Challenger bank based in Amsterdam Bunq has been self-funded by its founder and CEO Ali Niknam for several years. But the company decided to raise outside capital, which led to the biggest Series A round for a European fintech company.
The startup raises 228 million dollars (193 million euros) in a round led by Capital of Pollen Street. Bunq founder Ali Niknam also participates in the round – he invests $ 29.5 million (€ 25 million) while Pollen Street Capital funds the remainder of the round.
As part of the deal, Bunq also acquires Capitalflow Group, an Irish loan company previously owned by… Pollen Street Capital.
Founded in 2012, Ali Niknam has already invested quite a bit of money in his own business. He poured 116.6 million dollars (98.7 million euros) of his own capital into Bunq – that does not even take into account today’s funding round.
But it has paid off as the company plans to break even monthly in 2021. The company topped € 1 billion in user deposits earlier this year. So why is the company raising external funds after refusing venture capitalists for so many years?
“Everything has a good time. At the start of Bunq, it was important to focus on the laser user in the business. Also having to focus on fundraising and the needs of distracted investors. Bunq is now mature enough to start to grow significantly, so more capital is welcome, ”Niknam said.
In particular, the company plans to acquire smaller businesses to fuel its growth strategy. Challenger banks have also represented a very competitive market in recent years in Europe. It is clear that there will be some consolidation at some point.
Bunq offers bank accounts and debit cards that you can control from a mobile app. This works especially well if your friends and family are also using Bunq, as you can send money instantly, share a bunq.me payment link with other people, split payments, and more.
In particular, if you go on a weekend, you can start an activity with your friends. It creates a shared jar which allows you to share the expenses with everyone. If you live with roommates, you can also create sub-accounts to pay bills for that account.
The company offers different plans which range from € 2.99 per month to € 17.99 per month – there is also a free travel card with a limited feature set. By choosing a subscription-based business model, the startup has a clear path to profitability as most of the users are paid users.