A boom in funding rounds, Open Banking and M&A were key fintech themes in the second half of 2020.
After looking at the funding rounds, hires, layoffs and pure survival for many through the Covid-19 pandemic in H1 2020 yesterday, today we cast an eye over the stories which set the pace over the second half of 2020.
By July most of the fintechs affected by Wirecard’s demise were back up and running, while Curve even took the opportunity to overhaul its refunds system—although customers weren’t a fan, so by August Curve rolled back the changes.
A wave of fintech funding rounds were announced as venture capital funding taps were finally turned back on, with Penta, TransferWise, Farewill, Fundment, Radix, Coconut, Robinhood, Ravelin, Plum, Form3, Hippo, Selina Finance, Revolut, Thought Machine, ComplyAdvantage, Remitly and an unusual fintech called Lanistar all raised capital.
Robinhood closed its third funding round of 2020, with another still to come in September, and Curve repeatedly tipped the market that it is working on a £100m funding round… which still hasn’t happened yet.
And here at AltFi we reviewed Monzo’s Plus and Premium subscription offerings, and posted the question Can premium banking push fintechs to profitability?
Starling Bank’s Marketplace reached its third anniversary. The bank launched both a “Kite” account for kids and negative interest rates for its Euro account holders, and CEO Anne Boden joined the government’s Board of Trade.
Open Banking reached 2m UK users just six months after it hit 1m, open banking provider TrueLayer raised an additional $25m in funding, Moneyfarm said 1-in-5 of its transfers are now using the technology and Tink reported a third of financial institutions are now spending over £90m on open banking.
In October longtime crowdfunding rivals Seedrs and Crowdcube announced their intention to merge the businesses… and just days later Seedrs posted widening losses of £4.7m with a “going concern” warning.
Here at AltFi, we published our long-awaited Alternative Lending State of the Market Report 2020, with data on the industry’s growth in the UK and Europe over the previous 12 months.
North American inventory financier Clearbanc arrived in the UK, Monument secured a limited UK licence for its digital bank for the rich, CrowdProperty reached £100m in cumulative lending, and PrimaryBid raised $50m.
Oh, and Anne Boden spoke out for the first time about the coup which created Monzo—the exec would reveal more in her book Banking On It and would speak exclusively about the experience the following month at AltFi’s Festival of Finance...
Yes, in November here at AltFi we hosted our most ambitious digital event yet with dozens of speakers across 8 countries, including the CEOs of Bunq, Tide, Metro Bank, Assetz Capital and many many more.
Missed the Festival of Finance? Don’t worry; the whole thing is available on-demand.
OakNorth found itself with a new shareholder in the form of SMBC, Landbay secured £300m/year from an undisclosed asset manager, and PensionBee launched a £100m bid for customers to back its fossil-fuel-free pension fund… which it would hit just 34 days later.
Former Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia earlier in the year had launched her own financial management app Snoop and raised £3.2m in equity and an additional £10m from crowdfunding and the government’s Future Fund. At the end of the year, rumours began to swirl that price comparison site MoneySuperMarket was considering a Snoop acquisition.
Things would come to a head in December as Xinja, one of the country’s older challengers who had championed a high-interest model decided to call quits on its banking offering with the shocking (but maybe unsurprising) decision to return its banking licence.
And that’s it for our extensive, but not exhaustive, look back at what happened in H2 2020.
Missed the first half of the year? Take a look at Part 1 of this article here.