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Global fintech investment soars to record US$57B in first half of 2018

Blockchain and AI continued to be key priority areas for fintech investors in Asia, in addition to insurtech and regtech.  IMAGE: PIXABAY.COM

Global fintech investment roared ahead at a record pace in the first half of 2018, with US$57.9B invested across 875 deals, a significant increase from the US$38.1B invested in all of 2017, according to the KPMG Pulse of Fintech report.

Highlights of the first half included the successful closing of two massive deals: the record-setting US$14B raise by Ant Financial in Q2’18 and Vantiv’s acquisition of WorldPay for US$12.9B in Q1’18.

Overall deal volume was robust, rising from 834 in H2’17 to 875 deals in H1’18. Further, global median size of late-stage venture financings rocketed to US$25M during H1’18, up from the US$14M annual median size seen in 2017. Early stage deal size jumped as well, from a median of US$5M in 2017 to US$9.2M at the mid-point of 2018.

“Large deals at all stages powered fintech investment in the first half of 2018,” said Ian Pollari, Global Co-Lead, KPMG Fintech. “But just as notable is the breadth of investment.  We’re seeing a mix of fintech sub-sectors drawing increasing interest, including data, AI and regtech  — these horizontal capabilities have appeal across the full spectrum of the financial services industry.”

“Not only is more investment flowing into emerging technologies like AI and subsectors like regtech, we are also seeing efforts to combine fintech capabilities and embed them within broader digital transformation programs,” added Anton Ruddenklau, Global Co-Lead, KPMG Fintech.

Venture capitalists remain excited about funding fintech start-ups across a wide range of fintech subsectors, but M&A activity is also growing as more mature fintechs seek exits. Current M&A activity has easily matched the most active M&A periods seen to date.

Asian fintech reaches US$16.8B – on strength of Ant Financial deal

After a solid US$2B in H2’17, total fintech funding in Asia surged to US$16.8B across 162 deals in H1’18 powered by a massive US$14B Series C VC funding round by Ant Financial. Excluding this mega-deal, Asia still saw strong fintech investment, including quarter-over-quarter increases in overall fintech investment in India, Australia, and Singapore.

Following a global trend, median fintech VC late stage deal size in Asia increased significantly during the first half of the year  – rising from US$25M to US$37.7M  – the highest of any region. Blockchain and AI continued to be key priority areas for fintech investors in Asia, in addition to insurtech and regtech.

US-based fintechs see surge in VC funding, surpassing US$5B in H1’18

In H1’18, US fintech companies attracted US$14.2B in investment, including over US$5B in VC investment. VC deal volume continued its upward trend, moving from 276 deals in H2’17 to 328 deals in H1’18, driven in large part by resurgent angel, seed and early stage VC deals. Investors were quick to invest in new start-ups in emerging fintech sub-segments, including regtech and investment banking, while continuing to pour money into mature, late-stage companies such as Robinhood  – whose US$363M was one of the largest VC deals in the first half of 2018.

Top four deals in Europe total US$22.B

Total investment in fintech companies in Europe hit US$26B across 198 deals in H1’18, fueled by substantial deals by WorldPay, Nets, iZettle and IRIS software  – which together accounted for US$22.4B of the European total. However, while deal value achieved a new peak in Europe, deal volume declined, falling from 268 in H2’17 to 198 in H1’18.

The UK led the way in European fintech investment, with US$16.1B and five of the top 10 deals in the region, despite possible concerns around Brexit negotiations. Scandinavia’s growing fintech ecosystem was also well represented, with the buyouts of Nets (Denmark), iZettle (Sweden) and Nordax Group (Sweden) among the top ten deals in H1’18.

Payments and regtech subsectors shine

As one of the most mature sub-sectors of fintech, payments witnessed a number of large exits in H1’18, including successful IPOs by EVO Payments and GreenSky, Paypal’s US$2.2B acquisition of iZettle and  Vantiv’s  acquisition of WorldPay in the UK. The regtech sector also got off to a hot start in H1’18, with US$1.37B invested, already surpassing the 2017 total.

Blockchain moving beyond experimentation

Blockchain continued to draw a significant amount of attention from investors in H1’18, with investment typically focused on more experienced companies and consortia looking to obtain additional rounds rather than on new market entrants. Large rounds in blockchain companies were seen during the first half of 2018, including US$100M+ rounds to R3 and Circle Internet Finance in the US, and US$77M to Ledger in France.

Strong outlook expected for fintech investment

With a significant amount of capital waiting to be deployed, a growing diversity of fintechs hubs across the globe, and more and more corporates looking to leverage fintech in order to drive innovation, investment in finech is expected to remain strong heading into the second half of 2018.

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