London-based fintech startup Ebury has sold stakes to the private equity firm Vitruvian Partners and existing investor 83North, an Israel- and UK-based venture capital group. The company raised $83m (£54.6m,€78m) in this funding round taking the total investment it has received to over $110m.
Founded in 2009, Ebury has 10,000 corporate clients and employs 300 people worldwide. Operating across the UK, the Netherlands and Spain, it provides an array of online services -- money collection, money transfer and currency hedging, among others -- to small- and medium-sized businesses that trade internationally.
The start-up has carved out a niche market by offering the services to smaller businesses ignored by established banks. Its co-founder and co-chief executive Juan Lobato said funds raised in this round will be used to finance its expansion to the US and further across Europe next year.
Testing the business in three different countries has given the company the confidence to replicate the same in many others as well, Lobato said. "When we thought the model is right, we decided to raise capital to go global aggressively," he said.
Ebury's European rivals that have raised more than $100m include London-based money transfer group WorldRemit, Dutch payments processor Adyen and London-based peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle.
The Ebury deal is a sign of sustained interest in fintech as investors increasingly bet that European start-ups can disrupt the traditional business model of banks. It is also hoped that continental fintech startups can do better than their American peers because of their proximity to the financial services sectors in countries such as the UK and Germany.
According to Accenture, investment in fintech start-ups rose from $4.1bn in 2003 to $12.2bn in 2014. The US accounts for a lion's share of the investment, but Europe is the fastest-growing region, witnessing a 215% increase to $1.48bn in 2014. UK holds a nearly 42% share of the funding in Europe.