It’s been a banner year thus far for the folks at neobank bunq. Just last week the firm announced that it had surpassed 9 million registered users accounting for over €4.5 billion in deposits, and today it revealed that it’s secured a fresh €44.5 million in growth capital. In total, the formerly bootstrapped bank has secured nearly €100 million this year alone, despite a noted market downturn.
Current investors Pollen Street Capital, bunq Chief Information Officer Raymond Kasiman, and the company’s founder and CEO Ali Niknam joined the round and committed to an investment valuation of, according to a statement released by the neobank, €1.65 billion.
However, according to a report filed by Dutch publication FD, not all is well between Pollen Street Capital and Niknam, noting "British shareholder Pollen Street Capital believes that the value of Bunq 'has fallen significantly'. According to Bunq CEO Ali Niknam, this is 'guesswork'." and that the PSC "wants Niknam to develop an alternative strategy based on a slower growth of the online bank".
Founded in 2012, bunq remained bootstrapped until mid-2021 when the bank recorded the largest series-A ever raised by a European fintech at €193 million. €168 million arrived via London-based private equity firm Pollen Street Capital, and Niknam reinvested in the company at €25 million.
As part of the investment bunq acquired Irish credit company Capitalflow from Pollen Street Capital. The thinking behind the move was that bunq could store excess cash in Capitalflow in order to improve returns. The FD filing also reveals that "the parties also made agreements that PSC had to guarantee a minimum return on its investments."
While bunq has seen user deposits increase by 150% since the end of 2022, the same year the bank recorded a loss of €10.5 million, a figure down from 2021's €13.4 million. The matter of sustaining revenue growth means that shareholders, in this case, Pollen Street Capital, Ali Niknam, and Raymond Kasiman need to continuously add capital to the business as well as meet regulator's capital requirements.
On today's announcement of a fresh €44.5 million, Niknam commented, “It’s been a truly magical year for bunq: we’re rapidly expanding and have seen massive deposit growth. With more and more people entrusting their money to us, we’re convinced that we should double down on our momentum and cement the way forward for future growth.”
In June, Tech.eu contributing author John Reynolds sat down with bunq boss Ali Niknam to discuss the bank’s plans for the year.
This article was updated on 25 June 2023 to reflect information gathered via fd.nl.