The French tech ecosystem has certainly had an exciting start to 2022 and Paris-based Qonto has just secured an additional €486 million, bringing another unicorn onto the French stage – the third to reach the milestone already this year.
Qonto, the challenger neobank for SMEs and freelancers, has now reached a valuation of €4.4 billion in one of the largest rounds in French tech history. The fintech startup is used to setting trends like this, raising one of the largest funding rounds for a French fintech back in 2020. CEO Alexandre Prot was also a speaker on our Future of Finance panel at the 2019 EU-Startups Summit.
The funding was led by Tiger Global and TCV, with participation from new investors Alkeon, Eurazeo, KKR, Insight Partners, Exor Seeds, Guillaume Pousaz, Gaingels and Ashley Flucas. Existing investors Valar, Alven, DST Global and Tencent are also getting involved.
Founded in 2016, the fintech group focuses on businesses bank accounts, primarily small and medium-sized companies, as well as freelancers, and is currently operating in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The online banking service quickly came onto our radar and was one of our Paris-based startups to watch for 2017.
Qonto represents a bright spark in the fintech space in Europe and can be described as a truly European endeavour. Spend management solutions are incredibly popular in the US, and Qonto has been pioneering the innovation this side of the Atlantic.
Focusing on business bank accounts reflects the fact that in Europe, this is the key financial component of European companies as many businesses use their bank accounts directly to move money around. They initiate transfers, share their bank account number (IBAN) to receive a payment and set up direct debits to pay bills.
Qonto is so much more than just a bank account, and is described by CEO Alexandre Prot as three different products neatly packaged into a single service – it also simplifies bookkeeping and accounting and becomes a total spend management solution.
With regards to bookkeeping, Qonto enables users to export or sync with existing accounting solutions – fixing a problem to what is currently a fragmented market. Looking to spend management, Qonto lets businesses give physical, virtual, one-time cards to employees that can be monitored with spending limits, approval workflows and so on.
In addition, the fintech startup partners with other fintech partners to offer other financial services – meaning that the company really covers all bases.
Currently, the young startup has 220,000 clients and wants to grow to one million by 2025. With today’s mega funding boost, the fast-growing startup has plans to grow its team from 500 employees to 2,000 people by 2025, as well as further investing in its existing markets before entering new markets in 2023.