2014 will close as the highest year as for VC investments in Fintech companies. According to StretegyEye, globally VC funding has reached this year $ 2.8 bn, $1 bn more than 2013 and nearly the double of two years ago.
216 deals were closed, with an average of $12m per deal. London is leading the way with £600k invested just in the first semester.
In UK Santander has recently announced its investment in Monetise, a fast growing software and technology house focused on mobile money and payments. A 5% stake valued £49m, as part of a joint investment with MasterCard and Telefónica.
That means that Monetise is already valued over $1.5 bn. Monetise has been just ranked by Deloitte as n.11 in the overall 2014 UK Technology fast 50.
London is positioning itself at the forefront of fintech rise, not only as the European gateway but with the ambition of gaining a leading global role. Recent trade mission of London’s mayor Johnson in Singapore made it even more explicit, and more and more initiative are born everyday.
Europe itself in several Fintech areas is ahead of the US (payments and cards for sure, but also on credit scoring and lending systems).
Investments in Italy are much smaller (about €8-10m from VC this year), but Italian Fintech startups are skilled and promising, as shown by recent CheBanca! Grand Prix, the first vertical
contest in the country for Fintech (see here, and by the recent acquisition of Prestiamoci,a domestic p2p lending platform, from Nordic Trustbuddy, for €5.8m.
This may prove to be the first of a new wave coming to Italy too. The Country has a chronic shortage of Vc/private equity capitals and it might become a cheap target for abroad investors.
In conclusion, the digital disruption wave seems to have reached its momentum in financial services, despite the high regulatory burden of the sector.
Big banks and financial institutions are starting to look themselves at Fintech startup not just for business development collaborations but as a shortcut to innovation and a source of competitive advantage, also with direct investments that could shortly turn into aquisitions.
2014 has been the a great year, 2015 looks even more promising, as the year of Fintech explotion.