Back to normalcy and it feels so good 😎
Another Reconcile feel-good newsletter with interesting fintech and voice reads
Hey everyone, happy Tuesday! We’re back this week after taking a mini-break as we knew everyone was quite busy and distracted with the election last Tuesday.
To sum up the rollercoaster ride that’s been 2020 and last week’s election drama, here’s a quote from Nelson Mandela in his autobiography that I love coming back to:
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lay defeat and death.”
All of us, whether we’re founders, small business owners, or entry-level workers, should continue walking towards our north star in good times and in bad. We were explicitly reminded this year that bad times do exist, and they will totally disrupt our lifestyles if we let them. Even Reconcile was forced to go through some dark moments when our faith was deeply tested. Yet, I’m thankful to the team and all of us pushed past the troughs and are now ascending to an even higher peak!
Personally, I am extremely bullish on the future. There is so much more to learn, build, and distribute throughout society so that we can all elevate the lowest members of society up a level. I hope today’s newsletter reminds you of the power of optimism and inspires you to reach new heights today!
We pitched to two notable fintech accelerator and sandbox programs last week and made it to the final round of interviews! If all goes well, we’ll share good news later this month 😎
We’re in the process of designing our v1.2 around two main value propositions: double-checking that our refunds post as expected and on-time (because sometimes they never come in!) and custom-tagging our charges for better organization (especially important for those of us that mix business charges on personal cards).
If you want to offer feedback on our new designs, ping me directly! We’ve already tested with our first wave of early adopters but happy to get some more eyeballs to help out.
It’s been about two weeks since we released v1.1, here are some voice of the user quotes:
"Reconcile turns my accounting work easy. I hate my current software but I like that I can say something and then move on with my day."
"I see the power of being able to quickly tag in less than five seconds on the go."
"I rarely track my statements so I love being able to tell someone else to track it for me. Especially my refunds."
🤑 Fintech Finds 🤑
To limit the growth of carbon emissions, Stripe launched a new tool enabling clients to automatically contribute a percentage of each transaction to carbon removal purchases. Personally, I appreciate the initiative and would like to see more of this tech embedded into payments - perhaps even as a carbon tax. While tech advancements in the last twenty years opened up easier, faster, and more convenient access to products and services, they’ve also destroyed much of our climate. The United States government subsidizes carbon pollution with tax-breaks to oil and gas production yet still lacks a formal carbon offset program. Stripe, as one of the biggest payment gateways in the world, can effectively push its biggest clients towards a carbon-neutral operating model via this new carbon offset initiative. It’s clear that the federal government won’t take the lead on restoring balance in our environment so private companies like Stripe will have to lead the way. Read more about the initiative here.
Another day, another embedded payments partnership. This time, Shopify partnered with TikTok to enable shoppable ads within the social media app. If you’re unclear on what this means, think of the Instagram ads that allow you to buy products within the app. Read more about the partnership here.
Ant Financial, an affiliate of the Chinese behemoth Alibaba, recently filed to go public in the biggest tech IPO in history. It’s considered to be the most valuable fintech company in the world as its Alipay product serves over one billion users and processes CN¥118 trillion as of June 2020. I’ll leave more detail on the company at the bottom but in short, it’s a super-powered financial platform that enables frictionless payments, lending, investing, and more. Ant Financial was all set to go public until Chinese regulators stepped in at the last minute. The latter demanded that Ant Financial own more debt-risk on its balance sheet instead of passing it off to Chinese state banks. It’s a valid concern to avoid the former from dumping low-performing loans onto the state. However, it’s ridiculous for a government body to nix the WORLD’S BIGGEST IPO two days before it was set to start trading. This screams of massive bureaucratic overreach that only China can get away with. It’s a horrible look to castigate your best entrepreneur, Jack Ma, and your most valuable public company, Alibaba, in front of the world to satisfy an ego-trip. To read more about Ant Financial, check out this post by Mario Gabriele, and to learn more about the botched IPO, check out this read.
🤖 Voice Tech Finds 🤖
In case you’re still not a believer in voice-tech, Shafin Tejani outlined a great argument for it being the standard interface post-COVID. My favorite point:
Voice is the ultimate user interface because it’s not really a UI, but part of what we are as humans and how we communicate. There’s almost no learning curve required like there is when people take typing classes.
In previous newsletters, I mentioned the adoption growth of voice assistants during COVID, primarily a result of being contactless (adding sanitary benefits) and emotionally supportive (adding another ‘person’ into lonely lockdown environments). Sharfin, like myself, continues to argue that this behavior will continue beyond COVID as we become more comfortable using voice assistants and as they grow smarter. Read the rest of his piece here.
Also, in case you’re still not sold! Here’s a report that outlines the growth of smartphone-based voice assistants from the experts at Voicebot.
Thanks for reading!
Jaimin Desai - CEO & Co-Founder of Reconcile
P.S. please share the newsletter with other friends that would enjoy hearing about our journey!