DSV Investees in the Millions League – Fintech Analysis Series Part I

Digital Space Ventures (DSV) follows a smart money investment approach. Since inception we have invested in concepts across the value chain. 

In the first of a kind of DSV Special Analysis series, in the first part we present commentary and analysis on B2C companies within the U.K. where the number of customers have exceeded a million.

As part of our Fund I we invested in Revolut and PaySend - they feature in the analysis with well over a million customers. Whilst 2 of our portfolio stars are present in top Fintechs in U.K. with over a million users the rest are spread across the spectrum of Fintech segment are gems in their own right and have revolutionised the Financial Services sector by not only garnering customers but by also redefining their own segments.

The Fintech sector is booming with a multitude of companies poised to redefine existing business models. Fintech has many different applications and everyday there are more solutions arriving on the market. 

Many of these companies are true change makers and disrupting traditional financial services. As there are such varied offerings and more on the anvil everyday, it is important to classify them according to the different segments that they benefit for the end consumer.

Challenger Banks

The arrival of online only digital banks have paved the way for the development of a whole new banking segment. There is an entire group of consumers who have never owned a bank account or have access to mobile banks and have subsequently been marginalised. 

The innovation and development in this area offers alternatives for new and existing customers that are both accessible and affordable. The banks that feature in our list below have surpassed the million user mark and have considerable traction in the U.K. 

Revolut: with 7 million customers and a last round valuation of $5.5 billion, Revolut is one of the two investees in our DSV Fund I. Founded just over 4 years ago in 2015, Revolut offers banking services and is one of the leading challenger banks in the U.K.

Aside from offering personal and business banking services, Revolut offers commission-free stocks trading for its premium customers. With its recent fundraise, Revolut has launched in the U.S. aiming to become a global bank.

Monzo: with 3 million customers and a last round valuation $2.5 billion, Monzo is one of the top challenger bank brands in the U.K. Monzo’s offering like other digital banks is a seamless online onboarding process and its ease of use.

Like many of the segment pioneers Monza has amassed millions of users and is now poised to venture into the next phase of product and brand life cycle.

Monese: with 2 million customers and a last round valuation of $1.2 billion, Monese offers bank accounts and money transfers and people from all over Europe can open an account in minutes. Monese was awarded best challenger bank in 2016 and as one of the disruptors in 2018.

Despite having customers numbers in seven figures, Monese is a brand that has gone under the radar of the slew of challenger banks, a segment that has mushroomed in the U.K.

Starling Bank: with a million customers and the last funding round of nearly $100 million, Starling offers personal and business banking services. Voted as best British bank, best current account provider and best business banking provider in 2019, Starling’s banking offering sits right with other digital banks.

Starling was one of the few challenger banks paying interest on balances and uniquely offers joint accounts amongst its standard offering.

Watch out for - Tandem: with eight hundred thousand customers and potential valuation hovering at about $1 billion mark, as one of our DSV Fund I investee it is one of the challenger banks to watch out for.

Tandem offers banking solutions, credit cards and fixed savers and has recently secured funding of $78 million from Qatar Investment Authority and has expansion plans in Hong Kong.

Fintech Platforms

Infrastructure of Banks and Financial Institutions can be classified as “old” yet it is functional. As the front-end apps become more efficient and regulations drive real-time data sharing along with the need for swift reporting to the regulators Fintech platforms will drive cloud based solutions and enhance efficiency. These platforms can serve as B2C white-label solutions or as products that can be accessed directly by customers, covering money transfers, payments, PSD2 engines, cloud based banking solutions.

PaySend: with 1.6 million customers and a last round valuation of $125 million, PaySend is one of the DSV Fund I investees. PaySend is a global fintech platform, founded in 2017 to provide faster and cheaper money transfer. 

PaySend’s product suite spanning from money transfer, including a global account and providing solutions to banks and other institutions is a fintech platform that encompasses from retail to B2B trail of money movements.

Social Trading

Social trading, simply put, is following a trading pattern of a single or a bunch of successful traders. The following part involves observing and following investments of experts to generate returns. 

Social trading requires little or no knowledge about financial markets, and has been described as a low-cost, sophisticated alternative to traditional wealth managers by the World Economic Forum.

eToro: with 12 million users and a last round valuation of $800 million, eToro is a social trading platform. Founded in 2007, it is one of the platforms that allows the user to copy trades of the other successful traders on the eToro platform. eToro has global operations with customers and offices in Cyprus, Israel, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia. 

Credit Scoring

Credit scoring is an algorithm peculiar to the creator capturing certain industry standards to determine an individual’s or an organisation’s creditworthiness. 

Credit scoring is essentially an important tool in the arsenal of lenders to help decide on whether to extend or deny credit.

Credit Karma: has 75 million members and has recently been acquired by Intuit on a valuation $7 billion is a global organisation offering access to credit report free for life. One of the first companies to truly innovate in the Fintech space, founded in 2007, Credit Karma, post acquisition ventures into a different phase of corporate lifecycle.

Money Transfers

International transfer of money is historically perhaps one of the busiest areas with regular and consistent cross border exchanges. Similar to payments, this segment has traditionally been constrained by many factors - expensive exchange rates, costly transfer fees and heavy dependence on financial institutions to name a few. 

Sending money to and from overseas has always been a laborious and cumbersome procedure till the initiation of Fintech to this area. Now with numerous startups deployed to disrupt peer to peer and even customer to customer remittances, this area has eased and simplified a traditionally complex and highly regulated area. 

TransferWise: with over five million users and last round valuation of $3.5 billion is an online money transfer service with competitive FX rates was one of the first Fintech’s in the U.K. to disrupt this space.

With the addition of a Multi-currency account and a Debit card to its product range TransferWise is truly becoming an established player in the retail money transfer space.


The Lending process has revolutionized significantly. There has been a significant shift from conventional borrowing from Banks, Credit houses to a simple, digitized process allowing consumers to access loans directly from specialised FinTech lenders. 

The entire process is online and if (a loan is) approved, it is facilitated as a digital cashless transaction. 

Watch out for Zopa: with half a million users and last round valuation of $240 million is first ever peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company to give people access to simpler, better-value loans and investments.

With the latest round aiming to get in the space of digital banking it will be a development worth keeping an eye on as business models of both P2P and Digital banks face revamp.


U.K. companies have led global innovation in the above segments across B2C and B2B segments. With millions of users the demand has proven the need for meeting enhanced customers needs. 

This concludes the Part-I in a two part series of B2C Fintech analysis. The next in part will focus on business models for the B2C segment of Fintech in the post Covid-19 environment.

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