LONDON: The great city of London has been the traditional capital of finance and business for the world. More recently, it has also become the tech capital of Europe and a leader in producing some of the world’s best fin-tech startups. In 2017 alone, British startups received a staggering £7 billion in funding, leaving other European countries miles behind.
Many of these startups have gone on to become billion dollar companies. Hence, giving Britain its name as the ‘Unicorn Factory’ of the world. Here we present to you the top 5 British fin-tech companies disrupting the financial industry:
Digital bank Revolut is what you wished your old bank to be. It is a dream come true for tech-savvy and globally nomadic millennials. Revolut gives its users a digital current account, personal IBAN and a credit card within minutes. That is pretty much what most digital banks do these days but what makes Revolut unique is that you can send and receive money across the world with a couple of clicks, and in a lot of cases, for free. It allows you to spend money when travelling abroad and automatically exchange the money in your account into 150 local currencies at interbank exchange rate with no fee. On top of that, you can trade cryptocurrencies on the app, create saving vaults and buy insurance.
The company has already 3 million loyal customers, and has recently announced to expand into Singapore and Japan. Revolut raised $250 million in Series C funding, giving the company a $1.7 billion post-money valuation. The company is in discussions with Japanese mega-investor Softbank to raise another $500 million in series D round.
TransferWise is an international money transfer company based in London that allows its users to transfer money across the world at least eight times cheaper than a traditional bank by totally bypassing the banking money transfer system. It has also launched its own borderless bank accounts allowing its users to hold, send and receive money in over 40 currencies. With its debit Mastercard, users can spend money at home and abroad.
In 2017, TransferWise raised $280 million in new funding to accelerate the company’s expansion. The latest funding round led by Old Mutual Global Investors and Silicon Valley venture capital firm IVP takes the startup’s market value to $1.6 billion.
3. FUNDING CIRCLE
Funding Circle is one of the leading peer-to-peer small business loans platform in the world, matching SMEs that want to borrow with investors who want to lend. The startup has has helped 56,000 businesses get £5.6 billion through its platform.
This year, the British government agreed to fund £150 million worth of small business loans through Funding Circle. The cash will benefit more than 2,000 UK SMEs. The startup is present in UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, and planning to expand globally. Speaking at a Fintech conference in London, Samir Desai, Co-founder of Funding Circle, said the company had spent time bolstering its senior staff, and is now ready for more expansion.
Monzo is a challenger and mobile-only digital bank based in London. Launched in 2015, Monzo has already signed up over 1 million people as its current account customers. The account holders get a Mastercard debit card and can apply for overdrafts. Monzo also allows you to split bills, keep on eye on your spending on the go, deposit cash, withdraw cash for free in UK and set up direct debits. More recently, it has started offering loans to customers.
The rapid growth and popularity of Monzo means the digital bank raised £18 million in just two hours and 45 minutes last week, of which around £7 million was raised in just the first five minutes. It has 533 employees. Last October, the digital bank raised £85 million in Series E funding from General Catalyst and Accel., Passion Capital, Goodwater, Thrive Capital, Orange Digital Ventures and Stripe. The new fundraising valued the company at £1 billion ($1.27b), making it one of the latest British FinTech unicorns.
Crowdcube is one of Europe’s leading crowdfunding platforms in United Kingdom. The platform allows people to invest in innovative startups and businesses by buying equity in the firms. Some of Crowdcube’s most successful fundraisers include those of Monzo, Revolut, BrewDog and Adzuna. The startup has helped over 100 offerings raise more than £1 million on its site. Since 2011, approximately £355 million has been invested on the platform in over 600 companies.
Darren Westlake, CEO and co-founder of Crowdcube recently said “We’ve transformed equity finance and funded more businesses than anyone else in the UK to become a preferred choice for British entrepreneurs.” This year the platform raised £8.5 million in a fundraising round led by Draper Esprit.