By Bernard Lunn
Monitise (stock symbol MONI.L) is the sad story of near death experience of UK Fintech’s first poster boy.
Monitise is a publicly traded Fintech (MONI.L). We do not include them in our Daily Fintech Index because they fail to meet our $300m minimum market cap threshold.
Peak share price was $80. At time of writing it is below $3. Ouch! At peak Monitise was a Unicorn – big deal unless you sold shares at that price.
Three big takeaways from this story:
- Great technology in a hot market is not enough. Mobile money is hot and Monitise tech was – by all accounts – top notch.
- White label B2B has been a favored low risk strategy but there is a reason that B2C ventures that succeed are more highly rated. B2B2C works ie you have a consumer brand but you also get distribution through partners (this is the kind of market development work we do at Daily Fintech Advisers).
- Snapshot valuation is meaningless. This also applies to private company valuation. The difference is that you cannot short or easily sell private company stock. So you see a headline that says Company x raised money at $1 billion and 6 months later you have no idea if it is worth $100m (ouch) or $2 billion (pop the champagne). That is why I do not celebrate a Unicorn until I see either an IPO or a trade sale.
UK Fintech still lacks a poster boy. This matters. Without a big success (in real terms, realized cash on cash from an exit), people will talk about hype and bubble.
Silicon Valley open sourced its core intellectual property. You can get the startup manual on many sites and the combination of open source, cloud and APIs made building that Minimum Viable Product easy, quick and cheap. So the puck moved to scale ups as Reid Hoffman describes so well in this post.
StartUps are easy, ScaleUps are hard.
A few weeks ago I declared London the winner in the Fintech Capital of the World ranking. That was premature. In terms of buzz and activity and conferences, London certainly wins as I can attest after having just come back from London. In a few weeks in Singapore I will be moderating a panel at SIBOS about Fintech Hubs and plan to reissue this Fintech Capital Index with some new data points before then.
As the old saying goes “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.
It is hard to weight the disruptive innovation that San Francisco/Silicon Valley is known for. San Francisco was not known for transportation expertise before totally changing the industry through Uber.
Which UK company will be the first to get to IPO at a valuation over $1 billion? The candidates that are often mentioned include:
Who have I missed?
The one thing that would make a big difference to London’s Fintech Capital status is a big win on the London public market (a subject we explored in this post). The big Fintech winners in London have to head to New York to do an IPO on NASDAQ or NYSE. That must put London at a disadvantage. The Monitise story will sadly make public investors wary of a Fintech story in UK unless it is backed by very good numbers.
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