The 27 Fintech Unicorns, and Where They Were Born
Everyone wants faster, cheaper, and more customized financial services – and since technology now makes this possible, the world is embracing the fintech revolution.
In 2015, investments in fintech nearly doubled to $22.3 billion. And although there were 1,108 deals made, there are only 27 companies that can call themselves unicorns – private companies valued at over $1 billion or more.
Locating the Fintech Unicorns
In total, the world’s fintech unicorns add up to a total valuation of $138.9 billion, and here’s how that is distributed by geography:
|Rest of World||5||$11.5B||$1.8B|
Amazingly, the 27 fintech unicorns have only been born in six countries: United States, China, Sweden, India, the Netherlands, and the UK.
The United States has more than half of all fintech unicorns (14), including nine in Silicon Valley. China has eight unicorns, while the UK has two. Sweden, India, and the Netherlands each have one.
While the U.S. can say it is home to more unicorns, the Chinese ones have far more value so far. The biggest four fintech unicorns worldwide were all born in China: Ant Financial ($60 billion), Lufax ($18.5 billion), JD Finance ($7 billion), and Qufenqi ($5.9 billion). This is because China has more than 500 million smartphone users, with a more evolved market for payments and P2P lending.
Fintech Unicorns by Sub-Sector
Fintech is a broad net that encompasses everything from health insurance apps to robo-advisors. As a result, different sub-sectors within fintech are maturer with more unicorns and success stories (payments, lending), while others do not have any unicorns yet (wealth management, blockchain).
Here are the 27 fintech unicorns, organized by sub-sector:
|Sub-sector||Unicorns||Valuation||% of total|
The biggest fintech startups are in payments and lending, which combine for nearly 80% of the value of all unicorns combined. Meanwhile, all other sub-sectors including insurance, enterprise/SaaS, financial services, and consumer financing add up to roughly 20%.
Will future fintech unicorns follow similar tracks to their predecessors?
The biggest success stories have come from payments and P2P lending, especially in China. Today, however, the Chinese payments market seems pretty hard to crack, with big dogs like Alibaba, JD.com, and Tencent all having their hands in the cookie jar. Recently, P2P lending has also been under scrutiny by regulators in China, and even U.S. lending champions such as Lending Club are having challenges as of late.
Perhaps the next fintech giant will come from somewhere outside of the status quo.
Animation: The Biggest Economies in 2030
By 2030, the complexion of the global economy could look very different. This animation shows how the world’s biggest economies will change over time.
By 2030, the complexion of the global economy could look very different than it does today.
According to recent projections from Standard Chartered, a multinational bank headquartered in London, the next decade will see emerging markets like India and Turkey ascending the global economic ladder to become tomorrow’s powerhouses.
Visualizing the Boom in Emerging Markets
Today’s animation is based on a previous chart of the week we created that shows how economic growth is expected to unfold in the coming years.
View the projected change in rankings for the biggest economies from 2017 to 2030 below:
If the projections used in the above video prove to be accurate, the largest economy in 2030 will be China with $64.2 trillion in GDP after adjusting for purchasing power parity (PPP).
That’s nearly $20 trillion more than India, which will be the second largest by that time.
From Good to Great
While the sheer size of the Chinese economy is certainly an exclamation point, perhaps the more interesting story here is the ascent of developing markets in general.
By 2030, it’s projected that seven of the world’s 10 biggest economies will fall into that category:
|Rank||Country||Proj. GDP (2030, PPP)||GDP (2017, PPP)||% change|
|#1||China||$64.2 trillion||$23.2 trillion||+177%|
|#2||India||$46.3 trillion||$9.5 trillion||+387%|
|#3||United States||$31.0 trillion||$19.4 trillion||+60%|
|#4||Indonesia||$10.1 trillion||$3.2 trillion||+216%|
|#5||Turkey||$9.1 trillion||$2.2 trillion||+314%|
|#6||Brazil||$8.6 trillion||$3.2 trillion||+169%|
|#7||Egypt||$8.2 trillion||$1.2 trillion||+583%|
|#8||Russia||$7.9 trillion||$4.0 trillion||+98%|
|#9||Japan||$7.2 trillion||$5.4 trillion||+33%|
|#10||Germany||$6.9 trillion||$4.2 trillion||+64%|
Over this timeframe, countries like Egypt, China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and Brazil will all see their economies expand with triple-digit growth in PPP terms.
In particular, India’s economy will be buoyed by rapid population growth in its cities, which are some of the fastest-growing urban areas on the planet. At the same time, Egypt’s economy is expected to grow from $1.2 trillion to $8.2 trillion according to the bank – although we would add that this seems quite optimistic.
Finally, developed economies like the United States, Germany, and Japan will keep growing – but just not at the blistering pace of developing countries. If these projections turn out, the Japanese and German economies will round out the list with the #9 and #10 spots, respectively.
Visualizing the World’s Top Plastic Emitting Rivers
Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans – much of it through our river systems. See which rivers are polluting the most.
Visualizing the World’s Top Plastic Emitting Rivers
Every year, approximately eight million metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans – the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic every single minute.
Every plastic fork and bottle cap bobbing along the surface of the ocean has made its way to the ocean from dry land at some point. As it turns out, the hydrological cycle that keeps water circulating around the planet is also an effective means for trash to hitch a ride from our riverside cities to the open ocean.
As today’s unique, vintage-themed map – via John Nelson at ESRI – visualizes the shocking amount of plastic emitted by major rivers in the world.
It would be hard to overstate plastic’s influence on modern life.
Unfortunately, when plastic is finished doing it’s job, only 10% of it ends up being recycled. Instead, much of the 300 million tonnes of plastic produced each year ends up in the ocean, congregating in places like the Pacific Garbage Patch.
Plastic discharge is especially pronounced in large population centers along large rivers – particularly in rapidly urbanizing regions in China, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
Waste management practices are limited to non-existent in many of Asia’s fast-growing urban areas, so it comes as little surprise that 14 to the top 20 plastic emitting rivers are located on that continent.
The mighty Yangtze – China’s largest river – supports a population of over 400 million people and is the most prolific emitter of plastic waste on the planet. Over 1.5 million metric tons of plastic is unleashed into the Yellow Sea from the river each year.
Stemming the Tide
Plastic emissions data makes one point clear – China is the key to decreasing the volume of trash entering our ocean ecosystems.
The good news is that the Chinese government has recognized the problem, mandating garbage sorting in nearly 50 cities and setting a target for at 35% recycling rate by 2020. A positive first step in the battle to stem the tide of plastic entering ocean systems.
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