TransferWise Banks Mega-Round As VC Deal Sizes Inflate

Payments startup TransferWise has raised a $280 million Series E, led by Old Mutual Global Investors and IVP.

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With the new investment, which also included funding from Sapphire Ventures, Japan's Mitsui, and World Innovation Lab, the company is looking to continue its global expansion, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. TransferWise will also use the backing to further develop its Borderless product, which focuses on international payments for businesses and freelance workers.

The huge round, worth more than four times the amount speculated in August, underscores the jump in VC this year in the UK. So far in 2017, $5.8 billion has been invested, more than double last year's total of $2.8 billion, across almost the same number of deals. Here are the top five completed VC investments in UK companies so far this year, per the PitchBook Platform:

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While TransferWise's $280 million doesn't come close to Improbable's $502 million round, the cross-border payments startup's Series E would have comfortably been the UK's top VC investment last year, according to PitchBook data.

Saying that this flies in the face of Brexit would be a stretch—strong companies can land large investments regardless, and the fact that TransferWise is both already profitable and a stalwart in the popular payments sector would put it in that category.

However, a look at the investors indicates once more that Europe's unicorns and unicorns-to-be likely need to look outside of the continent to find backers to finance them. Asset managers Baillie Gifford and Old Mutual were the only UK-based firms to take part in TransferWise's Series E, compared with five US- and Japan-based participants.

Check out the 3Q European Venture Report for our analysis on the continent's lack of late-stage capital.

Article by Sean Lightbown, PitchBook