French fintech unicorn Qonto to gobble up German peer Penta

Paris-based Qonto says the purchase of Penta, which also focuses on the SME market, marks the next logical step in its ambition to become the finance provider for  “one million European SMEs and freelancers by 2025”.

a group of men posing for a photo

Lukas Zörner (Co-founder of Penta), Steve Anavi (co-founder and President of Qonto), Markus Pertlwieser (CEO of Penta), Alexandre Prot (co-founder and CEO of Qonto).

French fintech unicorn Qonto plans to acquire German peer Penta, as it looks to rev up its European ambitions across the SME and freelancer market.

Paris-based Qonto says the purchase of Penta marks the next logical step in its ambition to become the finance provider for  “one million European SMEs and freelancers by 2025”. The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks.

Qonto, which launched in France in 2017 and is now valued at €4.4bn, helps SMEs and freelancers with everyday banking, financing, invoicing, bookkeeping and spend management.

It currently has over 250,000 clients across four markets (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) and employs more than 700 people. 

Penta, launched in 2017, also focuses on SMEs.

Although focusing on SMEs, Penta,which has raised at least €30m to date, now also offers digital business banking accounts to sole traders, freelancers and the self-employed.

Penta has 50,000 customers in Germany and 200 employees, who are mainly based in Berlin and Belgrade.

The German fintech does not have its own banking licence, rather it has partnered with solarisBank, whose main purpose is to enable other companies to utilise its banking licence.

The size of the deal has not been disclosed but according to a report in Finance FWD, the purchase price is in the mid-three-digit million range.

Qonto was last valued at €4.4bn at its last funding round, a €486m raise earlier this year, marking at the time France’s biggest ever fintech fundraise.

Qonto believes the deal will ramp up its ambitions in the German market, pointing to its own brand, licence and core banking system allied to Penta’s  local expertise.

Alexandre Prot, Qonto CEO, said: “When Steve Anavi and I founded Qonto in 2016, we had the ambitious goal of simplifying everyday banking for SMEs and freelancers across Europe. 

“Today, we’re already present in four European markets and, while I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved so far, we want to go even further: the natural next step was to join forces with Penta. We are thrilled to welcome the Penta team onboard."

Markus Pertlwieser, CEO of Penta, said: "Lukas Zörner and his co-founders have written a real fintech success story. 

“With the combination of increasing customer numbers and rising revenues, we have gained even more substance in the past 18 months. We are very excited that we now have the chance to actively shape digital banking for business customers in Europe as a team with Qonto."

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