When it featured among the Tech Track Ones to Watch in 2017, Revolut was a two-year-old start-up with 800,000 people signed up to its mobile banking app, had raised £50m and reported revenues of £2.4m. Now armed with 6m customers, a $1.7bn valuation and a European banking licence, it has stormed to the top of the main league table.
Revenues hit £58.3m last year as Revolut handled $3bn worth of transactions a month. Its target demographic is tech-savvy people who want to streamline all their financial affairs – from stock trading and currency transfers, to travelling and saving – using one simple app.
Equipped with a versatile debit card, they can spend money abroad in 150 currencies; convert pounds or euros into cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin; and transfer money in 29 currencies at the interbank exchange rate. Premium account holders get overseas medical insurance and lounge passes for airports, among other perks.
Revolut is not a British bank yet but has Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval as an “electronic money institution”. It takes a cut of the processing fee paid to Mastercard by merchants and applies a small mark-up to its currency exchange rate over the weekend and on transfers above £5,000.
The brainchild of chief executive Nikolay Storonsky, 35, and chief technology officer Vlad Yatsenko, 36, it is backed by a flush of venture capital firms, including Balderton Capital and DST Global. Rattled by the transfer fees incurred when sending money home to his native Russia, Storonsky – a former currency trader – envisaged a simpler, digital solution. Yatsenko, a Ukrainian- British software engineer, designed their alternative at the Level39 tech accelerator space in Canary Wharf.
After FCA scrutiny, Storonsky has admitted that Revolut’s astronomical sales growth – averaging 508% per annum over three years – has led to some management and culture issues. It has since bolstered its team with former HSBC banker Richard Davies joining as chief operating officer and David MacLean, formerly of Metro Bank, as chief financial officer. Staff numbers in 2019 have jumped from 700 to almost 1,200.
Next up is a reported $500m investment round to fund further expansion. That would value Revolut at $5bn or more and see it poised to enter the new decade as Europe’s most valuable fintech unicorn.
This profile reflects the company at time of publication and does not reflect any changes that may have subsequently occurred. Fast Track and its sponsors do not endorse, guarantee or recommend investment in any of the companies.