VC-backed fintech firms raised a record $5.4 billion in the first quarter of 2018, boosted by a dozen mega-rounds of at least $100 million, according to the latest figures from CB Insights.
The quarter saw a record 323 deals, 157 of which came in North America, bringing in $2.17 billion, slightly down on Q4 2017. Europe fintech deals dipped to a five-quarter low but funding hit a five-quarter high driven by $100 million plus investments to later-stage digital banking startups N26 and Atom Bank.
Asia fintech funding saw the largest quarterly spike – to $2.02 billion – in Q1 on the back of four $100 million plus investments. Meanwhile, VC-backed fintech companies in South America raised $271 million, already surpassing 2017’s annual funding total, largely thanks to a $150 million mega-round deal for Brazilian mobile banking unicorn Nubank.
Early stage fintech firms accounted for 55% of deals – a five-quarter low – as the market matures and investors turn to later stage outfits, reflected in 12 mega-investment deals. There are now 26 fintech unicorns, valued, in aggregate, at $77.6 billion.
Banks continue to make fintech investments but over the last five quarters top US players, including Goldman Sachs Citigroup and JPMorgan, have slowed down their activity. European banks were more active, with Santander alone making three new portfolio investments in the first quarter.