Will COVID-19 Mark the End of European Fintech?

A new study from McKinsey & Company suggests that European fintechs are experiencing an “existential crisis” as venture capital funding plunges “from surplus to scarcity.” The report compares the 11% drop in funding for fintech worldwide in the first half of the year with Europe’s far steeper decline in fintech funding of 30% over the same time period, and puts the blame squarely on the economic and social impact of the coronavirus.

But while the report anticipates a significant contraction in European economies – 11% this year with pre-crisis levels remaining elusive until 2023 – and that fintech is “already feeling the squeeze”, the authors note that there are a variety of advantages fintech has that could enable the industry’s most innovative players to emerge successfully if not stronger on the other side of the crisis. Among the main factors are:

  • The fintech sector has grown over the past six years by more than 25%.
  • Fintechs are native to the digital realm.
  • Fintechs are more efficient than many other businesses: with more efficient cost structures, “organizational agility,” and significant customer loyalty.

“As more incumbents struggle to adapt, the winners will be those that quickly recognize the changed context and that are most capable of responding with clear decisions and bold actions,” the report authors note. “Many organizations, both incumbents and startups, have adapted with surprising quickness and rapid decision making through the COVID-19 crisis. This new sense of possibility and potential should inform future action.”

Read the report.


Speaking of Europe – and on the heels of the big news of Yandex‘s agreement to buy Russian digital bank Tinkoff for $5.5 billion earlier this week – we took a look at our favorite Russian fintechs. Check out our Baker’s Dozen of fintechs from Moscow, St. Petersburg, and more.

To learn more about fintech in Russia, here’s an overview from last December that cites an Ernst & Young study that calls the country’s fintech industry “the third most developed market in the world.” This is based on the relatively high, 80% adoption rate of fintech services in Russia, and occurs despite a relatively low participation in fintech areas like securities investment, as well as savings and financial wellness.

“Basically we went from savings books to payments over mobile phone almost overnight,” said Roman Prokhorov, the head of the association Financial Innovations, who was quoted in the study. “Therefore, our consumers are more receptive to fintech innovations, and this explains the popularity of these services.”


Here is our look at fintech around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • JPMorgan Chase-based Brazilian fintech FitBank Pagamentos Electronicos plans expansion to the U.S. in the first half of 2021.
  • TechCrunch profiles Jefa, a challenger bank that caters to women in Latin America.
  • IFLR looks at the role regulators in Costa Rica will play in the development of the country’s fintech industry.

Asia-Pacific

  • Vietnamese credit scoring technology provider for micro, small, and medium-sized businesses Kim An Group secures Series A funding.
  • Could Malaysia be the “world pioneer” in Islamic fintech? Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation chairman Datuk Wira Rais Hussin makes the case.
  • The Business Times of Singapore highlights an S&P Global Ratings report on Thai consumers pushing Thai banks to embrace fintech.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Mono, a Nigerian API fintech startup that seeks to be the “Plaid of Africa,” raises $500,000 in pre-seed funding.
  • Lexology reviews the current state of fintech regulation in Kenya.
  • Innovation consultancy Beta-I partners with Angola National Bank to build the nation’s first regulatory sandbox.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • German fintech Vanta teams up with Marqeta to launch its credit card for startups.
  • Open banking platform Raisin partners with German financial solutions broker Procheck24.
  • Samsung, Visa, and Solarisbank AG work together to bring Samsung Pay to Germany.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Commercial Bank of Kuwait teams up with Thales Digital Solutions to drive mobile payments.
  • Could Saudi Arabia top Dubai in terms of fintech funding? Arabian Business looks at the growth of fintech in the Kingdom.
  • PYMNTS profiles Imad Aloyoun, CEO of Jordan-based payments platform Dinarak.

Central and Southern Asia

  • A joint project between U.K.-based Checkout.com and Pakistan’s National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (Nift) will bring new international payment options to the Pakistan.
  • Pakistan’s Silk Bank announces a partnership with MasterCard to boost credit card issuance in the country.
  • Times of India profiles Indian fintech MoneyTap, founded by Anuj Kacker.

Finovate Alums Earn Spots in CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50

Six companies that have demonstrated their fintech innovations on the Finovate stage have been recognized this year by CNBC as part of their Disruptor 50 roster for 2020.

This year’s list, the eighth in the series, is marked by the high number of billion-dollar companies, or “unicorns.” Fully 36 of the firms in the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 have reached or surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark. Combined, the 50 companies have raised more than $74 billion in VC funding and achieved an implied market valuation of almost $277 billion.

The companies making the cut range in industry from cybersecurity and healthcare IT to education and, of course, fintech. In fact, the top-ranked company in the 2020 Disruptor 50 is none other than Stripe, the $36 billion payments platform founded in 2010. Stripe earned a #13 ranking in last year’s Disruptor 50 roster, and likely owes its first place appearance this year to a major $600 million funding raising – the company’s largest to date – and the economic and social consequences of the global health crisis.

“With many people throughout the world under lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” CNBC’s capsule on the company noted, “the move to shopping online has never been greater. That’s good news for digital payments platform Stripe.”

Stripe was not the only fintech to earn high marks from the 2020 Disruptor 50’s methodology. In addition to the half dozen Finovate alums below, some of the other fintechs on this year’s roster include:

  • Virtual bank WeLab (Hong Kong)
  • Digital mortgage company Better.com (New York City)
  • “Buy now pay later” e-commerce company Affirm (San Francisco, California)
  • Challenger bank Chime (San Francisco, California)
  • Banking app Dave (Los Angeles, California)
  • Microfinancier TALA (Santa Monica, California)
  • Trading and investing platform Robinhood (Menlo Park, California)

Also earning spots in this year’s list were a pair of insurtech companies, Lemonade and Root Insurance, as well as cybersecurity and biometric authentication firms SentinelOne and CLEAR, respectively.

Here’s a look at the Finovate alums that made this year’s list.

#5 Klarna

  • Founded: 2005
  • Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
  • CEO: Sebastian Siemiakowski
  • Valuation: $5.5 billion
  • Previous ranking: #8 in 2016

#8 SoFi

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Antony Noto
  • Valuation: $4.8 billion
  • Previous ranking: #26 in 2019

#24 Kabbage

  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
  • CEO: Rob Frohwein
  • Valuation: $1.1 billion
  • Previous ranking: #14 in 2019

#27 Trulioo

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • CEO: Steve Munford
  • Valuation: N.A.
  • Previous ranking: #37 in 2017

#28 Ripple

  • Founded: 2012
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Brad Garlinghouse
  • Valuation: $10 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

#33 Marqeta

  • Founded: 2010
  • Headquarters: Oakland, California
  • CEO: Jason Gardner
  • Valuation: $4.3 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

Marqeta Partners with Klarna and Doordash for Australia Launch

Photo by Sabel Blanco from Pexels

Courtesy of a partnership with a pair of current customers, card issuing platform Marqeta is open for business in Australia. The company announced today that its arrival in the Asia-Pacific market will also help support fellow Finovate alum Klarna and customer Doordash as they expand in the country.

“Card issuing is on its way to being an $80 trillion global opportunity by 2030, and Marqeta is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this over the coming years,” Marqeta founder and CEO Jason Gardner said. “The Australian market relies heavily on card spending and is digitizing rapidly. It is a market that was important to our customers and where we saw a lot of potential for Marqeta technology to help revolutionize customer experience in payments.”

Marqeta’s announcement comes in the wake of news that the company – in partnership with Visa – had earned certification to process payments in 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In Australia, the first market in the APAC where Marqeta’s services will be available, the company hopes to take advantage of both the high penetration of traditional bank accounts compared to the rest of the region, as well as a boom in digital payments.

With the first transactions facilitated by Marqeta in late January, partner Klarna is already appreciating the results. “Our close collaboration in bringing an entirely new product offering and shopping experience to the Australian market in record time has been a big success,” Koen Koppen, Klarna CTO, said. “The positive reaction of Australian consumers is evident in just how many are downloading and using the app and virtual card each day.”

An alum of our developers conference, Marqeta delivered a presentation on Democratizing Issuer Payment Processing with Just-in-Time Funding at FinDEVr Silicon Valley in 2016. The Oakland, California-based company was last valued at nearly $2 billion, following a May 2019 Series E round that added $260 million to Marqeta’s coffers.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Finovate Alums Raise More Than Three Billion in 2019; $676 Million in Q4.
  • Sensibill Pilots SME Receipt Management Technology with Metro Bank.

Around the web

  • Mastercard partners with CleverCards and Appreciate Group for launch of digital gift card in the U.K.
  • TransferWise for Banks launches in Canada with EQ Bank as first partner.
  • CREALOGIX appoints Oliver Weber as new CEO as of January 2020.
  • Card issuing platform Marqeta and cloud banking services provider Mambu announce new collaboration.
  • Klarna to open tech hub in Berlin, Germany.
  • Splitit forges new strategic partnerships with Malaysian payment solution provider iPay88 and global payments company BlueSnap.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Trends at FinovateFall: The Big, the Small, and the Surprises
  • DefenseStorm Launches New Fraud Monitoring Solution
  • From Start-up to Scale-up: Token Introduces New CEO Todd Clyde
  • Temenos Buys Kony to Boost its Front Office Technology for Banks

Around the web

  • PayActiv partners with Fiserv to streamline access to earned wages.
  • ABN Amro teams up with open banking solution provider Tink to bring multi-banking functionality to the bank’s Grip app.
  • Avaloq appoints Imad Abou Haidar as its new Head of Asia.
  • BeSmartee launches its new Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) Command Center for loan originators.
  • Marqeta to create 175 new jobs in 2019, growing its workforce beyond 400 people.
  • SparkPost unveils new SparkPost Recipient Validation service, a sender reputation protection service that helps eliminate harmful bounces.
  • Azimo’s Richard Ambrose moves from COO to CEO, replacing Michael Kent.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Marqeta Teams Up with Capital on Tap

Capital on Tap is partnering with Marqeta, a global modern card issuing platform, to power payment processing for its small business credit card, relied on by over 60,000 UK enterprises, reports Sharon Kimathi of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Since its launch in 2012, Capital on Tap has competed with the offering of major banks, by offering small businesses a faster and more transparent way to fund their business. Capital on Tap has already provided close to £1 billion in funding to more than 60,000 small businesses across the UK.

“Capital on Tap have shown themselves to be true innovators in the UK fintech space, taking an underserved market like credit for small businesses and building a product that can make a real difference for their customers,” said Ian Johnson, head of European growth at Marqeta.

Founded in Oakland, California in 2010, the Marqeta platform is used by various innovators to drive new modes of commerce through modern card issuing.

“We’re excited to partner with Marqeta,” said David Luck, co-founder and CEO of Capital on Tap.

“We loved the transparency and simplicity of their technology and how future focused and innovative their open-API platform is. They showed an intuitive understanding in how they could support our mission to help small businesses thrive through better access to working capital.”

Marqeta’s European digital banking solution supports instantly issued virtual cards and offers advanced spend controls to engage users and grow card use. It’s platform and APIs are highly configurable and scalable, and allow Marqeta partners to access actionable, real-time transaction data to drive program improvements.

Marqeta CTO Tony Ford presented Democratizing Issuer Payment Processing with Just-in-time “JIT” Funding at our developers conference, FinDEVR Silicon Valley, in 2016. During the discussion, Ford explained the anatomy of a payment card authorization, the importance of putting customers into the authorization stream, and the role of open payment APIs.

With more than $376 million funding from investors including Coatue Management and Granite Ventures, Marqeta was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Oakland, California.


Marqeta Secures $260 Million in Series E Funding

Global card issuing platform Marqeta, which demonstrated its Payment Gateways technology at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, announced today that it has secured $260 million in new funding in a round led by Coatue Management. The capital will be used to further develop the company’s payment card platform and to fuel global expansion, according to company founder and CEO Jason Gardner.

The investment boosts Marqeta’s valuation to “nearly $2 billion” and featured the participation of new investors Vitruvian Partners, Spark Capital, Lone Pine Capital, and Geodesic. The company’s existing investors include Visa, ICONIQ, Goldman Sachs, 83North, Granite Ventures, CommerzVentures, and CreditEase.

In a statement, Gardner positioned Marqeta at the center of a worldwide transformation in card issuance. “When today’s innovators are in need of modern payment solutions, they aren’t turning to banks as their primary issuers any more and want a platform built for their needs,” he said. “We’ve been proud to power this transformation as the most advanced card issuing platform built in over two decades.”

With more than 300 employees around the world, Marqeta leverages its platform and open APIs to enable fintechs to build and offer a wide variety of payment-based solutions for customers. The growth in the company’s business has been connected increasingly to the rise of new technology-savvy companies entering the financial services space who seek to offer payment, lending, and other solutions without relying on traditional banks.

“Marqeta is attacking a multi-trillion dollar opportunity in this market,” Gardner said. “This investment puts us in prime position to round out our product vision, bring Marqeta to new geographies, build even more groundbreaking features for our customers and double down on our already aggressive growth trajectory.”

Founded in 2010, Marqeta is based in Oakland, California. With partners including Square, Affirm, and Kabbage, the company has doubled revenues for the past three years and opened a new office in London last fall to kick off its European expansion. TechCrunch reported that Marqeta is considering an initial public offering within the next year and a half.

Marqeta presented Democratizing Issuer Payment Processing with Just-In-Time (JIT) Funding at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016. The discussion, led by Marqeta CTO Tony Ford, introduced the company’s open payment APIs, which democratize issuer payment processing by making e-commerce innovators a part of the authorization stream.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Marqeta Secures $260 Million in Series E Funding.
  • Fundopolis Turns to AlphaPoint for Tokenization Initiative.

Around the web

  • Mastercard partners with Samsung Electronics to develop mobile digital verification solutions.
  • YellowDog appoints James Stevens as its new Chief Commercial Officer.
  • Chile’s largest acquirer Transbank to deploy UP Retail Payments solution from ACI Worldwide.
  • ThetaRay adds Steve Mann as Chief Marketing Officer.
  • Spectrum Equity closes sale of Ethoca to Mastercard.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Marqeta Inks Deals with Four European Partners

Modern card issuer Marqeta has secured its first four partnerships in Europe following its launch in-market in the region last October,reports Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The California fintech has signed up digital banks Morning and YAPEAL – from France and Switzerland respectively – along with Spain’s point-of-sale lender Aplazame and Scandinavian mobile payments platform Auka.

Marqeta, which has created an advanced payments infrastructure and open-API platform defining a new standard for modern card issuing, sees the UK and Europe as a key market in its global expansion plans.

According to Marqeta’s research, Europeans are 2.5 times more likely to be already using a digital bank than someone in the United States.

Ian Johnson, head of European growth at Marqeta, said: “(The U.K. and Europe) has a thriving ecosystem of digital banks and fintech start-ups that have already had a lot of success in market. To be able to bring on customers of this calibre is true validation of the global possibilities around modern card issuing and of our early work in the market.”

Marqeta has been awarded a valuation of nearly $2 billion. The fintech views modern card issuing as a $40 trillion addressable opportunity.

The company participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, in 2016. At the event, Chief Technology Officer Tony Ford provided a presentation on payment gateways and API innovation titled Democratizing Issuer Payment Processing with Just-in-time Funding.

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Oakland, California, Marqeta has raised more than $116 million in funding. The company’s investors include 83North, ICONIQ Capital, Commerce Ventures, IA Capital Group, and Visa.

Finovate Alums Shine in 2019 Forbes Fintech 50 Roster

A baker’s dozen of Finovate alums has been honored this week with spots on the 2019 Forbes Fintech 50, an annual aggregation of what the editors called “the most innovative companies in fintech.”

Here are the Finovate alums that made the cut. Read the full list.

“Recognition as a leading innovator in fintech is tremendous validation for the hard work we’ve done at Marqeta to open the industry up to the possibilities and opportunities of modern card issuing,” company CEO and founder Jason Gardner said. Marqeta is among the 20 companies to make its first appearance on the Forbes Fintech 50 roster.

Also earning their first appearances on Forbes Fintech 50 roster are New York based mobile investment platform Stash and San Francisco supply chain payments innovator Tradeshift.

“Very excited to be included in the 2019 Forbes Fintech 50!,” Stash tweeted once the news was released at the start of the week, “Monday = made.”

“We made the list!” Tradeshift tweeted this morning.

Summarizing this year’s selection of top fintechs, the editors noted that while 19 out of the 50 fintechs featured are unicorns with valuations of more than $1 billion, a nearly equal amount – 20 startups – are making their first showing on Forbes top fintech list. The two areas where newcomers were more prevalent, according to the editors, were payments technology and startups serving the un- and underbanked.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Onfido to Power KYC for Arro Money.
  • IdentityMind Global Introduces Anti-Fraud Solution for ICOs.
  • Entrust Datacard Teams with Gemalto.

Around the web

  • Fiserv sells 55% of Lending Solutions business to Warburg Pincus.
  • Lendio announces new Lendio franchise in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region.
  • Financeit appoints Dante Tamburro as general counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.
  • Ripple to power instant payments to China courtesy of new partnership with LianLian International.
  • The Future Laboratory leverages technology from Quid to build its Trends of the Trends 2018 report.
  • Mint2Save reviews universal mobile wallet app, Soundpays.
  • Gartner recognizes NICE as a leader in Workforce Engagement Management for a second year in a row.
  • PYMNTS interviews Jumio Director of Product Management, Reinhard Hochrieser on the challenges of abandonment in online banking.
  • Expensify unveils website enhancements to improve credit card import, simplify billing currency section.
  • Lend Street Financial and Marqeta earn spots in The Tech Tribune’s list of the 10 Best Tech Startups in Oakland.
  • National Australia Bank (NAB) to allow business customers to make payments directly via Xero’s accounting platform rather than its own online banking site.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • IBM Goes Behaviorally Biometric with New Additions to Trusteer Pinpoint Detect
  • DemystData lands $7 million round.

Around the web

  • New office in Sydney marks TradeShift’s expansion to Australia and New Zealand markets.
  • Bill.com partners with Quicken Loans, driving speculation the two will work on digital billpay.
  • Marqeta to deploy its network tokenization technology to make it easier to use payment cards with Apple Pay.
  • Signifyd teams up with Accertify to improve anti-fraud protections and reduce chargeback costs.
  • Free Enterprise highlights the biometric technology of Best of Show winner EyeVerify.
  • Personal Capital Appoints Eric Weiss as Chief Marketing Officer
  • NuData to power behavioral biometric security for Early Warning’s Zelle.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.