A fintech startup (or company) is any business entity that uses modern technology to provide financial services to its users. It includes everything from basic money transfer services to automated investments and insurance. Over the last decade or so, financial technology, or fintech, has become one of the fastest-growing tech industry sectors.
Between 2012 and 2015, fintech companies witnessed exponential growth in investments worldwide. In 2017, the total amount of investment in the sector stood at $50 billion. It skyrocketed to a whopping $111 billion in 2018. The last year (2019), the total value reached $135 billion.
Below are the 16 most valuable fintech companies from all around the world. And one more thing, we haven’t added online payment giant Paypal despite its more than $100 billion valuations to stop stating the obvious.
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, and social media activity.
Over the years, the startup has successfully raised funds from several big venture capital firms, such as Reverence Capital Partners, Thomvest Ventures, and Softbank Capital.
In 2017, Kabbage had more than 130,000 customers and issued $4 billion in loan amounts. The same year, it received a new $250 million investment from Softbank.
Valuation: $2 billion
Founded In: 2012
Avant (earlier known as AvantCredit) is a private lending company that uses machine learning to evaluate borrowers’ creditworthiness and establish interest rates for personal loans. It provides both secured and unsecured loans.
In 2014, the company raised $225 million in new equity led by Tiger Global Management and August Capital. With the capital, Avant crossed the $1 billion mark in total funding since its inception. The company was ranked 6th on Forbes America’s Most Promising Companies in 2015.
14. Root Insurance
Valuation: $3.6 billion
Founded In: 2015
Root Insurance is a specialized car insurance company that adjusts its premium rates after assessing consumer’s driving behavior using a proprietary smartphone app. According to the company, they only insure “good drivers” to keep their premiums considerably lower than traditional insurers.
It became the first insurance company to provide discount offerings to car (Tesla) owners for using autopilot mode. In 2018, Root achieved a Unicorn status, the first non-medical insurance startup to do so. The company raised $350 million in new capital at a $3.6 billion valuation in 2019.
Valuation: $3.5 billion
Founded In: 2010
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 to GBP, USD to AUD, etc.) and multiple currency accounts.
In 2013, the company raised $6 million from an investment round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. Over the next three years, the company raised around $109 million from Richard Branson and venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz. TransferWise reached 4 million customers in 2018, with an overall $8 million profit.
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.
12. Credit Karma
Valuation: $4 billion
Founded In: 2007
Credit Karma is among the fastest-growing personal finance companies in the world. The service allows users to compare and choose different credit cards and loan offers based on their needs. It also provides free tax fillings and credit score checks.
In 2017, the company launched the Unclaimed money tool, through which users can track any unclaimed refunds or payouts under their name. It works as a financial management platform.
In 2018, Silver Lake Partners, a California-based private equity firm, bought a $500 million stake in the company boosting its valuation to $4 billion. Credit karma’s existing investors include big names such as Tiger Global Management and Google Capital.
Valuation: $4.3 billion
Founded In: 2011
Social Finance, or SoFi, is a San Francisco based financial technology company specializing in personal loans, student loan refinancing, and mortgages. The company was initially founded by four Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni to provide students with affordable debt/loan options.
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.
In 2019, SoFi landed a $500 million investment capital from Qatar Investment Authority at a $4.3 billion valuation.
Valuation: $4.5 billion
Founded In: 2006
GreenSky is the world’s most valuable online lender. Based in the United States, the company provides banks with means to facilitate loans to consumers for their various needs online. Unlike other online lending services, GreenSky finance loans through partner banks and institutions rather than employing its own capital.
In 2014, GreenSky raised $300 million in new capital, followed by another $50 million in 2016. Its valuation increased all-time high to $4.5 billion after completing a $200 million funding round led by PIMCO in 2018.
Valuation: $5.5 Billion
Founded In: 2005
Sweden’s largest fintech company, Klarna, provides financial solutions to business, including credit payment and debt collection services. The company was initially created 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 service boasts 85 million end-users and more than 200,000 online merchants, as of April 2020. In September, Klarna entered in talks with investors to raise new funds at a valuation of more than $10 billion in the future.
Valuation: $5.8 billion
Founded In: 2013
Chime is a U.S based neobank, a bank that runs exclusively online, which provides banking services to its customers without maintenance fees or monthly charges. Almost all of its revenue comes from interchange collections that it charges merchants to process card transactions.
The company reached one million registered users in 2018, which jumped to 6.8 million the next year. In 2020, that figure crossed the 8 million mark in February 2020.
Chime gained Unicorn status (startups with more than one billion dollars valuation) in March 2019, after raising $200 million at a $1.5 billion valuation.
Valuation: $6 Billion
Market Capitalization: $60.96 billion
Founded In: 2009
Square, Inc., is a U.S based financial services and technology company that offers in mobile payments and point-of-sale operations. It deals in both the software and hardware aspect of the service.
Since its inception, Square has received funding from big names such as Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, and GIC Private Limited, Singapore’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Angel investors, including Marissa Mayer and Biz Stone, have made early investments in the company.
Square went public with its IPO launch in November 2015, with an initial valuation of $2.9 billion. Since 2012, the company registered a profit for the first time in the fiscal year 2019.
Valuation: $11.2 Billion
Founded In: 2013
Robinhood Markets, Inc., or Robinhood, is an online discount broker and electronic trading platform that allows customers to invest in publicly traded companies and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) listed in the U.S stock exchange without paying hefty commissions. Robinhood makes most of its profits through margin lending and cash balancing process.
In 2015, according to the company, about 80 percent of its customers were ‘millennials‘ with an average age of 26 years. Its popularity among the younger generation remains unchanged.
Robinhood reached a $1 billion valuation mark in 2017. In the most recent funding round, the company raised $200 million at an $11.2 billion valuation.
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?
Valuation: $16 Billion
Founded In: 2010
Paytm is the largest fintech company headquartered in India. It was founded in 2010 initially as an online mobile recharge platform. By 2015, the startup had expanded into e-commerce and online payment services and acquired 104 million registered users. Its current user base is close to 350 million (2019).
The company raised $1 billion in new capital at a $16 billion valuation from its existing investors — Alibaba’s Ant Group and SoftBank Vision Fund, among other private equity firms in 2019. Previously, Paytm’s valuation reached $11 billion in 2018 after a $357 million investment by Berkshire Hathaway.
Valuation: $22 billion
Founded In: 2006
Adyen is Europe’s most valued fintech company that allows businesses and merchants to receive payments from anywhere in the world through card networks (such as VISA and Mastercard) and local payment methods. Furthermore, it employs machine learning to give data-rich insights on transactions and for revenue optimization.
The company is profitable since 2011, and in 2016 its gross revenue increased 99 percent to $727 million. Adyen is backed by large venture capital and private equity firms, including Temasek Holdings, General Atlantic, and Index Ventures. It went public in June 2018.
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.