ClearBank raises £175 million led by Apax Digital
ClearBank, the largest next-generation clearing and embedded banking platform in the UK, today announced a £175 million equity investment. The round was led and managed by funds advised Apax DigitalApax is the global private equity firm’s growth equity arm. Participants included CFFI UK Ventures Ltd (Barbados), as well as PPF Financial Holdings BV (Palmados). The first new clearing bank in the UK in over 250 years at launch in 2017, today ClearBank is the only embedded banking platform delivering direct access to all UK bank payment schemes and providing bank accounts at scale — including FSCS deposit protection, with 13 million accounts and £3bn held in balances at the Bank of England. ClearBank today serves more than 200 fintech customers and financial institutions, such as Chip, Tide and Oaknorth Bank. This rapid growth was acknowledged by Deloitte’s 2021 Technology Fast 50 awards which ranked ClearBank as the fastest growing fintech company in the UK. The investment will accelerate ClearBank’s global ambition to power banking services for both financial institutions and non-financial brands, using its single API cloud-native embedded banking platform. The new investment will accelerate ClearBank’s global expansion, initially to Europe before moving into North America and Asia Pacific. ClearBank plans to increase its product and service offerings to include API-based access via API to interbank payment systems such as SEPA and enhanced multi-currency account. ClearBank’s new capabilities will enable it to assist existing customers in scaling international and welcome new clients in multiple markets. As the growth arm of global private equity advisory firm Apax, the Apax Digital team leverages the firm’s deep tech investing expertise, diverse global platform, and specialised operating experts, to enable technology companies to reach their full potential. ClearBank CEO Charles McManus said: “ClearBank is the first proven and fully regulated cloud-native clearing bank in the UK for over 250 years. Over the last five years we have demonstrated the success of our business model and through our work with leading financial service providers, helped to both unlock their potential and bring about positive and meaningful change for UK businesses and consumers.” “Our revenue growth is the proof of the momentum we have been gathering since 2017. It is this proof point and our transformative effect on access to banking services, traditionally a space characterised by high barriers to entry, which has given us the credibility to partner with and deliver seamless and secure embedded banking for award winning financial institutions, powerful fintech disrupters and government bodies alike.” “The next challenge is delivering this innovation globally. To achieve this, we needed a strategic partner with the right cultural fit, sector expertise and geographic experience, something we found in Apax Digital.” Mark Beith, Partner at Apax Digital, said: “All companies are becoming fintech companies, and ClearBank is providing the clearing and embedded banking infrastructure for them — starting with fintechs themselves. We’ve seen the power of its platform first-hand, and we are excited to partner with Charles and the existing shareholders to take ClearBank global.” Niccolo Ferragamo, Principal at Apax Digital, added: “Combining a banking license with a modern, agile and scalable embedded banking infrastructure is hard. It is rare to do it well and deliver exceptional customer service. ClearBank has been quietly building the clear next generation leader in the UK on all key metrics, and we are thrilled to continue innovating the category together.” ClearBank is the only financial services provider to be awarded two grants, totalling £85 million, from the Banking and Competition Remedies (BCR) fund in delivering competition and innovation to UK SME’s. ClearBank was advised and managed by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. ClearBank remains subject to PRA/FCA approval.