Factorial raises €2.8M to change the world by becoming a leader in workplace management all over the world. This new funding comes from Creandum, Point Nine Capital, and K Fund.
Fintech trends and startups that will change the way we approach banking
The banking sector as we know it is ready for disruption. Who needs huge transaction fees, mountains of printed forms and long waiting times in our digital age? Technology and startups are already changing and hopefully optimizing the way we approach banking and traditional banking services.
According to a BI Intelligence survey from 2017, “71% of millennials say it’s very important to have a banking app and 60% say it’s very important to have an app to make payments.” While many traditional banks are not there yet to serve this need properly, fintech startups from across the world are ready to fill the gap.
This week we looked at some of the biggest trends in the financial sector, to give you an overview and to introduce you to Europe-based startups that are innovating on top of these trends and that are already profiting from the underlying changes.
Lending marketplaces for SMEs
Instead of borrowing money from traditional banks, more and more SMEs are using online lending providers and lending marketplaces. Compared to traditional banks, these solutions are often a bit less bureaucratic and less time-consuming. Three startups that are innovating in that space are: Spotcap, which operates as a direct lender to SMEs (already secured over €100 million in funding), Bitbond, which is a Blockchain-based SME lending platform from Berlin, and Barcelona-based LoanBook, a marketplace which focuses on the provision of working capital loans and other types of financing to Spanish SMEs.
Consumer Credits and Credit Scoring
Also for consumers, online lending marketplaces become more popular. Do you have a stable income, own some real estate, do you have debts? These are probably the most important and most common factors for banks and other financial service providers when it comes to estimate the credit-worthiness of a client. But actually, there are many more factors or approaches. Kreditech, for example, also measures some data points from social media platforms in order to evaluate if you’re credit worth or not. The German fintech startup not only does credit scoring, but also offers consumer loans. Another fast-growing company in that space is Barcelona-based ID Finance. The most prominent ID Finance assets is probably the smart data online lending service MoneyMan. An online lending service with more than 3 million registered clients. The idea behind MoneyMan is to help people to solve their short-term cash flow needs by providing a fully automated loan service operating round-the-clock.
In the future, blockchain technology might have a big impact on the global banking system. The implementation of the distributed-ledger technology has the potential to play a major role when it comes to payments, settlements or compliance. The blockchain’s key properties of decentralization, immutability, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and security might lead to the technology’s adoption across the entire spectrum of financial services. Although it’s an exciting concept, there are not so many working use cases for it yet. One example of a European startup using blockchain technology is the Estonia-based Funderbeam. The crowdinvesting platform uses blockchain to secure issuing tokens, trading tokens, keeping track of investors (cap table management) and clearing the trades. This way, the blockchain carries many roles that in traditional stock markets are provided by many intermediaries. It is the trust that intermediaries should represent and the trust is now built in technology — blockchain.
Cryptocurrencies will change everything and will democratize and decentralize the whole monetary system as we know it. That’s at least what my taxi driver told me last week. Let’s hope he’s right, when we think of all the money that is currently getting invested in that field. In the physical gold rush times of the past, companies selling shovels and gold digging supply made a lot of money. Today, this is also the case with cryptocurrency marketplaces. No matter if prices go up or down, they win. The leading and most basic cryptocurrencies marketplace is probably Coindesk, which was founded in 2013 by the London-based serial entrepreneur Shakil Khan. Coindesk lets you buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoins.
Saving up money
Saving up money can be hard, especially if you don’t have a big salary. But there are more and more startups that set out to help consumers save up money. They haven’t replaced savings accounts or piggy banks yet, but they are on a good way. You want to grow your savings as well? One of the newest and most promising startups in that space is probably Madrid-based Arbor. It’s an automatic savings app with the mission of helping users save seamlessly without impacting their lifestyles. Users control how and when they want to save. Arbor for example offers to round up all card and bank transactions to the next euro. All these little amounts are then going into the user’s savings account. With Arbor you can also just set up recurring savings transfers. For example by choosing to save up €5 every Tuesday. The Arbor solution integrates with the user’s existing banks which means they don’t even have to change banks.
Equity Crowdfunding for Startups and SMEs
Another alternative financing form which gets more and more popular is equity-based crowdfunding. Instead of raising money from traditional venture capital firms or getting a loan from your bank, you can offer some shares of your company through platforms like Seedrs, Crowdcube or StartupXplore. Of course it still needs some time and efforts to create a successful funding campaign, but some standard due diligence processes and most of the bureaucratic steps are handled by the crowdfunding platform. Most importantly to note is, that it’s not necessarily easier to raise funding via a crowdfunding platform, but in many cases it will happen faster compared to traditional fundraising.
International money transfer
Are you also annoyed of huge transaction fees and long waiting times when it comes to international money transfer? With Transferwise and other solutions, this is now a thing of the past. London-based Transferwise was founded by Estonian entrepreneurs in 2011 and today is headquartered in London. The fast-growing fintech company makes sending money overseas up to 8 times cheaper than traditional bank, and their borderless account allows you to manage money in 28 different currencies. The Transferwise team aims to provide the fairest, easiest way to manage your money internationally.
With mobile banking, you can do most of the things you can do with your regular bank account, but all on your smartphone. For example with apps like N26, Revolut or Atom. With those modern banking providers, opening a new bank account takes less than 10 minutes and can be done directly from your smartphone. Users receive a credit card to pay cashless or withdraw cash all around the world. They can block or unblock their card with a simple click and send money instantly to friends and contacts. And it’s no secret that the mobile banking space is really booming right now. Earlier this month the UK-based mobile bank Atom raised £149 million in funding led by Spanish bank BBVA. This week, the Berlin-based mobile bank N26 raised $160 million to accelerate growth in the US and the UK.
Conclusion — the future of banking
It’s of course hard to predict the future of banking, mostly due to the yet untapped potential of the blockchain technology. But with traditional banks and startups exploring innovative use cases of decentralized financial solutions, there will be certainly big changes coming, which will completely transform the way how consumers and businesses access/use banking services. And most likely it will not be the Deutsche Banks or BNPs of the world which will be leading that field in the future, but probably a fintech startup that is just getting started.
January closes with €195.3 million investments in Spanish startups within 24 operations
- The Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is maturing thanks to investment rounds of more than €10 millions.
- Barcelona and Madrid continue leading the Spanish ecosystem.
This is the first in a series of posts in which we will do an analysis of the Spanish startup investment landscape. We will look at the overall funding numbers and trends in the country month by month and compare it with data of the previous year.
What are the Spanish investment activities like on a month to month basis? What deals and volumes are we talking about? At what stages are startups prone to search investment and which regions in Spain attract the most funding?
The year 2017 brought us plenty in terms of innovation and investment activity within the area of technological startups, although Spain has been driven by political problems. The developments we have seen in 2018 so far are picking up at just the same fast pace.
January has closed with €195.3 million investments in Spanish startups within 24 operations. Of these funding rounds, highlights are the round of Cabify, Hawkers and Redpoints :
- Cabify: The ride-hailing app that competes against Uber, has raised €143.3 million ($160) Series E funding round from a mix of previous and new investors, including Rakuten Capital, TheVentureCity, Endeavor Catalyst, GAT Investments, Liil Ventures and WTI, as well as prominent local investors from Spain and Latin America.
When analyzing the structure of financing deals, the increase in venture capital activity in Jan-18 is noticeable in comparison with Jan-17.
#Deals and volume in the Spanish startup investment landscape in January
In terms of the number of deals closed, we have seen a slight downward trend in the country. With a broad participation of Venture Capital, there have been less deals but more capital invested in each transaction. The reason for such a boost is mostly the gigantic financing round of Cabify with participation of giants’ VCs like Rakuten Capital, TheVentureCity and others.
The entry of European, American and Japanese funds investing in Spanish startups are accounting for a large percentage of the growth of the investments in Spain. At the same time, this global investment rise is making the average value of the financial rounds soar up to more than 1.5 times that of the previous year (without taking account of Cabify’s investment, that would turn this factor to more than 6 times the previous year)
The differences between January-2017 and January 2018 in terms of the increase in venture capital activity is shown below:
Startup investment deals by size of round
As we expected to see, the number of operations closed by investment size tends to a larger number in larger deals. While the number of deals of €500k or less have decreased considerably, the number of larger deals have gone up notably. This might be understood as an increasing number of companies maturing and reaching later stages of funding.
To properly ensure the aforementioned, in the following figure we show the breakdown of the investment activity by year of foundation of the company:
Startup investment activity (Jan-18) by year of foundation
Our previous statement is reinforced by this figure. The large transactions take place on established companies. In general, the more years a startup survives, the more established it is. As we observed, in average, the startups that were previously founded are those who raised more funding. That makes sense because normally an older startup has a bigger team and unless it has reached breakeven, it will need more funds to survive.
Startup investment deals by Region
Regarding the breakdown of startup investments by region, Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia bolster their position in the top of Spanish regions:
- Cataluña (mostly in Barcelona) stands with 9 deals closed and an investment of €19 millions
- Madrid gathers 7 deals and an investment of €148 million (€143 million in Cabify)
- Valencia up to 3 deals and €23 million (€20 million in Hawkers)
Operations January 2018:
Lately I’ve been hearing people talk more and more about international investors, and how they’re increasingly looking to Barcelona for interesting projects.
These rumors confirms a feeling I’ve been having for quite some time. It’s always scary to predict the future, but sometimes you just see a pattern so clear that you need to share it with people.
We’re all tired of comparing different tech hubs around the world, so I will focus on the elements inside the city, and not compare too much to other places.
There are four (probably more..) reasons why I think investors increasingly are looking to Barcelona for investment:
- Funding rounds are growing fast
- High degree of innovation
- City brand
- Successful entrepreneurs are giving back
(1) Money, money, money
One of the big challenges of fast-growing startup hubs in Europe are the lack of Venture Capital, and a couple of years ago, this was also a huge problem in Barcelona.
Investors was still licking their wounds from the 2008 financial meltdown, and few were willing to risk their money on new technology.
Last year Barcelona broke all records in terms of funding with €535 million invested in Catalunya. That’s an increase of 87% compared with the year before, according to numbers from Mobile World Capital Barcelona.
It was a also a record year when it comes to international VC’s investing in Spanish companies. Barcelona startup Typeform did a round of $15 million without a single Spanish investor.
Even though many of the big rounds of investment has been coming from abroad, there’s also a growing number of active investors in Spain.
Last year Barcelona ranked as number 8. in concentration of local business angels in Europe, according to the report; The State of European Tech 2015.
We’ve seen many, both big and huge investments in companies like Letgo ($100 million), Jobandtalent ($42 million), Typeform ($15 million). I think that 60% of the startups in Barcelona is operating abroad is one of the reasons why more and more international VC’s are coming to the region.
The FOMO is growing for every big startup getting funded in Barcelona.
(2) Top tier on innovation
According to a new report from European consultancy Science|Business, Barcelona ranks as one of Europe’s most innovative city’s and also one of the places in Europe where people are some of the earliest adopters of new technologies.
According to the study, Barcelona ranks as the fourth best city in Europe for scientific production. Only one year ago the city was ranked as the smartest city in the world in 2015 by Juniper Research.
Even though these types of reports doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a better environment for tech startups, Barcelona are home to several world famous universities and business schools, and also have Europe’s 5th biggest army of mobile developers.
For startups a big pool of developer talent and tech savvy early adopters are two vital keys in growing fast, and the city is providing both.
In other words, a VC investing in Barcelona knows that the startup aren’t dependent on outside talent, but can hire premium developers from the region, at a much lower cost than other European city’s.
(3) The city brand
The last decade Barcelona has built one of Europe’s strongest city brands, both among tourists and business people.
Tourists come for the lifestyle, the food, beaches and other leisure activities. And professionals enjoys big conferences such as the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona Games World and 4YFN.
When you combine these two aspects and sprinkle it with the worlds best football club, the famous Modernista architectureand one of Europe’s biggest ports, you end up with an extremely strong brand both among professionals and tourists.
It’s no wonder why big tech companies like Amazon, HP and Telefónica I+D, (the research and development arm of the Telefónica Group), have big headquarters here with thousands of employees.
It’s actually one of the city’s in Europe with most technology oriented Meetups, as much as 13,500 people attended last years events, according to a report.
Investing in a city you don’t know anything about is scary, but the brand of Barcelona makes the city a safer choice for a VC who’s planning to risk millions of his fund on a local startup.
(4) Giving back
One of the most important thing a successful entrepreneur can do after selling his company or running it with profit, is to give back to the community he created the company in.
Without comparing, many of us know the Paypal or the Skype “Mafia”, and what kind of projects they have gone on to support or create.
Luckily we also have people like this in Barcelona (again, without comparing..): Miguel Vicente, Bernat Farrero, Carlos Blanco, and other alike who all have launched or still are running successful companies, but also have chosen to give back to the community through investing and supporting new projects.
However, giving back is an area where Barcelona have potential to grow, and hopefully we’ll see more examples of this the next years as more entrepreneurs succeed in their projects.
If VC’s see success stories, and then again see the same entrepreneurs involved in new interesting projects, they’ll be intrigued to invest.
If you can think of any other reasons, or disagree with some of mine, please let me know below!
Parkimeter’s technology lets you book and pay for parking, in most big Spanish cities, but also many smaller towns around the country.
This is the second seed round for the startup that plan to raise another bigger round by the beginning of next year.
The Barcelona-based company have established a presence in more than 80 locations in Spain and will reach 500 car parks by the end of 2016.
50.000 parked cars
The latest round of funding was led by local business angels and will let Parkimeter continue to expand their network of locations.
Since its launch back in July 2013, the startup have parked a total of 50.000 cars.
With your phone through their app you can easily choose where and what kind of parking you want, either by price, location or additional services.
It’s also convenient for corporate parking and for freelancers, as you every month can receive a single invoice with all parkings made and unbundled VAT.
According to the company, there is a lot to save on using the Parkimeter, instead of normal parking. In some cases you can save up to 50 percent using Parkimeter.
Parking changed by technology
Parkimeter serves customers in eight different languages. It’s mostly Spanish users right now, but they also have international drivers using the service.
The parking sector has remained traditional, and almost unaffected by the huge digital transition most industries has been adapting to the last decade.
One of the founders Jordi Badal thinks the sector will be drastically changed by technology over the next years:
“How parking has been changed through technology, is similar to how the travel sector was disrupted 15 years ago.”
Parkimeter is also developing a brand new app, to make the process of finding, reserving and paying for parking even easier.
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