Has Paris FinTech scene finally kicked off?
Last week, not one but three Paris-based FinTech startups announced a fundraising: Finexkap completed a $22.5M fundraising to launch the first French on-line working capital financing platform, Lendix raised €7M to fuel the growth of their crowdlending platform for SMEs and Paytop received €3,3M from historical investor Truffle Capital (link in French) to scale its international payment card solution.
Until this year, I must admit that apart from first movers like Leetchi (money pot collection) or KissKissBankBank (crowdfunding), the FinTech scene in Paris was almost nonexistent. According to an Accenture study, even less than 10 FinTech VC deals were done between 2004 and 2013. But it seems that 2014 is changing all that. Founded in March 2014, the Paris FinTech meetup now counts more than 350 members.
With this growing interest for FinTech, we’re seeing more and more startups popping up. The last time I counted, there were more than 50 startups just in Paris with my personal favorite being Marie Quantier and Payplug. On top of that, new regulations favorable to crowdfunding have opened the way to several crowdlending services like Lendopolis and Prêt d’Union.
Don’t open the champagne bottle just yet. Paris is still way behind London is terms of funding and valuation for FinTech startups, with the likes of TransferWise ($1B valuation) or FundingCircle (raised $65M earlier this year). And I’m not even talking about accelerator programs focused on FinTech like Startupbootcamp FinTech, Level39 and the Barclay’s accelerator (powered by Techstars).
Despite all that, it seems to me that the time is finally right for Paris to get into the race and host FinTech champions that could become as great as Criteo or Blablacar.