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Fintech Focus Roundup For November 28, 2020

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Metromile To Go Public Via SPAC, Expand Licensing

What Happened: In partnership with INSU Acquisition Corp. II, a SPAC sponsored by the insurance-focused Cohen & Company Inc., insurtech Metromile announced it will become a publicly listed company that would trade on the Nasdaq exchange under ticker “MLE”.

Lead investors include shareholder Mark Cuban, as well as Social Capital, led by Chamath Palihapitiya, which tweeted earlier that the insurtech is disrupting car insurance.

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Rapunzl's App Levels The Finance Playing Field

What Happened: The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic lockdowns shined a light on financial illiteracy, an unsolved problem according to Brian Curcio and Myles Gage, the co-founders at Rapunzl Investments, a Nasdaq Inc-powered app that's using data-driven technology to unlock the markets to a new generation of investors.

Why It Matters: The co-founders, who bonded over topics relating to the economy and stock market while attending school together during the financial crisis of 2007-2009, came upon the idea of Rapunzl when they realized their peers—even those in pursuit of Wall Street careers—had difficulty grasping how the markets actually worked.

“We realized a lot of our friends had no clue what we were talking about,” Gage said. “In taking account that these are kids from elite schools, and they were ultimately pursuing careers on Wall Street, as well, we figured that if they lack the knowledge, then this is probably a main street problem as well.”

Their conclusions prompted the development of a platform that allows individuals to learn and interact with the stock market in an engaging, but simulated manner.

“We developed this app in which we give each user $10,000 fictitious dollars to buy and sell publicly traded companies,” Gage said. “We realized that we can engage users similar to a social media platform, but also have an education component to it.”

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Using Tech To Innovate, Deploy Psychedelics

What To Know: In an exclusive to Benzinga, Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc, a leading medicine biotech company in psychedelics, on Tuesday revealed the introduction of a division known as Albert, to help research and develop an integrated platform for delivering psychedelic medicines, experiential therapies, as well as digital therapeutics.

As part of the development, Benzinga chatted with MindMed co-founder and co-CEO J.R. Rahn, as well as early backer Kevin O'Leary, Canadian businessman, investor, "Shark Tank" star and co-founder of O'Shares ETFs.

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BNP Paribas Transforms Finance With Tech

The Take-Away: Innovation and growth in fintech erupted during the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s according to Matthieu Soulé, the head of BNP Paribas S.A.’s Silicon Valley-based Innovation Lab, a space to foster innovation and reshape financial services.

Over his career working in digital transformations and innovation strategy, the Audencia Business School alumnus led BNP’s foray into new business models that address finance needs in the changing spaces of mobility, luxury, energy and retail, among others.

In a discussion on BNP’s work around new technologies like blockchain, Soulé said the European financial institution is keen on staying relevant with advancements in payments and peer-to-peer lending, for example.

“My day-to-day is to dissect and analyze new fintechs, insurtechs and technologies that are relevant for so many things today,” he said in reference to cultivating relationships through startups and accelerators.

“We’re accelerating the matchmaking between the new players in the market.”

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Helping Detroit Recover From The Pandemic

What Happened: The construction business has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s according to Seth Helfman, the president at City Contracting Services, one of the biggest contractors in Michigan.

Over almost 20 years, Helfman has witnessed countless economic cycles and their impact on construction firsthand.

The recent financial crisis surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was a boon to the construction industry, Helfman said, referencing his firm's work on schools, medical centers and athletic facilities.

“Historically, construction has been one of those industries that’s like a market indicator,” he told Benzinga “I’m not seeing a slowdown in construction or pullback in projects.”

“We’re seeing things continuing to push forward, and more things coming out, whether it is public entities like schools that have tremendous amounts of bond dollars that are out bidding, or private companies that are still looking to get their office suites built out, or restaurant owners that are still forging ahead with new build-out.”

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Barstool Sportsbook A Big Success

What Happened: Jason Raznick, founder and CEO of Benzinga, the largest news and data provider to global brokerages and news outlets, on his show the Raz Report discusses entrepreneurship, financial markets and overcoming challenges to success.

In this week's episode, Raznick sat down with Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy to talk about his journey, secrets to success, as well as his vision for the future.

Portnoy, who some may consider the new "King of All Media" due to his huge popularity on Twitter and Barstool's podcast network, discussed the company's latest foray into sports betting with the new Barstool Sportsbook mobile app, built in partnership with Penn National Gaming Inc.

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Posted-In: Barstool Sportsbook BNP Paribas Brian Curcio Chamath Palihapitiya City Contracting Services Cohen & Company Dave PortnoyFintech