Thiel-backed fintech N26 take on US
BERLIN: N26 GmbH, the German banking app that’s backed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Li Ka-shing, has raised new funds at a valuation of US$2.7bil, making the company one of Europe’s most valuable non-listed fintech startups.
N26 received US$300mil from Insight Venture Partners, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and several existing investors, the Berlin-based company said.
It’s new valuation puts it ahead of rival Revolut Ltd valued last year at US$1.7bil, and Swedish payment firm Klarna Bank AB, which was valued at US$2.5bil in 2015.
N26 is among a growing number of fintechs that focus on putting services on smartphones to grab customers from traditional banks.
The latest funding will arm N26 with cash for its most ambitious plan yet – a push into the United States to snatch clients from the likes of JP Morgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp.
The German company is entering an increasingly crowded market for online-only banks in the United States.
Large, traditional banks such as JPMorgan and Citigroup Inc have touted new mobile-only banking efforts as a way to combat similar offerings from startups.
“Insight Venture and GIC are great partners to take on retail banking in the United States,” N26 chief executive officer Valentin Stalf said in an interview.
“We’re confident we can reach the first million customers in the United States within the first 12 to 24 months.”
N26 said it has more than 2.3 million customers across 24 markets in Europe and claims to be one of the region’s fastest growing banks. It expanded into the UK, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Sweden last year and has in the past targeted to win five million customers by the end of 2020.