Voice of the Industry

The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

Tuesday 19 March 2024 08:10 CET | Editor: Iulia Musat | Voice of the industry

The Paypers analysed the most relevant investments that were announced during Q4 2023 and discovered a surge in funding for companies operating in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Financing rounds indicate a preference for digital lending and banking, payment apps  and commerce solutions, and Buy Now, Pay Later services. 

Considering the current economic landscape, with high-interest rates, additional monetary policies, and inflation in many territories, as well as the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, investments in the fintech sector saw a decline across all regions. Worldwide fintech investment decreased by 48% in 2023 compared to the previous year, with the sector receiving 3,973 deals from Seed through Series I. Research from Statista indicates that the value of investments in fintech companies in 2023 decreased significantly at a global level, with the Americas seeing the highest value, reaching a total of USD 78.3 billion. Investments in the EMEA region halved compared to 2022, recording USD 24.5 billion, while Asia-Pacific encountered the highest reduction, with the value of investment dropping from USD 51.3 billion in 2022 to USD 10.8 billion in 2023.

As investors remained rather restrained with their funding throughout the fourth quarter of 2023, companies were required to showcase their capabilities and expansion potential. Many of them chose to concentrate their efforts on expanding their operations across different markets and developing their product suites, while further optimising the customer experience. Additionally, firms operating in the Middle East, especially in the payments and banking sectors, received substantial funding from investors, supporting the advancement of their businesses.

Africa and the Middle East

Despite the difficult global financial landscape , investments in the fintech sector in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) continued from the third quarter of 2023 through the fourth. According to ‘Fintech in MENAP: A solid foundation for growth’ by McKinsey, MENAP has seen a consistent expansion in the fintech environment in recent years, with the region having favourable conditions to sustain the sector’s growth. This can be influenced by MENAP’s positive macroeconomic position and solid performance of its financial services industry, being estimated that the fintech revenue could reach USD 4.5 billion in 2025.

Following this trend, in October 2023, South Africa-based digital payment service provider Peach Payments concluded a USD 30 million funding round. The firm, which provides its services to enterprises of all sizes, intends to utilise the funds to accelerate growth and develop additional products while expanding to new countries in Africa. Also, the capital is set  to advance its operations in regions where the company is already present, including South Africa, Kenya, and Mauritius.
Peach, Tabby, Tamara investments

Investments in companies that provide BNPL services in the region increased substantially in Q4 2023. For example, at the beginning of November 2023, BNPL platform Tabby secured USD 200 million in a Series D funding round. The company plans to leverage the funds to develop its solutions and expand its offerings, considering the need for additional services due to the region’s restricted access to credit alternatives. Additionally, in December 2023, Tabby received USD 700 million in debt financing and extended its Series D round to USD 250 million. At that time, this was the largest asset-based facility obtained by a fintech company in the MENA region. The funding is set to solidify the company’s financial position amid the increasing demand for its BNPL platform.

Furthermore, fintech startup Tamara raised USD 250 million in November 2023 in debt financing, aiming to use the funds to enhance and accelerate the process of developing its BNPL product and release additional tools. To further support its expansion and development strategy, the company secured USD 340 million in a Series C funding round in December 2023.
Investments in MENAP region

Throughout December 2023, more firms conducting business in payments, banking, and fraud and financial crime prevention received considerable investments that intend to enable them to advance their operations. For example, Israel-based verification and validation company Foretellix raised USD 85 million in a Series C funding round, with the company planning to utilise the capital to expedite the expansion of its product portfolio and cater to the global demand for its solutions. In addition, fraud cybersecurity startup Zero Networks announced a USD 20 million capital injection in a Series B funding round, aiming to recruit development, marketing, and sales personnel, and support its growth.

Also, fintech company Nearpay secured USD 14 million in Series A funding, intending to leverage the funds to accelerate its objective of improving the overall way businesses manage payments. Later in December 2023, Kuwait-based fintech Spare closed a USD 3 million investment aimed at assisting the optimisation of Open Banking services in the Middle East. The firm intended to allocate the funds to increase its workforce, develop operations in KSA, and improve its marketing procedures.

Europe

In Q4 2023, investors were predominantly interested in companies operating in the banking sector, with a focus on digital and mobile banking, digital lending, and Open Banking. This can be linked to the overall rising demand for online and mobile banking services, with individuals wanting to conduct operations remotely and in a user-friendly manner, and companies aiming to deliver solutions that fit these requirements.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

In alignment with this trend, in October 2023, Sweden-based fintech Brite Payments announced the raise of USD 60 million in a growth funding round. The company aims to accelerate the adoption of instant bank payments across Europe, while also supporting its geographic expansion and solidifying its presence in existing markets. Later in the same month, UK-based fintech Uncapped closed a USD 250 million debt facility, with the firm intending to utilise the funds to expand its reach and enable more digital businesses with non-dilutive working capital. The end of October 2023 saw the Embedded Finance platform Railsr restarting its operations with the help of a USD 25 million funding round. The capital injection is set to allow the firm to grow and extend its operations while moving past a challenging period.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

Moreover, in November 2023, Atom Bank raised USD 126 million in equity, with the capital to be used for expanding the bank’s balance sheet and solidifying its position in the savings, business lending, and mortgage markets. Later that month, the Netherlands-based payment processing platform Silverflow completed a USD 16 million investment round, focusing on advancing its global expansion plans. Also, at the end of November 2023, fintech company Paysend received USD 65 million in a funding round aimed at developing the business and improving cross-border payment tools.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

In December 2023, three other fintech companies announced their capital infusions, with Germany-based Banxware securing USD 16 million in a Series A funding round to expand operations in other European markets and introduce new products. Finland-based card issuing and processing company Enfuce announced an approximately USD 9.1 million investment, planning to continue its growth in the enterprise sector and expand across additional European markets. 
Also, UK-based financial app Updraft completed a USD 343 million debt and equity round in a bid to further its debt-zero initiatives and support individuals in moving away from costly credit cards and overdrafts.

Investments in companies operating in Europe and providing payment solutions continued in Q4 2023, with UK-based payments technology firm Zilch securing an investment in a deal valuing the company at approximately USD 2 billion. The undisclosed capital further supports the firm in expanding its BNPL services across the region, considering the prominence of the online payment method in the UK. Later in December 2023, France-based financing platform Unlimitd announced that it received approximately USD 100 million in investment in a bid to improve its financing ability.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

Considering the increase in fraudulent activities and cyber threats across the globe, companies providing services that prevent and mitigate them continue to expand their operations and capabilities. For example, Estonia-based regtech Salv raised approximately USD 4.2 million in funding to eliminate the increasing Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud. The investment is set to facilitate Salv’s expansion in the UK, a market which experienced a rise in APP fraud in recent months.

North America

During the fourth quarter of 2023, North America attracted a significant portion of global investments, with companies leveraging their capital to expand their operations and product suites, as well as to support their global growth. For example, at the beginning of October 2023, Metro Bank reached a financial deal consisting of a nearly USD 409 million capital infusion and a USD 756 million debt financing package. The funding represented a new chapter for the bank, allowing it to pursue growth and solidify its foundational efforts. Additionally, Procurify, an all-in-one spend management solution, completed a USD 50 million Series C funding to support the implementation of AI in spend management services. During the same period, Nova Credit, a data analytics company, raised USD 45 million in a Series C funding round, aiming to broaden its product offering beyond cross-border credit reporting.

The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

Furthermore, the beginning of November 2023 saw cloud payments and financial messaging provider Volante Technologies raising USD 66 million in debt and equity. With the acquired capital, the firm planned to further expand the reach of its offering in the US and Europe. Intending to support its expansion into hospitals and health systems, PayGround announced a USD 19.7 million oversubscribed Series A financing. The healthcare fintech payment platform aims to further solidify its position in the ambulatory market and grow its senior leadership team.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

During December 2023, considerable investments were made in the payment technology sector, with the largest being made in Kapital, a Mexico-based financial services company, which received USD 165 million in a Series B funding round and a debt financing effort, planning to leverage the funds for research and development, especially for enhancing its cross-border offerings. Also, fintech engine Vestwell secured USD 125 million in a pre-empted round of funding, with the firm aiming to use the capital to expand its state-savings and general savings programme initiatives.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

Prior to this, Canada-based fintech Koho announced that it raised USD 63.4 million in a Series D funding round, planning to utilise the funds to further provide its solutions across the region and expand its customer base. Shortly after, Cart.com announced that it was set to receive USD 30 million in growth capital, which could allow the company to meet the demand for logistics and commerce infrastructure solutions.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

As highlighted in ‘The State of Fraud and Financial Crime in North America’ by Featurespace, fraud rates have significantly surged in 2023 in North America, with the region seeing an increase of 11% compared to 2022. This led to an increase in the adoption of fraud prevention systems, as well as an overall recognition of the need for generative AI to mitigate threats. Investors tended to focus on companies providing digital identity, fraud management, and data privacy solutions. For example, in October 2023, Prove Identity raised USD 40 million in a funding round, allowing the company to strengthen its position in the digital identity verification and authentication market and expand its footprint. Right after, Darwinium, a US-based digital security and fraud prevention platform, announced the completion of a USD 19 million funding round, which was set to facilitate the growth of the company’s edge-based solution into global markets. At the beginning of December 2023, data privacy company Mine received USD 30 million in a Series B funding round, intending to leverage the capital to scale its B2B product.

 

Asia-Pacific

Even though it was a rather difficult year for fintech funding in the Asia-Pacific region, investors took an interest in artificial intelligence-enabled solutions, ecommerce, and digital wallets. For example, in October 2023, Thailand-based fintech Ascend Money received USD 150 million in a Series C funding round to achieve unicorn status and advance operations across Southeast Asia. The company planned to leverage the capital to grow the user base of its e-wallet application and expand digital financial services. Similarly, the multi-currency digital wallet YouTrip raised a USD 50 million Series B funding round in a bid to accelerate its regional expansion across Southeast Asia and offer more services and technologies.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

In addition, India-based startup Udaan announced in December 2023 that it secured USD 340 million to solidify its supply chain and optimise vendor collaborations. The firm was expected to have the strategy take place ahead of the stock market debut, set to happen in 2025.

Furthermore, the ecommerce company Flipkart received a significant infusion of approximately USD 600 million in fundraising from its shareholder Walmart. Through this, Walmart intends to accelerate its growth in India, while focusing on supporting Flipkart in providing its online marketplace services to small towns and cities.

The rise in cryptocurrency and blockchain funding

After extensive difficulties surrounding the cryptocurrency sector, the fourth quarter of 2023 presented an increase in deal value, reaching USD 1.9 billion across 326 deals, as per PitchBook’s ‘Emerging Tech Research’. There was a rise of 2.5% from Q3 2023, with most funding primarily directed towards financial and technological solutions, including tokenising real-world assets on the blockchain and developing decentralised computing infrastructure.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

In October 2023, US-based blockchain security startup Blockaid secured USD 33 million in Series A funding in a bid to scale its technology intended to stop malicious transactions. The company aimed to improve security for Web3 applications and safeguard users from risky transactions through strategic partnerships. During the same period, Singapore-based digital currency payment institution Triple-A raised USD 10 million in a Series A funding round. The main objective of the company was to advance the global payment ecosystem by bridging the gap between traditional finance and blockchain-supported payments.

Moreover, at the end of November 2023, Fnality announced that it received USD 95 million in a funding round, with the capital being set to be leveraged to simplify financial market transactions by connecting traditional and digital finance. The funding is allocated to the development of a globally accessible liquidity management network that could cater to both wholesale financial markets and emerging tokenised asset markets. During the same period, iPeakoin, a US-based neobank, raised approximately USD 10 million in a Series A funding round, with the funds being assigned to furthering the company’s mission to bridge traditional finance and the crypto industry.

How fintech supports SMEs

As SMEs have continued to face several challenges throughout 2023, including high inflation, geo-political tensions, problematic monetary and fiscal policy, as well as supply-chain disruptions, companies operating in the fintech sector centred their solutions around supporting their operations. During the fourth quarter of 2023, funding in firms providing digital lending, savings, and investment services for SMEs has increased, with UK companies seeing several investments. For example, in October 2023, UK-based small business lender iwoca secured approximately USD 250 million in funding, with the company continuing to expand its financial resources and accommodate the growing demand for SME financing.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

Moreover, at the end of November 2023, Nucleus Commercial Finance, an SME alternative funding options provider, raised approximately USD 250 million in the form of a lending facility. The firm planned to leverage the capital to offer short and long-term loan products up to nearly USD 2.5 million.

In December 2023, financial services company SumUp secured USD 307 million to expand its global footprint, as well as to offer SME customers efficient and secure solutions and tools. The firm was set to leverage the funds to develop and deliver tools that optimise how SMEs and merchants start, run, and grow their businesses.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

Shortly after, the embedded business finance solutions provider Liberis announced that it received USD 112 million in debt financing to support its expansion strategy. With the newly acquired funds, the company planned to solidify its presence in North America and Europe, while also entering new markets, including Canada, Poland, and Germany. During the same month, India-based startup Aye Finance raised USD 37.18 million in funding aiming to continue to support micro businesses in advancing their operations and employees in increasing their incomes.

Taking into consideration the need for cybersecurity solutions, Guardz, an all-in-one security and cyber insurance service for SMEs, obtained USD 18 million in a Series A round of funding. The capital is set to be leveraged to hire more engineering talent to continue advancing the Guardz product, which was primarily serving customers in the US, the UK, and Australia.

Financial inclusion

Following the trends from the previous quarter of 2023, firms across the globe showcased an increased interest in initiatives centred on financial inclusion, with many of them extending their services to underserved areas.
The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023

For example, at the beginning of October 2023, cross-border neobank Zolve announced a warehouse debt facility of USD 100 million. The fund injection was set to allow the company to provide credit products to immigrants, especially for individuals from India moving to the US, as well as to support it in expanding its operations and offering financial services to people moving to the UK, Canada, and Australia.

The end of December 2023 saw Saudi-based fintech savings platform Hakbah receiving a USD 5.1 million investment in a Series A funding round. Prior to this, the startup registered rapid progression across the MENA region and the funding was intended to be leveraged to improve product development and further enhance the company’s integrable savings engine. Hakbah’s social savings platform focuses on increasing financial inclusion in the region while being able to integrate with any banking system.

Conclusion

To wrap up, the fourth quarter of 2023 saw an increase in global fintech investment despite the current challenges faced by the financial industry. The attitude of investors seemed to be similar to the previous quarter of the year, with many of them funding companies operating across digital banking, payment solutions, as well as financial inclusion, and SME support.

Even if North America-based companies maintained their position at the forefront of investments, Q4’23 witnessed an increase in interest in funding firms operating in the Middle East. The substantial capital infusions can be attributed to the region’s need for alternative solutions, as well as its macroeconomic outlook and performance in the financial services industry. Fintech companies across the Middle East provide a suite of services that include payment acceptance and lending for SMEs, B2B solutions, as well as integration of bank and merchant systems. In Q4 2023, BNPL solutions gained attention from investors, with companies aiming to expand their operations and user base by leveraging newly acquired funds.

In addition, the last quarter of 2023 witnessed a rise in cryptocurrency and blockchain funding, mostly due to the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs. Also, as the financial industry saw an increase in fraud and financial crime at a global level, investors focused their funds towards advancing mitigation solutions and protecting the integrity and security of online transactions.

In conclusion, the fintech environment in the fourth quarter of 2023 further illustrated its adaptability, with investors cautiously dividing their funds towards supporting the advancement of modern technological solutions. Both investors and companies across the fintech landscape underlined their allegiance to providing tailored services that meet the needs of customers, as well as further developing the financial ecosystem securely and innovatively.

About Iulia Mușat

The Paypers Global Fintech Investments Analysis: Q4 2023Iulia is a Junior News Editor at The Paypers, predominantly focusing on fraud prevention, financial inclusion, and online payments. With an interest in discovering the latest trends in financial security and payment solutions, Iulia is eager to bring insightful news that keeps readers updated with the current advancements in the financial landscape.


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Keywords: investment, funding, expansion, payments , banking, ecommerce, The Paypers Quarterly Analysis series, financial inclusion, SMEs
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