Record-breaking VC investment in fintech in first half of 2021

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KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech reveals investment hit US$98 billion

Manav Prakash, KPMG in Bahrain’s Advisory Partner

Overall global fintech funding across M&A, PE, and VC deals soared to a new high in 2021, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech, a bi-annual report on fintech investment trends. Dry powder cash reserves, increasing diversification in hubs and subsectors, and strong activity across the world contributed to the record start to 2021, with funding increasing from US$87.1 billion in H2’20 to US$98 billion in H1’21.  

Fintech valuations remained very high in H1’21 as investors continued to see the space as attractive and well-performing – a likely driver in the explosion of unicorn births with 163 created in the first half of the year.

Under pressure to increase the velocity of their digital transformation and to enhance their digital capabilities, corporates were particularly active in venture deals, participating in close to $21 billion in investment over nearly 600 deals globally, with many realizing it’s quicker to do so by partnering with, investing in, or acquiring fintechs. 

“Investments towards Digital transformation and Digitalization have been increasing significantly across key economic sectors, and quite specifically within the Financial Services (FS) sector. We are witnessing significant investments in digitalization within the FS sector in Bahrain and the region. and a significantly increased collaboration between traditional players and Fintech. Therefore, it is no surprise that in the record breaking investment deals in fintech companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region during 2021 amounting to a total value of US$39 billion.” said Manav Prakash, KPMG in Bahrain’s Advisory Partner on the report findings. 

H1’21—Key Highlights 

  • Global fintech investment reached US$98 billion across 2,456 deals in 2021 – far outpacing last year’s annual total of $121.5 billion across 3,520 deals.
  • M&A deals continued at a very healthy pace, accounting for $40.7 billion across 353 deals in H1’21, compared to $74 billion across 502 deals during all of 2020. 
  • Late-stage venture valuations more than doubled year-over-year, with global median pre-money valuations for late stage deals rising from $135 million in 2020 to $325 million at the end of H1’21.
  • Corporate participation in VC investment in fintech was incredibly strong in H1’21, with US$20.8 billion of investment globally. Both the Americas (US$13 billion) and EMEA (US$5 billion) saw record levels of CVC-affiliated investment.
  • Global investment in cybersecurity reached a new annual record at mid-year—rising from US$2.2 billion in 2020 to over US$3.7 billion in H1’21.
  • Cross-border M&A deal value rose dramatically, from $10.3 billion during all of 2020 to $27.7 billion in H1’21 alone.
  • PE firms embraced the fintech space in H1’21, contributing $5 billion in investment to fintech— surpassing the previous annual high of $4.7 billion seen in 2018.
  • Total fintech investment in the Americas was very robust with over US$51 billion in investment across 1,188 deals.  
  • The EMEA region saw US$39.1 billion in fintech investment in H1’21, including a record US$15.1 billion in VC funding.
  • Fintech investment in the Asia-Pacific region continued at a more moderate pace, reaching $7.5 billion across 467 deals, compared to $13.4 billion across 714 deals during all of 2020.  

Strong outlook ahead

Looking forward to H2’21, total fintech investment is expected to remain very robust in most regions of the world. While the payments space is expected to remain a dominant driver of fintech investment, revenue-based financing solutions, banking-as-a-service models, and B2B services are expected to attract increasing levels of investment. Given the rise in digital transactions, and the subsequent increase in cyberattacks and ransomware, cybersecurity solutions will likely also be high on the radar of investors. 

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