Coin, credit, or grass: A funding roundup for bad credit, crypto-loving, groundskeepers

Creditless credit cards, microbe-based fertilizer replacement, and the hunt for a big ol’ valuation from Coinbase, in today’s funding roundup.


October 3, 2018

Turns out, companies these days are raising money for all sorts of stuff: There’s a new alternative to fertilizer, a startup giving credit to people with bad/no credit, and… wait, Coinbase is profitable? 

WHAT NEXT??

Coinbasin’ to a new valuation

Currency exchange Coinbase is finalizing nearly $500m in funding at an $8B valuation led by Tiger Global, as the company looks to further legitimize the crypto industry. 

Coinbase is one of the world’s best-known crypto companies, but we’ve all witnessed the 2018 roller coaster that is digital token volatility, making it difficult for some investors to predict future growth…

Regardless, the company announced it is profitable (they make money on every trade) and scaling up in preparation for a potential IPO. An $8B valuation would make Coinbase one of the highest-valued startups in the US.

Out with the bad credit, in with the good

Fintech startup Petal has raised $34m in a round of funding, as the New York-based startup launches its alternative credit card to the credit-less masses.

And the award for best “alternative” credit card goes to… wait, what is an “alternative” credit card? According to Petal, it’s a card that doesn’t bank on traditional credit scores to approve applicants. 

Instead, it uses a process called “cash flow underwriting” — a model that meshes big data with machine learning to “analyze an individual’s full digital financial record.” Sounds credible… we’ll see if it pays off.  

Pivoting away from fertilizer…

Pivot Bio, a California-based startup developing more environmentally friendly fertilizers, announced it has raised $70m in a new funding round to expand on its much-needed microbe-based fertilizer replacement.

Crop fertilization is increasingly pertinent as the planet’s population expands, but crops don’t absorb all the fertilizers mixed in the soil, and the excess chemicals end up harming the environment. 

The lead investor is Breakthrough Energy Ventures — a $1B fund created by a consortium of billionaires, including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Jack Ma.

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