Top 10 European FinTech Unicorns
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
The term “unicorn” is used throughout the startup world as a moniker for private technology companies valued at $1 billion or more. The amount of unicorn companies is growing rapidly and although it was once just a Silicon Valley mythology, we now see an unprecedented growth of these companies in Europe.
Whether this is due to European entrepreneurs truly catching up with Silicon Valley in their ambition or this is a result of overly optimistic venture capitalists we leave up to our consideration.
In our article, we take a look at unicorns operating within the financial technology space in Europe.
OakNorth is the highest valued FinTech unicorn in Europe. It functions as a bank for entrepreneurs and offers both property and business loans to start-ups. It has already provided more than £2 billion to businesses across the country and helped to create more than 8000 new jobs in the UK. Compared to the rest of the unicorns in Europe, OakNorth managed to build up its valuation while having much less employees than the rest. Today, it is valued at $2.8 billion.
N26 is the second highest valued FinTech unicorn in Europe. It managed to convince investors to invest more than $500 million in the company, sealing the last investment worth $300 million in January 2019. Its current valuation stands at $2.7 billion, which is $1 billion more than its greatest market competitor Revolut. Although it is active in fewer markets than Revolut (32 to 24 in favour for Revolut) it has more than 2.3 million users worldwide.
In comparison with its competitors, N26's customers have access to N26 Invest, which lets you invest your money in diversified portfolios, offers you individualized overdraft on your account and lets you take a loan up to 25,000€.
Klarna valued at 2.5 billion has been active for 14 years already. It was founded in 2005 in Stockholm with the aim of making it easier for people to shop online. Klarna is now one of Europe´s largest banks and is providing payment solutions for 60 million consumers across 100.000 merchants in 14 countries.
Today, Klarna is active in the whole of Scandinavia and other countries such as Germany, Austria, USA or Belgium. Klarna´s core products are Pay Later and Slice It. Pay later allows consumers to try products first and pay after 14-30 days if they decide to keep the product. Slice it is a very easy way of dividing a purchase into instalments.
Adyen was founded in 2006 by a group of entrepreneurs to create an effective payments platform for accepting payments. Today, merchants can accept payments easily online, on mobile devices and at the point of sale, which enables revenue growth
It managed to obtain a banking license in 2017. Today, Adyen is valued at $2.3 billion after
being able to reaise a total of $266 million.
Revolut is the most popular neobank with more than 3 million users. Its total funding is over $330 million and is currently valued at $1.7 billion just after 33 months after its launch in 2015. It was launched in UK as a prepaid debit card for traveling, however, it became an online banking platform soon after that. Today it offers a digital borderless bank account with an option of having a basic free account, premium or exclusive Metal account. Premium and Metal come with extra features, such as travel/device insurance or recently launched . All accounts offer an option of having several currency accounts opened at the same time. In December 2018, it has secured a banking license from the Bank of Lithuania, which enables Revolut to offer new features to its customers, such as zero commission-fee investments and loans.
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Transferwise was founded in 2010 by 2 friends from Estonia living in London. They were both sending their salaries to Estonia which was running the Euro. The experience of being overcharged on multi-currency transfers led to an idea and decision to create a new way of transferring money abroad.
Tranferwise today already has over 4 million customers transferring over 4 billion dollars every month, which saves them roughly $4 million in bank fees every day. Also, Transferwise launched its borderless account including Mastercard debit card for whole world payments. As of today, Transferwise valuation is reported at $1.6 billion USD. The company managed to achieve this tremendous success despite having low funding in its first 2 years. Later in 2015 it received its first large investment of 58 million pounds and second one worth £65 million in November 2018.
Monzo is a London based online banking platform, offered only to UK residents. It was found in 2015 and is already valued at $1.3 billion. It already has a banking license and offers full digital experience to its users. Some of its benefits are account overdrafts, unlimited withdrawals in the UK and free withdrawals in the world up to 200 pounds a month. As of today, more than 1 million users trust Monzo in UK. It however plans to launch its platform in USA in year 2020.
Funding Circle was founded in 2009 in London, but is currently available worldwide. It offers companies low interest rate loans by connecting them to people willing to invest in companies. People who invest in these companies expect to earn in between 4% to 7%, depending on business earnings. As of today, investors managed to loan out more than 4.6 billion pounds to small businesses via Funding Circle. Today, Funding Circle value is estimated at $1.5 billion.
SumUp is the leading mobile point-of-sale company in Europe. It was founded in 2011 in London and after 2 rounds investments of $43 million, it grew quickly to become one of Europe´s unicorn thanks to its $1 billion valuation. SumUp terminal works by connecting to smartphone/tablet via Bluetooth. SumUp differs from the competition by not charging monthly fees but asks for 2.65% from each transaction done by merchants instead.
Atom Bank valuation stands at $1.2 billion. It is yet another UK based mobile banking platform, which however differs from the rest of neobanks by providing mortgages and savings accounts for its users in UK. In comparison to other neobanks, Atom Bank does not issue current accounts for its users yet. This makes it different from the rest and means their only competitor on a feature level is Tandem, which also provides mortgages and saving accounts.
OakNorth bank is a big leader in this metric. Being valued at $2.3 billion while having only 191 employees, it tops the chart wish astonishing $12 million per employee. This leaves the second best, Atom Bank on 2nd place with just a bit over $4 millions per employee.
Although valuations of European unicorns don't come near to the tech giants from the US yet, it is good to see European market making strides - and fintech is playing a big part in the unicorn race.
European Fintech Unicorns by the Numbers
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