Where are the Biggest FinTech Startup Hotspots Around the World?

Whether we’re banking online, or paying for groceries, FinTech (Financial Technology) is having an enormous impact on our daily lives. FinTech - or financial technology - is the industry that taps into latest technological advances to perform or connect with financial services. With innovations such as mobile payment systems, stock trading apps, asset management systems, and cryptocurrency, FinTech has transformed consumer finance, as well as B2B transactions.

FinTech is rapidly transforming the financial services industry. It’s one of the fastest-growing areas of global business, and new products and services are being introduced to the market all the time. While traditional financial institutions are struggling to keep up with changes in technological advances and consumer behaviours, FinTech startups are thriving. So, let’s follow the money, and find out where FinTech startups are based, and how much funding they’re getting.

BusinessFinancing used business data from 10,000 FinTech companies to find out where the biggest FinTech hotspots are around the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • The United States is the global capital of FinTech by quite a margin, with 1,491 startups and massive $58.8bn investment in the industry.
  • After the United States, the UK has the next highest number of startups - 482 - attracting $18.7bn in funding, making it the capital of Europe.
  • With only 166 startups, FinTech in China has attracted a massive $42bn in investment, making it a close second after the US.
  • The three most highly-valued FinTech startups in the world - Ant Financial, JD Digits, and Du Xiaoman Finance - are based in China.

Which countries are the global FinTech startup hotspots?

FinTech is a truly global industry, with successful startups appearing in six continents. There are clusters in western Europe, on the east and west coasts of North America, India, and some parts of south-east Asia.

The United States’ $58.8bn FinTech industry is well ahead of the curve. Leading the US market of 1491 FinTech startups is SoFi, which specialises in student loan refinancing, personal loans, and mortgages, among other services. SoFi was founded in 2011 by a group of graduate students of Business at Stanford University, and has since attained $2.5bn in backing from investors.

Although China has far fewer startups than the US, they are highly successful companies in terms of investment. Just 166 companies have attracted $42bn. The top three highest-valued FinTech startups in the world are based in China. Mobile and online payment specialists Art Financial is the industry leader, contributing more than half of the country’s total FinTech investment, with $22bn funding.

The United Kingdom is the third biggest global hotspot in FinTech. Industry leader Greensill Capital, which specialises in supply-chain finance, has received $2bn of the country’s $19bn total FinTech funding. Hosting 482 startups, London is the hub of Europe’s healthy and diverse FinTech industry.

The fourth biggest FinTech hotspot is in India, which has 200 FinTech startups and $12bn investment. The mobile commerce startup One97 is the leader of the Indian FinTech industry, having raised $4bn, a third of the country’s total funding. One97 has raised more funding than the whole of Germany, whose 101 startups have amassed a not-too-shabby $3bn, $783 million of that from the mobile-banking company, N26.

Which cities have the healthiest FinTech industries?

London is the global capital city for the FinTech industry. The supply-chain finance provider Greensill Capital is at the top of London’s 411 startup companies, having attracted $1.7bn in funding. The mortgage service provider Landbay and student finance service Prodigy International are also based in London, and raised $1.6bn and $1.3bn in funding, respectively.

Two of the top five global hotspot cities for FinTech are located in the United States. In second place, with 315 startups, New York is the biggest hub in the US, and home to Virtu Financial, which has raised $750 million with its trading and market services. Student loan and finance service specialists, SoFi are based in the third biggest city for FinTech in the world, San Francisco. There are 250 FinTech startups in San Francisco.

The fourth biggest hub for FinTech in the world is Singapore. Of the 129 FinTech startup in Singapore, the digital insurer Singlife has raised $173 million. Beijing is the fifth biggest global FinTech hub, with 67 startup companies. Of these, the digital loan and AI specialist JD Digits has raised a significant $5bn in funding.

Which FinTech startups are the global industry leaders?

The highest-valued fintech startup company in the world is Ant Financial, which is based in Hangzhou, China. The wealth management company has attracted an enormous $22bn in funding. This also makes it the most valuable ‘unicorn’ company (privately held startup values at higher than $1bn). It operates the largest mobile and online payment platform in the world, Alipay, as well as money-market fund services, credit-rating systems, as well as innovating facial recognition payment technology.

The second highest-valued global FinTech startup is JD Digits. Based in Beijing, China, it has drawn $5bn in investment. Previously known as JD Finance, the company manages loan services and blockchain products, as well as city governance and agriculture initiatives.

In third place, and also based in Beijing, Du Xiaoman Financial has raised $4.8bn in investment. Du Xiaoman Financial, also known as Baidu Financial Services Group, specialises in short-term loan and investment services and owns third-party payment licences and fund sales licences.

The fourth most highly-valued FinTech startup in the world is based in India. With $4.4bn in funding, One97 is the country’s largest digital mobile commerce and digital goods platform. Its services include a semi-closed digital wallet that acts as a digital payment solution for e-commerce merchants and consumers alike.

In fifth place, the personal finance company SoFi is based in San Francisco, United States. It has received $2.5bn in funding for it’s student loan refinancing, mortgage, and personal loan, investment, and banking services.

The future of FinTech

FinTech has already changed the shape of personal and corporate finance enormously, and the transformation of payment, budgeting, investment, and portfolio services, seems likely to continue.

If traditional financial institutions - the ‘bricks-and-mortar’ banks - are to weather the changes in consumer behaviour that are both facilitated by innovations in FinTech and informed by external forces such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global economic forces, they will have to accelerate their investment in, and partnership with, FinTech services and innovations.

As will any thriving industry, there are international hotspots of business and finance where FinTech startups will cluster, but the spread of successful ventures in financial technology services across the map shows that innovations in digital and financial services and technology can happen anywhere. Wherever they are based, their impact can be global and transformative.

Read next: Examining the Digital Quality of Life in 85 Countries.
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