Revolut revenue grew by 57% in 2020

Fintech startup Revolut has filed some financial results and is sharing details with the press. In 2020, the company reported $361 million in revenue (£261 million) — that’s a 57% increase compared to 2019 revenue of $229 million (£166 million).

Interestingly, those revenue figures have been adjusted to include fair value gains on cryptocurrency assets — it means that Revolut holds some crypto assets on its balance sheet. Revolut made $54 million (£39 million) in fair value gains on cryptocurrency assets.

Gross profit reached $170 million (£123 million) last year. At the same time, the company still reports operating losses. In particular, Q1 2020 was a particularly bad quarter with $76 million (£55 million) in adjusted operating loss.

In 2020, total non-adjusted operating loss reached $277 million (£200.6 million). Like many tech companies, administrative expenses are responsible for this loss. With a staff of 2,200 people, the company spent $367 million (£266 million) on administrative costs alone. But things seem to be improving as you can see:

Image Credits: Revolut

These trends aren’t that surprising as I reported that fintech startups spent most of 2020 focusing on profitability and improving their margins. At the end 2020, Revolut had 14.5 million personal customers and 500,000 companies using Revolut Business.

“As the extraordinary circumstances of 2020 drove the trend towards digital financial management we continued to innovate for customers to make their financial lives easier and accelerate daily use. We launched 24 new retail and business products, expanded into the US, Japan and Australia and launched banking services in Lithuania, all while significantly improving our profitability,” founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky said in a statement. “We began 2021 with a more resilient and productive business that will enhance our trajectory towards rapid growth.”

When you compare Q1 2020 to Q1 2021, things are radically different for the fintech company. Revenue increased by 130% year-over-year and gross profit grew by 300% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021.

Revolut has been launching a ton of products to diversify its sources of revenue. It is increasingly becoming a financial super app with current accounts, debit cards, trading services, insurance products, premium subscriptions, cryptocurrency trading and more.

Interestingly, interchange revenue from card transactions represents a good chunk of the company’s revenue. In 2020, cards and interchange generated $131 million (£95 million) in revenue. Every time a Revolut customer makes a card purchase, the card scheme (Visa or Mastercard) gives back some fees to Revolut. It’s an incredibly small percentage-based fee, but it can add up when you generate millions of purchases.

Foreign exchange and wealth generated $111 million (£80 million) in revenue. That’s another big one. And finally, subscriptions, such as Revolut Plus, Revolut Premium and Revolut Metal, accounted for $104 million (£75 million) in revenue.

Those are three strong pillars that all contribute to the company’s bottom line. They all represent a bit less or a bit more than a third of the company’s overall revenue.

Image Credits: Revolut

While the company has expanded aggressively over the years, the U.K. is still by far its biggest market. In 2020, 88.4% of the company’s (non-adjusted) revenue was related to its activities in the U.K. The European Economic Area without the U.K. represented 10.2% of revenue. The U.S., Japan, Australia and other markets were nearly negligible.

Revolut has also raised a mega round of funding in 2020 — a $500 million Series D round that was extended to $580 million in total. I wouldn’t be surprised if the company launches an initial public offering within the next 12 months.

Mediflash is a freelancer marketplace for health professionals

Meet Mediflash, a new French startup that wants to improve temp staffing in healthcare facilities, such as nursing homes, clinics and mental health facilities. The company positions itself as an alternative to traditional temp staffing agencies. They claim to offer better terms for both caregivers and institutions.

“It costs a small fortune to health facilities while caregivers are paid poorly,” co-founder Léopold Treppoz told me.

Traditional temp staffing agencies hire caregivers and nurses on their payroll. When a facility doesn’t have enough staff, they ask their usual temp staffing agency. The agency finds someone and charges the facility.

“When we started, we thought we would do a temp staffing agency, but more digital, more tech,” Treppoz said. But the startup realized they would face the same issues as regular temp staffing agencies.

Instead, they looked at other startups working on freelancer marketplaces for developers, project managers, marketing experts and more. In France, a few of them have been quite successful, such as Comet, Malt, StaffMe and Brigad — some of them even run a vertical focused on health professionals. But Mediflash wants to focus specifically on caregivers.

Professionals signing up to Mediflash are freelancers. Mediflash only acts as a marketplace that connects health facilities with caregivers. The company says caregivers can expect more revenue — up to 20% — while facilities end up paying less.

Of course, it’s not a fair comparison as temp staffing agencies hire caregivers. As a freelancer, you don’t have the same benefits as a full-time employee. And in particular, you can’t get unemployment benefits.

“But a lot of caregivers say that this isn’t an issue because there is a lot of demand [from health facilities],” Treppoz said. On the platform, you’ll find students in nursing school who want to earn a bit of money, professionals who already have a part-time job looking for additional work as well as full-time substitute caregivers.

Usually, facilities just want someone for three days because they’re running short on staff. Mediflash is well aware that health facilities usually work with one temp staffing agency and that’s it. That’s why the startup has a sales team that has to talk with each facility one by one. Right now, the startup is mostly focused on Metz, Nancy and Strasbourg.

Mediflash recently raised a $2 million funding round (€1.7 million) led by Firstminute Capital. Several business angels are also participating, such as Alexandre Fretti (Malt), Alexandre Lebrun (Nabla), Simon Dawlat (Batch.com) and Marie

Outtier (Aiden.ai, acquired by Twitter).

So far, the company has managed 1,400 substitute days. Mediflash takes a cut on each transaction. The company now plans to expand to other cities all around the country.

Wise announces plans to go public via direct listing

Wise, the fintech company formerly known as TransferWise, has announced that it wants to become a public company on the London Stock Exchange. Instead of following the traditional IPO route, Wise plans to go public via a direct listing. This is going to be the biggest direct listing on the London Stock Exchange.

If you’re not familiar with Wise, the company specializes in cross-border money transfers. If you want to send money to someone living in another country, traditional retail banks charge a lot in foreign exchange fees, foreign transaction fees, etc.

Of course, there are some well-known alternative options, such as Western Union and MoneyGram. While those companies provide some convenient on-ramp and off-ramp methods, they’re still more expensive than Wise.

With Wise, users first upload money to their Wise account using a bank transfer or a debit card. They can then send money in another currency to a recipient’s bank account. The company tries to be as transparent and upfront as possible when it comes to fixed and variable fees.

Originally founded in 2011, Wise has grown quite a lot as its revenue grew from $422 million to $586 million in its most recent financial year (from £303 million to £421 million respectively). It represents $57 million (£41 million) in profit before tax — the company says it has been profitable since 2017.

Overall, Wise has 10 million customers who process around $7 billion (£5 billion) in cross-border transactions every month. More recently, the company diversified its revenue by adding new products.

For instance, customers can hold money in 56 currencies in their Wise accounts. They get account numbers in 10 different currencies as well as a debit card. This feature is particularly useful for freelancers who want to accept payments in another country or people moving abroad for a year or two.

The company has also expanded beyond B2C with Wise Business. Those accounts work a bit like regular Wise accounts, but with multiple users and additional features. Wise also powers cross-border transactions in third-party services, such as Monzo and N26.

Opting for a direct listing is an interesting move. A few companies have chosen direct listings in the U.S., such as Spotify, Coinbase and Slack. It means that you’re confident there’ll be enough interests from investors as banks aren’t helping you with your introduction.

It also means that Wise doesn’t need more money as a direct listing doesn’t let you raise additional capital.

Like many tech companies, Wise plans to introduce a dual-class share structure, which means that all of Wise’s existing shareholders will get more votes per share for a while. This is going to be an important listing for the European fintech scene and also for the British tech ecosystem. Now, let’s see how investors feel about Wise.

Europe’s tech leaders define a strategy to create tech giants

A group of 200 startup founders, investors, associations and government members are backing a manifesto and a set of recommendations in order to create the next wave of tech giants in Europe. Today, French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting an event in Paris with some of the members of this group called Scale-Up Europe.

Companies, investors and associations that signed the manifesto include Alan, Axel Springer, Bpifrance, Darktrace, Deutsche Startups, Doctolib, Eurazeo, Flixbus, France Digitale, Glovo, La French Tech, N26, OVHcloud, Shift Technology, Stripe, UiPath and Wise.

“To achieve all that, I’ll follow your ambition — 10 technology companies that are worth €100 billion or more by 2030,” Macron said.

That’s an ambitious goal — that’s why Scale-Up Europe has laid out a roadmap and is issuing a report. While it is backed by both private actors and public institutions, it could be considered as a sort of lobbying effort for the European Commission and European governments.

There are a handful of key topics in those recommendations. And it starts with funding. In particular, the group thinks Europe is still lagging behind when it comes to late-stage investments. The biggest VC funds aren’t as big as the biggest VC funds in the U.S. or in China.

The French government has been working on a way to foster late-stage funds and investments in public tech companies in France. “On funding, we’ve seen the success of the Tibi initiative at the French level. We think we should follow that model at the European level,” a source close to Macron told me.

It means that Europe should consider using public funding as a multiplier effect for VC funds. The European Investment Fund is already pouring a lot of money in VC funds. But Scale-Up Europe recommends associating private funds of funds, sharing risk and pooling public investment banks for increased collaboration.

The second topic is foreign talent. Some countries already have a tech worker visa. The group thinks it should be standardized across the European Union with some level of portability for social rights.

A couple of years ago, an open letter called “Not Optional” also highlighted some discrepancies with stock option schemes. Today’s report states once again that some governments should adopt more favorable rules with stock options.

The third topic revolves around deep tech startups. According to the report, Europe isn’t doing enough to foster more deep tech startups and investors. Recommendations include standardizing patent transfer frameworks. Those schemes are important if you want to turn a research project into a company. It also says that the European Innovation Council could also take on a larger role in defining a deep tech roadmap.

Scale-Up Europe then highlights some recommendations to improve relationships between big corporations and startups. These are mostly tax breaks, R&D tax benefits and other fiscal incentives. (I’m personally not convinced there will be more European tech giants if we incentivize acquisitions with tax breaks.)

Finally, the group of investors, founders and government members behind Scale-Up Europe think there should be a European tech mission that works a bit like La French Tech in France. This tech mission could clear regulatory hurdles, promote startups and more.

Overall, those recommendations are mostly focused on making it easier to create — and grow — a startup in Europe. Investors as well as startup employees who hold stock options will be quite pleased to see that it’ll be easier to make money quickly. It’ll be interesting to see whether the European Commission reuses some of these recommendations.

To be fair, those are actionable recommendations. And yet, building a tech giant is a complicated task. Tech giants tend to control a large chunk of their tech stack, including in areas such as cloud hosting, payments, analytics, advertising and artificial intelligence.

Many European startups are currently built on APIs, frameworks and platforms that are built in the U.S. or in China. Scale-Up Europe misses the point on this front. Scaling European startups isn’t a gold rush. It’s a long process that requires continuous investments that start from the bottom of the tech stack and moves upward.

Upflow raises $15 million to manage your outstanding invoices

French startup Upflow has raised a $15 million Series A round. The company wants to help you chase late payments. It optimizes how you collect payments from your customers in order to improve your cash-cycle.

Investors in today’s funding round include 9yards Capital, existing investor eFounders, as well as N26 co-founder Maximilian Tayenthal, Uber SVP of Delivery Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, auxmoney co-founder and CEO Raffael Johnen.

People who run a business often tell you that getting paid is a consuming task. When you create an invoice, chances are your customer will wait a few weeks before paying you. Most companies end up with a backlog of outstanding invoices sitting in an Excel spreadsheet.

They keep an eye on their bank account to manually reconcile those payments. And, of course, they often have to send an email or call a customer to tell them that now is the time.

Upflow acts as the central repository to see all your invoices, track payments, communicate with your team and send reminders. But Upflow doesn’t want to replace your existing tools. Instead, the company has built integrations with popular business tools that you’re already using.

For instance, you can connect your Upflow account with QuickBooks, Xero, Netsuite, Chargebee and Stripe Billing. You can charge your clients from your existing invoicing platform. Upflow imports your invoices, clients and payments. When Upflow notices a late payment, you receive a notification and can start sending automated or personalized emails.

The startup also thinks current B2B payment methods are outdated. In the U.S., too many companies still rely on paper checks. In France, copying IBAN information from an email to your bank account can be cumbersome.

When you send an invoice using Upflow, customers get a link with several payment methods. You can connect your Upflow account with Stripe Payments to enable card payments for instance. And the startup is slowly building a network of companies that have used Upflow at some point. 1.5 million companies have interacted with the product — it represents over $1 billion in payments.

“We are on a mission to revolutionize the way that companies get paid. At Upflow, we provide a solution that adds connectivity and clarity to a company's payment and invoicing stack. Where systems were previously closed and disconnected, Upflow's platform enables smooth and clear processes,” co-founder and CEO Alexandre Louisy said in a statement.

With today’s funding round, the company plans to expand to the U.S. Upflow already has a few customers there, such as Lattice, Front and Adikteev, but it’s just a start. The startup will open an office in New York.

Enterprise AI platform Dataiku launches managed service for smaller companies

Dataiku is going downstream with a new product today called Dataiku Online. As the name suggests, Dataiku Online is a fully managed version of Dataiku. It lets you take advantage of the data science platform without going through a complicated setup process that involves a system administrator and your own infrastructure.

If you’re not familiar with Dataiku, the platform lets you turn raw data into advanced analytics, run some data visualization tasks, create data-backed dashboards and train machine learning models. In particular, Dataiku can be used by data scientists, but also business analysts and less technical people.

The company has been mostly focused on big enterprise clients. Right now, Dataiku has more than 400 customers, such as Unilever, Schlumberger, GE, BNP Paribas, Cisco, Merck and NXP Semiconductors.

There are two ways to use Dataiku. You can install the software solution on your own, own-premise servers. You can also run it on a cloud instance. With Dataiku Online, the startup offers a third option and takes care of setup and infrastructure for you.

“Customers using Dataiku Online get all the same features that our on-premises and cloud instances provide, so everything from data preparation and visualization to advanced data analytics and machine learning capabilities,” co-founder and CEO Florian Douetteau said. “We’re really focused on getting startups and SMBs on the platform — there’s a perception that small or early-stage companies don’t have the resources or technical expertise to get value from AI projects, but that’s simply not true. Even small teams that lack data scientists or specialty ML engineers can use our platform to do a lot of the technical heavy lifting, so they can focus on actually operationalizing AI in their business.”

Customers using Dataiku Online can take advantage of Dataiku’s pre-built connectors. For instance, you can connect your Dataiku instance with a cloud data warehouse, such as Snowflake Data Cloud, Amazon Redshift and Google BigQuery. You can also connect to a SQL database (MySQL, PostgreSQL…), or you can just run it on CSV files stored on Amazon S3.

And if you’re just getting started and you have to work on data ingestion, Dataiku works well with popular data ingestion services. “A typical stack for our Dataiku Online Customers involves leveraging data ingestion tools like FiveTran, Stitch or Alooma, that sync to a cloud data warehouse like Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift or Snowflake. Dataiku fits nicely within their modern data stacks,” Douetteau said.

Dataiku Online is a nice offering to get started with Dataiku. High-growth startups might start with Dataiku Online as they tend to be short on staff and want to be up and running as quickly as possible. But as you become bigger, you could imagine switching to a cloud or on-premise installation of Dataiku. Employees can keep using the same platform as the company scales.

Lydia partners with Cashbee to add savings accounts

French startup Lydia is better known as the dominant app for peer-to-peer payments. But the company has been adding more features, such as a debit card, account aggregation, donations, money pots and more. This week, the company is adding savings accounts thanks to a partnership with French fintech startup Cashbee.

If you aren’t familiar with Cashbee, the company lets you open savings accounts through a mobile app. After connecting your bank account with Cashbee, you can transfer money back and forth between your bank account and a savings account.

Right now, Cashbee partners with My Money Bank for the savings accounts. Cashbee doesn’t keep your money, it just acts as a middle person between your bank account and My Money Bank. With those savings accounts, users can expect an interest rate of 0.6% after an introductory rate of 2% for a few months.

Lydia basically offers the same terms and conditions with a few differences. Instead of earning 2% interest for the first three months, Lydia users only earn more interests during the first two months.

The other big difference is that Lydia asks you to put at least €1,000 on your savings account when you open it. If you go through Cashbee’s app, you only have to put €10 or more. But users can do whatever they want after that when it comes to putting some money aside and withdrawing money from the savings account.

But the fact that Cashbee is seamlessly integrated in Lydia is interesting. It’s going to expose Cashbee to a lot more users as Lydia has more than 5 million users. It’s also an important features if Lydia wants to become a financial super app.

This savings feature competes with Livret A, the most prevailing savings account in France. Everybody can open a Livret A in a retail bank. You get an interest rate of 0.5% net of taxes. On paper, 0.6% is better than 0.5%. But Cashbee’s savings accounts aren’t net of taxes.

If you’re a student and don’t pay any taxes, that’s a better deal. But many people pay 30% in taxes on accrued interests, which means that you end up earning 0.42% in interests net of taxes with a Cashbee account.

But it’s hard to beat the simplicity of Lydia’s solution here. For instance, you can save up to €1,000,000 on your savings account while the Livret A is limited to €22,950. In other words, if you’re already using Lydia to send, receive and spend money, you might want to check out those savings accounts.

Ledger raises $380 million for its crypto hardware wallet

French startup Ledger has raised a $380 million Series C funding round led by 10T Holdings. Following today’s funding round, the company has reached a valuation of $1.5 billion.

Other investors in the funding round include existing investors Cathay Innovation, Draper Associates, Draper Dragon, Draper Esprit, DCG, Korelya Capital and Wicklow Capital. Some new investors are joining the round, such as Tekne Capital, Uphold Ventures, Felix Capital, Inherent, Financière Agache and iAngels Technologies.

Ledger’s main product is a hardware wallet to manage your crypto assets. They are shaped like USB keys and feature a tiny screen to confirm transactions on the device. The reason why that screen is important is that your private keys never leave your Ledger device.

In other words, if you want to store large amount of cryptocurrencies, you don’t want to leave them on an exchange account. If someone manages to sign in, they could withdraw all your crypto assets. With a hardware wallet, you remain in control of your crypto assets.

The company first launched the Ledger Nano S. You have to connect the device to a computer using a USB cable. More recently, with the Ledger Nano X, you can send and receive assets from your phone as the Nano X works over Bluetooth. Ledger also provides an enterprise solution for companies that want to add cryptocurrencies to their balance sheet.

Overall, Ledger has sold over 3 million hardware wallets. Every month, 1.5 million people use Ledger Live, the company’s software solution to manage your crypto assets. The company even says that it currently secures around 15% of all cryptocurrency assets globally.

It hasn’t been a smooth ride as the company has been around for seven years. After the crypto boom of 2018, interests for hardware wallets faded away. Moreover, as the company secures expensive assets, it has also suffered from a serious data breach — 272,000 customers have been affected.

With today’s funding round, the company plans to launch new products, add more DeFi features to Ledger Live and support the growth of the crypto ecosystem in general.

Macron says G7 countries should work together to tackle toxic online content

In a press conference at the Élysée Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his focus on online regulation, and more particularly toxic content. He called for more international cooperation as the Group of Seven (G7) summit is taking place later this week in the U.K.

“The third big topic that could benefit from efficient multilateralism and that we’re going to bring up during this G7 summit is online regulation,” Macron said. “This topic, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it again, is essential for our democracies.”

Macron also used that opportunity to sum up France’s efforts on this front. “During the summer of 2017, we launched an initiative to tackle online terrorist content with then Prime Minister Theresa May. At first, and as crazy as it sounds today, we mostly failed. Because of free speech, people told us to mind our own business, more or less.”

In 2019, there was a horrendous mass mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. And you could find multiple copies of the shooting videos on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Macron invited New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, several digital ministers of the G7 and tech companies to Paris.

They all signed a nonbinding pledge called the Christchurch Call. Essentially, tech companies that operate social platforms agreed to increase their efforts when it comes to blocking toxic content — and terrorist content in particular.

Facebook, Twitter, Google (and YouTube), Microsoft, Amazon and other tech companies signed the pledge. 17 countries and the European Commission also backed the Christchurch Call. There was one notable exception — the U.S. didn’t sign it.

“This strategy led to some concrete results because all online platforms that signed it have followed through,” Macron said. “Evidence of this lies in what happened in France last fall when we faced terrorist attacks.” In October 2020, French middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was killed and beheaded by a terrorist.

“Platforms flagged content and removed content within an hour,” he added.

Over time, more countries and online platforms announced their support for the Christchurch Call. In May, President Joe Biden joined the international bid against toxic content. “Given the number of companies incorporated in the U.S., it’s a major step and I welcome it,” Macron said today.

But what comes next after the Christchurch Call? First, Macron wants to convince more countries to back the call — China and Russia aren’t part of the supporters for instance.

“The second thing is that we have to push forward to create a framework for all sorts of online hate speech, racist speech, anti-semitic speech and everything related to online harassment,” Macron said.

He then briefly referred to French regulation on this front. Last year, French regulation on hate speech on online platforms has been widely deemed as unconstitutional by France’s Constitutional Council, the top authority in charge of ruling whether a new law complies with the constitution.

The list of hate-speech content was long and broad while potential fines were very high. The Constitutional Council feared that online platforms would censor content a bit too quickly.

But that doesn’t seem to be stopping Macron from backing new regulation on online content at the European level and at the G7 level.

“It’s the only way to build an efficient framework that we can bring at the G20 summit and that can help us fight against wild behavior in online interactions — and therefore wild behavior in our new world order,” Macron said, using the controversial ‘wild behavior’ metaphor (ensauvagement). That term was first popularized by far-right political figures.

According to him, if world leaders fail to find some common grounds when it comes to online regulation, it’ll lead to internet fragmentation. Some countries may choose to block several online services for instance.

And yet, recent events have showed us that this ship has sailed already. The Nigerian government suspended Twitter operations in the country just a few days ago. It’s easy to agree to block terrorist content, but it becomes tedious quite quickly when you want to moderate other content.

Yousign raises $36.6 million to build a European alternative to DocuSign

French startup Yousign has raised a $36.6 million Series A funding round (€30 million). Lead Edge Capital is leading the round and eFounders is investing once again in the company. Yousign, as the name suggests, is an e-signature provider that complies with European regulation on digital signatures.

While the company was originally founded in 2013, Yousign teamed up with startup studio eFounders in 2019. Following this deal, eFounders has become a key shareholders and a strategic partner.

Things have changed quite a lot since then as the e-signature market has grown tremendously. You may be familiar with DocuSign, Adobe Sign, SignNow, HelloSign and a bunch of other players. But none of them have been designed for the European market from the ground up.

Yousign wants to become the European alternative to these American companies. More specifically, the startup thinks it can convince small and medium companies that aren’t using an e-signature solution yet. Instead of asking DocuSign customers to switch, Yousign wants to convert new customers to e-signatures.

“Faced with American giants with large scopes and complex products, we have built a solution that is accessible and easy to use, allowing SMBs to sign their first documents within the hour, and not a month” Yousign co-founder and CEO Luc Pallavidino said in a statement.

Yousign is a certification authority and complies with eIDAS — a European framework for e-signatures. It means that signatures are legally binding and the service archives your documents in partnership with Arkhineo.

Like other e-signature services, you can create document templates, approval workflows and reminders. Yousign makes sure the right person is signing the document with strong authentication processes and all events are timestamped. It’s a SaaS product, which means you have to pay a subscription fee to access the service.

With today’s funding round, Yousign wants to reach 50,000 European SMBs by 2024 — it has 6,000 clients today. That would represent an annual recurring revenue of $85 million (€70 million). In 2020 alone, the company grew drastically from 35 to 120 employees. The startup now plans to hire 150 additional employees over the next 18 months.