Mark Zuckerberg and his wife pledged to give away virtually all of their $46 billion in Facebook Inc. shares, setting a new philanthropic benchmark by committing their massive fortune to charitable causes while still in their early 30s.
Facebook’s chief executive officer and his wife, Priscilla Chan, unveiled the plan in an open letter to their newborn daughter, Max (short for Maxima), in a Facebook post on Tuesday, promising to donate 99 percent of their stock in the social-networking company “during our lives.”
The pledge puts Zuckerberg in the same league with other billionaires who are giving away the bulk of their wealth, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The key difference is that Zuckerberg is starting at an earlier age, 31. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was created in 2000, the year the Microsoft Corp. co-founder turned 45.
Zuckerberg doesn’t plan to contribute more than $1 billion a year for at least the next three years, Facebook said in a separate filing, meaning the CEO will maintain voting control of the Menlo Park, California-based company for the foreseeable future.
Zuckerberg outlined his philanthropic goals, which will focus on “advancing human potential and promoting equality,” in the letter to his daughter, who was born early last week. Zuckerberg will make long-term investments in areas such as health and education, while working to decrease inequality and building technology to bring about change.
“Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here,” Zuckerberg and Chan wrote. “But right now, we don’t always collectively direct our resources at the biggest opportunities and problems your generation will face.”
He added that he will remain Facebook’s CEO for “many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work.”
While Zuckerberg pegged the donation amount on the current value of his Facebook stock, the value of the gift could also grow. Shares of Facebook have climbed more than 180 percent since their market debut in 2012, and 90 percent of analysts who cover the company have a buy rating on the stock, meaning they expect it to go up. At the same time, the figure could be lower if investors determine in the future that Facebook’s stock is worth less.
It’s unusual for an executive to undertake such a broad philanthropic effort at so young an age. Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. who has committed almost all of his fortune to charity, has singled out Zuckerberg as someone who can set an example for a new generation of philanthropists.
“He has an audience that’s just totally different than what I would have,” Buffett, 85, said last year at a conference in Las Vegas. The Facebook co-founder previously signed the Giving Pledge, established by Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, in which billionaires agree to donate the majority of their fortunes to charity.
Buffett, whose current net worth is $64.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, decided to commit most of his Berkshire stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation when he was 75, after his the death of his first wife in 2004.
Before devoting himself to philanthropy, Gates chose to focus on his company rather than charitable efforts, much to the dismay of his own mother and local Seattle business and philanthropic leaders, Tom Alberg, co-founder of Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group, said in a recent interview. It was after the death of Mary Gates in the mid-90s that Gates began his first significant foray into charitable giving.
The Gates’s charitable foundation, now worth $41.3 billion, has given away more than $34 billion. Gates started the organization in 2000, subsuming two earlier entities: the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation. Both of the men have mentored Zuckerberg in his philanthropy efforts.
“On behalf of future generations, I thank them,” Buffett said of Zuckerberg and Chan in a statement.
There’s also one more thing in common with the philanthropic endeavors of Buffett, Gates and Zuckerberg: they reduce their tax bills, as the contributions are tax-deductible.
Zuckerberg isn’t new to philanthropy; he’s given to several education and health-related causes in the past few years. He and his wife recently started a school in one of Silicon Valley’s disadvantaged neighborhoods and a trauma center in San Francisco General Hospital, where Chan has worked as a pediatrician. The couple this week also started a coalition with Gates to invest in sustainable energy solutions. The new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be a limited liability company controlled by Mark and Priscilla, the couple said.
Today, 99 percent of Zuckerberg’s Facebook holdings have a value of $45 billion. If it was all to be gifted at once that would be enough to create the largest U.S. foundation, according to data compiled by Foundation Center. The pledge also situates Zuckerberg and Chan in a century-long tradition of American philanthropists that stretches back to industrialists Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller, whose foundations still rank among the biggest in the country.
“I absolutely think this propels Zuckerberg and his wife into that sphere,” said Berit Ashla, vice president at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “They clearly are not going to be siloed grantmakers. I anticipate they will be quite interdisciplinary in terms of how they approach the work.”
FinTech Investments in Q3 2020 Drop by 16% Quarter-over-Quarter to $12.15 Billion
The total value of fintech investments worldwide fell by 16% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) to $12.15 billion in Q3 2020. However, deal volume grew by 26% to 716 deals.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, the United States accounted for 64.7% of the total deal value, with 340 deals worth $7.85 billion.
Also, there were 25 mega-rounds during the period, accounting for 60% of the total funding value. Compared to Q2 2020, the total mega-rounds value increased by 64% to $6.4 billion, as non-mega rounds fell by 16%.
Payment Industry Deals Soar by 41% to $6.22B as InsurTech Grows by 63% to $2.5B
Payment industry deals took center stage, totaling $6.22 billion according to Global Data, marking a 41.9% QoQ increase.
The top five deals in the segment accounted for 58.4% of the total. Klarna bank had the highest raise, at $650 million at a post-money valuation of $10.65 billion. It made it the highest valued private fintech in Europe and the fourth highest globally.
Klarna, which is a buy now, pay later app, had 12 million monthly active users and 55,000 daily downloads. In H1 2020, its global transaction volume shot up by 44% YoY to $22 billion as revenue soared by 36% YoY to $466 million.
On the other hand, the insurtech sector raised $2.5 billion globally across 104 deals according to Willis Tower Watson. It marked a 63% increase in funding value and a 41% growth in deal volume. The number of mega-round deals in the segment increased by 50% QoQ.
Six mega-rounds drove 69% of the total insurtech funding. Top on the list was Bright Health with $500 million and another $500 million by Ki. Early stage companies in the sector grew by 57% QoQ during the period, compared to a record low of 42% in Q2 2020.
World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos Backed African Fintech Startup, Chipper Cash
The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, has invested in an African fintech start-up, Chipper Cash, according to the latest report from Tech Crunch.
Chipper Cash, a startup that helps facilitate money transfer across Africa and beyond, raised a $30 million Series B funding round led by Ribbit Capital with participation from Bezos Expeditions, a personal VC fund of Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon Inc.
Chipper Cash currently has 3 million users on its platform and processes an average of 80,000 transactions per day. The startup operates in the following seven African countries; Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.
According to Ham Serunjogi, the Chief Executive Officer, Chipper Cash, the company attained a monthly payments value of $100 million in June 2020.
As part of efforts to grow beyond its current market, Chipper Cash plans to expand its product and geographical reach. In terms of product, the company plans to add cryptocurrency trading options and investment services.
“We’ll always be a P2P financial transfer platform at our core. But we’ve had demand from our users to offer other value services…like purchasing cryptocurrency assets and making investments in stocks,” Serunjogi stated on the phone.The fintech company recently added beta dropdowns to its website and mobile application to enable customers to buy and sell Bitcoin and even invest in United States stocks from Africa. It partners DriveWealth, a U.S financial services company, to allow stock trading.
“We’ll launch [the stock product] in Nigeria first so Nigerians have the option to buy fractional stocks — Tesla shares, Apple shares or Amazon shares and others — through our app. We’ll expand into other countries thereafter,” said Serunjogi.
On the financial service side, Chipper Cash plans to offer more API payments solutions. “We’ve been getting a lot of requests from people on our P2P platform, who also have business enterprises, to be able to collect payments for sale of goods,” explained Serunjogi.
Top Four Social Networks Boast 8 Billion Active Users in Q3 2020
In Q3 2020, Facebook inched closer to becoming the first social network with 3 billion users. Based on the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, it had 2.74 billion monthly active users at the end of September 2020, up by 12% year-over-year (YoY).
Facebook was the most popular social networking platform. YouTube and WhatsApp followed with 2 billion users each, while Messenger was third with 1.3 billion. In total, the four had a cumulative 8 billion users.
Facebook Family User Base Grows to 3.21 Billion in Q3 2020
During the period, Facebook also had a 12% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) increase in the total number of its daily active users (DAUs), to reach 1.82 billion. Asia Pacific led in DAUs, going from 699 million in Q2 to 727 million in Q3 2020. Europe remained flat at 305 million, while the US & Canada dropped from 198 million to 196 million.
In terms of monthly active users (MAUs), Asia Pacific was also the top market with 1.17 billion users. Europe followed with 413 million, while the US & Canada had 255 million.
In the same period, the Facebook family of apps had a total of 3.21 billion users globally. Of its messaging platforms, WhatsApp was the most popular with 2 billion monthly users in October 2020. Facebook Messenger was second with 1.3 billion monthly users.
On the other hand, YouTube reported that its Premium and Music services had 30 million paid subscribers in Q3 2020. The number had doubled in less than 18 months as it only had 15 million paid subscribers in May 2019.
According to Sensor Tower, Youtube was the second highest grossing mobile app in Q3 2020 across both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. During the period, its revenue increased by 59% YoY. On the other hand, Facebook came in second on the list of top mobile apps by downloads, in spite of a 2% YoY drop.
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