Figures provided by Dow Jones VentureSource show that venture capital investment in European payments companies is reaching new heights, exceeding levels reached at the time of the dotcom boom, thanks to new technologies and the rate at which consumers are taking them up, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
Between January and September, payments and transaction processing companies managed to raise $417.9 million through 26 deals, more than seven times the figure recorded in the same period last year.
Twelve of these deals were in the first quarter and totalled $216.8 million.
Before this, the highest figure raised in a year was $250.2 million in 2000, which is when VentureSource began recording data.
The biggest deal in Europe was the one Swedish online payments company Klarna made with venture capitalists Atomico, General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital in March through which it raised $124.2 million. This was followed by $80 million raised by Powa Technologies and $62 million by iZettle. The latter two investments are with firms offering mobile services.
According to market participants, the growth is partly down to the need for efficient solutions that enable payments via mobile devices, as well as changes in the payment ecosystem.
Michiel Kotting, a partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners, said these changes include “the uptake of bitcoin to the proliferation of financial services outside of traditional financial institutions.”
Europe led the way globally, with more investment in payment companies than anywhere else in the world.
Kotting puts this down to “the talent and innovation London attracts as one of the leading global financial centres, and because of the emergence of many different and creative solutions from across the continent.”
Total money raised worldwide was $1.18 billion in 75 deals in the first three quarters of the year, a big jump from the same period in the previous year where the total was $533 million, also through 75 deals.
Investors believe investment volumes in the sector will continue to grow.
According to Niklas Adalberth, co-founder and deputy chief executive of Klarna: “The payments sector is a secular growth market. People are changing their behavioural patterns and commerce is moving from the street to the mobile. Investors want to be there when that truly happens.”