Berlin holds Europe’s most valuable fintech:
The digital bank N26 has raised an additional $300m (USD) to fund its international expansion and at the same time received an updated valuation of $2.7 billion (USD). Analysts say that’s three times the startup’s valuation from 10 months ago when it closed a Series C round for $160 million.
Stunning stats for Germany’s N26:
According to Pitchbook, this $300 million announced on January 19, 2019 is the biggest European fintech investment round on record. And with it, N26 is now the second most valuable digital bank startup globally, according to CBInsights, only behind Brazil’s Nubank. This news also means that Germany’s popular digital bank is starting 2019 as one of the Continent’s most valuable unicorns.
N26’s hockey stick growth:
At the start of last year, the bank reported having 500,000 customers across 17 Eurozone countries. Series C was closed to fuel international expansion — in particular the UK and U.S. markets.
Well, N26 did use the money for setting-up expansion into those markets and more. By the end of 2018, the bank reported it had more than two million customers and the startup is still in high growth mode.
During 2018 the bank laid the foundation for its U.S. market entry. With this latest funding announcement, N26 says it plans to continue an aggressive expansion into the United States. Management says it will do this via partnerships with a U.S. bank (name not released yet). N26 also says it is considering further expanding into several South American and Asian countries. However, a final decision on which markets the startup will focus on won’t be decided until later this year.
The fast-growing German online bank has become a flagship startup in Berlin’s fintech sector. N26 was founded in 2013 and was named after its original address. It launched its first product in January 2015. 18 months later, N26 recieved a full banking license. Unlike traditional retail banks, N26 does not operate a branch network. This keeps its base costs lower than rivals. Today it operates in 24 European markets including the UK.
N26 offers additional account features like overdrafts and consumer loans in several countries including Germany and France. It says it plans to roll these out in the UK during the first quarter of 2019. The UK is already a busy fintech market with successful startups including Monzo and Revolut providing popular B2C offerings.
However, the founders are optimistic about the UK market and its potential. The bank reports that about 30 percent of UK users signed up for a premium account. Premium accounts cost £14.90/€16.60 per month and offer a metal debit card, plus additional perks including travel insurance on adventures purchased using the N26 card, discounted hotel bookings, and even one free day per month at a local WeWork.
“N26 is the clear market leader in the European mobile banking industry, and the company is ideally positioned to expand to the U.S. market this year, and build a formidable global digital consumer brand.”
— Harley Miller, Principal at Insight Venture Partners
This latest Series D funding round for $300 million was led by New York based venture capital and private equity firm Insight Venture Partners. The round also included participation from GIC Singapore — the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore. They joined existing backers including Tencent, Allianz, and Li Ka-Shing’s Horizon Ventures.
According to Crunchbase, the total amount of investment into N26 now stands at $512.8m. The new round has also once again fueled rumors that N26 might be working towards an IPO.
And finally, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about N26’s potential. Last year they made my list Berlin’s Got Talent: 5 Startups to Watch in 2018 which you can also read on Medium.
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