Funding Shifts to Insurtech & Regtech as Lenders Get Cold Shoulder

Fintech venture capitals cooled on lending startups in 2016, and turned their attention to two new budding areas —  insurtech and regtech, which even made it into the budget speech of UK chancellor George Osborne last year.

In a recent webinar, CB Insights senior research analyst Matthew Wong, reviewed the surprises that cropped up in an annual review of the numbers globally.

Overall in 2016, enthusiasm waned for fintech, with VC-backed deals dropping by 13% to 836 in total. But they put more money down on fewer deals, translating into a funding drop of just 1% to $12.7 billion, Wong noted.

Some of the changes that surprised Wong:

  • Not a single lender made it into the top 10 fintech deals in 2016; in 3Q 2015, there were $1.4 billion in lending-related deals from companies like SoFi and Kabbage
  • Asia is king of fintech funding, accounting for 43% of all dollars invested globally. The top 10 companies, dominated by China, raised more than $4 billion, excluding Ant Financial
  • InsurTech continues to attract early stage investments with $117 million raised in 30 deals vs $65 million in 39 deals. More striking: In 2012 there was just one investment in an insuretech startup and in 2016 there were 100.
  • Insurance companies are jumping into the VC game, but they aren’t necessarily investing in insurance startups. They are also looking at cybertech and other areas.
  • Blockchain investments slumped. Investors made 132 investments in the area, less than in 2014 and down from the 2015 peak of 18%. But Wong notes consortia and other corporate entities are investing in the blockchain.
  • Brexit didn’t dampen enthusiasm for U.K. startups in the final quarter of 2016. In the final quarter, fintech companies raised $173 million, up from $78 million the previous quarter.
  • In the U.S., early stage investing is hot, with VCs funding $1.2 billion to startups across 231 companies, a 5-year high. But the number of deals dropped by 11% as VCs placed bigger bets on fewer companies.
  • Globally, megarounds — deals in excess of $50 million — were scanter. Europe didn’t see any and the numbers dropped in both North America and Asia.
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