July 24, 2020

095: Money Talks #19: Twitter Hacked | Ant Goes Marching | Instagram Goes Shopping | Robinhood Goes Home

095: Money Talks #19: Twitter Hacked | Ant Goes Marching | Instagram Goes Shopping | Robinhood Goes Home

In this week's Money Talks segment, Pete Townsend and Eoin Fitzgerald dig into the recent Twitter Hack and how it might have been much worse, the Ant Group IPO and their status as the 'online mall for everything', Instagram's opportunity to become America's favorite shopping mall and Robinhood dropping out of the UK before launching.

This episode is kindly sponsored by Ireland’s fintech and financial services recruitment specialists, Top Tier Recruitment. If you would like an intro to the team at Top Tier Recruitment, please click here.

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n this episode, Eoin and Pete dig into pieces of content from this week that are relevant to the cosmic cloud of startups, tech, finance and enterprise in which they live and work, remixed with sports, hip-hop and whatever else is on their minds this week. Mostly, these are a few of the things that happened in the past week where our collective interest in these stories outweighs our respective interests in sleep (we usually record late-night).

The stories covered in this week’s episode include:

Everything we know about this week’s big Twitter hack so far — The Verge (17-Jul-20)

Jack Ma’s fintech giant Ant starts IPO process in Hong Kong and Shanghai — TechCrunch (20-Jul-20)

  • Ant operates the Alipay wallet used across Alibaba’s e-commerce networks” and Alipay has 1.3bn users globally.
  • Ant Group will IPO at around a $200bn valuation, around the same valuation as PayPal. This makes you think — for all of us in fintech that sing the praises of Ant and their e-commerce ecosystem, it’s only really as valuable as PayPal, which is no small feat, but still, it’s not Amazon.
  • Eoin’s take: “Bloomberg had a really good description of Ant Group the other day, which is ‘an online mall for everything’. To me, it’s a funny combination of JPMorgan, Paypal and Amazon that’s only going to get bigger.”

Instagram launches its redesigned Shop, now powered by Facebook Pay — TechCrunch (16-Jul-20)

  • From Sarah Perez, author: “The company is moving forward with its plans to promote Instagram as a place to shop with the launch of its new Instagram Shop, a place to shop from inside Instagram Explore, as well as the launch of Facebook Pay for purchases and donations in the U.S….Instagram’s ability to connect users to brands was often due to the massive amount of time users spent inside the Instagram app scrolling through photos — eventually, they’d see something they liked.”
  • Eoin’s take: “There’s a view that Instagram is going to become America’s favorite shopping mall because it’s allowing a certain generation to hang around, interact with their favorite people and make shopping more of a social experience rather than transactional.”
  • Pete commented on how effectively he’s seen startups work with Instagram influencers to generate app downloads, compared to the scattergun approach that businesses sometimes take with Twitter and LinkedIn.

Robinhood scraps UK plans — CNBC (21-Jul-20)

  • Robinhood has decided to shut down their plans to launch in the UK market, telling waitlisted users that they’re focusing on strengthening their business in the US market for now.
  • Pete’s take: “I thought that this was equivalent to N26 deciding recently to scrap their plans for the UK, because with Brexit, the UK becomes what is in effect a closed economy with only 65 million people — if you’re going to make bets, go make them somewhere else.”
  • Pete and Eoin talked through the context of a crowded market in the UK and Europe for free online trading, and how the pandemic combined with an increasing gap between stock market valuations and economic growth has influenced a rush for new trading accounts for the gambling masses left with limited professional sports to bet on.
  • Pete’s thoughts on a somewhat unrelated shut-down back in April of the thematic investing app Motif: “You can’t just build an investment business around Generation Z. You can’t. It’s just totally undiversified — demographically, risk appetite — you need a good mix.”

Secretive data startup Palantir has confidentially filed for an IPO — (TechCrunch 7th July)

  • Peter Thiel as co-founder aligned himself with Donald Trump in 2016 and the business has been the subject of controversy and boycotts at conferences due to its work for US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • Pete talked through his experience in 2014 where a senior executive of a big European bank returned from a tour of Silicon Valley with a huge smile on his face talking about Palantir and “seeing the future in Lord of the Rings”.
  • Pete’s tongue-in-cheek take: “Sometimes, It feels like some of these businesses solely exist to excite CEOs of other businesses that have crap technology.”

Other topics covered:

Please visit https://www.moneyneversleeps.ie/ for all of our other episodes.  Also, follow us on Twitter @MNSShow, @PeteTownsendNV and @EoinFitzgerald9 for updates and more information.


Pete TownsendProfile Photo

Pete Townsend


Web3 & fintech investor, MD @Techstars Web3, founder of Norio Ventures, mentor, non-executive director, podcaster and bad guitar player.

Eoin FitzgeraldProfile Photo

Eoin Fitzgerald


Fintech investor, podcaster, wannabe VC