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17 fintech businesses that could one day be worth over $1 billion

May 12, 2017

LONDON — GP Bullhound, a boutique investment bank focused on tech, on Thursday published an in-depth report looking at the global fintech industry.

The report found 39 fintech companies around the world already valued at $1 billion or over, and found that global venture capital investment into the sector has risen almost fivefold in the past three years to reach $13.6 billion in 2016.

As well as identifying existing “unicorns” — private companies worth over $1 billion — GP Bullhound also picked out companies to watch. These are business, founded since 2000, that it believes could one day be worth over $1 billion. These calls are based on bankers’ analysis of growth, business models, and market opportunity.

GP Bullhound identified promising businesses in the alternative lending space, data analytics, digital banking, insurance, and asset management. Here are the 17 businesses that made the cut and, in GP Bullhound’s view, could be the next fintech unicorns:

LendInvest — Online mortgage platform

LendInvest — Online mortgage platform

Ian Thomas, left, and Christian Faes, the cofounders of LendInvest.LendInvest

Founded: 2013.

Based: London, UK.

Employees: 100+.

What it does: Peer-to-peer mortgages, focusing on the short-term mortgage market where developers buy a property, do it up, and then sell it on.

Funding raised: £17 million in equity from Atomico.

Why it’s exciting: The startup has lent over £980 million to date, funding over 3,000 properties, and plans to get into the buy-to-let market.

Prodigy Finance — Peer-to-peer university loans for overseas students

Prodigy Finance — Peer-to-peer university loans for overseas students

Cameron Stevens, CEO Prodigy Finance.Prodigy Finance

Founded: 2006.

Based: London, UK.

Employees: 50-100.

What it does: Provides peer-to-peer student loans for people in emerging markets. The company taps into alumni networks to help fund promising students to study abroad.

Funding raised: £9.75 million.

Why it’s exciting: GP Bullhound highlights the fact that it’s a cross-border credit platform and says: “Attractive unit economics per high value loan will support as strong growth later.”

ID Finance — Online lending in Russia

ID Finance — Online lending in Russia

ID Finance founders Alexander Dunaev (left) and Boris Batin (right).ID Finance

Founded: 2012.

Based: Barcelona, Spain.

Employees: 380.

What it does: Online lending and credit scoring in emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, and Georgia. Loans hit $96 million in 2016.

Funding raised: £46.7 million.

Why it’s exciting: ID Finance is only five years old but is already the number one online lender in Russia. It also has a defensible technological advantage. GP Bullhound says: “Proprietary and fully automated scoring model employs machine learning to analyse 10k data points in real time.”

Ebury — Financing for small businesses trading overseas

Ebury — Financing for small businesses trading overseas

Juan Lobato, founder and CEO of Ebury.Ebury

Founded: 2009.

Based: London, UK.

Employees: 300.

What it does: Digital financing for SMEs, with a particular focus on funding for businesses involved in cross-border trade.

Funding raised: £90 million.

Why it’s exciting: GP Bullhound says Ebury’s platform is “highly scalable” and says the business has a “loyal customer base displaying high levels of repeat revenue.” It adds that Ebury was valued at over $500 million in its last funding round.

iZettle — Mobile phone linked card readers

iZettle — Mobile phone linked card readers


Founded: 2010.

Based: Stockholm, Sweden.

Employees: 450.

What it does: Makes portable card readers that link to smartphones for small businesses and sole traders. It has recently also pushed into lending, based on transaction data from the terminals.

Funding raised: £146 million.

Why it’s exciting: GP Bullhound says the company has “successfully built a broad user base in mature and high-growth markets,” and says the push into new businesses like lending are promising for growth. The company is reportedly already worth around $500 million.

WorldRemit — International money transfer on your smartphone

WorldRemit — International money transfer on your smartphone


Founded: 2010.

Based: London, UK.

Employees: 330.

What it does: Remittance — lets people send money to family and friends overseas via their mobile.

Funding raised: £150 million+.

Why it’s exciting: Remittances is a $600 billion-a-year market and WorldRemit’s digital focus gives it a pricing edge against legacy players like Western Union, which has an expensive branch network.

Source: Business Insider, Apr. 20, 2017

Become the Indispensable Employee: The Work Behind the Scenes

July 31, 2014

You have all had the feeling that you are a great performing act in the business. You are a top seller with multiple certificates, a great chef that brings out the best food, or even a manager whom everyone admires. You are thinking, “If I am so good, there is no reason to worry if I am going to get fired.” Think again. Many professionals who are very good employees within the setting of renowned corporations are not that good at keeping their jobs.

Companies post job offers citing verbs, such as “lead”, “drive”, and adjectives like “motivated” or “passionate”. Although these are necessary for the employer to find the right candidate to do the job required, for the employee possessing these qualities, it is usually of secondary nature. Yes, you went to the interview, and you got the job. But you will soon find that the most important things for you to watch as a professional are not particularly professional: They are co-workers and supervisors who feel threatened by your presence – especially if you are good at your job! Nobody wants the girl at the next desk to leave others in the shadows. And surely no supervisor wants his or her boss to think that Ms. Doe could do her job even better!

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” (From the movie, The Godfather Part II) Read more

How to Make Networking Efforts More Productive: 3 Steps to Grow a Robust Network

July 11, 2014

The first thing people say when you go to college or grad school is that you need to do networking. The idea is that when you know people in the industry, your chance of landing a job or getting called in for consulting work increases exponentially. Even after school, you get invited to join numerous professional clubs to amp up your chance of getting ahead in your trade. But I want to argue that, if not planned wisely, all the time that you put into making rounds in these gatherings could actually be counterproductive and impede your success.

Let’s say you have an MBA in Finance and you are a member of this Financial Professionals Association. You go to this one event and meet tens of people around you, forming small circles, where one person speaks of his “incredible” experience in Moscow, another one of her “challenging” days in Japan. Later on, someone moves his ice-filled tumbler up, lifts his index finger off the rim, and points it in your direction: “What line of work are you in?” Half a dozen people to the left and right of you, some with eagerness, some with boredom in their faces, some, though, with a great smile await an answer! At that moment you are supposed to tell your fellow pros what kind of master you are and what “incredible” jobs you have accomplished during your years in several countries and what kind of portfolio you have managed with a “talented staff” (you have to give others some credit), and that sometimes it was really “tough” (not to sound too cocky). And then what? Read more

When (not) to use Motivational Speakers: On Being a Real Boss

July 5, 2014

What do employees think when you bring in a motivational speaker? They probably feel that this super afternoon event along with a sandwich and hot coffee is organized for only two possible reasons: Either the business has a performance-based pay system and sales have been stagnant for a while or the pay is just above minimum wage and they want everyone to feel good about their jobs. I am guessing that it is usually the second.

To avoid unintended yawns, you, the employer should first understand the mindset of your employees and communicate your goals to them as clearly as possible. What do you want them to get out of the inspirational speech? Don’t just say “I want you to feel good.” Feel good about what? That I am scrubbing floors 12 hours a day? That I am processing 345 claims per week? Or that I can barely pay my rent even when I work overtime? Read more