European cellular banking startup N26 raises $300

Cell banking N26 has raised a whopping $300 million in a sequence D spherical of funding led by Perception Enterprise Companions, with participation from Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC and a handful of current traders.

This elevate formally elevates N26 to the much-coveted unicorn membership, with a valuation of $2.7 billion.

Based in 2013 as Quantity26, the Berlin-based fintech  rebranded as N26 in 2016, simply because it obtained its personal banking license. The pitch behind N26 is one in all velocity and effectivity — it’s out there solely on cellular and the net, and it guarantees that anybody can open an account inside minutes of making use of.

Above: N26 Account


N26 launched initially in Germany and Austria, however it has been progressively increasing throughout Europe and now claims greater than 2 million prospects in 24 markets. Notably, N26 introduced manner again in 2017 that it was gearing as much as launch within the U.S., its first non-European market, nonetheless that by no means fairly materialized. The corporate revealed a number of months in the past that it was as a substitute pushing its U.S. launch date again to the primary quarter of 2019.

Before now, N26 had raised round $215 million, together with a $160 million tranche lower than a 12 months in the past, and it already has some big-name traders, together with China’s Tencent and Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. Its recent money injection shall be used primarily to spearhead its march into the U.S., which it now expects to occur within the first half of 2019.

“It’s increasingly rare these days to come across such a massive industry [that] hasn’t experienced disruption by technology,” defined Harley Miller, principal at Perception Enterprise Companions. “N26 is the clear market leader in the European mobile banking industry; the company is ideally positioned to expand to the U.S. market this year and build a formidable global digital consumer brand.”


N26 is one in all quite a lot of “challenger banks” to emerge in Europe. The U.Okay. is on the forefront, counting Monzo, which has raised roughly $270 million; Starling Financial institution, which has raised almost $100 million; and Atom Financial institution, which has raised round $470 million. The U.S., too, has a number of mobile-first banking companies, equivalent to Easy, which was acquired by Spain’s BBVA again in 2014. Then there’s San Francisco-based Chime Financial institution, which has raised north of $100 million since its inception in 2013.

Much like Chime, N26 isn’t anticipated to have its personal banking license in place when it launches, although it hasn’t revealed which accomplice it is going to use.

In Europe, N26 has systematically sought to “rebundle” the banking business by piecing collectively varied third-party platforms and companies. Whereas it started life as a easy checking account, N26 now affords extra “add-on” companies — it partnered with TransferWise, giving N26 prospects entry to low-cost worldwide cash switch instruments and launched a brand new funding product with Vaamo and a financial savings account in partnership with Raisin. It then went on so as to add insurance coverage to the combination, courtesy of a tie-up with German insurance coverage platform Clark.

It’s not fully clear what kind N26 plans to absorb the U.S., however the firm beforehand it indicated that it could give attention to a mobile-first checking account that can embrace a financial institution card, cash transfers, money withdrawals, and different options “tailored to the U.S. market.” That was its spiel in 2017, no less than, however plans might have modified since then.

This newest fundraise additionally represents a boon for the German fintech sphere. The U.Okay. has historically served because the fintech capital of Europe, however with Brexit looming, Berlin and different cities throughout Europe shall be desperate to place themselves because the place to arrange store. Monetary service corporations are already making ready for the worst-case state of affairs — round $800 billion in belongings have been transferred out of the U.Okay. because the 2016 Brexit referendum, and yesterday London-based fintech agency TransferWise revealed it was opening a Brussels workplace and making use of for a Belgian license to make sure it could proceed to function in Europe post-Brexit.

N26 launched within the U.Okay. final 12 months, representing its first non-Eurozone market. However with the U.S. in its crosshairs, it’s now seeking to “reach over 100 million customers worldwide in the coming years,” in keeping with an announcement issued by the corporate.

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