Fintech Unicorns 2022
Today, there is an inflow of fintech firms that have recently acquired unicorn status. These firms continue to lift the bar and propel the fintech sector forward in novel and interesting ways.
In this article we will define what fintech unicorns are? Which ones should you be paying attention to? and much more!
Fintech Unicorns by Country
Fintech Unicorns in the UK
Many people have been worried about the country's financial sector since the move to pull out of the European Union. However, this is not the case, the United Kingdom has maintained a thriving ecosystem for fintech startups. Allowing them to get regulated by the FSCS and FCA.
The $5.7 billion in fintech financing during the first half of the year already exceeds the total for the entire year of 2020. Fintechs now account for 34% of the UK's 100 tech unicorns, overtaking other sub-sectors such as health and food tech.
The government has approved a slew of initiatives aimed at assisting additional fintech with the potential to join the unicorn club. These include strengthening the country's regulatory sandbox and implementing public listing changes.
Some of the biggest names in the fintech companies in the UK include:
Monzo is a UK-based banking app with a customer base of nearly five million users. Founded in 2015 and is already valued at $1.3 billion. Most of the service's functions are available to UK clients, while some services, such as the Monzo debit card, are available to users in other countries. With Monzo, you can make payments, register for joint accounts, share expenses, sign up even if you are a teenager, spend funds abroad, etc. Monzo is also available for business users, especially for entrepreneurs who closely want to monitor their budgets.
Read our full Monzo review.
Founded in 2015, Revolut was first envisioned as a multi-currency bank account that minimized various bank costs and commissions associated with foreign currency transactions. It was successful in the EEQ region, raising several million euros, and now aspires to become a genuine online bank. Today, Revolut has expanded beyond the limits of the United Kingdom and currently provides its services in a number of European countries, as well as the United States, Canada, Singapore, and many more.
Read our full Revolut review.
Wise (Formerly transferwise)
Wise started out as a fintech company making it easier to make international transactions. Founded in 2011 by two Estonian businessmen, the digital bank has become one of the leaders. It offers cheap transfer fees for local and international transfers, virtual and plastic cards, business accounts, multi-currency accounts, and many more.
The digital bank is available to customers in over 200 countries including the EU and EEA countries. The borderless multi-currency account can handle over 50 different currencies. Making it a great choice for traders, travelers, and students studying abroad.
Read our full Wise review for more details.
Launching in 2010, Ebury is a UK-based challenger bank that has been dubbed as a Fintech Unicorn due to its recent $8.7bn valuation. . The story starts with their founding CEO Alex Taylor who was born into a family of bankers and wanted to create something different. At the age of 10, he began experimenting with coding; learning everything he could about business, finance, marketing, and design.
By 18 he had made his first million pounds working on projects all over Europe; at that point, he felt it was time to return home so that he could pursue his venture. Once back in London he partnered up with two other like-minded entrepreneurs that had recently sold their social media startup for over £1bn ($1.4 billion) - Peter Smith & Giles Andrews - which allowed them all the financial security they needed to take on such an ambitious project from scratch without worrying about money too much.
Checkout.com is an international financial technology firm that processes payments for other businesses. It was founded in 2009 as Opus Payments and is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It was valued at $40 billion in 2022, making it the most valuable European fintech firm. In its 13 years of operation, the company has processed trillions of transactions for merchants around the world with more than one million customers including some of the world’s leading retailers such as Nike and Amazon.
Anne Boden, the founder of Starling Bank, is one of the few women who have founded unicorns. After being successfully led through an economic collapse and pandemic event - she now counts herself among the few female founders of unicorns in the UK. The fintech company has a valuation today of £2.5 billion. With an app or website as her preferred interface with customers, this bank aims to offer a fairer and more human service than other choices on the market. In four years from 2018 to 2021, she was awarded for her work as best British Bank at 4 consecutive annual awards ceremonies - winning five out of five nominations each year.
Zepz (Formerly WorldRemit Group)
As one of the few UK startups made by black owners - they raise $292m in Series E funding and jumped to a valuation of $5bn. The company operates across 5,000 money transfer corridors and their 11 million customers make 4.5 million monthly transactions since obtaining SendWave payment giants - worth $500M - in 2020.
Founded in 2013, OakNorth Bank is a specialist bank that provides financing for small and medium-sized businesses. It has lent £1.5 billion (as of March 2017) to 700+ European organizations so far. OakNorth was dubbed a unicorn, which refers to privately-owned start-ups worth $1 billion or more. In late 2017, the company raised just under $300 million (£154m), pushing its valuation from €2.6bn (£2billion) to €4.9bn (£3billion).
Fintech Unicorns in the EU
The number of unicorn firms is quickly increasing, and although it was once simply a Silicon Valley cliché, we are now witnessing tremendous development of these companies across Europe.
We will leave it to our imagination to determine if this is due to European entrepreneurs genuinely catching up with Silicon Valley in terms of ambition or to excessively optimistic venture investors.
Some of the biggest names in the fintech companies in Europe include:
Valued at 2.5 billion has been active for 14 years already. The Klarna app gives you a complete overview of your shopping, letting you take control of your personal finances. You may pay up to 30 days later and enjoy payment empowerment with no hidden fees. The company also provides full integrations of payment methods and features for your business.
The German neobank was founded in 2018 and is based in berlin. The digital bank has a ton of services and features that a traditional bank offers. With N26, you can get access to a completely insured bank account, free debit cards, travel insurance, SEPA transfers, an IBAN account, and many more!
Read our full N26 review.
Atom Bank's valuation stands at $1.2 billion. Atom Bank is a mobile-only bank offering fixed savings accounts, mortgages, and business loans. Currently, it does not offer any current account services, so users don’t have the option to spend abroad with any of Atom Bank’s products.
Adyen provides an easy-to-use platform for businesses to integrate payment services into their web store or mobile app. It also takes care of risk management, processing, and settlement so that there are no hassles for business owners. Adyen is valued at 48 billion dollars. According to Accenture, by 2022 around $200 billion worth of global business-to-consumer (B2C) payments will be processed through new technologies like mobile devices and cloud computing.
Mollie, an Amsterdam-based startup that provides a way for businesses to integrate payments into sites, documents, and other services by way of an API, has announced today that it has raised €665 million ($800 million) in its latest round of funding. With this new cash injection, Mollie's valuation stands at $6.5 billion.
Trustly Group is a Swedish Fintech company founded in 2008. Trustly provides an open banking payment system that enables customers to shop and pay from their online bank account, without the need for a card or app. With a valuation of $5.9 billion, this company is one of Sweden's most valuable investments outside of Ikea.
Qonto is a French online payment system for independent workers and small businesses. It was founded in 2016, its initial product was released in July 2017 and since then it has expanded to include its services in Spain, Germany, and Italy. This year the company raised $552 million from investors who placed a valuation of $5 billion on Qonto.
Fintech Unicorn in the US
The US has provided us with some of the biggest fintech unicorns. More than half (51%) of the world’s soaring fintechs come from the United States. Some of them include:
Paypal is valued at $327.76 billion. PayPal is one of the most popular online payment platforms for customers and sellers, as well as a reliable payment mechanism for online retailers. Its e-wallet enables users to save, send, and receive money in over 200 countries. PayPal, like banks, is authorized to operate inside a legal framework that ensures secure transactions.
Read our complete Paypal Review.
Stripe is a fintech company that builds financial infrastructures on the internet valued at $95 billion. Businesses of all sizes can use Stripe to accept payment and manage their companies online. Stripe makes collecting credit cards online immediately easy for your business.
A startup that is designed to provide customers with access to their bank accounts without having to pay fees and without having to sign up for banking services. The startup enables users to access most of the features they would be able to use on their own through a new mobile app, and at the same time, it offers banks a new way of reaching customers. Recently, it raised $110 million in financing from notable investors such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and J.P Morgan Chase and is valued at 25 billion dollars.
CashApp is a peer-to-peer payment app allowing its users to transfer, receive, and even invest their money. Anyone can use CashApp whether they are a business or an individual. In 2021, this app was valued at 73.5 billion dollars.
Fintech Unicorns in China
Ant Technology Group
In an effort to emphasize its goal of becoming a 'global technology leader', the company, formerly known as Zhejiang Ant Financial Services Group Co. Ltd., decided to change its name to Ant Technology Group Co. on 22nd June 2021. The company has many different brands including Alipay, Yu’eBao, Huabei, Xiang Hu Bao, MYBank, and Zhima Credit which provide various types of financial services for consumers in China through innovative use of technology. The company has a valuation of 75 billion dollars.
Founded in 2014, WeBank is the first of its kind to have been permitted to open up shop. The neobank provides financial services through digital technology while being led by industry veterans from Tencent and Baiyeyuan -- considered two of China's leading innovators. With a valuation of US$21 billion, WeBank has established itself as one of the top privately-held banks in all of China with CEO David Ku at the helm
Lakala is a banking technology company located near here. It was one of the first Third Party Payment Providers to be licensed by the Central Bank - and it now has an estimated value of $13 million.
Unicorn startups are worthy of respect in the business world and for good reason. To become one, a company has to reach an investor valuation of $1 billion or higher; out of all those companies though, only 554 can be called unicorns.
Unicorn is a term used to describe high-valued startups, usually valued at over $1 billion. It originated in the Venture Capital industry and was originally coined by investor Aileen Lee. Unicorn startups are incredibly difficult to find, but it isn't impossible if you're prepared for innovation.
The fintech sector that boasted the most amount of new unicorns in 2021 was payments, with 52 new unicorns added that year. Crypto and Defi followed closely, with 42 new unicorns; and wealth management came up last with 34 new unicorns seen in 2021.
The United States takes the lead with 865 Unicorns, which constitutes 53% of the total. China trails second place with 224 Unicorns, followed closely behind by India (108).
Looking ahead, we may see some shakeup of the top financial unicorn space. As nations see the economic benefits of the thriving fintech industry, they are establishing a healthy environment with policies that encourage more innovation.