The French payment specialist dedicated to businesses Qonto is now a unicorn, thanks to a giant fundraising of 484 million euros announced on Tuesday, and even claims to have become the biggest tricolor unicorn, with a company valuation of 4.4 billion euros.

We call a unicorn a young unlisted and valued at more than a billion dollars.

"With this fundraising, one of the most significant in the history of French Tech, Qonto becomes the 24th unicorn in an ecosystem which continues to grow, in Paris as in the territories", welcomed Cédric O, Secretary of State in charge of digital, quoted in the press release published Tuesday by Qonto, recalling the government's objective of increasing from three to 25 unicorns between 2017 and 2025.

622 million euros in fundraising in total

The newspaper

Les Echos

 had announced in early November that "a mega round table" valuing the company at more than 4 billion euros was in the making for Qonto. By including this fourth round table, the payment institution created in 2017 with the aim of making life easier for businesses, and in particular very small businesses and SMEs, has raised a total of 622 million euros and indicates that it is now worth 4.4 billion. euros.

Qonto, created in 2017, thus claims a higher valuation than that posted last September by Sorare, who created an online game for exchanging football player thumbnails based on emerging NF technology.

Sorare then announced a valuation of 4.3 billion dollars (3.8 billion euros), following a record fundraising for French tech of 680 million dollars (580 million euros).

A long list of contributors 

This ranking is based on the valuations unveiled during fundraising for these unlisted unicorns, and therefore does not allow real-time comparison.

The list of contributors to this new operation is long: the American investment funds Tiger Global and TVC have made their entry, as well as Alkeon, the French Eurazeo, KKR, Insight Partners, Exor Seeds and Gaingels.

Swiss Guillaume Pousaz and investor Ashley Flucas complete the panel of business angels.

They joined former investors who donated money for this round: the Chinese giant Tencent, the venture capital fund DST Global, known for its support for tech nuggets like Alibaba, Facebook or Spotify, the fund French venture capitalists Alven Capital and the American company Valar.

Reach one million customers by 2025

With this sum, Qonto wishes to improve its services by offering new features and improving its customer service (in particular by creating a hub in Barcelona), but also to continue its European expansion by investing 100 million euros in each of the four countries where it is present (France, Italy, Spain and Germany) and by establishing itself in new countries from 2023.

"By 2025, it is expected that more than 75% of new customers will be acquired outside France", announces to AFP Alexandre Prot, co-founder of Qonto.

The establishment also aims to quadruple the number of its employees by 2025, to 2,000, and to reach one million customers at the same time, against 220,000 today.

"There are about 25 million SMEs in Europe, today we only have 220,000 here, so a little less than 1%", explains Alexandre Prot to justify his ambition.

"We can still add a lot of value"

According to him, what has won over investors and pushed them to invest so much is the doubling of Qonto's turnover every year since its inception. Qonto did not reveal any data but according to Les Échos, the establishment achieved nearly 19.8 million euros in turnover in 2020, an increase of 104% over one year, while its losses have more than doubled over one year, to 26.9 million euros against 11.4 million in 2019.

Operating as a payment institution, Qonto's ambition in 2020 was to obtain a credit institution authorization, to become a bank in the regulatory sense of the term, which offers new possibilities but with more constraints.

She has since backed down.

Alexandre Prot is "convinced that we can still bring enormous value with the approval we have today", thanks to partnerships which allow Qonto to offer savings or credit offers, within the limit of 30,000 euros.


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