As fintech investments soar to new heights, investors are looking at the bottom and top levels of the services stack to find the next billion-dollar startups.
That’s the word from seasoned investors like Andreessen Horowitz’s managing director, Angela Strange, who has invested in a number of successful financial services technology companies. For Strange and Chris Britt, co-founder and chief executive of financial services startup Chime Bank, the best opportunities are in customer-facing financial services and specific infrastructure opportunities that can support those businesses.
For many large companies, financial services are already entering a twilight period. Markets like consumer and student lending, banking and financial management and business lending are becoming more crowded, and companies like Affirm, Betterment, Brex, Chime Bank, CommonBond, Kabbage, Robinhood, SoFi, Wealthfront and many others have raised hundreds of millions so they can take on established players in banking and finance.
Investments into financial technology companies in the U.S. exploded in 2019 with at least $12.7 billion flowing in the first half of the year alone. That figure — a 60% jump in dollars committed — came even as the number of deals remained relatively steady, according to data from Accenture.
Increasing capital commitments were even more pronounced in Europe and the United Kingdom, where a fintech boom has nearly doubled the amount of money committed to startups over the first half of 2019 from a year-ago period.
Fintech startup Revolut has been growing like crazy and now has 6 million customers. The company has to scale its support team accordingly. That’s why Revolut just announced plans to open a customer operations centre in Porto, Portugal.
There are already 70 people working for Revolut in Porto. Eventually, Revolut plans to hire 400 people in the country. They’ll work on customer support, complaints, investigations and compliance.
And Revolut has been quite successful in Portugal so far. There are currently 250,000 Revolut customers in Portugal, and the company is adding 1,000 new customers per day in the country.
It should help when it comes to hiring local talent. The company is also hiring a growth manager, a communication and PR lead and a community manager in Portugal. Ricardo Macieira, the new growth manager, is the former country manager for Airbnb in Portugal. Rebeca Venâncio, the communication and PR lead, has worked for Microsoft in Portugal. And Miguel Costa, the community manager, has worked for Mog and Nomad Tech.
Earlier this summer, Revolut also announced plans to open a tech hub in Berlin. Originally founded in London, Revolut is slowly building multiple offices across the U.K. and Europe in order to attract local talent.