A report by Innovate Finance shows the current scene in the UK fintech sector as it maintains its fintech funding lead despite 66 per cent decrease in funding. Ramón Salinero/Unsplash

2023 was a year of downturn for the UK fintech sector but still, it was the second best in attracting funding.

According to the latest findings of a report compiled by Innovate Finance based on PitchBook data, UK Fintech funding declined at a steeper rate than the global average decrease in fintech funding in 2023. However, investors are still pumping money into this sector as UK fintech retained its earlier second place in global investments.

The report by the UK fintech industry body showed that UK fintech funding declined by 66 per cent in 2023 to reach £4 billion ($5.1 billion). This £4 billion funding came from 409 deals which was lower than the 592 deals bagged by the UK fintech industry in 2022.

The UK fintech industry witnessed a two-thirds decrease in venture capital funding in 2023 compared to last year. In 2022, the UK fintech sector received £11.4 billion ($14.6 billion).

Compared to that, the decline of fintech funding globally was 48 per cent in 2023 as fintech companies secured £40.16 billion ($51.2 billion) last year. This global funding figure came from over 3973 deals nearly half of the 6397 deals cracked in 2022.

While the UAE and Hong Kong rose in global rankings in terms of fintech funding, big European economies like France (56%) and Germany (66%) saw a decline in fintech funding. Hong Kong rose to 9th position from 27th and the UAE rose to 6th position from 24th, breaking into the top 10 fintech funding countries.

Britain is lagging behind the US in terms of fintech funding but went far ahead of all other European countries as the UK secured more capital than 28 European nations combined.

The US firm Stripe raised £5.1 billion ($6.5 billion) in the largest fintech funding round in 2023 which was followed by the £235 million ($300 million) bagged by the UK firm Rapyd.

Earlier in 2018, Todd Lotham from CurrencyCloud underlined the importance of the UK fintech industry when he said Brexit won't stop the boom which was later proved to be true as the UK became one of the fastest growing sectors in 2020-21, leading to the emergence of transatlantic digital banking company Algbra.

UK finance sector to grow by cashing in the fintech funding and exploring Asian markets

Speaking about the matter, Innovate Finance CEO, Janine Hirt said: "While economic headwinds presented a significant challenge for fintechs globally in 2023, it is encouraging to see how the UK fintech sector has shown great resilience by maintaining its position as a global hub for investment, second in the world behind only the US, and maintaining the leading position in Europe."

"The data demonstrates a clear opportunity for UK fintechs to strengthen ties with rapidly growing markets in Asia – many of which entered the global Top 10 for the first time, and saw more combined investment than the European counterparts. The UK's mature fintech sector is well placed to develop stronger collaboration with the region, and create new commercial and scaling opportunities," Hirt continued.

Experts say that the steep decline in funding is concerning but there's some hope in how some fintech companies are raising cash and growing revenues to retain their profitability. The UK firm Rapyd zipped past PayU GPO to get £478 million ($610 million) for its global expansion.

The increasing interest rates in 2022 and 2023 coupled with inflation and global instability have caused this slowdown in tech investment, but despite that the numbers recovered for the fintech sector in the second half of 2023, according to new data from HSBC Innovation Banking and Dealroom.

According to the HSBC data, UK startups got £16.8 billion ($21.3 billion) in 2023 which is the third-highest after 2021 and 2022.

Hirt is optimistic about the future of the fintech industry in 2024 as she thinks the deals cracked in the fourth quarter will boost the market.

The CEO of Innovative Finance said: "We remain confident the momentum of high-profile deals we saw in Q4 will continue well into 2024, as we anticipate a boost to the wider market."

"We are focused on working with industry, government and regulators, to maintain the UK's leadership and ensure the necessary support, including proactive regulation, is in place for the UK to attract investment from the seed stage to higher levels of critical growth funding," Hirt added.