Chime raises $750 million, earns big jump in valuation as another fintech moves closer to IPO
13 Aug 2021
Chime CEO Chris Britt
Chime has raised a new $750 million Series G round of funding that values the fintech company at $25 billion — $10 billion higher than its last reported valuation of $15 billion from October 2020, according to PitchBook data.
Chime, a so-called “challenger bank” known for fee-free banking, early paydays for those who direct-deposit their earnings, and a feature that lets users go negative in their accounts without overdraft fees, intends to invest the new capital in scaling operations, as well as launching new products and services, according to the company.
It, along with Square‘s Cash App and a few other players, have become viral hits for their ease of use — especially throughout the pandemic, when many avoided going to branch banks and pivoted to online banking services. As a result, the San Francisco-based company more than tripled its transaction volume and revenue last year.
Last week, Square said it’s spending $29 billion in stock on Afterpay in one of the biggest tech deals ever.
Primary investors in Chime’s latest round include SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic, Tiger Global and Dragoneer Investment Group. It also positions the company for a potential IPO in the first half of next year, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Chime crossed over into being profitable on an EBITDA basis during the pandemic, co-founder and CEO Chris Britt told CNBC last September. The company is adding hundreds of thousands of accounts a month, he said at the time, but declined to say how many total users it has.
Amazingly, Chime — whose name is meant to evoke a calming sound — was valued at a mere $1.5 billion in early 2019, just two years ago. Founded in 2012, the company’s story shows just how rapid start-ups can scale if the product fit is compelling.
In the public market, fintech earnings are staggering. Earlier this week, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase reported a 12-fold increase in revenue from a year earlier to $2.23 billion. Not to be outdone, online lender Upstart Holdings said revenue climbed 11-fold from a year ago to $194 million.
In the private market, fintech companies are attracting massive valuations as well. According to research and analytics firm CB Insights, eight of 20 most-valuable private tech companies are in financial services.
Earlier this year, payments technology provider Stripe raised its own nine-figure round of funding, becoming the most valuable private fintech company in the world. Chime’s latest raise boosts its standing to the third most valuable behind Swedish “buy-now-pay-later” firm Klarna, valued at $45.6 billion following a June financing round that was also led by SoftBank.