$1.32 Billion Raised by 26 Alums in Q1 of 2018

It seems as if it was only yesterday when we were looking at the first quarter funding numbers for our alums in 2017 and wondering if the slow start was a harbinger of investment stinginess to come.

Fortunately, by the end of 2017, investment in fintech in general and our Finovate alums in specific had rebounded strongly. As the financial world accommodated itself to the incoming Trump administration, so too did fintech investors get back to the business of putting major money behind some of our industry’s most innovative startups. The result was a big year for Finovate alums who raised more than $2.7 billion for 2017, recording their fourth consecutive year of more than $2 billion in funding.

And it looks like the momentum is still going strong. For the first quarter of 2018, 26 Finovate alums have raised more than $1.32 billion in funding combined. This number is not only more than 5x our first quarter funding total from last year, it also rivals any other first quarter in our history – as our quarterly comparison below shows.

Previous Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q1 2017: $230 million raised by 20 alums
  • Q1 2016: $656 million raised by 32 alums
  • Q1 2015: $680 million raised by 29 alums
  • Q1 2014: $600 million raised by 23 alums

What is especially tantalizing about Q1 numbers this year is the high number of undisclosed investments. This quarter, five of the investments were undisclosed. This compares with two undisclosed investments from Q1 2017, five in Q1 2016, one in Q1 2015, and one in Q1 2014. The actual amounts of undisclosed investments can vary widely, of course, but having five such investments in a quarter suggests our real alum funding total for Q1 is actually higher.

Top 10 Equity Investments

  1. Credit Karma: $500 million
  2. NuBank: $150 million
  3. eToro: $100 million
  4. Ledger: $75 million
  5. Wealthfront: $75 million
  6. Alkami: $70 million
  7. defi SOLUTIONS: $55 million
  8. Endor: $45 million
  9. Stash: $37.5 million
  10. Ohpen: $31 million

In terms of the top equity investments in the first quarter, Credit Karma stands out with their secondary investment of $500 million. NuBank’s $150 million comes in second place, with the $100 million raised by eToro being our third largest equity investment of the first quarter of the year. Tied for fourth place are Ledger and Wealthfront, each raising $75 million in funding. The top 10 equity investments in Q1 totaled $1.14 billion or 86% of the quarter’s total funding.

Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q1 2018.

January: More than $338 million raised by ten alums

February: More than $156 million raised by ten alums

March: More than $825 million raised by six alums


If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the first quarter of 2018, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

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Finovate Alums Garner $2.7 Billion in 2017, $730 Million in Q4 Alone

Updated! Funding for fintechs is back on the rise. We tallied up equity funding in 2017 and our totals show that Finovate alumni pulled in $2.7 billion over the course of the year. This marks the fourth consecutive year alums passed the $2 billion mark and pushes the 4-year total to more than $10 billion. 

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Finovate alums raised more than $730 million, beating last year’s Q4 total by more than $30 million. Q4 2017 also marked a resumption of the strong Q4s of last year and 2014.

Previously Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q4 2016: More than $700 million raised by 26 alums
  • Q4 2015: More than $302 million raised by 28 alums
  • Q4 2014: More than $1.4 billion raised by 26 alums
  • Q4 2013: More than $294 million raised by 17 alums

Q4 2017’s largest equity investment was the $280 million raised by TransferWise in November. Coming in second place was the $130 million in capital raised by BlueVine in October. The top 10 overall investments for the fourth quarter of 2017 totaled $654.7 million or more than 90% of the total alum funding for the quarter.

Top 10 Equity Investments (equity only)

  1. TransferWise: $280 million
  2. BlueVine: $130 million
  3. Feedzai: $50 million
  4. Passport: $43 million
  5. Credit Sesame: $42 million
  6. BankBazaar: $30 million
  7. TrueAccord: $22 million
  8. Featurespace: $21.9 million
  9. BondIT: $18.3 million
  10. Simility: $17.5 million

Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q4 2017.

October 2017: More than $337 million raised by 12 alums

  • BankBazaar: $30 million – post
  • BLUERUSH: $1.3 million – post
  • BlueVine: $130 million – post
  • BondIT: $18.3 million – post
  • Credit Sesame: $42 million – post
  • Featurespace: $21.9 million – post
  • Feedzai: $50 million – post
  • Finn.ai: $3 million – post
  • Omnyway: $12.75 million – post
  • SelfScore: $12 million – post
  • Tink: $16.5 million – post
  • Wealthify: undisclosed – post

November 2017: More than $308 million raised by three alums

  • PayStand: $6 million – post
  • TransferWise: $280 million – post
  • TrueAccord: $22 million – post

December 2017: More than $89 million raised by eight alums

  • Avoka: $12 million – post
  • Financeit: undisclosed – post
  • NuCypher: $4.3 million – post
  • Passport: $43 million – post
  • Payoneer: undisclosed – post
  • Prevoty: $13 million – post
  • SBDA: undisclosed – post
  • Simility: $17.5 million – post

If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the fourth quarter of 2017, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

More than $1 Billion Raised by 31 Alums in Q3 2017

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*Update: 10/10/2017. Bill.com disclosed today the amount of its September funding at $100 million. This takes our September 2017 funding total to more than $187 million, and puts Bill.com in our “top ten” fundings for the quarter, as well. The total raised for Q3 2017 now stands at $1.13 billion.

In reeling in more than $1 billion in funding over the months of July, August, and September, Finovate alums in the third quarter of 2017 raised more than twice as much in equity capital compared to Q3 2016. This happened with the number of alums funded in both Q3 2015 and Q3 2016 – 31 versus 30 – being virtually the same. In this regard, the third quarter of this year was even more impressive than the $1 billion raised by 40 alums in 2015. For all the concerns over the slow start to funding this year, it appears the world’s fintech investors are more than making up for lost time.

Previous Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q3 2016: $500 million raised by 30 alums
  • Q3 2015: $1 billion raised by 40 alums
  • Q3 2014: $194 million raised by 17 alums

The biggest deals of the third quarter this year were the $250 million raised by Kabbage and the $225 million raised by Klarna. Also impressive were the pair of $100 million fundraisings by Blend and Coinbase, as well as the $70 million investment in Betterment that edges the company that much closer to unicorn status. The top 10 equity investments totaled more than $922 million or more than 89% of the quarter’s total alum funding.

Top 10 Equity Investments (equity only)

  1. Kabbage: $250 million
  2. Klarna: $225 million
  3. Blend: $100 million
  4. Coinbase: $100 million
  5. Betterment: $70 million
  6. Prosper: $50 million
  7. Juvo: $40 million
  8. Personal Capital: $40 million
  9. Stockpile: $30 million
  10. Karmic Labs: $17.2 million

Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q3 2017.

July 2017: More than $374 million raised by 15 alums

August 2017: More than $570 million raised by 10 alums

September 2017: More than $187 million raised by six alums

If you are a Finovate/FinDEVr alum that raised money in the third quarter of 2017, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

$726 Million Raised by 25 Alums in Q2 2017

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Updated (4/18/18): Finovate alums raised more than $726 million in the second quarter of 2017. The funding total, which does not include a pair of undisclosed investments for Bitbond and Symbiont, represents one of the highest Q2 fundings for Finovate alums to date (Q2 2015 produced more than $840 million). The second quarter total is more than triple the total funding for alums in the previous quarter, reinforcing the notion that pause in fintech investment over the first few months 2017 has likely passed.

Previous Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q2 2016: More than $510 million raised by 23 alums
  • Q2 2015: More than $840 million raised by eight alums
  • Q2 2014: More than $458 million raised by eight alums

The biggest equity deal of the second quarter by far was the $225 million equity investment Klarna received from new strategic investor, Brightfolk in June. The capital infusion made Brightfolk a qualified owner of the company (i.e., owned more than 10%) and gave Klarna an estimated valuation of more than $2.25 billion.

Also impressive was the $120 million raised by Kreditech, which represents the largest equity investment in a German fintech so far. The top 10 investments in the second quarter of 2017 totaled $610 million or more than 80% of the quarter’s total alum funding.

Top 10 Equity Investments (equity only)

  1. Klarna: $225 million
  2. Kreditech: $120 million
  3. Signifyd: $56 million
  4. Zopa: $41 million
  5. Blockchain: $40 million
  6. Scalable Capital: $33 million
  7. Fintonic: $28 million
  8. Additiv: $25.5 million
  9. savedroid: $22 million
  10. Crowdflower: $20 million

Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q2 2017.

April 2017: More than $41 million raised by four alums

  • Meniga: $8 million – post
  • Moneytree: $9 million – post
  • Narrative Science: $11 million – post
  • SwipeStox: $13 million – post

May 2017: More than $253 million raised by nine alums

  • Additiv: $25.5 million – post
  • Bitbond: undisclosed – post
  • Kreditech: $120 million – post
  • NetGuardians: $8 million – post
  • Quovo: $10 million – post
  • Signifyd: $56 million – post
  • Symbiont: undisclosed – post
  • Token: $18.5 million – post
  • Vera: $15 million – post

June 2017: More than $432 million raised by 11 alums

  • Blockchain: $40 million – post
  • Cardlytics: $12 million – post
  • Crowdflower: $20 million – post
  • Fintonic: $28 million – post
  • Klarna: $225 million – post
  • Scalable Capital: $33 million – post
  • StockViews: $640,000 – post
  • Stratumn: $7.8 million – post
  • Trusona: $10 million – post
  • Yoyo Wallet: $15 million – post
  • Zopa: $41 million – post

If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the second quarter of 2017, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

PayU Investment in Kreditech Marks Largest Funding for a German Fintech

In a funding round led by online payment service provider, PayU, Germany’s Kreditech has raised $120 million (€110 million). The investment is the largest equity investment in a German fintech company to date. Kreditech CEO Alexander Graubner-Müller said his company was looking forward to bringing “point-of-sale finance” to markets where “reliable credit risk assessment” is lacking. Graubner-Müller added “Teaming up with PayU provides underbanked customers new possibilities and supports our mission of providing financial freedom through technology.”

In addition the record-setting nature of the funding, the partnership between Kreditech and PayU also represents what the company called in a press release: “the first such strategic cooperation pact between a payment service provider and a technology driven consumer finance company.” Pointing to its commitment to bring credit and financial services to the underbanked, PayU CEO Laurent le Moal said his company’s “substantial investment” in Kreditech will “help to bring pioneering machine learning and AI technology to the many high growth markets around the world that need better access to financial services.”

Pictured (left to right): Co-founders Sebastian Diemer and Alexander Graubner-Müller demonstrating Kreditech’s platform at FinovateSpring 2014.

This week’s funding adds to the $10.4 million Kreditech raised in a round led by Japan-based Rakuten last December. With total capital of more than $280 million, the Hamburg-based online lender has earned a valuation of between $325 million and $540 million, according to an estimate in TechCrunch.

Kreditech has processed more than four million loan applications via its subsidiaries, leveraging its API-driven, lending-as-a-service approach to make it easy for partners to integrate and custom-fit a variety of consumer finance solutions. These include loan application and credit risk management products, e-signature and customer service, loan refinancing, processing, and collections. The company is active in more than five markets around the world – including Russia, Mexico, Spain, and Poland, where Kreditech and PayU recently completed an $11 million (€10 million), 12-month pilot program.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, Kreditech demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2014. Named to H2 Ventures and KPMG’s Fintech 100 in 2016, the company added a pair of new board members last month: former Vanquis Bank CEO Michael Lenora and OneSavings Bank CEO Andy Golding.

FinDEVr Alum Symbiont Scores Funding from China’s Hundsun Technologies

The amount of the investment was undisclosed. But blockchain startup and smart contracts specialist, Symbiont has picked up funding from China-based Hundsun Technologies. The investment in Symbiont is the first in the U.S. for the financial services software provider and the company, which is partly-owned by Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, will also add an observer to Symbiont’s board of directors. Symbiont CEO Mark Smith referred to the investment as a “clear vote of confidence for Symbiont” and called Hundsun Technologies a “strong partner in Asia.”

Symbiont’s innovation is a smart contracts platform that enables FIs to develop applications based on distributed ledger technology. Current use cases enabling the issuance, trading, and processing of corporate bonds, syndicated loans, and other low-liquidity financial instruments. Guan Xiaolan, executive president of Hundsun highlighted the company’s “superior, mature, and highly differentiated DLT stack,” as well as the technology’s high level of security. “Its smart contracts have a proven ability to automate complex business logic, such as highly tailored employee compensation waterfalls for private companies,” he added.

Pictured: Symbiont CTO and co-founder Adam Krellenstein during his presentation at FinDEVr New York 2016.

It has been almost a year since the State of Delaware partnered with Symbiont in a project called The Delaware Block Initiative designed to make it easier for state government and businesses to leverage blockchain technology. In an update published as part of the Delaware law series last month, Andrea Tinianow of the Delaware Blockchain Initiative and Caitlin Long of Symbiont noted that the “first milestone of DBI’s roadmap” – deploying distributed ledger technology at the state’s public archives – had been achieved. Underscoring the relevance of this initial effort, the two wrote: “By being the first to adopt the technology, the State will maintain its leadership in corporate registry services.”

Also this spring, Symbiont added Yale University computer science professor, Dr. Zhong Shao, to its Technical Advisory Board, and partnered with commodity services specialist, Orebits, who will use Symbiont’s smart contract technology to further develop their eponymous commodity-backed digital assets. The first digital assets, called “orebits,” were made available on Symbiont’s platform in March.

Symbiont was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in New York. Adam Krellenstein, CTO and co-founder of the company, presented “Distributed Ledgers and Smart Contracts” at FinDEVr New York 2016.

Vera Announces $15 Million Strategic Investment from Hasso Plattner

Data security specialist  Vera announced a strategic investment of $15 million today. The funding was led by Hasso Plattner Ventures (HP-Ventures), and featured the participation of Amplify Partners, Battery Ventures, Clear Venture Partners, Leslie Ventures, and Sutter Hill Ventures. The company’s total capital is now more than $50 million. Ajay Arora, CEO and co-founder of Vera said the investment will help fuel expansion particularly in Europe where new regulations on data security, specifically the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), are pending.

GDPR was enacted just over a year ago by the European Parliament and Council in an effort to improve data security for individuals in the EU. The scheduled implementation date of the GDPR is less than a month away on May 25th and observers like Gartner are warning that less than half of companies are will be fully compliant by the end of 2018, much less the end of May. “The GDPR will affect not only EU-based organizations, but many data controllers and processors outside the EU as well,” Gartner research director, Bart Willemsen said. He added that both the threat of “hefty fines” and what he called “the increasingly empowered position of individual data subjects” are pressuring companies to do a better job of protecting personal data.

Pictured: Vera CEO and co-founder Ajay Arora demonstrating Vera Security at FinovateSpring 2016.

And this is where companies like Vera come in. Vera’s technology innovates by securing the data itself. From files and Word documents to images and video, Vera enables companies to control access and the ability to manipulate data after it has left its traditional perimeter of control. During the company’s live demonstration at FinovateSpring, Vera’s Grant Shirk used a single click to secure a word document and an Excel spreadsheet after attaching them to an email. In addition to quickly establishing a variety of access permissions, Vera’s technology also enables digital watermarking, restrictions on the ability to edit (including cut and paste), and provides auditing and tracking.

Underscoring Vera’s uniqueness as its first cybersecurity investment, HP-Ventures General Partner, Yair Re’em credited the company’s “incredible momentum and hypergrowth in markets large and small” as well as Vera’s ability to “help protect and control data after a breach has happened.” He said: “The crumbling state of enterprise security has clearly demonstrated the need for a fundamental paradigm shift in cybersecurity.” Chris Rust, Clear Venture Partners co-founder and General Partner, added that Vera was “the driving force behind a positive and profound shift away from perimeter-based security and towards a more flexible and reliable data-centric model.” Rust will join Vera’s board of directors as part of the strategic investment.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Vera demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2016. Earlier this year, the company launched its enterprise communications security solution, Vera for Mail. Last fall, Vera announced that Logica Capital Advisors had selected them to manage business information and internal collaboration files. The company has produced more than 4x revenue growth since launching publicly in 2015 and grown its Fortune 100 customer base by 5x. Vera won the 2017 SC Trust Award Winner for Best Cloud Computing Security in February and, in March, the company was named to CRN’s annual Security 100 list.

$230 Million Raised by 20 Alums in Q1 2017

The big story for fintech investment in the first few months of 2017 was uncertainty. Whether it was the upset election victory of Donald Trump in the U.S., or continued concerns in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in the U.K., it was clear that venture capital – like much of the rest of the world – was taking a wait-and-see approach to deploying capital in the fintech industry in the first quarter of this year.

While more upbeat on European investment trends, CB Insights took a more conservative tone toward funding to VC-backed fintechs in the U.S. and the world at large. The firm suggested that the Q1 2017 investment pace globally was off the 2016 mark by 18%, with the U.S. Q1 2017 pace off by 20%. (Europe, by contrast, was on pace to exceed 2016 by 57%.)

The Q1 funding slowdown was apparent in our review of alum funding for the first three months of the year. Finovate alums raised more than $230 million in the first quarter of 2017. The funding total is less than half that of the previous Q1, and out of line with recent $600 million+ first quarters. The number of alums funded was also on the low end, falling below the 23 alum mark from the first quarter of 2014.

That said, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that SoFi, which became a FinDEVr alum in March, raised $500 million in funding in February. And while that keeps them from being included in – and dramatically boosting – our tally, it is reminder that fintech investors in the first quarter of 2017 may not have been as overcautious as the numbers suggest.

Previous Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q1 2016: $656 million raised by 32 alums
  • Q1 2015: $680 million raised by 29 alums
  • Q1 2014: $600 million raised by 23 alums

The biggest equity deal of the first quarter of 2017 was the $50 million raised by Kensho in February. Workfusion came in second, raising $35 million, and a trio of companies raised between $25 million and $20 million. The top 10 equity investment for Q1 2017 totaled more than $210 million, or more than 91% of the quarter’s total alum funding.

Top 10 Equity Investments

  1. Kensho: $50 million
  2. Workfusion: $35 million
  3. Currencycloud: $25 million
  4. Payfone: $23.5 million
  5. VATBox: $20 million
  6. NYMBUS: $16 million
  7. Qapital: $12 million
  8. Algomi: $10 million
  9. Dream Payments: $10 million
  10. blooom: $9.15 million

Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q1 2017.

January: More than $65 million raised by three alums

  • Dwolla: $6.85 million – post
  • Payfone: $23.5 million – post
  • Workfusion: $35 million – post

February: More than $107 million raised by 12 alums

  • Rippleshot: $2.6 million – post
  • AutoGravity: “double-digit million Euro investment” – post
  • Bitbond: $1.2 million – post
  • Blooom: $9.15 million – news
  • Clinc: $6 million – post
  • Kensho: $50 million – news
  • NYMBUS: $16 million – post
  • Pindrop Security: amount undisclosed – post
  • Qumram: $1.5 million – post
  • SecureKey: $800,000 – post
  • VATBox: $20 million – post
  • Venteny: undisclosed – news

March: More than $57 million raised by five alums

  • Algomi: $10 million – post
  • Currencycloud: $25 million – post
  • Dream Payments: $10 million – post
  • Qapital: $12 million – post
  • SWITCH: $400,000 – post

If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the first quarter of 2016, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

Token Picks Up $18.5 Million to Help Banks Rise to Challenge of PSD2

With an investment of $15.7 million from Octopus Ventures, EQT Ventures, and OP Financial Group, open bank platform innovator Token has successfully completed its Series A financing. “Securing the backing from such world-class investors allows us to grow and execute faster in our mission to reinvent the world’s payment systems by providing common, secure access to all banks and a modern, bank-centric payment ecosystem,” Token founder and CEO Steve Kirsch said. The total raised in the Series A reached $18.5 million.

Token is leveraging its open banking platform to give financial institutions the ability to fully participate in the digitization of finance. Calling the company’s technology, “a true game-changer in the world of banking and financial services,” EQT Ventures partner and Token board member Andreas Thorstensson said: “Through a secure API, they are creating an open banking ecosystem, which creates possibilities for new revenue streams for its customers and a better user experience for consumers.

Pictured (left to right): Stefan Weiss (Head of APIs and Open Platforms at Fidor) and Marten Nelson (VP, Marketing, Token) demonstrating Token’s technology at FinovateEurope 2017.

In the company’s live demonstration at FinovateEurope earlier this year, Token co-founder and VP of Marketing Marten Nelson emphasized the relative speed and low cost of using Token as a PSD2 compliance solution. “It eliminates security mass breaches, reduces fraud and, perhaps best of all, it paves the way for revenue,” Nelson added. Joining Nelson on stage was Stefan Weiss, Head of APIs and Open Platforms at Fidor Bank who noted, “At Fidor, we believe that PSD2 and open banking is not a threat to banks, it is an opportunity. An opportunity to stay relevant.”

With programmable money, Token has developed a technology that “can transform the way the world transacts,” according to Octopus Ventures partner Simon Andrews. Programmable money uses tokenization and cryptography to enable parties to take advantage of a “vastly greater range of parameters … when exchanging value.” And value is defined as more than just money. Writing at the Token blog, Nelson explained: “Far more than conventional money – time, contracts, expertise, goods, services, and more can all be traded.” For FIs, this offers not just greater security and verification standards for their transactions, but the ability to use more efficient self-validating transactions that would reduce costs for FIs, as well. “The potential applications for self-validating transactions conducted using programmable money are practically limitless,” he wrote.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Token presented The Future of Payments Now at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015. Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with Finland-based OP Financial Group and, in January, Token teamed up with information technology consulting firm, VirtusaPolaris.

New Funding for Savedroid Boosts Total Capital to More than $22 Million

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What would it take to get you to save a little more of your hard-earned money? How about automatically setting aside a dollar every time Donald Trump tweeted? Or five bucks each time your favorite sports team loses a match? If unique and atypical motivations are your idea of a savings solution, then savedroid has the app for you.

And this week we learned that the German startup had picked up funding from investment bank Rhineland-Palatinate and a group of angel investors including Debjit Chaudhuri, founder of Traxpay and former Infosys manager. The amount of the funding was not disclosed (Crunchbase reports €20 million) but savedroid says that the company’s total capital, which includes a million euro seed round, now stands at more than $22 million. Company founder Dr. Yassin Hankir says the funds will help “accelerate user growth.”

Founded in 2015, savedroid is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In its demonstration at FinovateSpring 2016, the company introduced the term “smooves” into the PFM lexicon, showing how the savedroid app makes it easy to “turn everyday activities into automated savings.” By using technology to set aside small amounts of money every time a certain event takes place – a combination of positive, negative, and even random incentives – users can improve their personal finances in ways that can improve their overall lifestyle, as well.

The company launched its savings solution in the summer of 2016 and, in February, added an AI-based, savings algorithm to the app. Profiled last fall in Frankfurter Allgemeine, we interviewed savedroid’s Hankir for our recent feature on savings technology.