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A very Nordic fintech revolution

Eric Burg, Leah Hodgson

(Tonygers/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Europe is a hotbed of activity when it comes to fintech investments, as the sector continues to mature. Year after year, billions of euros are plowed into promising startups, with last year seeing more than €2.8 billion raised across 438 deals, per the PitchBook Platform.

While London reigns as the continent's fintech capital, the ongoing Brexit uncertainty has cast doubt on the city's title going forward. Naturally, peers such as Paris and Berlin are emerging as contenders, but there is another region that, although smaller in size, has an impressive roster of deals in the sector.

Founders from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland are said to be among Europe's most successful when it comes to producing fintech unicorns, with their efforts including big names such as iZettle. Below is a list of some of the most innovative fintech companies founded in the Nordics, together with noteworthy investments and backers. Anyfin Founded by former Klarna, iZettle and Spotify employees, Anyfin aims to lower interest rates on loans, which it claims to reduce by an average of 50%. The Swedish startup uses publicly available consumer data and AI to enable clients to refinance existing loans by sending in a picture of their bank statement. In May, Anyfin raised €8 million in an extended Series A from investors including Northzone and Accel, bringing its total amount of funding to €13.3 million. Authenteq Data protection is a hot topic as the world becomes increasingly digital. Based in Iceland, Authenteq provides a way for users to verify their identities while protecting their information. The startup uses machine learning to compare a government-issued photo ID with a selfie uploaded by the user. Its app then creates an online ID that is encrypted and stored on a private blockchain. Authenteq is also on a quest to tackle online trolls by using the same technology to provide user authentication on internet forums. Having secured €4.4 million from Draper Associates and Capital300 earlier this year, the business is looking to increase its headcount, which currently stands at 22 between its offices in Berlin and Reykjavik. Klarna Courtesy of Klarna Earlier this year, the Swedish unicorn made headlines when it announced that rapper Snoop Dogg (pictured with Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski) had acquired a stake in the business and would also front the company's "Smoooth Dogg" advertising campaign. The entertainer joined an illustrious list of backers, which includes Sequoia and Atomico, as well as buyout investor Permira, which reportedly acquired a 10% stake for $250 million in 2017. At the time, the business, which offers payments services for around 100,000 merchants in 14 countries, was valued north of $2.5 billion. Pleo The Danish startup describes itself as a "business spending platform" and allows companies to issue credit cards and help employees manage expenditure. Pleo made headlines earlier this year when it secured a $56 million Series B investment in a round led by growth equity firm Stripes. The fundraise, which was supported by existing backers Kinnevik, Creandum and Founders, will reportedly go toward recruitment and the development of additional features. Tink Tink was founded in Sweden in 2012 and originally set out as a consumer-facing finance app. It has since morphed into an open banking platform and picked up some notable backers along the way. Earlier this year, Insight Partners led a €56 million funding round in Tink, which is backed by investors including Heartcore Capital (fka Sunstone Capital), SEB, Nordea Ventures and ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund. The latest fundraise reportedly handed Tink a post-money valuation of €240 million, as the company prepares for its international expansion.

Featured image via Tonygers/iStock/Getty Images Plus
 

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