Fintech/Analysis/ The 10 fastest fintechs to reach billion dollar valuations One European fintech sits among the top 10, reaching unicorn status in less than 4 years By Isabel Woodford 11 January 2021 \Fintech Which European banking app is winning the race for customers? By Amy O'Brien 21 February 2023 Fintech/Analysis/ The 10 fastest fintechs to reach billion dollar valuations One European fintech sits among the top 10, reaching unicorn status in less than 4 years By Isabel Woodford 11 January 2021 The world is now home to over 70 fintech “unicorns” — startups worth over a billion dollars. If nothing else, this highlights the continued hype around the fintech sector, with investors tripping over themselves to fund companies promising to disrupt banking and payments. A small handful of fintechs have also reached this billion-dollar milestone in record time. This is partly dependent on external factors, like funding circumstances at the time of a capital raise. Nonetheless, comparing valuation timelines helps differentiate the herd of unicorns, and showcases where the “hype” has been most intense. The table below reveals the 10 fastest fintechs to reach a $1bn valuation. Rank Company Country Sector Year Founded Year $1bn Valuation announced Months Taken to $1bn Valuation 1 Brex United States Lending 2017 2018 21 2 Figure Technologies United States Lending 2018 2019 21 3 Zenefits United States Insurance 2013 2015 28 4 Symphony United States Multi 2014 2017 32 5 Linklogis China Lending 2016 2018 32 6 Dave United States Banking 2016 2019 35 7 Airwallex Australia Payments 2015 2019 40 8 Cgtz China Wealth 2013 2017 41 9 wefox Group Germany Insurance 2015 2019 41 10 SoFi United States Lending 2011 2015 42 Source: Data compiled by online blog, Traders of Crypto, and adapted for accuracy by Sifted Topping the leaderboard is Brex. The startup’s 22-year-old founders took just under 2 years to grow it into a billion-dollar company. Just one European firm — WeFox, a German insuretech — made the top ranking; suggesting the continent still lacks the capital allocation of the US and China. Overall, the 10 fastest fintechs all took less than 4 years to reach billion-dollar status. By comparison, it takes the average fintech unicorn 7 years to reach the $1 billion dollar mark, according to one study. Sifted also conducted a closer analysis of the averages across different European countries. The UK’s 8 fintech unicorns took 5.5 years to reach the billion-dollar milestone, on average. Among them, Rapyd and Monzo were the fastest. Meanwhile, it took Germany’s fintechs an average of 7 years, while Sweden’s sole fintech unicorn — Klarna — took 6.5 years. Mambu, a Berlin-based banking platform, is Europe’s newest fintech unicorn. The company recently announced it had secured a $2bn valuation — exactly a decade after it was founded. Source: CB Insights. Nearly half of all fintech unicorns are HQ’ed in the US. Europe now has 17 fintech unicorns. Related Articles “Unicorns, who cares?”, French founders tell Macron By Marie Mawad in Paris Click here to read more Europe now has 60 startup unicorns By Amy Lewin Click here to read more Why this group of fintechs could be Europe’s next unicorns By Isabel Woodford Click here to read more Most Read 1 \Healthtech Is Daniel Ek’s new body scanner worth the hype? Sifted tried it out 2 \Venture Capital VC diversity needs to change — and white men need to take responsibility 3 \Venture Capital New €3.75bn European Investment Fund pot to back late-stage VCs 4 \Sustainability Counteract closes £15m fund for carbon removal solutions 5 \Mobility Was the $5bn that VCs plugged into escooters worth it?