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Sakeeb Zaman of StrideUp



Hello again!

Today we are back with the second interview in our FinTech Growth Forum series – this inaugural event, hosted by the Global Members Association Innovate Finance, will take place on September 19th in London in support of their members on their scaling journeys.

Today we speak to Sakeeb Zaman – co-founder of StrideUp who provide a new, more affordable way for people to buy their home based on gradually increasing ownership of the property instead of using a traditional mortgage.

Over to Sakeeb for his responses to our questions (in bold)

Who are you and what’s your background?
Hi! I am Sakeeb Zaman – co-founder of StrideUp. We provide a new and more affordable way for people to buy their home based on equity-like financing rather than traditional mortgage debt. The motivation to start StrideUp came from seeing first-hand the difficulty caused by housing affordability challenges. Even people with decent savings and income were completely priced out of the market and stuck in sub-standard rented accommodation for much longer than they wanted. I realised that there needed to be a finance solution to this problem – the current system of home finance creates an artificial barrier to home ownership because the threshold to get a mortgage and buy a property is so high. What if there were a way that people could gradually work towards home ownership? They could start by buying e.g. 20% of their home and as they save money, they increase ownership. This is just describing equity-like finance – well established in many domains, but non-existent in home finance.

Before founding StrideUp I worked in banking. I worked on an interest rate structuring desk, so dealt with risk and financing solutions for large corporates and banks. Banking is a good place to start a career, but I knew pretty early on I didn’t want to stay for long. In 2014 I founded a data analytics startup, and in 2016 I started working on StrideUp. Before banking I was at university – I studied Physics and Philosophy at Oxford.

What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
I’m co-founder and CEO at StrideUp. In this role my day to day work includes recruiting, working on key partnerships, working with the team to set direction, investor relations and communicating our vision externally. However given the small team there’s still plenty of fluidity and depending on needs I can have hands-on involvement in a few areas.

Can you give us an overview of your business?
Currently for most people there’s only really one route to buying a home – save a lot of money, ensure you have a strong income, and buy using a mortgage. The problem for average earning people is that they don’t have the income or savings to do so. StrideUp’s solution lets people buy a portion of a property and gradually build up their ownership. They get the security and stability of homeownership without the large debt burden of a mortgage.

In the early days we did a lot of testing with first time home buyers about whether the proposition is appealing. Coming from a strong background in finance, we were confident on getting this to work from a legal structuring and capital perspective, but it’s impossible to predict how consumers will react to it without doing real world testing. So our first step was to exhibit at a first time buyer show and market the offering. That was the commitment moment for us – when we saw the level of frustration with the current situation, the response to our product and the ease with which people understood the benefits, we know we were onto something.

Tell us how you are funded.
VC funded.

Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
The provision of affordable housing is one of the most pressing societal concerns of our time. There’s no easy solution, but broadening the availability of home finance offering definitely has a role to play.

Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Our target customers are first time buyers with decent savings and income, but not enough to buy a property with a traditional mortgage. To quote one of our recent customers:

“StrideUp is a unique solution that offered me freedom to select a property that suits me and allowing me to purchase shares of it as I could afford without committing to hefty debt. It meant that I’m not left on private rent while property prices are constantly increasing.”

As for our revenue, we work with select investors and partners to provide the capital we use in the transactions. We charge these partners a fee to deploy their capital.

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
I think the financial players closest to consumers (banks, insurance companies, payment providers etc.) have committed to the idea that technology driven innovation is going to change everything and they need to get on the right side of this change. However those one step removed (institutional investors, capital markets etc.) may not fully appreciate the relevance to their business yet. I would be interested in seeing these players more aggressively embrace opportunities to work with businesses testing innovative models.

What phone are you carrying and why?
iPhone 7. I switched to iPhones from Blackberry quite a few years back. Given how well they just work and how easy it is to upgrade to the newest iPhone, there’s a lot of inertia to considering alternatives.

Where do you get your industry news from?
Financial Times, Techcrunch

Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
Alex Rampell, @arampell

Rob Moffat, @robmoff

Anna Irrera, @annairrera

Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interested in being profiled?
Ricardo Schaefer

What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
Revolut have a very cool product. But what’s also caught my attention about them is their velocity of execution, so would expect big things to come.

Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
At the moment a lot of fintech is playing around the edges of banking and finance. For example, whilst challenger banks are clearly building experiences that customers love, in no way are they ‘disrupting’ banking, quite simply because they are not yet touching the core revenue generator in banking – using the balance sheet to extend credit. I believe the next few years will be an exciting time during which startups begin to encroach on the core banking revenue generators. For challenger banks this might mean unbundling financial services through a marketplace model; for alternative finance players it maybe means operating at a scale at which their capital sources are on par with bank levels. Exactly how it plays out remains to be seen, but I think we’ll see more startups focussing on these core banking opportunities.


Our thanks to Sakeeb for this interview. To find out more about StrideUp visit their web site at or reach out via Twitter @LetsStrideUp or to Sakeeb on LinkedIn here.

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If you’ve any suggestions for hot FinTech companies (startup, or established ventures) that we should be profiling, or have an opinion piece to offer, or a FinTech related event you’d like to tell us about, have a look here for more details.

The post Sakeeb Zaman of StrideUp appeared first on FinTech Profile.



Bullish: Huge H&S Pattern Developing in Bitcoin With $20K Target At ATH



After quite a volatile rally to $13,000, bitcoin price action has tempered down a bit. But, the case for future gains remains strong, according to a technical setup that popular Youtube and Twitter-based BTC analyst Carl Martin shared today. This will surely get the hopium levels of bulls soaring. According to him, the top cryptocurrency will soon hit the previous all-time high of $20,000. But there’s a catch.

Bitcoin’s Road To $20,000 In 2020 Has An Inverse Head And Shoulders

According to an inverse head and shoulders (IH&S) setup shared by Carl, who, by the way, goes by the name of ‘TheMoon,’ bitcoin price has already cleared the first two stages of the IH&S pattern. Based on this, Carl remarked that the price target of $20,000 is closer than it appears.

BTC/USD, chart by TradingView, Source: TheMoon

Generally speaking, market participants consider IH&S as one of the bullish indicators apart from the golden cross and some wedge formations. Explosive price runs follow the successful completion of an IH&S pattern. Sometimes the upside targets look similar to the height of the middle trough.

How Does This Setup Play Out?

According to the analyst, the bitcoin price chart printed the first IH&S trough towards the beginning of this year, when BTC rallied in response to ongoing geopolitical conditions. The next formation was after the Black Thursday crash in March. This is when the bitcoin price fell all the way down to $3,858. And then, after a brief bout of sideways trading, began rallying towards April end-May beginning.

BTC formed the third IH&S trough after picking up post the September crash (after a flat trade phase, of course). This is the current rally in which bitcoin surpassed this year’s high and tapped $13,200. Carl said that the next stop is $19,700, but for that, BTC has to post a weekly close above the delineated ‘neckline.’ But will it happen?

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JP Morgan Makes The Case For A Hyper-Bullish BTC

Macro investor Dan Tapiero just shared a snapshot of the ‘Flows and Liquidity Report’ published by JP Morgan analyst Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou. The report, as per him, draws an extremely bullish outlook for bitcoin. And how? Here’s an excerpt:

…the total market capitalization for bitcoin is $240bn. At first glance, this makes it comparable to the total size ofgold ETFs at $210bn. But gold ETFs is not the main way wealth is stored in gold. Wealth is mostly stored via gold bars and coins the stock of which, excluding those held by central banks, amounts to 42600 tonnes or $2.6tr including gold ETFs. Mechanically, the market cap of bitcoin would have to rise 10 times from here to match the total private sector investment to gold via ETFs or bars or coins. even a modest crowding out of gold as an “alternative” currency over the longer term would imply doubling or tripling of the bitcoin price from here. In other words, the potential upside for bitcoin is considerable as it competes more intensely with gold as an “alternative” currency we believe, given that Millenials would become over time a more important component of investors’ unviverse.

Will we see bitcoin posting a weekly close above that neckline, which Carl mentioned? Let’s see.


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Stagnant Crypto Weekend: Bitcoin Temporarily Stopped at $13,000



Following the past couple of days of significant price developments within the cryptocurrency space, most assets have calmed. Bitcoin remains just shy $13,000, while some of the altcoins have even retraced slightly.

Bitcoin Struggles at $13,000

The past seven days were nothing short of impressive for Bitcoin. After a brief dip to $11,400 last week, the cryptocurrency went on a roll. Promising news from PayPal only accelerated BTC’s bullish run, resulting in a fresh 2020 high painted a few days ago at $13,200.

Since then, Bitcoin has maintained a relatively robust position around the $13,000 mark. In the past 24 hours, the primary cryptocurrency has hovered around that particular level as well.

The only exception came a few hours ago when it tanked to $12,730 (on Bitstamp). However, the bulls quickly took charge and drove it back to the familiar ground.

From a technical standpoint, the new 2020 high of $13,200 is the first significant resistance in BTC’s way up. Should the asset break above it, the next ones are $13,400, $13,500, and $13,600.

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Alternatively, Bitcoin could find support at $12,550, $12,400, $12,125, and $12,000 in case the recent trend reverses and BTC heads south.

BTCUSD. Source: TradingView
BTCUSD. Source: TradingView

Altcoins Display Red

The alternative coins joined Bitcoin’s party with a slight delay last week. Nevertheless, they marked some notable gains, which ultimately increased the total market cap by over $40 billion in seven days.

The situation has changed a bit in the past 24 hours. After jumping above $415 yesterday, Ethereum has lost some value and currently trades beneath that level. Ripple (-1.6%), Bitcoin Cash (-0.8%), Binance Coin (-0.9%), and Cardano (-1.6%) have also dipped slightly on a 24-hour scale.

Polkadot has increased by about 2%, while Chainlink has gained another 3%. LINK’s impressive performance as of late has driven the asset above $12.

Cryptocurrency Market Heatmap. Source: Quantify Crypto

The most impressive gainer since yesterday is ABBC Coin. ABBC has pumped by 21% to $0.57. Ocean Protocol (14.5%), Elrond (14%), and Yearn. Finance (11%) follow suit.

Reserve Rights (-6.5%), Energy Web Token (-6%), HedgeTrade (-6%), and OKB (-5%) have lost the most value in the past day.


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Disclaimer: Information found on CryptoPotato is those of writers quoted. It does not represent the opinions of CryptoPotato on whether to buy, sell, or hold any investments. You are advised to conduct your own research before making any investment decisions. Use provided information at your own risk. See Disclaimer for more information.

Cryptocurrency charts by TradingView.


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The Digital Age Is Here: Crypto And Fintech Companies Soar, While Bank Stocks Tank



2020 has been so far a challenging year. Issues such as the Australian wildfires and the global COVID-19 pandemic have harmed the planet and its inhabitants. The financial world has also suffered, especially during the first several months.

The effects are evident within different sectors of the financial industry. While some have felt adverse consequences during these uncertain times, others have thrived and reached for the stars.

BNN Bloomberg’s senior anchor, Jon Erlichman, recently published some stocks’ price performances for banks and fintech companies and the two largest cryptocurrencies – Ethereum and Bitcoin.

CryptoPotato exemplified it with the graph below. It concludes that innovative fintech companies such as Square and PayPal have massively outperformed the old dogs – the banking sector. Bitcoin has also experienced a notable YTD price surge, while Ethereum has trumped them all with a substantial triple-digit surge.

YTD Price Performance Of Crypto, Fintech Companies, And Bank Stocks. Source: CryptoPotato
YTD Price Performance Of Crypto, Fintech Companies, And Bank Stocks. Source: CryptoPotato

YTD: Bank Stocks Haven’t Enjoyed 2020

The stocks of some of the world’s largest banks were on a roll since the previous financial crisis over a decade ago. Bank of America shares had increased approximately ten-fold since 2009 to their highs in February 2020 of about $35.

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In the same period, Citigroup stocks went from $15 to $80, JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM) from $20 to $140, and Wells Fargo (WFC) surged from $11 to above $50.

However, the COVID-19-prompted crisis took the world by storm this year. March alone saw price slumps not seen in decades. Most of the aforementioned bank stocks lost about 50% of its value in merely days.

Although their shares have picked up from the March bottoms, the graph above demonstrates that their year-to-date performance is still in the red. JPM is down by 30%, Bank of America by 33%, Citigroup by 46%, and Wells Fargo has it the worst – 58% YTD dump.

Other financial service corporations, such as Western Union (-17%) and American Express (-19%), have also lost significant chunks of value since the start of the year.

It’s worth noting that one of the most old-school investors and biggest supporters of the banking sector, Warren Buffet, sold the majority of his bank stocks this year.

Financial Companies In The Green

Although the crisis reached all companies on the graph above, some have not only recovered but actually increased in the following months. MasterCard stocks plummeted from $345 to $203, while Visa’s nosedive started from $213 and ended at $135. Nevertheless, both companies’ shares are slightly in the green on a year-to-date basis.

Two other financial service companies, but primarily focusing on online endeavors, have marked substantially more impressive YTD results.

PayPal’s stocks (PYPL) started 2020 at $110 and have increased by 94% since then, despite the mid-March slump to $85. Jack Dorsey’s Square’s yearly gains have even seen triple-digit percentages. The 55% dump in March was only a brief obstacle in SQ’s way towards a 178% surge since January 2020.

Interestingly, both firms have embarked on cryptocurrency-related activities in recent months. Square purchased $50 million worth of Bitcoin, while PayPal announced that it will enable its US-based customers to buy, sell, and store several digital assets.

What About Bitcoin And Ethereum?

The cryptocurrency market was not exempt from the mid-March madness. Some alternative coins lost up to 80% of value in hours. The two most well-known representatives, namely Bitcoin and Ethereum, dipped to $3,700 and below $100, respectively.

Percentage-wise, those developments equaled about 50% of losses. However, the rest of the year has been significantly more positive for both. Bitcoin, regarded by some as a safe haven tool with similarities to gold, has overcome its massive slump.

Whether it’s the growing interest from institutional investors, the third halving, or giant companies buying BTC for its store of value characteristics, Bitcoin has surged by more than 80% YTD. Just a few days ago, the primary cryptocurrency charted a new yearly high of over $13,000.

Ethereum, on the other hand, has been widely utilized this year in the ongoing decentralized finance trend. Its blockchain operates as the underlying technology behind most DeFi projects.

This increased utilization led to some unfavorable consequences such as slow transactions and high fees and highlighted a few of the network’s weak points. Price-wise, though, none of that matter as ETH has been on a roll during most of the year, especially since the summer.

As a result, the second-largest cryptocurrency has become the best-performing asset from the ones mentioned above, with an increase of over 200%.

What Could All Of This Mean?

The world is undoubtedly going through changes, primarily prompted by the COVID-19 reality. Social distancing and people working from home have driven society into becoming even more digitally-focused.

The financial world won’t be left behind. People seek more online ventures, and digitally transferred funds will eventually become the new normal.

As such, the decline of traditional financial institutions like banks, and the rise of innovative technologies, including cryptocurrencies, could be just the start of the mass transition to the online world.


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