Over the last few years or so, financial technology or fintech has become one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the tech industry. Fintech is any startup or company that is focused on solving various problems associated with the finance industry using modern technology. It includes almost everything from money transfer to insurance brokering.
Early-stage investments in financial technology are also on the rise. According to a report from global management consulting company Accenture, investments in fintech startups registered an exponential increase of 2,200% from about $930 million to $22 billion in 2015.
Below are the 15 biggest and most valuable fintech companies from all around the world. And one more thing, we haven’t added online payment giant Paypal despite its near $100 billion valuations to stop stating the obvious.
Valuation: $800 million
Betterment is a U.S based online investment firm that provides its customers with goal-based investing services and financial advice. The company employs specialized algorithms to provide personalized financial consultation.
Back in 2016, the company was valued at $700 million, but a recent investment by a Swedish investment company, Kinnevik worth $70 million, increased the firm’s valuation to $800 million. Betterment currently has about $10 billion assets under management.
Valuation: $1.2 billion
Kabbage, Inc. is an online money lending company that provides funds to small scale businesses. With a maximum lending amount of $250,000, Kabbage identifies suitable customers based on factors including appropriate annual revenue, business maturity, social media activity, etc.
The startup has successfully raised funds from several big venture capital firms, including Reverence Capital Partners, Thomvest Ventures, and Softbank Capital, over multiple series of funding.
In 2017, Kabbage had more than 130,000 customers and issued $4 billion in loan amounts. The same year, it received a fresh $250 million investment from Softbank.
Valuation: $2 billion
Avant, earlier known as AvantCredit, is a private lending company that uses machine learning to evaluate borrower’s creditworthiness and to establish interest rates.
The company has raised about $1.8 billion in debt funds and investments since its inception in 2012. It was ranked 6th on Forbes America’s Most Promising Companies in 2015.
11. Root Insurance
Valuation: $3.6 billion
Root is a U.S based car insurance company that sets its premium rates after assessing users driving behavior with the help of smartphone technology. According to the company, they only insure ‘good drivers’ to keep their premiums considerably lower than other insurers.
Founded in 2015, Root achieved unicorn status (a startup with a valuation of over one billion dollars) in just three years. In the most recent funding round, led by DST Global, the company raised $350 million.
Valuation: $3.5 billion
TransferWise, one of Europe’s most popular fintech companies, allows customers to send and receive money worldwide using its peer-to-peer money transferring service. It supports more than 750 different currency pairs (i.e., USD — GBP, USD — AUD, etc.) as well as multiple currency accounts.
In 2013, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures led a $6 million investment round. Over the next three years, the company raised around $109 million from the likes of Richard Branson and venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz. In 2018, TransferWise reached 4 million customers for the first time, while its overall profit was $8 million.
After the most recent funding round, in which the company raised close to $300 million, TransferWise became one of the five most valuable private fintech companies in Europe.
10. Credit Karma
Valuation: $4 billion
Credit Karma is among the fastest-growing personal finance companies in the world. Founded more than a decade ago, Credit Karma is known for its credit and financial management solutions. It also provides tools to help users with tax preparation and find their unclaimed money.
In 2013, the company closed a $30 million investment round led by Susquehanna Growth Equity. The next year, in a funding series led by Google Capital, Credit Karma raised $85 million.
In the most recent round, Silver Lake Partners, a California based private equity firm, bought a $500 million stake in the company boosting its valuation to $4 billion.
Valuation: $4.3 billion
Social Finance, Inc., or SoFi, is a fintech company that specializes in services such as student loan refinancing, personal loans, parent loans, and mortgages. The company was founded in 2011 by two Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni.
By mid-2016, the company had facilitated over $2 billion in loans. The same year SoFi became the first online lender to receive AAA ratings from Moody’s.
From 2012 to 2014, SoFi raised more than $650 million in debt financing and equity from Morgan Stanley, Baseline Ventures, and others.
Valuation: $4.5 billion
GreenSky is a U.S based financial technology company that facilitates means for individuals and mid-sized businesses to acquire loans for their various needs. Unlike other online lending services, GreenSky finance loans through partner banks and institutions rather than imploying its own capital.
The company secured its first major investment capital of $50 million in 2016. It became the world’s most valuable online lender after raising $200 million at a valuation of $4.5 billion.
Valuation: $5.5 billion
Sweden’s largest fintech company, Klarna, provides financial solutions to business, including credit payment and debt collection services. The company was founded in 2005 to facilitate merchants and consumers with a much simpler and safer payment method.
Klarna received its first significant investment capital from a Swedish investment company, AB Öresund. Within the next couple of years, several U.S based venture capital funds joined the fray, while Klarna expanded its geographical reach to other European nations.
The company reports 85 million end-users (as of April 2020), including more than 200,000 online merchants. Klarna’s current valuation of $5.5 billion makes it the largest fintech company in Europe.
Valuation: $5.8 billion
Chime is a U.S based neobank company, which provides banking services to its customers without charging any account maintenance fee. Almost all of its revenue comes from interchange collections that it charges merchants to process card transactions.
Founded in 2013, the company reached one million accounts mark in mid-2018 and 6.5 million by the end of 2019. As per Crunchbase data, Chime has raised more than $800 million in funds to date.
Valuation: $6 billion
Market Capitalization: $19.03 billion
Square, Inc., is one of the largest publicly traded fintech companies in the world. During its initial years, Square received angel investments from entrepreneurs such as Kevin Rose, Biz Stone, and Marissa Mayer. Large firms such as Sequoia Capital and Goldman Sachs soon followed. Since its initial public offering in 2015, Square’s valuation has increased fourfold.
Valuation: $7.6 billion
The U.S based financial services startup, Robinhood, allows customers to invest in publicly traded companies and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) listed in the U.S stock exchange without paying hefty commissions. The service makes money from the margin lending and cash balancing process.
Robinhood is becoming increasingly popular among the young population, who are looking for hassle-free stock trading without paying fees or commissions.
In the most recent funding round in July 2019, the company raised $323 million funding at a valuation of $7.6 billion.
Valuation: $8 billion
The cryptocurrency boom in 2017 was a turning point for the world’s biggest digital currency exchange, Coinbase. For those who don’t know, Coinbase is a trading platform for popular digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Since its establishment, the company has raised over $217 million in funding. In 2017, Coinbase generated over $1 billion in revenue.
Well, there is no doubt that the fate of the company depends on the future of digital currencies, but the more pressing question here is how far it can go unchallenged?
CEO of Stripe, Patrick Collison | Image Courtesy: Flickr/JD Lasica
Valuation: $36 billion
Stripe is a payment processing service that allows users to make and receive online payments without much hassle. Founded in 2011, Stripe received its first major investment of $2 million from Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal. The company achieved a $100 million valuation in 2012.
In September 2019, the company raised $250 million at a $35 billion valuation from some of the most prominent venture funds in the world, including Sequoia Capital and General Catalyst.
Stripe’s meteoric rise in the fintech world can be attributed to its overall technological supremacy over its competitors.
1. Ant Financial
Valuation: $150 billion (previous valuation $60 billion)
Ant Financial, based in Hangzhou city, China, is the biggest fintech company in the world. It owns several financial services heavyweights, including Alipay, the largest online payment platform, and Yu’e Bao, the world’s third-largest money market fund. It also runs a private credit rating system called Sesame Credit.
The company was founded after Alipay (formally a subsidiary of Alibaba Group) was re-branded as Ant Financial Services in 2014. In the following year, the company secured a hefty $6.5 billion investment from China Investment Corp and other local institutional investors.
When Ant Financial reached a $60 billion valuation in 2017, many analysts predicted that the company might soon reach a $100 billion valuation. The company is now worth more than the market capitalization of some of the world’s well-known banks.