As venture capital flows into fintech startups, the exit door has also been quite busy. According to a report from CB Insights, the first quarter of 2021 set a record not only for new investments in fintechs, but also for exits, with 67 mergers and 11 fintechs going public, many through SPAC transactions (that’s true a ” blank check” company raises money from the public and uses it to acquire an operating company, such as a fintech).
The revenue on the Pyjama People Fintech 50 list reflects this hot public market. Seven startups on the 2020 list have since gone public, making them ineligible for the 2021 edition. (Pyjama People only considers private companies based in the US or with significant US operations.) Four of our graduates went public with an IPO and two more took the faster SPAC route. The seventh, Coinbase, took the unusual path of an immediate public listing.
The 2021 list is also likely to have many graduates, with one — Marqeta — expected to go public through an IPO this week. (We don’t remove companies until they actually go public.) “All technology companies find ways to go public because there are a lot of investment dollars willing to invest in these companies,” said Robert Le, a senior analyst at Pitchbook. “You look at the whole fundraising cycle, from early stage venture capital to exiting the public market, there’s going to be activity across that spectrum at least for the next few years.”
These are the seven:
Part of the fast-growing “buy now, pay later” segment, it made an IPO on January 13 for $49 and saw a 98% increase in price by the end of the day. Currently, Affirm’s stock trades around $61, giving it a market cap of $16 billion and co-founder and CEO Max Levchin a net worth of $1.6 billion. When the Pyjama People Fintech 50 list for 2020 was published, Affirm had a private valuation of just $2.9 billion. But the segment (which also includes Klarna, a member of the 2021 list, whose $31 billion valuation makes it the second-most valuable company on the list) boomed during the pandemic as more purchases went online. In particular, Affirm took advantage of its deal with Peloton to fund the purchase of the expensive exercise bike that became a hot item as the pandemic forced gyms to close.
Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US, listed its shares directly on the NASDAQ on April 14, in what was the largest direct listing ever. At one point during the first day of trading, it was briefly worth $105 billion. The stock closed that day at $328, a market cap of $86 billion. No surprise that Coinbase’s price has fallen with the price of bitcoin; it now trades at $231, for a still hefty market cap of $60 billion. Coinbase first won a spot on the Fintech 50 in 2016 and in 2020, its last year on the list as a private company, it was valued at $8.1 billion. Currently, Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong is worth $8.6 billion.
Looking to disrupt the traditional real estate insurance industry with a millennial-friendly app, this New York-based company went public last July and saw its price skyrocket from $29 to $65 on opening day. It now trades at $98, giving it a market cap of $6 billion. Before its IPO debut, it had a valuation of $2.1 billion.
This San Francisco-based fintech allows home sellers to request a cash offer online and then list their homes on the platform. It went the SPAC route and went public on December 21, trading as OPEN. It currently has a market cap of $9.4 billion, compared to its private valuation of $3.8 billion on the 2020 Fintech 50 list.
This Ohio-based auto insurance fintech, which uses a smartphone app to qualify drivers and set their rates based on their driving habits, went public on October 28 via an IPO. Unlike other Fintech 50 graduates, the stock opened lower than its initial offering price of $27. Now trading below $10, the stock has a market cap of just $2.5 billion — below the $3.65 billion valuation it held as a private company on the 2020 list. .
This San Francisco-based fintech started refinancing student loans in 2011 and gradually expanded into a one-stop shop offering loans, investing, a cash management account, a credit card, and even insurance. It took advantage of the SPAC boom and went public on June 1. It now trades as SOFI and has a market cap of nearly $17 billion. When it was listed as a private company on the Fintech 50 list, it had a valuation of $4.3 billion.
This Silicon Valley lender, which uses artificial intelligence to insure personal loans, took the traditional IPO route when it went public on Dec. 15. The stock, originally priced at $20, rose 47% on the first day of trading and now trades at $170. That gives it a market cap of $13 billion, a staggering increase from the $750 million valuation for private companies.