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Fintech 18 Dec 2018

Atom and solarisBank, among the best fintech startups of 2018, according to KPMG

Atom and solarisBank, two companies in which BBVA holds a significant stake, included in KPMG’s ‘Fintech 100’ list. The report ranks the leading 50 ‘Established’ fintech companies across the globe, as well as the most captivating 50 ‘Emerging Stars’ with exciting, new products and solutions.

The list, which KPMG prepares in collaboration with H2 Ventures, includes a Top 10 of the most noteworthy companies, including Atom Bank, UK’s first mobile only bank. BBVA holds a 39 percent stake in this British neobank, the only European startup in the top 10.

Germany’s solarisBank, which focuses on the development of Banking as a Service, is also included in the Leading 50 list. In March this year, BBVA completed an investment in the ‘startup’, which was chosen last year as ‘best fintech startup’ in Germany.

Neobanks like Atom (which is included for third year in a row) are very present in this year’s selection, which also includes firms such as Monzo, N26 and Starling. In recent years, BBVA has proactively supported the growth of 100% digital banks such as Simple, a U.S. based digital lender that the Group bought in 2014.

Investments in Propel and Anthemis

Tide, a British ‘neobank’ focused on corporate accounts, was included in the list for the first time this year. In this case, the startup is included as one of the ’50 Emerging Stars’ that, according to the report are “at the forefront of innovative technologies and practices.” One of Tide’s notable investors is Anthemis, a company with which BBVA signed a partnership agreement this year to collaborate in setting up new fintech companies.

KPMG and H2’s 2018 report also includes a sizeable assortment of payments companies, with a total of 34 startups.. China’s Ant Financial is clearly the most notable company in this field, and is listed at the top of the list.

Coinbase has also been included in the ‘Leading 50’ list, on the basis of its contribution to innovation in payments thanks to its platform for store and trade cryptocurrencies. Propel, BBVA’s venture fund, has been one of Coinbase’s prominent investors since 2015.

One of the most striking things about the list was its demonstration of the increasing globalization of fintech innovation. 36 countries are represented on the list, continuing an upward trend over the past two years — 2017 saw 29 countries represented, and 2016 just 22. Interestingly, while the US leads the way with 18 companies on the list of 100 — ahead of the UK with 12 — it is China that dominates the very top of the list, with three of the top five in the Leading 50.

Beyond financing

BBVA’s investments in disruptive fintech companies are part of its long-term strategy to bolster progress in the global fintech ecosystem. But it is not limited to investments. BBVA considers that to foster innovation, the industry also needs to support emerging companies in their early stages with initiatives such as Open Talent, the fintech competition that’s been running already for 10 years.

But the bank’s strategy is not just about providing startups with funding. While the Fintech 100 ranking puts a premium on the capital raised by companies, BBVA takes a holistic approach to nurturing innovation that is perhaps best exemplified by its Open Talent competition for fintech startups, which it has run for the past ten years. As much as by funding, through Open Talent BBVA places emphasis on the importance of helping fintech startups make useful connections to the bank, other corporates, and the wider global fintech ecosystem that in turn enables startups to collaborate on the development of proof-of-concepts and other co-innovation projects. 2018 Emerging 50 company Cashaa took part in BBVA Open Talent this year.

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