Fintech/Analysis/

The 10 fastest fintechs to reach billion dollar valuations

One European fintech sits among the top 10, reaching unicorn status in less than 4 years

By Isabel Woodford

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The world is now home to over 70 fintech “unicorns” — startups worth over a billion dollars.

If nothing else, this highlights the continued hype around the fintech sector, with investors tripping over themselves to fund companies promising to disrupt banking and payments.

A small handful of fintechs have also reached this billion-dollar milestone in record time.

This is partly dependent on external factors, like funding circumstances at the time of a capital raise. Nonetheless, comparing valuation timelines helps differentiate the herd of unicorns, and showcases where the “hype” has been most intense.

The table below reveals the 10 fastest fintechs to reach a $1bn valuation.

Rank

Company

Country

Sector

Year Founded

Year $1bn Valuation announced

Months Taken to $1bn Valuation

1

Brex

United States

Lending

2017

2018

21

2

Figure Technologies

United States

Lending

2018

2019

21

3

Zenefits United States Insurance 2013 2015  28

4

Symphony

United States

Multi

2014

2017

32

5

Linklogis

China

Lending

2016

2018

32

6

Dave

United States

Banking

2016

2019

35

7

Airwallex

Australia

Payments

2015

2019

40

8

Cgtz

China

Wealth

2013

2017

41

9

wefox Group

Germany

Insurance

2015

2019

41

10

SoFi

United States

Lending

2011

2015

42

Source: Data compiled by online blog, Traders of Crypto, and adapted for accuracy by Sifted

Topping the leaderboard is Brex. The startup’s 22-year-old founders took just under 2 years to grow it into a billion-dollar company.

Just one European firm — WeFox, a German insuretech — made the top ranking; suggesting the continent still lacks the capital allocation of the US and China.

Overall, the 10 fastest fintechs all took less than 4 years to reach billion-dollar status.

By comparison, it takes the average fintech unicorn 7 years to reach the $1 billion dollar mark, according to one study.

Sifted also conducted a closer analysis of the averages across different European countries.

The UK’s 8 fintech unicorns took 5.5 years to reach the billion-dollar milestone, on average. Among them, Rapyd and Monzo were the fastest.

Meanwhile, it took Germany’s fintechs an average of 7 years, while Sweden’s sole fintech unicorn — Klarna — took 6.5 years.

Mambu, a Berlin-based banking platform, is Europe’s newest fintech unicorn. The company recently announced it had secured a $2bn valuation — exactly a decade after it was founded.

Source: CB Insights. Nearly half of all fintech unicorns are HQ’ed in the US. Europe now has 17 fintech unicorns.

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