🚀 Russian and 🇺🇦 Ukrainian FinTechs

Updated: Mar 3

🇷🇺Russia’s recent invasion of 🇺🇦 Ukraine is the most significant since World War II. In light of this tragic and unnecessary turn of events, we look at 🚀 Russian and Ukrainian FinTechs, and how the two countries’ financial sectors will be impacted.


🇷🇺 Russian FinTechs


Tinkoff

Number of customers: 18m

Valuation: $6.3bn

Founded in 2006 by Oleg Tinkov, this Neo-bank is based in Moscow, it is the fourth most valuable Neo-bank in the world, just behind Nubank, Revolut and Chime. It has been profitable since 2009, and has undoubtedly contributed to the huge 84% FinTech penetration rate in Russia, far above the global average at 64%.



Source: Tinkoff Lifestyle Banking Report


Challenger banks have demonstrated their ability to make complex financial products simple and accessible to everyday consumers, and Tinkoff stands out as one of the most profitable and highly valued among these fintech trailblazers, according to C-Innovation’s comparative analysis of 80 Digital Banks from around the world.





On the 16th of February, Tinkoff also launched digital mortgage loans, a Russian first. The company, similar to Revolut, considers itself a super app, providing a plethora of services designed to meet almost any financial, leisure or lifestyle need the customer may have.



Source: Tinkoff Lifestyle Banking Report

Source: Tinkoff Lifestyle Banking Report


However, since the invasion, Tinkoff’s London listing is down 43%, and we hope that the consequences which SWIFT sanctions have had on the rouble won't interfere with its plans to receive a bank license in the Philippines.


YooMoney

Number of customers: 18m

Funding: €19.2mn (RUB2.4bn)

YooMoney is an electronic payment service in Russia, offering a fast, reliable way for online businesses to collect customer payments. The company is now owned by Sberbank, but was originally founded by Europe’s leading IT company, Yandex. YooMonedy accepts bank cards, e-wallets, mobile phone balances and cash via payment kiosks.

Sberbank has been targeted for sanctions, which will likely reduce the number of YooMoney transactions, and particularly its offices in Europe. Sberbank has also suffered a sudden and damaging loss in liquidity as people rush to withdraw their funds due to sanctions.

PayReverse

Number of customers: 10m (includes Sberbank Telecom, Gazprombank, TNT Club)


The company offers cashback services to companies who wish to also cut online purchase costs for their customers by 30%. The platform provides a win-win solution for both company and client, as it also helps the company to increase customer loyalty, collect data and create new opportunities for acquisition and growth. Merchants which offer cashback offers include Ebay, Yves Saint Laurent, Airbnb, Samsung and KFC.


PayReverse’s international partnerships risk changing since sanctions will be affecting international payments. Not only this, but Sberbank Telecom was PayReverse’s first commercial client back in 2017.


🇺🇦 Ukrainian FinTechs


As for financial institutions, there are 150 FinTechs based in Ukraine. In 2016, UNIT.City was founded and became Kiev’s entrepreneurship and research ecosystem. 140 businesses are based here.


Later, in June 2018, the NGO 'Ukrainian Association of FinTech and Innovation Companies’ was founded with the goal to foster the development of the domestic FinTech market and encourage financial inclusion in the country. Over half of these companies have already expanded to overseas markets, despite the majority being less than three years old.


Unfortunately, just as the country began to recover from the pandemic, Russia’s invasion has caused Ukraine’s local currency, the hryvnia, to drop to a four-year low against the dollar. Not only this, but Ukrainian authorities suspect Russia to be behind a number of cyberattacks which suspended websites of major Ukrainian banks and the defense ministry for several hours. These tensions have been boiling for a number of months now, and cybersecurity startups have seen a $2bn increase in funding compared to last February, according to Crunchbase.


Source: https://fintechua.org/en/market-map


Sekurno

Founders: Demyd Maiornykov and Alex R.


Founded in Estonia in 2019 and headquartered in Kiev, this 10-person company provides services on a subscription model basis. Each member is a highly experienced cybersecurity engineer and/or compliance expert, and often look at threat and attack simulations with their clients to better prepare for the real-life scenario. The company also provides their client’s personnel with training sessions in order to prepare for cyberattacks.


Monobank

Valuation: $1bn

Founders: Oleg Gorokhovskyi, Misha Rogalskiy, Dima Dubilet


The first neo-bank founded in Ukraine has been operating since 2017 and counts over 4 million customers. To put this into perspective, about 10% of Ukraine’s entire population uses Monobank, which allows them to use UAH, USD and EUR in their accounts. Similar to neo-banks of Western Europe, it offers business accounts, children’s accounts, overdraft features, P2P payments, and more.

One of our favourite features that sets it apart from others is the very generous cash back feature, which returns up to 20% of your expenses from two chosen categories. The founders are also responsible for launching The Credit Thing. (previously Koto) in the UK, a startup which provides loans for entrepreneurs and the self-employed with irregular income.


YayPay by Quadient

Cost of acquisition by Quadient: €17m

Founders: Anthony Venus and Eugene Vyborov


The company provides cloud-based, automated AR services to over 3,000 businesses with an already-established accounting team. These services include real time credit ratings so that the customer’s buying power can be adapted accordingly, as well as flexible payments through the YayPay app. The company’s headquarters are in New York, whilst its tech team is still based in Ukraine.

Moneyveo

Funding: €820K

The company provides loans to customers in under 2 minutes. According to the website, it is the leader in online instant loans in Ukraine since its founding 6 years ago. Its goal is to provide emergency financial assistance without obliging clients to make visits to offices and wait a long time for approval.

Kuna

Value / day of transactions: $3m

Founder: Michael Chobanian


Founded by a Ukranian, it is the first crypto exchange in Ukraine and the CIS region, certified in the UK and providing services to countries in the European Union, but also Armenia, Belarus and the Russian Federation, to name a few. It has over 300,000 users. The company is currently developing its very own stable coin pegged to the Ukrainian hryvnia. This might pose some challenges since the hryvnia just lost about 6% of its value in the last month.


Since the invasion, however, people have been increasingly moving their money to cryptocurrency. On Thursday, an NGO that supports the Ukrainian military received $675,000 in Bitcoin, which became $3.4 million on Friday. Michael Chobanian comments that cryptocurrency is hugely attractive to Ukrainians at this time because “We don’t trust the government. We don’t trust the banking system. We don’t trust the local currency.”


The takeaway:


FinTechs will be seeking global expansion even more so now that Ukraine’s domestic economy has worsened, yet enough funds to compete at an international level may no longer be available as the currency depreciates and inflation increases from fears of invasion and supply chain blocks.

Senior economist at Barings Investment Institute, Matteo Cominetta, claims that the sudden depreciation of the hryvnia is exactly the opposite of what central banks wanted in order to control this inflation, and that reserves will have to be used to prop up the currency.


As for the Russian FinTech sector, the future is grim. SWIFT sanctions will affect not only the largest banks and government, but also all of the private companies which use these banks to complete transactions (such as YooMoney), or those that rely on these banks for partner/customer acquisition (such as PayReverse).


For both countries, the local currency has taken a hit, which may be the trigger for yet another crypto boom as people look to safeguard their savings. In Russia’s case, a migration towards crypto will also be a solution to bypassing some of the sanctions. New tools developed in Russia can mask the origin of blockchain transactions, which will allow Russia to continue trade with other countries undetected. North Korea has already set an example for this, as it used ransomware to steal cryptocurrency, which was then used to fund its nuclear program. Iran too has mitigated the effects of Western sanctions through cryptocurrency, despite losing 30% of foreign trade once it was kicked out of SWIFT.


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