London is quickly establishing itself as Europe’s capital of billion-dollar technology startups, housing 36 unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion or more) – representing over a fifth of all European unicorns.
Speaking on the rising success of the capital, Chancellor Philip Hammond said,
“We have the time zone, the language, the legal system, the talent, the world’s number one financial center, and the fastest growing tech center in Europe.
“Our FinTech sector generated almost £7bn in revenue last year, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We must constantly move onward to remain the best place in the world to start and grow a tech business.
“So I urge innovators, investors, and regulators to help us keep the UK at the forefront of the FinTech revolution.”
While there are numerous startups heavily affecting the landscape of financial services across the capital today, here are London’s current Fintech Unicorns, in no particular order:
London Fintech Unicorns
#1 – Revolut
Having expanded to support over 100 currencies, a fifth of which are available via its mobile app, Revolut might lead this list as with the largest share of public consciousness. Offering a digital alternative to incumbent, traditional banking, the startup offers peer-to-peer payments and prepaid virtual and physical cards for consumers to easily handle their finances.
#2 – Monzo
Holding the title of the largest-ever crowdfunding round for a FinTech company, having raised £20m in just under 2 hours, Monzo is a poster child for London’s sparkling Fintech scene. The first of the UK’s online-only challenger banks to obtain a full banking license, Monzo is now valued 40 times more than the valuation given at its first raise in early 2016, and has more than 1 million users. Most recently, in October 2018, the company raised a Series E round with a pre-money valuation of £1 billion, the latest in a string of UK tech startups to reach unicorn status.
#3 – TransferWise
TransferWise was originally started in 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus, a long-serving Skype alumnus, when he grew frustrated at paying fees when transferring money back to his native Estonia. He, with cofounder Kristo Käärman, formed TransferWise with the goal to reduce hidden bank fees and exorbitant exchange rates when transferring money. With headquarters in London, the company now holds offices worldwide, offering easy transferring and conversion between over 300 currencies.
#4 – OakNorth
Since its launch in 2015, OakNorth has provided fast-growth businesses with quick, flexible debt finance. Specialising in small-and-medium-enterprise lending thanks to its proprietary technology platform, ACORN machine, the OakNorth recently achieved a valuation of $2.3 billion, partly due to closing a $100m funding round.
#5 – Funding Circle
Funding Circle is a great example of a London FinTech unicorn being an early adopter of the peer-2-peer model. Since its inception in 2010, the company has crowdfunded unsecured business loans to SMEs, providing them access to capital outside of traditional bank lending stipulations. Funding Circle also underwent an IPO in late 2018.
Need a solid understanding of the FinTech unicorns dominating the industry right now? At CFTE, we offer numerous resources to help you learn more about Fintech’s core concepts. We always encourage professionals, and those looking to enter the industry, to learn to speak the new language of finance first. This means an accessible and comprehensive programme that matches the rigors of the industry and provides a solid foundational background of the sector. Our Fintech Foundation Course – Around Fintech in 8 Hours – provides these aspects in a clear framework with no prerequisites and is taught by those building this new world of Fintech!
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