A year ago Paypal acquired Swedish fintech Izettle for $2.2bn.

Today, the US payments giant has come back to the continent with a strategic investment in another Swedish financial startup, Tink.

The partnership nature of the move — Paypal is investing €10m in Tink — is clearly different in scale from the Izettle acquisition.

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But it could potentially be the start of more such partnership deals in Europe, which would be a boost for the sector.

“This is obviously fantastic. It is exciting what the two of us can do together and then Paypal is an icon in our industry,” Tink cofounder Fredrik Hedberg says to Sifted.

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Daniel Kjellén and Fredrik Hedberg founded the fintech company Tink in 2012.

Tink started off as a consumer app in 2012, helping customers to keep track of their personal finances, but has since then pivoted to licence its platform to banks and other fintech players.

Apart from the shares that Paypal now owns in Tink, the partnership will mean that Paypal will use Tink’s platform to pull third party bank data to improve product experiences for Paypal customers.

Partnership vs acquisition

This kind of strategic partnership speaks to an apparently slightly different focus for Paypal. After Izettle, Paypal has invested in a number of companies with a view to partnerships.

In March of this year, Paypal invested $750m in the South American e-commerce company MercadoLibre. Apart from the dividends from the investment, some sort of partnership between the two companies is expected.

In April, Paypal invested $500m in Uber which was described by the partners as a deal that would help “future commercial payment collaborations”.

The difference is that Tink does not offer 200m users like MercadoLibre or a huge global transportation platform like Uber. Could this be the first step in the acquisition of Tink?

“I really don’t hope so. This is far too much fun to be acquired”, says Hedberg.

“Paypal is like an icon in fintech.”

It’s possible that there is now an opportunity for a number of fintech SaaS startups in Europe in partnering with Paypal.

Tink, with its partnerships with banks like British Natwest, Dutch ABN Amro and a number of Swedish banks including Klarna, has proven that pushing out its open banking platform across a sector is possible.

The strategic partnership between Paypal and Tink will start in Europe, to begin with. And although no talks of an acquisition have been held, according to Hedberg, if Paypal would like to take Tink’s services in-house, they have the muscles to do it.

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