Europe’s startup space is heating up as investors and governments poured billions to bolster FinTech startups on the continent. Europe is now home to the world’s 720 unicorn startups with Klarna on top as Europe’s most valuable tech startup at $45.6 billion.
Now there is a new fintech unicorn in town. Today, Danish fintech startup Pleo becomes Europe’s latest fintech unicorn after raising a $150 million equity financing round at a $1.7 billion valuation, making Pleo a member of the highly coveted unicorn club. The round was led by Bain Capital Ventures and Thrive Capital.
Pleo said it plans to use the fresh capital infusion to expand its footprint to countries like the U.K. and ramp up marketing and PR. Pleo’s main markets are currently Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Britain, and Ireland. To date, Pleo has raised a total of $228.8 million in funding
Founded in 2015 by Jeppe Rindom and Niccolo Perra, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based Pleo offers smart payment cards for employees for them to buy things they need for work while keeping the companies in control of spending.
Jeppe Rindom, Co-founder and CEO at Pleo, said: “We’re thrilled to be working alongside Bain and Thrive, and incredibly thankful to our other investors – Stripes, Kinnevik, Creandum, Founders and Seedcamp – who continue to support our journey. We’re confident the partnerships, new and ongoing, will help us achieve our life-long mission to transform how businesses handle their spending, all while making their people feel valued at work.”
Keri Gohman, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures, commented: “The future of work empowers employees with the tools they need to be effective, productive, and successful. Pleo understands this critical shift for modern companies toward employee centricity—providing workers with a fun-to-use spend management app that automatically tracks their corporate spending and generates expense reports, paired with the powerful tools businesses need to create full visibility and management of every penny spent.”
Commenting on the new investment, Pleo founder and CEO Jeppe Rindom said the fintech market is “still very small” compared to the banking industry. But, he added, “the players that are customer-first and technology-first will win the whole financial industry in the long run.”
Even though Denmark is beginning to receive billions in tech funding, the United Kingdom continues to lead the European fintech race with around 500 fintech funding deals during that timeframe, with Germany and Sweden following with about the same number of transactions.