Revolut’s latest funding could result in $10bn valuation
Revolut, one of the UK’s top three challenger banks, is reportedly planning a new funding drive that could see the fintech reach a valuation of more than $10bn.
According to Sky News, Revolut’s founders, Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko are aiming to collaborate with FT Partners, the US-based fintech investment bank, which will advise Revolute on the new funding drive schedule to take place in Q3.
Although sources say the process is not yet in motion, investors in Revolut have anticipated its raised valuation to hit at least $10bn - with a top speculative figure of $15bn. The new funding drive would make Revolut’s founders multibillionaires.
The news comes just prior to UK Fintech Week, which will feature a speech by UK chancellor Rishi Sunak that experts predict will reveal fresh backing for policy reforms and growth stimulation within the fitech market.
Reports suggest that in recent months Revolut, which employs 2,200 people and launched in 2015, has experienced issues with compliance and has also seen a wave of executive departures. However, the latest news suggests it has solved past problems and is moving forward with confidence.
Difficulties caused the pandemic also resulted in the digital bank tripling its losses to £106.5m in August 2020, despite a rise in its customer base during the first lockdown and an 180% revenue increase. But in November, Revolut broke even for the first time in just under two years, hailing good news for the growing fintech.
The challenger bank, which also provides insurance products, last held a funding drive in January 2020. That round was led by the North American investor TCV, which resulted in $500m in capital being raised. has a presence in 35 countries and a customer base of over 15 million. The fintech is also in the process of applying for a UK banking licence that will enable it to take deposits in its home market.
However, some sources have said that there is no immediate requirement for the additional capital, and that the fintech’s next equity raise could include a share sale worth approximately £250m. Exact numbers also won;t be available for some months and will depend on investor interest.
The funding round will result in Revolut becoming one of the UK’s most valuable fintech companies. The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a global wave of investor funding in fintech, much of it motivated by a large number of SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies.
However, despite the imminent injection of cash, Revolut is still a long way behind other European fintech giants like the Swedish group, Klarna, which is now worth £31bn following it’s latest investment drive. Storonsky has also previously made statements that he won’t make Revolut a public entity until it hits a valuation of $20bn.
Revolute officials are yet to comment on the matter.
Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem
The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?
John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.
Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:
Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?
It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started.
While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk.
Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand.
I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.
When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic.
Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?
I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.
Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.
The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC.
I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives.
Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss?
Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement.
Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.