After a tricky end to 2015, global fintech funding bounced back in the first quarter to hit $5.7 billion. However, the numbers are skewed by a couple of billion dollar-plus Chinese deals which mask a stagnant European scene.
According to the latest KPMG and CB Insights Pulse of Fintech report, global investment in private financial technology companies totalled $5.7 billion in Q1, with $4.9 billion specifically invested in VC-backed outfits across 218 deals, a 96% jump on the same quarter last year.
The huge numbers are largely down to mega rounds of over $1 billion each for Chinese firms JD Finance and Lu.com, which helped see Asia reverse a drop off in investment at the end of 2015. In the first quarter of this year China accounted for $2.4 billion of Asia's $2.6 billion in fintech funding and 49% of investment across all geographies.
In contrast, Europe saw VC-backed fintech investment continue to "pause for breath" as funding remained almost level with the previous quarter at $348 million.
Whilst the UK remains ahead of the rest of Europe, the level of funding there fell significantly in Q1 to $102 million from $275 million the previous quarter, with the report citing the combined effect of low oil prices, stock market volatility and concerns over the outcome of the EU referendum as a possible reason for investor caution.
The news is better in North America, which saw both fintech funding and deals rebound following a major drop in Q4 2015, as VC-backed fintech companies raised $1.8 billion across 128 deals, an increase of 80% in funding quarter-over-quarter.
In North America there is now less focus on the payments arena as the market reaches saturation point and big players such as Stripe and Square assert their dominance. In contrast, insurance has emerged as a popular area for investment around the world.
Anand Sanwal, CEO, CB Insights, says: "While fintech startups continue to attract large investment both in the US and abroad, and investors gravitate to areas yet untouched by much tech innovation including insurance, recent events and public market performance suggest that growth-stage fintech fundraising will be harder to come by moving forward in 2016."
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