I’d heard Tink’s name long before I first met its co-founders, Daniel Kjellen and Fredrik Hedberg, in their Stockholm office back in 2018. With their roster of impressive banking customers, many of whom I’d built strong relationships with during my years on the board of iZettle, regularly singing their praises for what they were building. As pioneers advocating the benefits of a more open financial system across Europe, they’d founded Tink in 2012 with the sole aim of changing the banking industry for the better.
In turn, I was confident we were standing on the cusp of a new era in financial services. Open banking, from a regulatory and consumer perspective, was — and still is — breaking the banks’ long-held monopoly on customer data, radically altering the entire financial services value chain by putting consumers front-and-centre and offering greater choice and transparency. The fact startups and innovators could build new products and services around long-standing financial institutions, using customer data from the latter to do so, had put us on high alert to find the company that, through best-in-class tech and execution, would win in this space.
And right from that first meeting, I knew that Tink was this business — with a team that already had an impressive track record to prove it.
In the 12 months prior to our meeting they’d seen explosive growth, expanding into eight markets across Europe, trebling monthly transactions across their platform to over 750 million, and increasing their customer base fourfold. It was clear that Tink was quickly becoming the trusted partner to Europe’s banks and fintechs, and building the foundational API and data infrastructure needed to deliver open banking services and products at scale.
So back in 2019 we were incredibly excited to lead their €90m Series D — the largest of any open banking platform in Europe — as well as subsequently co-leading their €85m Series E in 2020 — to support them in turbo-charging their growth. Wholeheartedly believing that ahead of them was a significant opportunity to become a core part of Europe’s financial landscape, by providing the connective rails across the industry, as well as data and analytics products, from automated on-boarding to financial management tools, it so critically needed.
18 months of supercharging growth
Over the last 18 months, Tink has more than delivered on that vision. The team has built Europe’s most robust open banking platform — whilst continuing to meet the ever-changing digital banking needs brought about by a global pandemic — with the broadest, deepest connectivity and services for its customers to create value out of their financial data. Operating across 18 markets, they now connect more than 3,400 banks, reach 250 million underlying bank customers, and power the day-to-day accounts and payments services for more than 300 clients, including top-tier banks such as BNP Paribas, ABN Amro and Nordea, payments giants including PayPal and Amex, through to fast-scaling fintechs like Lydia and Klarna.
It has been my great pleasure and privilege to have supported them to achieve this. So much of which comes down to the incredible vision, drive and star quality of Daniel and Fredrik. Even since our first meeting, I’ve been consistently struck by the way they’ve built Tink into the successful business it is today by combining strategic foresight with a resolute focus on the customer and a sheer ability to execute. And this hasn’t come without its sacrifices: Daniel, Fredrik and I all have young children and, as any parent and founder will know, late-night calls were frequent, which Fredrik would take from his car in the dead of night so as not to keep his family up!
Of course, they’ve had a lot of help along the way. They consistently brought in exceptional talent to add to the teams’ knowledge and capabilities: while we’ve been an investor, the team has almost doubled! And by being founded and headquartered in Stockholm — in my opinion, a centre of European fintech — they’ve been able to draw on the strength of the ecosystem and its entrepreneurial culture, bringing in experienced individuals from fintech leaders, including iZettle, Stripe, Klarna, Bambora, King, and Nokia. And last year, the company appointed industry heavyweight Klaus Holse, CEO of SimCorp, as their Chairman. In partnering with the teams at Heartcore, Insight, Eurazeo and a raft of notable strategic investors, including PayPal, ABN AMRO and BNP Paribas, they also gathered around themselves an extremely strong set of advisors and supporters to ensure, at every step of the way, they were able to build big.
Tink has also employed an impressive acquisition strategy itself, focusing on ways to continually leverage the data the company has collected to build better and more powerful products for consumers. Over the last year the business made four acquisitions, adding to its product suite and talent pool. This in turn has solidified its footprint across the continent, from Spain to the UK — shaping it into a true European fintech titan.
The next chapter in the journey
So today, as Tink signs an agreement to be acquired by Visa in a $2.2bn transaction, we couldn’t be more thrilled to see them find a new home and start the next chapter of their journey. The acquisition is an incredible testament to the determination, vision and hard work of Tink’s team and co-founders, Daniel and Fredrik.
The whole Dawn team has been absolutely thrilled to have been a part of Tink’s success to date. Tink has been our largest investment in fintech since our exit of mobile payments provider iZettle to PayPal in 2018, amazingly also for $2.2bn. Drawing a quick parallel, it is the clear-sightedness and mission-driven approach of both sets of founders — while surrounding themselves with top talent and partners — that stands out as the core tenets of their success.
And as Daniel, Fredrik and their team now continue to build inside Visa, I want to take the moment to thank these open banking pioneers for driving forward an ecosystem that continues to deliver better financial products and experiences for the millions of consumers and businesses across Europe. Transforming the financial experience for every single one of us every day — and I still believe they’re only just getting started.