N26 GmbH is holding discussions with investors to raise several hundred million dollars in a fundraising that could value the German fintech at about $10 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
The firm, backed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Li Ka-Shing, is working with advisers to seek fresh money at a far higher valuation than previous funding rounds. This could be the final time it raises cash before an initial public offering, said the people, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public.
A spokesman for N26 declined to comment. Discussions are preliminary and the final valuation will depend on investor demand and could range from around $8 billion to $11 billion, the people said. Its potential value compares to a market capitalization of $8.3 billion for Commerzbank AG, Germany’s second largest lender, and Deutsche Bank AG with $25.4 billion.
The company, which offers digital retail banking services, could join European fintechs including Revolut Ltd. and Wise Plc that have commanded multibillion-dollar values in recent transactions. Others including Nutmeg and Tink AB have attracted takeover interest from global finance giants on the hunt for new sources of growth. However, many fintechs face the same issues as traditional banks in generating returns from customer deposits.
[Editor’s note: In addition to banking services, N26 also offers on-demand electronics, travel and phone insurance. In the pipeline are bike, home and pet insurance.]
UK digital banking rival Revolut raised $800 million from investors including SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund 2 at a $33 billion valuation, making it the UK’s most valuable startup. The new money will be used to fund the London-based firm’s expansion into new products and markets including the U.S. and India, according to a statement Thursday.
N26 reported net losses of 110 million euros for its most recent financial year, citing investment in new products and staff. The firm, founded in 2013, said in January it had 7 million customers in the U.S. and Europe.
The bank has also faced regulatory headwinds including in Germany, where it was told to improve money laundering controls, and the UK, where it blamed Brexit complications when it withdrew from the market last year.
Photograph: A man uses mobile phone in this photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg.