A Berlin-based financial technology start-up that is aiming to challenge the likes of Britain's Monzo and Starling Bank has raised $300m (£234m) in a major funding round as interest in the booming fintech sector shows no signs of waning in 2019.
N26, a German start-up that offers a mobile banking app and a see-through debit and payments card, secured the funding from US venture capital firm Insight Ventures and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund.
The deal values N26 at $2.7bn and represents the largest funding round for a financial technology company in Europe in recent years, after Revolut raised $250m last year.
N26 said it has increased its customer base to 2.3 million, tripling it in the last 12 months. The start-up is planning to launch in the US with a mobile banking app in the first half of this year.
The round brings N26's total raised to $500m, including investments from Facebook board member Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures, insurer Allianz and Chinese technology giant Tencent.
The round sees competition stepping up for some of the UK's leading fintech apps. Monzo, which recently hit a "unicorn" valuation of more than $1bn, has claimed it now has more than 1 million customers using its app, although it has yet to engage in significant international expansion. N26, meanwhile, claims its app is available in 24 European markets.
N26, chief executive Valentin Stalf said the deal meant N26 had the support of “the best investors globally to disrupt one of the largest industries in the world”.
Meanwhile, Britain's financial technology start-ups, including Monzo and Starling Bank, are understood to be vying for a £275m pot of cash as part of the RBS remedies fund, funding set aside by the bank as compensation for its role in the financial crash.