More than a billion dollars was invested in British Fintech companies in the first half of this year, over a third more than the same period in 2016, according to trade body Innovate Finance.
Foreign investors also contributed to over half of the total, suggesting that despite concerns post-Brexit, international investors still see the region as an attractive place for their money.
Fintech employs over 60,000 people in the UK and contributes $9bn (c.£7bn) to the economy. UK companies have been exploiting the market disruption opportunities that cloud technologies have offered for financial services. Cloud and software as a service can help address the challenges the industry has faced, with high speed transactions and the need for real time reporting, creating new challenges.
A notable UK success story was Durham based Atom which announced £100m round of investment in February this year. This was led by its existing investors including hedge fund Toscafund and Spanish bank BBVA. It then received another £30m from British Business Bank. Its unique selling point is that its banking can only be accessed through mobile or tablet devices, allowing it to keep a significantly lower cost model than its competitors. The business has plans to hit profitability in three years’ time and go public.
Two peer-to-peer lending platforms also received significant rounds of investment. London-based FundingCircle a marketplace which allows investors to lend directly to SMEs raised another £80m in equity funding. Venture capital group Accel led the funding round alongside investors such as Temasek from Singapore. The business lent £1.1bn in 2016. In June Zopa another peer-to-peer lender raised £32m from Indian investor Wadhawan Global Capital and European venture capital fund Northzone. The business plans to use the funding for the ambitious roll out of its own retail bank.
Another UK Fintech headline was Currencycloud which raised £20m from Google’s venture capital arm. The business provides software which allows businesses to make cross border payments and more than $25bn (c.£20bn) has been sent across its network. The business plans to use its funding to build its operations in North America and establish an operation in Asia.