Fintech funding fell by 42% in 2023 because of a combination of economic and geopolitical challenges. These included rising interest rates, elevated inflation the Ukraine-Russia war and upheavals in the Middle East. During this time, the industry also experienced declining valuations and a grim exit landscape in turbulent markets. 

Despite these hurdles, certain deals stood out, indicating investor confidence in selecting ventures that promise innovation, scalability, and market leadership. Here are the top 10 fintech companies worldwide that attracted significant investment, highlighting the resilience and adaptability of the sector in times of economic uncertainty and market volatility. 

• Stripe Secures $6.5 billion to cover employee tax obligations, AI operations
• Investree expands to Middle East
• Notable fintech financing rounds in 2023

Stripe secures $6.5 billion in Series I round

In 2023, US-based payments processor Stripe successfully secured over $6.5 billion in its Series I funding round. Co-founder and president John Collison said: “The capital was not essential for operational purposes but would instead facilitate liquidity for current and former employees by allowing them to monetise the value they contributed to building the company.” This would cover employee withholding tax obligations related to equity awards. 

The funding round attracted contributions from long-standing investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford, and General Catalyst. New backers such as  Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and Goldman Sachs Asset and Wealth Management also participated. Stripe, recognised for enabling over 100 businesses to process more than $1 billion each annually, plans to use the fresh funds to expand its operations to mobile marketplaces and initiatives in artificial intelligence (AI).

Stripe has entered a partnership with OpenAI to enhance its financial operations and regulatory compliance across the rising AI sector. Specifically, this entails the integration of GPT-4 technology into Stripe offerings and assist in monetising OpenAI’s ChatGPT. 

Investree expands operations to Middle East 

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending platform Investree secured $231 million in a Series D financing round. This was spearheaded by JTA International in Qatar, alongside contributions from SBI Holdings, a Japanese online financial conglomerate that had also participated in Investree’s Series B and C rounds. Following this round, Investree and JTA inaugurated a joint venture in Doha, Qatar, called JTA Investree Doha Consultancy. 

This new venture will be a vehicle for Investree’s expansion into the Middle East, offering digital lending services and AI-powered credit scoring for small and medium-sized enterprises. Since its inception in Jakarta in 2015, Investree has demonstrated significant growth, enabling it to raise $23.5 million in a Series C round in 2020, led by MUFG Innovation Partners and BRI Ventures. This enabled Investree to broaden its services and geographical footprint.

Notable fintech financing rounds in 2023

Stripe’s financing round emerged as the most noteworthy, capturing significant investor interest despite the fintech funding downturn. Following closely was Blackstone’s $400 million investment in ESG-commodities marketplace Xpansiv that gave it a one-third stake in the company. This funding, part of $525 million raised by Xpansiv, is meant to support the company’s growth and facilitate strategic acquisitions. Post-funding, Xpansiv was valued at $1.2 billion. The investment, structured as a term loan that will convert to equity, will be used by Xpansiv to enhance its platforms in US and Australia that trade in sustainable assets like carbon offsets and renewable energy credits.

Clear Street, aiming to modernise capital markets infrastructure, secured $270 million in a Series B funding round’s second tranche, valuing the company at $2 billion. Led by Prysm Capital, this funding brought the total Series B funding to $435 million. Launched in 2018 to replace outdated capital markets systems, Clear Street developed a cloud-native platform for prime brokerage and clearing, aiming to serve around 200 institutional and numerous smaller trading entities. The funding will be used to enhance this platform, focusing on reducing risk and operational costs while expanding its services for US equities and options. Clear Street’s strategy is to replace inefficient legacy systems, thereby optimising capital market operations on a global scale.