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European fintechs turn to crowdfunding

Europe follows the UK’s lead as an increasing number of fintechs turn to their customers to crowdfund.

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Darren Westlake/Crowdcube.

Following the lead of British fintechs, European startups are increasingly turning to their customers to crowdfund.

French fintechs Qonto and Finary are just two that have looked to crowdfunding in the last week.

Qonto, the first European unicorn to launch a community equity raise, is launching its campaign today.

Meanwhile, wealth tracking fintech Finary raised €2m in just 15 minutes last week.

Both Qonto and Finary took to Crowdcube for their crowdfunding, with Swiss fintech Relai soon to launch a crowdfund as well.

The UK crowdfunding platform was given the green light to expand across Europe by the EU last November. 

While the crowdfunding market in Europe used to be localised, with companies and retail investors looking to platforms in their own countries to raise money, the regulation changes has seen this change.

Crowdcube, with a community of over 1 million investors, said it is now seeing European companies looking at equity crowdfunding as a way of gaining exposure to a UK-based audience before launching to market here.

“More fintechs across the continent are keen to champion inclusion by putting it at the very core of the business by turning their customers into shareholders – having them on their cap table,” Crowdcube founder and CEO Darren Westlake told AltFi.

“With the changes in regulation, it’s no surprise to see a wave of European fintechs follow in the footsteps of so many of their UK counterparts to reap the benefits of a Crowdcube raise, such as driving engagement, loyalty and advocacy from their communities.”

Westlake explained that Crowdcube’s mission is to “democratise investment into private companies by making it more easily accessible to anyone willing to take part in the story and success of the companies they believe in,” and to give companies the opportunity to offer their communities that.

A company “created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs,” Qonto co-founder and CEO Alexandre Prot shared his excitement at being able to invite the community of customers to become shareholders.

“Qonto is an entrepreneurship story: created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Our clients fully understand the value of our service and our company mission,” Prot said.

“We are, with this community equity raise, taking a step forward and empowering our clients to take part in our journey as shareholders of the company.”

Qonto follows in the footsteps of UK companies such as Chip, which crowdfunded £6.5m last week, and Freetrade, which set a crowdfunding record last November.

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Darren Westlake

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