Meet Europe's fintech decacorns

By John Reynolds on Tuesday 1 February 2022

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

Klarna, Checkout.com and Revolut are all decacorns while N26 is treading on their toes with a valuation north of $9bn.

Meet Europe's fintech decacorns
Image source: Klarna poster/Klarna

2021 saw a surge in European VC-backed firms achieving decacorn status- startups worth at least $10bn- with several fintech household names joining the ranks.

In total, there are 26 decacorns in Europe, a significant ramping up of the 12 in 2020, according to VC firm Atomico, based on Dealroom data.

Europe’s position as a tech and fintech powerhouse has further been underscored by the fact the continent is now home to 321 billion-dollar unicorn companies, 98 of which were minted last year.

Here AltFi takes a look at Europe’s fintech decacorns and when they achieved their lofty $10bn valuations.

Checkout.com

 

Checkout.com, Klarna and Revolut have been battling it out to be Europe's most highly valued fintech in recent times.

In early 2021, Checkout.com achieved decacorn status, tripling its value to $15bn, following a massive $450m Series C fundraise.

The fundraise meant that the London-headquartered firm's $15bn valuation was nearly $5bn more than Klarna, and the fourth largest fintech globally.

Checkout.com’s raise was led by Tiger Global Management, which has invested in the likes of Facebook, Zoom, Netflix and Spotify.

The mammoth funding rounds have continued, post it achieving decacorn status.

In January this year, Checkout.com raised $1bn in a Series D funding round, elevating its valuation to $40bn.

Alongside further investments in its tech, Checkout.com will be using the new vast cash haul to pursue a 'Web 3.0' strategy with Checkout.com’s founder and CEO Guillaume Pousaz saying the company is still in “chapter zero of our journey”. 

Founded in 2012, Checkout.com provides payments in more than 150 currencies.

Valuation: $40bn

Founded by: Guillaume Pousaz

Launched: 2012

Time it took to reach decacorn status: 108 months

 

Revolut

Another recent addition to the fintech decacorn club is neobank Revolut, which last year raised just under $800m in a Series E round, upping its valuation sixfold to $33bn.

It was only the year previous that Revolut was valued at $5.5bn.

Its new valuation thrust Revolut into the position as the most highly valued fintech in the UK and, at the time, number two in Europe behind Klarna.

It also topped expectations, as speculation ahead of the funding round, had suggested the round would value Revolut at between $10bn and $15bn.

Revolut, which was first granted a European banking licence from the Bank of Lithuania back in 2018,  now operates as a full bank in 28 countries.

It recently invited more of its customers to upgrade to a full bank account, after rolling out its Lithuanian banking licence across ten more markets.

Valuation: $33bn

Founded by: Nikolay Storonsky

Launched: 2015

Time it took to reach decacorn status: 60 months

Klarna

The poster child of the buy now, pay later movement, Klarna achieved decacorn status in September 2020, after a mammoth $650m funding round.

US private equity firm Silver Lake, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, BlackRock and HMI Capital took part in the funding round.

The funding round meant that the Swedish firm nearly doubled its valuation to $10.65bn, compared to $5.5bn the year previous, making it at the time the most valuable private fintech in Europe.

Klarna’s bumper funding rounds have continued afterwards.

In March 2021, it raised a whopping $1bn, ahead of what is expected to be a blockbuster stock market listing, which could take place as early as 2022, according to CEO and co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski. 

The $1bn funding meant that Klarna’s value nearly tripled to $31bn in less than six months and also that it retained its crown as the highest-valued private fintech in Europe. 

Klarna, which was set up by three business school friends in 2005, has broadened its buy now, pay later offering from the Nordics and Germany into the UK and the US.

Valuation: $31bn

Founded by: Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth, Victor Jacobsson

Launched: 2005

Time it took to reach decacorn status: 189 months

And nearly there....

N26

German digital bank N26 is not quite a decacorn but is very close, valued at north of $9bn, according to N26.

The Berlin-based fintech underwent a mega $900m funding round in October last year, bumping its valuation to near-decacorn status.

N26 said the funding round marked the largest financing round to date for a digital bank in Europe making it the highest-valued fintech in Germany.

The round was led by renowned New York-based tech investors Third Point Ventures and Coatue Management, and joined by Dragoneer Investment Group as well as N26’s existing investors. 

Prior to its current mega round, N26 has raised roughly $600m since 2019.

The bulk of this has come from a massive $570m Series D, which the bank has now extended three times, 

Most of N26’s funding came from long-time investor VC firm Earlybird. 

Valuation: $9bn plus

Founded by: Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal 

Launched: 2013

Time it took to reach decacorn status: Not yet.

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