The UK is home to 25% of the world’s fintech unicorns. It’s a somewhat logical phenomenon considering London is a financial hub and the gateway to the rest of the world compared to the likes of New York and Hong Kong which although financial powerhouse cities are not as quick to expand across geographies.
Capital and talent for fintech startups have been on a significant upswing in the UK. For example in 2018 alone over $1.5 billion went towards funding over 100 fintech startups along with a 61% increase in fintech job creation. Job opportunity has been a significant driver of more IT professionals relocating to the region to fill vacancies.
In the UK’s fintech industry over 30% of jobs are for IT-related roles, up from 24% in 2017. A big increase was seen in hiring of IT professionals by fintech unicorns, which was up 74% in the same year. Such a surge was due to each unicorn’s focus on digital capabilities and innovation.
A couple UK fintech unicorns are worth noting.
TransferWise has raised nearly $500 million to date. The Company provides a money transfer service allowing private individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden charges. It lets expats, foreign students and businesses move money globally. TransferWise was founded in London in March of 2010 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann. Taavet was part of the small team that started Skype in 2003 and Kristo had a financial services background from Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Company is backed by IA Ventures, Index Ventures, Seedcamp and Kima Ventures.
Meanwhile, Revolut has raised over $300 million to date. The Company is a digital banking alternative that includes a pre-paid debit card, currency exchange, and peer-to-peer payments. It has developed a platform allowing users to transfer, exchange, and spend money with a multi-currency card that is accepted everywhere. Revolut currently supports spending and ATM withdrawals in 120 currencies and sending in 26 currencies directly from the mobile app. The Company is based in Wharf, London and was founded in July of 2015.