Rippling’s decision to make a tender offer this spring has HR and fintech startups buzzing. Among Rippling’s peers and competitors, its tender offer is inspiring both disgust and envy. In this story below, we dissect the finer points of Rippling’s tender offer, highlight the evolving price movements at Carta and the latest technological advancements and partnerships in fintech. We are talking about a chess game of corporate strategy that will spell the future of dozens of startups.

Carta's Calculated Pivot: Valuation in the Spotlight

And in Carta, a veteran of cap table management software, we see a pivot to a secondary sale for a $2 billion valuation mark. Carta brought in $380 million in revenue last year, but only achieved a $65 million profit in 2023, navigating a tightrope of growth vectors. It is no surprise to see a re-valuation in this way. The wider reality of the startup ecosystem is that valuation plateaus are difficult to maintain, never mind to grow.

The Fintech Floodgate: Bursts of Innovation and Investment

Activity and innovation in the fintech sphere are reflected in the following key developments:

  • Understory’s renewable focus: Now re-focused on products specific to the renewable energy sector, Understory saw 500 per cent year-over-year growth, and is now using $15 million in new funding to launch new products focused on the renewable energy sector.
  • Torpago’s Financial Fortification: Backed by $10 million in Series B funding, the Austin-based fintech is scaling its commercial credit card and spend management solutions for community banks.
  • Robinhood’s Crypto Crusade Heats Up, Buys Bitstamp for $200 Million.
  • Stake’s Strategic Spread: Courtesy Stake Stake will raise $14 million to expand its fractional investment in property into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
  • Fizz’s Finance Flair: With a $14.4 million seed round, Fizz sets Gen Z college students on the credit-building path; Kleiner Perkins shows their creds.

Fintech's Friendly Foes: Collaborations Over Clashes

But in an industry so often defined by its ferocious competitiveness, examples of cooperation are rare. Capital One’s partnership with Stripe and Adyen to tackle fraud was a significant step toward rivals working together rather than against each other. It demonstrates that an ethical response to the bloodlust of a pint-spilling schoolboy can also be the canniest approach to business. It’s also proof that the fintech industry’s ‘friendly foes’ might just be able to find a way to work together. That’s part of the greater lesson here: the movements between the five ‘sins’, and back again, are something we can learn from too.


It remains to be seen who the winners and who the losers will be among all the players in the fintech and startup space, but as the sector continues to morph, predicting the next round of power plays – and meanwhile, making the most of them – will be both a challenge and a necessity.


In sum, Rippling’s tender offer decision is not just the corporate manoeuvring that it initially seems – it’s as much a window into the strategic calculations of the fintech and start-up worlds as it is an insider’s story of the latest moves in an ever-changing marketplace. We might not all like everything that happens – or understand why it takes place – but just as in the game of chess, winning demands a willingness to absorb the surges of risk and reward, a keen eye, and the ability to keep making choices for as long as the game goes on.

Jun 12, 2024
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