It’s been a tough year for fintech — since Q3 of 2022, quarterly funding has been on a steady decline, and in Q1 2023 dropped faster than any other sector in Europe.
That hasn’t stopped some of the sector’s high-fliers powering towards $1bn+ valuations — although companies have hardly been joining the unicorn stable en masse this year. Savings and investing platform Raisin reached the bar in March, AI-powered financial crime startup Quantexa managed it in April and Turkey’s Papara, a neobanking digital platform, became the country’s first fintech unicorn in July.
But which companies could be next? Using Dealroom data, Sifted has identified 21 European fintechs close to but not quite at $1bn valuations — what we term soonicorns. Around half are based in the UK, with Germany close behind and Switzerland taking third place. Startups on the list had to be founded after 2005 and have a valuation of at least $500m.
Europe’s fintech soonicorns
Equity funding so far: $226m
Self Custody offers customers an account to secure, store and protect large amounts of Bitcoin, plus manage their holdings from anywhere. The company also offers offline storage on servers that are disconnected from the internet to offer more protection against hacks and theft — but unlike other crypto management accounts, you can’t buy or sell currency on the platform. It last raised CHF7m (€7.3m) in 2021.
Equity funding so far: $50m
Stenn offers an invoice financing service for e-commerce businesses, which can get unpaid or outstanding invoices of up to $10m paid by the third party. It particularly services international businesses with buyers who ask for deferred payment schemes, so they can access the cash quicker than the terms stated in the invoice. Stenn then takes over any chasing of things like late payments. Its latest funding came in February 2023, when it took $200m in debt from Crayhill Capital Management.
Equity funding so far: $230m
Mews offers integrated payments and transactions within its property management system for hoteliers. Users can access bookings, checkout, front desk management and revenue stats in one place, alongside a digital point-of-sale option and automations of repetitive admin tasks. Its last announced round was a $185m Series C in December 2022, from investors including Notion Capital, Kinnevik and Battery Ventures.
Equity funding so far: $193m
Vivid offers a personal banking and investment app for users to save, spend and invest in real shares or cryptocurrency in one place. Cash can be separated into dedicated “pockets” for easier money management, which can also be shared with friends and family, and investments are protected under the Dutch Investor Compensation Scheme up to €20k. It raised a €100m Series C in February 2022, from investors including SoftBank.
Equity funding so far: $248m
Business management platform Pigment — which topped Sifted’s SaaS soonicorns ranking — helps teams budget, forecast and create business plans by bringing company data into one platform for real-time modelling and reports on performance. The platform can also run "what-if" programmes to predict the outcome of a decision quickly. In May 2023, it raised $88m in Series C funding led by ICONIQ Growth. Felix Capital, as well as previous investors Meritech, IVP and FirstMark also joined the round.
Equity funding so far: $210m
Auxmoney offers personal loans of €1k-50k to customers, using the money of institutional investors rather than traditional banks. Customers in the traditionally underserved category such as the self-employed, students, employees on probationary periods or people with a low credit history, such as young people or migrants, are also part of its target base. The company says its customer credit evaluation evaluates thousands of characteristics and not only uses information from credit agencies (like SCHUFA), but many digital data points too.
Equity funding so far: $100m
Sygnum is a digital asset bank that lets users invest in and trade cryptocurrency, alongside offering credit loans using digital assets as collateral. It last raised a $90m Series B in January 2022 from investors including META and Animoca Brands.
Equity funding so far: $207m
Insurtech YuLife offers group life insurance for companies to offer employees as a work benefit, combined with a platform for wellbeing support resources. Employees can also redeem rewards like planting trees or donating meals. Its last announced round was a $120m Series C in July 2022, from investors like Creandum, Eurazeo and LocalGlobe.
Equity funding so far: $177m
Curve’s digital wallet lets users combine all of their bank cards into one app for spending, with features like allowing payments to be changed from one account to another within the platform and offering cashback on purchases, which can be redeemed in crypto. Before its $1bn in lending capital from Credit Suisse, it raised a $95m Series C in 2021.
Equity funding so far: $159m
PaySend offers an app for international money transfers from the UK to more than 170 countries with a £1 fee. Money can be sent to other bank accounts or through mobile phone numbers. It raised $125m in Series B funding in 2021.
Equity funding so far: $253m
PrimaryBid offers a platform for the public to invest in IPOs and public company fundraise rounds at the same time and price as institutional investors, to improve accessibility to valuable shares. In February 2022, it raised a $190m Series C from Molten Ventures and SoftBank.
= 10x Banking
Equity funding so far: $252m
10x Banking offers a core infrastructure platform for banking institutions. It aims to help large banks upgrade their digital customer experiences, and says that users can use its tech stack to build a digital bank in 12 weeks. It last raised $187m in Series C funding in 2021.
= ClearScore Technology
Equity funding so far: $216m
ClearScore offers free credit scores, reports and current account spending analysis. It makes its money from financial companies, who pay ClearScore to recommend them to clients using the service.
Greyhorse Clearinghouse Ltd
Equity funding so far: $165m
Valuation: $660m-990m (Dealroom estimate)
Greyhorse Clearinghouse is a decentralised global blockchain clearing house, which checks a crypto trade to make sure both sides are able to complete the deal before it happens.
Equity funding so far: $294m
A digital bank for freelancers, small businesses and scaling startups, Tide’s business accounts have no monthly fees and are FCSA-protected, as accounts are provided by Clear Bank, which offers fintechs a fully regulated banking infrastructure.
Equity funding so far: $217m
Valuation: $640m-960m (Dealroom estimate)
Form3 provides a technology platform for financial institutions like banks and point-of-sale companies to process payments and transactions.
Equity funding so far: $148m
Billie offers a buy now, pay later platform for B2B transactions, helping companies with business customers offer an alternative payment scheme.
Equity funding so far: $185m
Valuation: $634m-950m (Dealroom estimate)
Blend Network is a property lending marketplace that offers loan options for experienced property developers, with the cash generated through an investment management platform for institutional and individual investors to co-invest in real estate lending.
Equity funding so far: $215m
Moonfare provides a digital platform for high-net worth individuals and institutions to access private equity investing.
Equity funding so far: $739m
Atom Bank is an app-based bank that offers savings, mortgages and business loans. In July 2023, it turned its first ever annual operating profit since launching in 2014.
Equity funding so far: $139m
Moss provides corporate cards that can be managed through its digital platform, with the ability to manage spending, add limits and automate the invoice approval process in line with company policies.