Pleo is Europe’s Latest Fintech Unicorn; Nigeria-based Lidya Scores $8 Million

Six years after its launch, Danish fintech Pleo has become Europe’s latest fintech unicorn.

The smart company card provider announced early this week that it had raised $150 million in Series C funding – the largest Series C round for a Danish company to date – earning a valuation of $1.7 billion in the process. The new capital, according to CEO and co-founder Jeppe Rindom, will help scale the business and “ramp up” the company’s product offering. Pleo will also look at opportunities for market expansion, both by entering new markets as well as “doubling down” on the markets that Pleo is already active in.

“While this investment round is taking Pleo to new heights,” Rindom noted in a post on the company’s blog this week, “our core mission remains the same: to make everyone feel valued at work. Since day one, we’ve been committed to creating a spending solution that encourages a work culture built on trust and transparency, instead of overwhelming control and needless bureaucracy.”

More than 17,000 companies from a variety of industries rely on Pleo’s smart company cards that automate expense reports and make company spending easier. Pleo integrates seamlessly with major accounting software packages – including Xero, Sage and Quickbooks – and features three pricing tiers, Essential, Pro, and Premium – to make its technology accessible to small companies as well as bigger firms with larger teams.

The Series C round was co-led by Bain Capital Ventures and Thrive Capital. Existing investors Creandum, Kinnevik, Founders, Stripes, and Seedcamp also contributed.

Our other international fintech funding news story centers on Finovate alum Lidya, a digital bank based in Nigeria that announced receiving an investment of $8.3 million this week. Lidya, which made its Finovate debut at our fall conference in 2016, helps small and medium-sized businesses quickly secure the financing they need in order to grow and expand.

Companies can build a profile in just five minutes, select the type of loan that works best for them, and secure financing within 24 hours. Lidya’s credit scoring technology, Sardis, leverages machine learning, a proprietary algorithmic model, and an analysis of more than 1,000 data points to build a credit profile and establish creditworthiness.

“A customer repeat rate of over 90% in Nigeria and Europe shows that we are providing the services that SMEs need,” Lidya co-founder and CEO Tunde Kehinde explained. “At the height of the pandemic, we started lending in Europe. It was an important means of financial support for multi-sectoral businesses, including care, groceries and other important sectors. Multi-sectoral businesses. When the world began to emerge from this crisis, we were innovative. We are committed to enabling a strong ecosystem of leading SMEs with our products, unlocking their potential and helping the growing economy rebuild better. “

The pre-Series B Funding round was led by Alitheia Capital (by way of the uMunthu Fund) and featured participation from Bamboo Capital Partners, Accion Venture Lab, and Flourish Ventures. Lidya has operations in Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as Nigeria, and manages a technical team in Portugal. The company has raised a total of $16.5 million.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels