essential in 2019.

Today’s graphic from Raconteur highlights the benefits of investment technology, and touches on shifting sentiments in human vs. digital interactions. Where do investors and wealth managers see the next epoch of investment fintech heading?

Fantastic Features: Top Benefits

According to a TD Ameritrade survey of 1,000 investors, a whopping 90% consider getting tailored investing advice to be the most important feature of any tech tool. In second place, 52% place value in easy access to their data.

Here are the other benefits at top of mind for investors when it comes to investment tech:

  • 45% seek the best possible returns
  • 44% look for customized, quick, and simple analysis
  • 39% are interested in customized portfolios
  • 39% want the benefit of personalized budgets
  • 38% desire regular suggestions for optimizing financial health

But how well are these applications being adopted in everyday investment scenarios?

The Fintech Boom by the Numbers

Investment apps such as RobinHood have drastically risen in popularity, but still lag behind more mainstream segments in the fintech space:

Fintech Categories Ranked by Adoption Rate, 2015 to 2019

Category2015 Adoption Rate2017 Adoption Rate2019 Adoption Rate
Money transfer and payments18%50%75%
Insurance8%24%48%
Savings and investments17%20%34%
Budgeting and financial planning8%10%29%
Borrowing6%10%27%

Source: EY

Borrowing apps have the lowest global usage rates—only 27% of the digitally active global population—whereas nearly 75% have adopted money transfer and payment apps.

Human vs Machine: The Customer Experience

Do humans or machines have the edge in managing your investments?

The aforementioned survey by TD Ameritrade also asked investors which of the following are performed better by each group, with mixed results:

👨 Humans perceived as better  🤖 Robots perceived as better
• Ability to chat about questions or investment concerns• Info in one place that can be accessed at any time to inform best solutions
• Investment experience
• Best returns
• Affordable investment solutions or advice
• Ability to optimize returns and minimize taxes
• Regular suggestions on how to optimize financial life• Quick, simple analysis tailored to unique financial situation
• Personalized budget development• Custom portfolio with regular updates

When it comes to managing tasks such as calculations, updates, and portfolio optimization, the majority of investors consider a computer to be better suited to the tasks at hand. However, when they are discussing investment concerns, personalization, or financial advice, the majority of customers prefer a human opinion.

Interestingly, 81% of U.S. investors believe that investment technology could never replace the “human touch”, compared to 70% of European investors or 64% in Asia.

Wealth Managers are Going Digital

Over time, wealth managers have grown to embrace the digitization of their industry.

The proportion of surveyed high-level executives who see digitization as essential to the industry jumped from just 25% in 2016 to 64% in 2019.

In another recent survey about views on most impactful types of fintech apps, more than 68% of wealth managers agreed that robo-advisors are among the most important developments, with AI-based investing apps following closely behind at 45%.

Towards a More Personalized Future

At the end of the day, investors want better, more personalized advice at their disposal—and for that advice to generate more profitable returns. Along with their wealth managers, investors are increasingly interested in solutions that can simplify portfolio management.

Digitization and automation of manual processes have been a welcome change for many industry professionals. While investment technology is still in early stages, wealth managers can personalize investor experiences through the adoption of tech─and increase their chances of future success by maintaining a seamless customer experience.

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