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Starling Bank scoops £272m investment as it finally reaches unicorn status

Starling’s valuation has topped £1bn for the first time, cementing its position as the UK’s latest fintech unicorn.

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Anne Boden/Starling Bank

Starling Bank has announced an unexpected £272m Series D funding round as it snags its long-awaited title as the UK’s latest fintech unicorn.

The Series D funding round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company with further participation from Qatar Investment Authority, Millennium Management and RPMI Railpen, the investment manager of the £31bn Railways pension scheme.

The fresh capital will be used by the digital bank to help expand its lending operations in the UK, as well as Starling’s international expansion plans and its long-promised M&A spree.

Starling’s latest raise takes its valuation up to £1.1bn, just a stone’s throw away from its biggest rival Monzo’s £1.25bn valuation.

Anne Boden, founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said: “Digital banking has reached a tipping point. Customers now expect a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past and that is what we are giving them at Starling as we continue to grow and add new products and services.”

“Our new investors will bring a wealth of experience as we enter the next stage of growth, while the continued support of our existing backers represents a huge vote of confidence.”

Rumours of the Series D funding round were first floated around back in November 2020, although the raise was projected to be around £200m at the time.

Including this latest round, Starling has raised £635m to date, including a £100m grant from the BCR competition fund.

Following the announcement, Starling also revealed that it has maintained profitability for the past four months and is on track to report its first full year in profit by the end of the next financial year. 

Since launching in 2017, Starling has amassed over two million customers, including over 300,000 SME customers, with a new customer signing up to Starling every 39 seconds.

Starling’s total lending has now exceeded £2bn and it has deposits of more than £5.4bn.

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