Lessons we learned from the last week of fintech earnings

Startup investors around the world are pouring capital into fintech startups. With good reason, it appears, if third-quarter earnings from public companies in the sector are any indication.

Earnings reports released this week show a host of fintech players with strong operating results, both delighting investors and boosting share prices. For private companies, seeing their public champions do well is more than simply encouraging; strong results from their comps could help upstarts continue to attract venture capital.

It’s shaping up to be fintech’s year, both in the public and private markets. After raising a record total of $52.9 billion in 2018, global fintech companies saw their private investment plateau in both 2019 ($46.5 billon) and 2020 ($48.4 billion), according to data collected by CB Insights. But this year, global fintech startups raised $94.7 billion through Q3.

That wave of capital has borne a host of new unicorns, as investors wager that there’s ample growth ahead for fintech companies generally. Meanwhile, third-quarter results from companies like Affirm, SoFi and Marqeta support the view that the sector still has a way to go in filling white space, coloring over incumbents and aging systems.

Let’s examine a series of winning fintech results from BNPL, consumer finance, proptech and corporate finance players. After parsing those results and relating what they may mean for startups in those subsectors, we’ll discuss fintech earnings misses from Q3.

Hint: Trading incomes that were once the toast of the fintech market caused more than a few companies to stumble when they released their recent operating results.

Consumer lending is strong

Public buy now, pay later (BNPL) company Affirm beat investor expectations in the most recent quarter, which is the first quarter of its fiscal 2022. And the recently listed fintech raised its guidance for its current fiscal year.

Affirm saw active consumers of its BNPL offering grow 124% to 8.7 million during the quarter, and the number of transactions per active consumer increased 8% to 2.3. But where it saw real growth was in the number of active merchants on its platform, which increased from 6,500 to 102,000 thanks to the adoption of Shop Pay Installments by merchants on Shopify.

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