Open banking platforms, where services that might not have previously lived next to each other are now joined up by way of APIs, has been one of the emerging trends of the last couple of years, and today one of the leaders in the space out of Europe has closed a round of funding to expand its business.
Tink, a startup out of Stockholm, Sweden that aggregates a number of banks and financial services by way of an API so that those can in turn be accessed via new channels, has raised €85 million (or $103 million at current rates), at a post-money valuation of €680 million (or around $825 million). It plans to use the capital to double down on expanding its network of banks and payment services in Europe. Tink already links up 3,400 banks, covering some 250 million people, with partners including PayPal, NatWest, ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Nordea and SEB, some of which are also strategic investors. On the other side, it has some 8,000 developers using its APIs.
This latest tranche of funding is being co-led by new investor Eurazeo Growth and Dawn Capital, with PayPal Ventures, HMI Capital, Heartcore, ABN AMRO Ventures, Poste Italiane and BNP Paribas’ venture arm, Opera Tech Ventures, also participating.
The funding comes less than a year after it announced a round of €90 million ($105 million) in January 2020, and is more specifically an extension of that round. For context, that previous round was at a €415 million ($503 million) valuation, and the company has definitely grown since then: in January it said it had 2,500 banking partners in its network. It has now raised €175 million in total.
The last year — shaped by a global health pandemic — has been all about bringing more services online and into the cloud, in order for people and businesses that can no longer do things like banking or selling/shopping in person can still get things done. That has most definitely played out strongly in the world of financial services, with banks, bank competitors, and their tech partners seeing a surge in demand for more flexible, digital channels.
“Despite the difficulties of 2020, it was a year of great growth for Tink,” said Daniel Kjellén, co-founder and CEO of Tink, in a statement. “2020 has seen payments powered by open banking take-off, and in 2021 we expect to see this scale – most prominently in the UK, followed by Europe. This funding extension will further facilitate the development of our payment initiation services across Europe, while continuing to deliver new data-products built on open banking technology to our customers.”
Tink is not the only company that is looking to capitalize on this. Just earlier this week, another startup, Unit, came out of stealth with $18.6 million in funding. It also has ambitions to provide a way to integrate banking features, and banks, into environments where they might have not previously existed. Others also linking up financial services and helping them integrate into other platforms and apps include Plaid and Rapyd.
Plaid is in the process of getting acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion, although that deal is currently under antitrust scrutiny. Rapyd remains VC-backed and was last valued at $1.3 billion. The proliferation and growth of these might prove to be a strong argument in favor of the market not being sewn up by Plaid (no pun intended), although having one owned by a single payments giant would definitely shift how the market is evolving.
“The open banking movement continues to pick up pace, with 2021 showing every sign that it will bring increased collaboration between fintechs and large enterprises, who want to take digitally enabled services to their customers with a tried and trusted partner,” said Zoé Fabian, MD of Eurazeo Growth, in a statement. “Since its inception eight years ago, Tink has proven itself to be the leading open banking platform in Europe, and our investment underlines the confidence we and the industry have in Tink and open banking. We look forward to supporting them on their continued journey.”
Tink’s business is based around payment initiation technology, providing easy integrations into existing banking services, and then making a commission on transactions that subsequently take place. The company said that it currently processes around 1 million payment transactions per month in five markets.
Although it doesn’t specify the value of those transactions, or how much it makes itself, it notes that current customers include Kivra, a digital mailbox provider with 4 million adults in Sweden; and, as of earlier this year, payment fintech Lydia, with over 5 million customers. It is live in Sweden, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands and the plan is to expand to 10 markets in 2021.
While the company will be using the funding to expand partnerships and its footprint, it’s also not shying away from inorganic growth. This year it made no less than three acquisitions to expand its business — a sign also of how there is likely more consolidation to come as not every company can find the scale and funding to grow in the current market. Tink’s acquisitions included Swedish credit decisioning firm Instantor, to expand in credit risk products; Spanish account aggregation provider Eurobits, and UK aggregation platform OpenWrks.
“Tink has truly emerged as Europe’s leading open banking platform and is quickly becoming a key strategic piece of financial technology infrastructure,” said Josh Bell, General Partner of Dawn, in a statement. “We have seen activity across Tink’s network rapidly accelerate this year, with increasing adoption and implementation of open banking products and services across their platform. We are delighted to support Tink’s latest funding round, and look forward to working with the team across 2021 to expand the breadth and depth of its already considerable network of banks, accelerate the rollout of its account-to-account payments initiation solutions, and continue to deliver exceptional value to its fast-growing customer base.”
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