A taste of money: The 20 biggest European fintech rounds in 2021

Image credit: Visual Stories || Micheile on Unsplash

Despite the pandemic restrictions across a number of industries, European fintech seems to have had an amazing year. We’ve counted almost 800 funding rounds, in which all sorts of players — from factoring to BNPL through small business lending and insurtech — raised some €26 billion.

More than a third of that amount, or some €10 billion, was raised in the 20 largest rounds, which we’re going to look at below. The UK has certainly dominated the list with 13 entries, followed by Germany with three, and then Sweden, France, and the Netherlands.

It appears that the bulk of the major players in the sector are not in a hurry to go public, as long as they’re able to land huge amounts in private funding. Many rounds in this overview are quite comparable, if not greater than the sums raised in this year’s major IPOs.

Check out the list of this year’s most significant fintech funding deals below.

20. 🇬🇧 Global Processing Services, $300 million

UK-based payment technology company Global Processing Services (GPS) bagged “more than $300 million” in October. The money was poured in by Advent International and Viking, which are “co-controlling” the company now. Although not exactly a household name, GPS provides a cloud-based payment platform that powers major European fintech startups including Revolut, Curve, Starling Bank, and Zilch.

19. 🇬🇧 Bought by Many, $350 million

Pet insurance provider Bought by Many landed a $350 million Series D funding round led by EQT Growth in June. Existing investors Octopus Ventures and Munich Re also participated in the round, which valued the company at $2 billion pre-money. Founded in 2012, Bought by Many started as a niche insurance provider before focusing solely on pet insurance in 2017. The company saw a growth in demand since the pandemic started, as more people decided to get a pet.

18. 🇫🇷 Ledger, $380 million

Crypto hardware startup Ledger secured $380 million in a Series C funding round led by 10T Holdings in June. The deal valued the company at $1.5 billion. Ledger’s main product is a hardware wallet for crypto currencies; the device looks like a USB key with a tiny screen where the user can confirm a transaction. This way, private keys never leave the device, supposedly making it more secure than an online crypto exchange. At the time of the funding announcement, Ledger said it had sold more than 3 million wallets.

17. 🇬🇧 Starling Bank, £272 million

The UK-based digital bank Starling announced a £272 million Series D round in March. Fidelity Management and Research led the round, which was oversubscribed by £72 million and valued Starling at £1.1 billion pre-money. The company has managed to turn profit for several consecutive months, and is currently looking to buy a lending business before it’s expected to float in London some time next year.

16. 🇬🇧 MarketFinance, £280 million

Another London fintech player, MarketFinance raised £280 million in debt and equity financing in September. The company, which runs an online business lending platform, was also one of the first fintech firms accredited by the British Business Bank as a lender under Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). The loans under that scheme are designed to support SMEs as they’re trying to recover and grow following the pandemic.

15. 🇬🇧 Celsius Network, $400 million

Crypto lender Celsius Network was valued at $3 billion in October, as it raised a $400 million funding round led by WestCap. The company said it’d use the capital injection to expand its offering and “create bridges for traditional finance and cryptocurrencies through institutional grade products and offerings”. It also planned to double its team to 1,000 employees and look for strategic acquisition possibilities across the globe.

14. 🇬🇧 DivideBuy, £300 million

The first (but not last) buy-now-pay-later in this list, UK-based DivideBuy landed a £300 million round in September. The firm based in Newcastle-under-Lyme counts some 500 retailers as its users, including Cloud Nine and Simba Sleep. By September, the company hit £150 million in Gross Merchandise Value, and projected £175 million by the year’s end.

13. 🇬🇧 Storfund, £300 million

Factoring provider Storfund raised £300 million in October from fintech financing specialist Fasanara Capital. The investor committed £100 million effective immediately, while the rest of money will be poured into the company as it expands into China. At the time of the announcement, Storfund was the only factoring provider approved by Amazon, available on 17 out of its 20 markets. Storfund eliminates payment delays for the retailers by effectively fronting them money and getting paid later by the marketplace.

(In case you’re wondering why the £300-million rounds of DivideBuy and Storfund are given in this order, it’s because we count them in euros. In late October, you could get more euros for £300 million than in mid-September. Same is true for the rounds of Trade Republic and N26 down below.)

12. 🇬🇧 Checkout.com, $450 million

Online payment processing champion Checkout.com landed $450 million from Tiger Global Management at the very beginning of 2021. The deal valued the company at $15 billion, making it Europe’s top fintech decacorn at the time. It’s worth mentioning that Checkout’s valuation had almost tripled in just seven months. The London-headquartered company processes payments for major players like Pizza Hut, H&M, and Farfetch, as well as its fintech peers Coinbase, Klarna, and Revolut.

11. 🇬🇧 Prodigy Finance, $500 million

London-based Prodigy Finance, which provides postgraduate student loans to international students, nabbed $500 million from CPP Investments in September. The company said that the number of loan applications was up 50 percent year-over-year, and the latest capital injection would allow it to meet the growing demand. It also planned to expand its offering to a number of new countries, including China, Australia, Bangladesh, South Korea, Spain, Chile, Singapore, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and most of South America.

10. 🇬🇧 Monzo, $500 million

Another British fintech juggernaut, Monzo bagged $500 million at a $4.5 billion valuation just a few weeks ago. Abu Dhabi Growth Fund led the round, which came after a challenging year for Monzo. The neobank reported a £115 million loss in 2020/2021, and also revealed that it is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority over anti-money laundering compliance.

9. 🇸🇪 Klarna, $639 million (see #1)

8. 🇩🇪 wefox, $650 million

Berlin-based digital insurance startup wefox attracted a $650 million Series C funding round from Target Global in June. Found in 2015, the company doesn’t sell insurance directly and relies on intermediaries instead. With a supposedly superior analytics matrix, wefox claims to be able to achieve better loss ratios than market average. In the 2020 financial year, its revenues grown to over $140 million.

7. 🇬🇧 LendInvest, £500 million

London-based marketplace platform for property finance LendInvest raised a £500 million funding round from JP Morgan in January. The deal came to be a few months after JP Morgan bought a £125-million mortgage portfolio from LendInvest in September last year. LendInvest called off its IPO in 2019, its operating profit in financial year 2020 fell to £0.6 million from £3.3 million the year before. In 2021, however, LendInvest floated in London and raised some £40 million in the process; it has also recently reported growth in revenues and profits.

6. 🇳🇱 Mollie, €665 million

Dutch payment processing unicorn Mollie secured €665 million in a megaround led by Blackstone Growth in June. Mollie had processed more than €10 billion in transactions in 2020, and said it was on track to double that amount in 2021. The company has 120,000 monthly active merchants, adding 400 to 500 monthly. The list of its customers includes Deliveroo, Unicef, Acer, and Guess.

5. 🇬🇧 Revolut, $800 million

Last June, UK-based financial super app Revolut nabbed a cool $800 million in funding at a valuation of $33 billion. The deal, which was co-led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 and Tiger Global, made Revolut the most valuable UK fintech and one of the biggest privately held fintech companies globally. Revolut serves some 16 million users around the world, generating over 150 million transactions every month. The company will use fresh capital to explore new areas like insurance, as well as expand its offering in trading, investing, and credit services.

4. 🇩🇪 Trade Republic, $900 million

Commission-free “neobroker” Trade Republic landed $900 million in a Sequoia-led funding round in May. Founded in 2015, the Berlin-based company was valued at more than $5 billion in the deal. Trade Republic said that it had reached over 1 million customers over the past two years across Germany, France, and Austria. The company makes use of ETFs to allow customers to invest in stocks free of charge on a regular basis. In addition to that, Trade Republic also offers investing in cryptocurrencies.

3. 🇬🇧 SumUp, €750 million

London-based payment solutions provider SumUp raised €750 million in debt from Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital Credit, Temasek, Crestline, and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. The money was earmarked for acquisitions, expansion of the company’s business offering, and launches in new markets in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Unlike many of its industry peers, SumUp stays focused on (small) business and apparently has no plans to move into the consumer space, financial services, or crypto trading.

2. 🇩🇪 N26, $900 million

German-founded challenger bank N26 almost tripled its valuation to reach $9 billion in October, as it raised $900 million from Third Point Ventures and Coatue Management. Valentin Stalf, N26 co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that he was going to line up the company for an IPO within the next three to four years, as well as hire 1,000 people as soon as possible. Currently, N26 is active in 25 countries where it serves over 7 million clients.

1. 🇸🇪 Klarna, $1 billion (also $639 million at #9)

Swedish BNPL behemoth Klarna raised not one, but two funding rounds this year, and each of them would grant the company a place in this ranking. First, the company announced a $1 billion megaround in March; later, in June, it also bagged $639 million from SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The latter deal valued Klarna at $45.6 billion post-money, making it the second-biggest fintech company in the world, after Stripe. The European fintech giant has 18 million customers and 250,000 retail partners worldwide, including 24 out of 100 of the top US retailers.

These were the 20 biggest funding rounds in European fintech in 2021. The industry certainly was one of the main drivers of the startup economy — and is likely to keep the pace in the coming year. We’ll keep an eye on every development, as we did over the past few months; in the meantime, check out the rest of our end-of-year coverage — and stay tuned for more!

This story was updated on 29.12.2021 to reflect that LendInvest did eventually go public in 2021, and its financial metrics had improved.

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