Unit and Loop lay off staff and Brex ditches co-CEO model

Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech! This week, we’re looking at layoffs at BaaS startup Unit and car insurance company Loop, as well as Brex’s decision to abandon its co-CEO model, Apple killing its Pay Later feature, and more!

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The big story

Unit is the latest banking-as-a-service startup to lay off staff, with co-founders Itai Damti and Doron Somech noting in a blog post on June 17 that the company (last valued at $1.2 billion) had let go of about 15% of its staff. (Synctera cut headcount in March and Treasury Prime slashed its workforce by half in February). Unit declined to share how many employees were impacted or how many remain.

In other BaaS news, the Federal Reserve has ordered Evolve Bank (partner to Synapse and Mercury) “to bolster its risk management programs around fintech partnerships as well as anti-money laundering laws.” Meanwhile, the CEO of troubled fintech Synapse has reportedly raised $10 million for a new robotics startup even while questions remain on the whereabouts of $85 million in customer savings.

Analysis of the week

In an exclusive interview, Brex co-founders Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi told TechCrunch that the expense management company is abandoning its co-CEO model in an effort to move faster and be more attractive to investors as the startup prepares for an eventual IPO. “I think we’re at a scale where we’re starting to see some of the cracks in the co-CEO model,” Dubugras said. “We thought this would enable much faster and better decision-making.” Feels like Brex is growing up. The pair also said that a secondary sale of shares is likely to happen before it goes public. The company also told TechCrunch that it has launched a new checking account for businesses in partnership with Column, a fintech started by Plaid co-founder William Hockey, as well as access to Brex business accounts at incorporation through Stripe Atlas.

Dollars and cents

Founded by two former Flexport accounting alums Mary Antony and Kelsey Gootnick, automated financial reporting fintech InScope has raised a $4.3 million seed round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Speaking of Lightspeed, the firm also led a $35 million round for Finaloop, which aims to ease burdens for e-commerce businesses through its accounting software.

India’s largest wealth manager focused on ultra-high-net-worth individuals, 360 One WAM, has agreed to acquire popular Indian mutual fund investment app ET Money for about $44 million.

AccountsIQ, a Dublin-founded accounting technology company, has raised €60 million (about $65 million) to build “the finance function of the future” for midsized companies.

Let there be Light! Danish startup exits stealth with $13 million in seed funding to bring AI to general ledgers.

What else we’re writing

A little over a year after it was announced at WWDC, Apple’s U.S.-only Pay Later feature is no more. As TC’s Brian Heater writes: “Pay Later’s life was extraordinarily short, having officially launched in late March 2023. Ultimately, however, the move isn’t surprising. Apple announced at last week’s WWDC 2024 that users would be able to access loans through third-party app Affirm through Apple Pay.”

Loop, the car insurance company co-founded by Harlem Capital co-founder John Henry, has laid off staff as the company struggles with fundraising. Dominic-Madori Davis gives us the scoop.

High-interest headlines

Wells Fargo bet on a flashy rent credit card. It is costing the bank dearly, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. TC covered the startup’s $200 million raise earlier this year. But both companies deny any troubles.

Airbase adds analytics, vendor management to spend orchestration platform

Intuit to acquire Zendrive to expand usage-based auto insurance

Rental screener Findigs raises $27M in Series B funding 

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