London’s fintechs continue to attract investment

The capital’s fintechs continue to attract large volumes of venture capital funds despite the global economic slowdown

Only San Francisco’s fintechs have attracted more venture capitalist funds than London’s so far this year, with the most deals done in the UK capital.

According to data from London & Partners, part of the London mayor’s office, and Dealroom, London fintechs received $3.6bn (£2.8bn) between January and September.

The Covid-19 pandemic has driven increased use of digital banking services, which has made fintechs more attractive to investors. During the first nine months of the year, San Francisco attracted $5.1bn and New York $2.2bn.

In terms of the number of venture capital deals with fintechs, London had the most with 169 completed, compared with 107 in San Francisco, although the value was much higher in the US city.

London’s closest European rival in terms of the number of deals was Paris, which saw 40 during the period covered by the data.

Global investment flows are less than last year, but London has already attracted more than it did in the whole of last year, when $2.3bn was invested.

The data also revealed that London fintechs claimed 57% of European venture capital in the first half of this year.

Laura Citron, CEO at London & Partners, said the fintechs that were created in London during the financial crisis of 2008 are applying their expertise in response to the changes in demand brought by the pandemic. “These new investment figures show London is a well-established global fintech capital and I am confident we will continue to see growth in the city’s biggest tech sector,” she said.

“The UK capital is a natural home for fintech because it combines the power of global financial markets with a deep tech talent pool, supportive regulation and an early-adopting customer base.”

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London now hosts 17 of the UK’s 23 fintech unicorns – privately held startups with a value of more than $1bn.

Checkout.com, which enables cross-border payments through technology, is one of the UK’s fintech unicorns.

Bradley Riss, chief commercial officer at Checkout.com, said: “Checkout.com has thrived globally from London. Over the last eight years, we’ve maintained consistent profitability and organically grown to a team of 750 people across 14 offices worldwide.

“We are ambitious about powering even more businesses around the world as the pandemic accelerates existing trends to online and London is the ideal hub to bring connected payments and local expertise to global merchants.”

Despite the economic slowdown, there is confidence in the fintech sector. Commentators expect the post-Covid-19 world to see fintech flourish, with consumers becoming accustomed to digital financial services after being forced to use them because of restrictions during lockdowns.

Investors appear to agree. Santander recently announced that it is doubling the amount of money it invests in fintech startups after the success of its funding arm, which was established in 2014.

The Spanish bank is allocating $400m to invest in fintech startups. Ana Botín, Santander executive chairman, said: “The creation of our fintech venture capital fund in 2014 has allowed Santander to lead the industry in implementing new technologies, including blockchain, offering better services to our customers as a result.”

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