The world’s biggest engine of technological investment takes a stake in Zopa, the British fintech that has returned to its fortunes after a scorching period when it nearly lost its banking license.
Sky News has learned that SoftBank’s Vision Fund II is leading a funding round that will see more than £ 100million in new capital injected into Zopa.
The fundraiser, which is expected to be announced next week, is expected to be the last big fundraiser from the peer-to-peer lender and digital bank ahead of an IPO slated for late next year.
A number of other investors are expected to participate in the round, which will value Zopa at more than £ 500million ($ 684million), according to a shareholder.
The deal will add Zopa to a growing stable of European fintechs that have been backed by SoftBank’s two Vision funds.
In the UK, it has stakes in Oaknorth and Revolut, the latter of which received money from the Vision Fund in a round that made it Britain’s most valued tech company.
SoftBank also supported Klarna, the Buy Now, Pay Later platform which is the most popular fintech in Europe.
Zopa’s new assessment will represent a significant turnaround for her management team, led by Managing Director Jaidev Janardana, and set her on track to become Britain’s latest tech ‘unicorn’ when it goes public.
Zopa was founded in 2004 and has become a pioneer in the burgeoning peer-to-peer industry, raising tens of millions of pounds from investors to grow its business.
However, he had a rough time in 2019 and was forced to scramble to raise £ 140million to avoid losing his fledgling banking license.
New investors in this round were led by IAG Capital Partners, a US-based private investment firm, while it was also backed by existing long-term shareholders such as the listed group Augmentum Fintech.
Despite the rebound in its valuation, the improvement in Zopa’s performance has not been without problems: The Times reported last week that fintech was hit by a nine-day computer outage that prevented investors from withdrawing funds. funds.
JP Morgan advised Zopa on its latest funding injection, which comes seven months after existing shareholders injected £ 20million into it to help accelerate the expansion of its banking arm.
The identity of any other new investor was unclear on Thursday.
According to Zopa, it has already become one of the UK’s top ten credit card issuers, attracting over 100,000 customers over a nine-month period.
He said earlier this year he had also seen strong demand for personal loans and car finance products, while attracting more than £ 400million in customer deposits.
Zopa added that his bank is on track to achieve profitability by the end of the year, making it one of the fastest challenger banks to reach that milestone.
“We look forward to using the momentum we have gained to further develop our products and services and to help more customers,” Janardana said this year.
“Our trajectory puts us on the right track to be among the fastest digital banks to achieve profitability [and] we will continue to build from this base with an IPO [initial public offering] on the horizon from the fourth quarter of 2022. “
SoftBank and Zopa declined to comment.