Monday 8 March 2021 6:52 am

Starling Bank secures unicorn status with £272m funding round

Starling Bank today confirmed it has raised £272m in its largest ever funding round, confirming its status as Britain’s newest unicorn.

The digital bank raised the funds in a series D round led by Fidelity Management and Research.

The Qatar Investment Authority, Railpen — the investment manager for the £31bn Railways Pension Scheme — and global investment firm Millennium Management also contributed to the round.

The cash injection, which is significantly higher than the target of £200m, gives the company a pre-money valuation of £1.1bn. A unicorn is any privately held company with a valuation of more than £1bn.

Starling said the funding would help to support its growth, with the cash set to be deployed to support expansion in the UK, as well as to launch the bank in Europe and for anticipated acquisitions.

It comes as the challenger bank booked its fourth consecutive month of profit, putting it on course to report its first full year in the black by the end of its next financial year.

TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2018 - Day 2
EO of Starling Bank Anne Boden in 2018 (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Anne Boden, founder and chief executive, said: “Digital banking has reached a tipping point. Customers now expect a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past and that is what we are giving them at Starling as we continue to grow and add new products and services. 

“Our new investors will bring a wealth of experience as we enter the next stage of growth, while the continued support of our existing backers represents a huge vote of confidence.”

Since launching in 2017 Starling has grown to more than 2m accounts, including more than 300,000 small business accounts.

Its gross lending now exceeds £2bn, while deposits have reached more than £5.4bn.

Rothschild acted as exclusive financial adviser while Norton Rose Fulbright served as legal adviser on the funding round.

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