LONDON, April 26 (IFR) - There are 22 financial technology
"unicorns", or startup companies now valued at US$1bn or more,
that have an aggregate value of US$77bn, according to a report
released on Wednesday.
CB Insights said in its latest report on the fintech
industry that half of the unicorns are based in North America,
seven are in Asia and four are in Europe.
They include SoFi, the online lending company that raised
US$500m earlier this year to give it a US$4.5bn valuation; and
China Rapid Finance, which was valued at US$1bn after filing for
an IPO at the end of March.
Europe has eclipsed other regions this year with a surge of
fintech activity, according to the latest CB Insights global
fintech report, which analyses funding activity for venture
capital-backed fintech firms.
There were 73 deals for VC-backed fintech companies in
Europe in the first quarter, up from 42 in the previous quarter
and 53 in the first quarter of 2016. The deals raised US$700m in
the latest quarter.
There were 226 deals globally in the first quarter, up from
202 in the previous quarter but down from 256 in the first
quarter of 2016, the report showed. The latest quarter raised
US$2.7bn, down from US$4.9bn a year ago.
The number of deals in North America fell to 98 (raising
US$1.2bn) from 111 in the previous quarter and 146 a year ago.
There were 42 deals in Asia (raising US800m), down from 49 a
CB Insights estimated investment to VC-backed companies is
on track to drop 18% this year from 2016, although funding in
Europe is forecast to jump 57% this year after an end to the
region's funding drought this year.
UK fintechs Atom and Funding Circle led the recovery as each
raised US$100m or more in the first quarter. No company raised
more than US$50m in Europe in 2016.
The report showed Santander, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup or
their venture capital arms have made the highest number of
investments in fintech firms since the start of 2016, each
making 8-9 investments.
(Reporting by Steve Slater)