Seven Australian companies have made this year’s Fintech100 list, with buy now, pay later service Afterpay the highest ranked at 26.
The annual list, compiled by Australia’s H2 Ventures and KPMG, is divided into two: the Leading 50, featuring and ranking companies based on innovation, size, reach, and capital raising activity, and the Emerging 50, looking at up and coming fintech companies.
Of the seven local companies to feature, only Afterpay and Airwallex made the Leading 50 list, with Afterpay moving up from 44th in 2017 and Airwallex debuting in 49th place.
Agridigital, Look Who’s Charging, Nod, Power Ledger, and Trade Ledger made the Emerging 50 list.
Ian Pollari, global co-lead of KPMG Fintech, said Australia’s fintech ecosystem has “once again demonstrated its global relevance”.
“Both Afterpay and Airwallex show that local fintechs with global ambitions are able to attract customers to scale beyond our shores and raise capital from international investors,” he said.
For Airwallex, which works in the foreign exchange space, the nod follows its raising of US$80 million ($109 million) in a Series B funding round, the second largest for an Australian startup to date, in July.
The backing came from existing investors Tencent and Sequoia China, with participation from Chinese firm Hillhouse, Hong Kong’s Horizon Ventures, Central Capital Ventura from Indonesia, and Australian venture capital firm Square Peg Capital.
The round brings the total raised by the startup to US$102 million ($139 million) since its founding in late 2015, with $8.73 million in follow-on funding coming from Square Peg Capital last December.
Afterpay too has seen strong growth over the last year, now stating it has 2.3 million customers.
Its shares fell last week, however, following the Senate’s voting to establish an inquiry into ‘debt vultures’, or the likes of debt management firms, pay day lenders, and buy now, pay later services such as Afterpay.
In a statement issued to the ASX, Afterpay stated it “welcomes the opportunity to participate in any review to ensure an informed discussion takes place in an appropriate forum and that the differentiated nature of Afterpay’s service is clearly understood.”
Explaining that the buy now, pay later category is a relatively new concept that has “been applied broadly and inconsistently between several operators with very different characteristics”, Afterpay stated that its service is “highly differentiated from others in that category and outside of it”.
Globally, China has come out on top in the Fintech100, with Ant Financial, JD Finance, and Baidu taking out three of the top five spots on the Leading 50 list.
Payments companies feature heavily across both lists, with 34 entries overall. Lending is in second place with 22, wealth management third with 14, and insurance next in line, with 12 insurtech businesses on the list.
Unsurprisingly, given the number that have launched in Australia alone over the last year, digital banks also feature heavily, with 10 on the list.
The Leading 50 top 10
Ant Financial (China)
JD Finance (China
Du Xiaoman Financial (Baidu Financial) (China)
Oscar Health (US)
Atom Bank (UK)
Image: Afterpay’s Nick Molnar. Source: Supplied.