Financial technology (fintech) firms based in London took the lion’s share of investment in 2018, collectively attracting 39% of all European funding, against a total USD 36.6 billion in global venture capital (VC) investment last year, according to a CNBC business report.
Research from Innovate Finance has singled out the United Kingdom as an emerging leader when it comes to securing VC funding in fintech, ranking third in the world, behind only China and the United States.
These have largely been thanks to London’s top fintech unicorns that include financial service providers and so-called neobanks such as Revolut, TransferWise, and OakNorth. Challenger bank OakNorth is tipped as the one to keep an eye on, citing its “phenomenal” income growth from GBP 77.1 million (USD 100.81 million) to GBP 177.6 million in just twelve months — a year-on-year revenue increase of 268%. OakNorth was valued at USD 2.8 billion when SoftBank pumped $440 million of investments into the bank.
Another UK unicorn, digital bank Monzo, was reported by the Guardian as nearing a US deal that would double its value to GBP 2 billion.
These developments, according to a report by British recruiter Robert Walters and research firm Vacancy Soft, could put the status of San Franciso as the world’s unicorn breeding ground, under threat. Out of the world’s fintech unicorns numbering 29, 7 are already based in London, only 2 fewer than in San Francisco.
The report saw “signs of potential to threaten San Francisco’s historic dominance of the market”, noting also that London led all other EU cities in European fintech funding. Berlin and Paris came in second and third respectively.
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