Financial services startups raised less money in 2019 than they did in 2018 as VC firms looked to back late-stage firms and focused on developing markets, a new report has revealed.
According to research firm CB Insights’ annual report published this week, fintech startups across the world raised $33.9 billion* in total last year across 1,912 deals*, down from $40.8 billion they picked up by participating in 2,049 deals the year before.
It’s a comprehensive report, which we recommend you read in full here (your email is required to access it), but below are some of the key takeaways:
- Early-stage startups struggled to attract money: Per the report, financing for startups looking to close seed or Series A dropped to a five-year low in 2019. On the flip side, money pouring into Series B or beyond startups was at a record five-year high.
- Emerging and frontier markets were at the centre stage of most of the action: South America, Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia all topped their annual highs last year.
- Asia outpaced Europe in the second half of last year on both number of deals and bulk of capital raised. In Q3, European startups raised $1.6 billion through 95 deals, compared to $1.8 billion amassed by Asian startups across 157 deals. In Q4, a similar story was at play: European startups participated in 100 rounds to raise $1.2 billion, compared to $2.14 billion* raised by Asian startups across 125 deals*.
- Emergence of 24 new fintech unicorns in 2019: Eight fintech startups, including Next Insurance, Bight Health, Flywire, High Radius, Ripple and Figure, attained unicorn status in Q4 2019, and 16 others made it to the list throughout the rest of the last year.
- Insurtech sector, or startups such as Lemonade, Hippo, Next, Wefox and Bright Health that are offering insurance services, got a major boost last year. They raised 6.2 billion last year, up from $3.2 billion in 2018.
- Startups building solutions such as invoicing and taxing services and payroll and payments solutions for small and medium businesses also received the nod of VCs. In the U.S. alone, where more than 140 startups are operating in the space, they raised $4 billion. In many more markets, such startups are beginning to emerge. In India, for instance, Open and NiYo are building neo-banks for small businesses, and they both raised money last year.
- Nearly 50% of all funding to fintech startups was concentrated in 83 mega-rounds (those of size $100 million or above): According to the research firm, 2019 was a record year for such rounds across the globe, except in Europe.
- Funding of Germany-based startups reached an annual high: 65 deals in 2019 resulted in $1.79 billion raised, compared to 56 deals and $757 million raised in 2018, and 66 deals and $622 million raised in 2017.
- Financial startups in Southeast Asia (SEA) raised $993 million across 124 rounds in 2019 in what was their best year.
*CB Insights’ report includes a $666 million financing round of Paytm. It was incorrectly reported by some news outlets and the $666 million raise was part of the $1 billion round the Indian startup had revealed weeks prior. We have adjusted the data accordingly.