Dutch digital bank Bunq managed to close the very first funding round with an undisclosed British private equity firm.
The company has reportedly received a €160M investment with a valuation of bunq being €1.65B. The Dutch company raised the money for 10 per cent of the equity.
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Bunq has become one of Europe’s leading challenger banks without raising a single cent. CEO and founder Ali Niknam was an avid programmer since childhood and studied computer science at the Delft University of Technology.
He has launched the web-hosting startup TransIP in 2003 when he was only 21 years old. With his money from TransIP Niknam was able to launch bunq.
The investment is remarkable because Bunq founder Ali Niknam has always claimed not to want to do business with investors. “I’d rather sell a kidney than bring in an outside financier, ” he said in 2015. “With private equity, it is impossible to keep your ideology pure.”
Niknam suggested last year that venture capital funding might be bunq’s next step.
Incidentally, the Bunq founder already backtracked a few years later. A year ago, he no longer ruled out external financing. “Five years ago that door was closed, now it’s open, ” he told FD , adding that he is regularly approached by investors.
However, this deal reportedly involves Bunq acquiring an SME lender from the private equity firm’s portfolio.
Since its inception, Bunq has not made a profit for a year. The annual report for 2020 is not yet available, but in 2019 it made a loss of 13.9 million. In total, Niknam already put 100 million euros out of his own pocket in the bank.
With the investment, Bunq joins a list of Dutch unicorns from the fintech industry. Payment processors Adyen and Mollie previously passed a value of 1 billion dollars. Mollie was valued at $1 billion last September, after an investment of $90 million.
Adyen is a bit bigger. The payment platform passed the $1 billion mark in 2014, after raising an investment of $250 million. Adyen now has a market value of 56.6 billion euros.