These great fintech startups were born in Europe
Unicorns in the fintech world are gradually becoming far more widespread than their fairy-tale namesakes. Just a few years ago, privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion were truly a rarity. However, today the startup funding is rising on a global scale.
According to CB Insights, there are 376 private companies around the world valued at $1B+ at the time. These companies are collectively worth nearly $1.1T and have raised a combined total of over $273B. Variants include a decacorn, valued at over $10 billion, and a hectocorn, valued at over $100 billion.
Last year, 119 new companies joined the global unicorn club — that was a 67% increase from the 71 new unicorns in 2017.
The United States traditionally hosts the largest percentage of unicorns (49%). China, in second place, saw its share fall to 25% this year. Third and fourth places go to the UK (5%) and India (4%), with 19 and 16 unicorns, respectively.
The European landscape may seem bleak in the global background. Yet experts note the region is gaining pace. In 2018, 14 Europe-based start-ups reached a $1bn-plus valuation, making them tech unicorns.
Here are the top ten fintech unicorns born and raised on European grounds.
Top 10 European fintech startups
- Klarna (Sweden). Market cap: $3.5B
- Greensill (UK). Market cap: $3.5B
- Transferwise (UK). Market cap: $3.5B
- N26 (Germany). Market cap: $3.5B
- BGL Group (UK). Market cap: $3B
- Monzo (UK). Market cap: $2.55B
- OakNorth (UK). Market cap: $2.3B
- Checkout.com (UK). Market cap: $2B
- Revolut (UK). Market cap: $1.7B
- Radius Payment Solutions (UK). Market cap: $1.07B
Founded in 2005, one of Europe’s largest banks is providing payment solutions to 60 million consumers across 130,000 merchants in 14 countries. It specializes in online financial services such as payment solutions for online storefronts, direct payments, post-purchase payments, and installment plans in a one-click purchase experience. At the same time, Klarna assumes all credit and fraud risk for e-stores.
Greensill is the market-leading provider of working capital finance. It owns Greensill Bank and has created the world’s first Supply Chain Finance fund, which today has $3bn of assets under management. The firm focuses on the monetization of future cash flows for clients by financing short-term instruments, such as trade receivables, as well as long-dated contracts. Unlike traditional Supply Chain Finance programs, Greensill’s solution can be accessed by smaller suppliers who often need access to finance the most. Greensill was the first to use capital markets to tap into deeper pools of funding, in addition to acting like a principal investor.
The revolutionary remittance business was founded in 2011. During the first four years, it shifted more than £3bn of customers’ funds along 300 currency routes. Now they are moving over £4 billion every month globally, being available in 71 countries and covering over 1600 currency routes. The firm achieved this success by matching people transferring money in one direction with people transferring it in the other – so-called P2P transfers.
This ambitious German digital bank, headquartered in Berlin, received their ECB banking license back in 2016. It currently employs more than 1000 people and has offices in Berlin, New York, and Barcelona. The company is known as Europe’s best-funded startup. N26 offers free and premium accounts for both personal use and business purposes. Although their business accounts are aimed exclusively at self-employed business people and freelancers, their cashback feature and insurance package stand out from similar market offers.
BGL Group Ltd. provides insurance brokerage services. It’s a leading digital distributor of insurance and household financial services. Its main lines of business are vehicle and home insurance, with a range of supplementary products such as breakdown cover, legal protection, and personal accident cover. In 2013 it added life insurance through the Beagle Street brand. It was the first online-only life insurer in the UK.
Monzo Bank Ltd is a digital, mobile-only bank, based and operating in the UK. In April 2017 their UK banking license restrictions were lifted, enabling them to offer full UK current accounts (users can receive salaries, make direct debit payments and bank transfers, open overdrafts) in addition to already existing prepaid debit cards. As a result, prepaid debit cards were substituted by contactless Mastercards in 2018. The bank has about 2 million customers. In February 2019 it started the trial of the first 100 business accounts, more enrolments are expected by the end of the year.
OakNorth is a start-up specialist bank that provides business and property loans, as well as personal and business savings. The bank lends between £500,000 to £45m to businesses and property developers. A central part of OakNorth is its fintech platform ACORN, launched in 2015. It uses cloud-based technology to collect and analyze data among small-to-medium-sized enterprises. OakNorth AI leverages machine learning techniques as well as internal and external data sets to conduct deep fundamental credit analysis, with speed and deep insights. It also provides proactive portfolio monitoring focused on early warning signals to intervene months before covenant breaches and defaults.
Checkout.com helps companies accept more payments around the world through one integration. Users get access to a global acquiring network, benefit from real-time insights, centralized reconciliation tools and complete feature parity across multiple geographies via a unified API. Their full-stack technology offers access to a payment gateway, advanced risk and fraud monitoring tools, a cutting-edge processor and the relevant acquirers via the unified payments solution.
Revolut is a financial technology and digital banking service based in London, England. The company launched its activities in July 2015. In December 2018, Revolut got its ECB banking license. It allows offering services typically provided by traditional banks, including full current accounts, consumer and business lending and overdrafts. Their multi-currency global business accounts have been highly praised by customers. Over 70,000 businesses have signed up for their services already, and that number is growing by thousands every week. Since 2017 Revolut has been offering global business current accounts for easy international payments, with prepaid business cards and an Open API.
Radius Payment Solutions is a UK-headquartered provider of fuel cards for vehicle fleets. Customers can utilize these products via web portal “Velocity,” which allows users to run reports in real-time to maximize efficiency. Today they have more than 22 offices in 14 countries and provide a market-leading range of products and services to the small and medium fleet sectors. Radius is the only global fuel card business to have developed its own unique telematics vehicle tracking and management solution. It can be white-labeled by third-party card issuers so that they can take advantage of the benefits of a significant new revenue stream with improved customer loyalty.
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