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A News Digest on IPO, Digital Banking and Marketplaces

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Robinhood is building a platform to let its users directly buy into IPOs of companies, including its own, in order to “democratize” IPOs Robinhood plans to carve out a chunk of its shares on offer in its IPO for its 13 million users, and to use technology it is building to administer this part of the offering, the sources said. While Robinhood’s technology would be new, the concept of reserving shares for users is not. Deliveroo Holdings Plc, the Inc-backed food delivery firm that announced plans this month to list in London, is doing this, although a third-party provider is administering the process. Hire fintech developers.

Chinese question and answer website Zhihu Inc raised $523 million in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO) after pricing its shares at $9.50 each, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. The company, which has been described as China’s version of Quora, also raised $250 million in a placement to investors led by Alibaba and JD.Com affiliates.

Atlanta-based Greenwood, a digital banking startup designed for Black and Latino consumers and businesses, said on Thursday that it had raised $40 million from a host of U.S. financial institutions. The startup will use the cash injection to build the business, with plans to launch its first products this summer, Ryan Glover, Greenwood’s Chairman, and co-founder said in an interview. Greenwood is one of several digital banks that have emerged over the past year focused on consumers and businesses that have traditionally been underserved by the mainstream financial sector. Other online banking startups include First Boulevard, Daylight, and Cheese. Founded by entrepreneur Glover, alongside Civil Rights leader Andrew J. Young and rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render, Greenwood has signed up more than 500,000 users to its waitlist since being announced.

NFT start-ups
Last year, the total value of NFT transactions quadrupled to $250 million, according to data from, while in the past month alone overall NFT sales volumes exceeded $220 million. The trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by investors, who have poured $90 million into NFT and digital collectibles companies so far in 2021, according to data shared with CNBC by Pitchbook. That’s almost triple the $35 million that NFT start-ups raised last year. The largest deal was for Sorare, a blockchain-based fantasy football game, which raised about $50 million in February from VC heavyweights like Benchmark and Accel, as well as soccer star Rio Ferdinand.

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