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ClearBank raises £175m led by Apax Digital to accelerate global expansion

By Joy Dumasia

March 21, 2022

  • Apax
  • Apax Digital
  • Clearbank

ClearBank, the largest next-generation clearing and embedded banking platform in the UK, announced a £175 million equity investment. The round was led by funds advised by Apax Digital, the growth equity arm of Apax, a leading global private equity advisory firm. Existing investors, CFFI UK Ventures (Barbados) Ltd and PPF Financial Holdings BV, also participated.

The first new clearing bank in the UK in over 250 years at launch in 2017, 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 £3 billion held in balances at the Bank of England. ClearBank serves more than 200 financial institutions and FinTech customers, including Tide, Coinbase, Chip 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.  

“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,” Charles McManus, CEO at ClearBank, said. “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 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.

“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,” McManus added.

In addition, ClearBank also plans to expand its range of products and services to include direct API-based access to interbank payment schemes such as SEPA, enhanced multi-currency accounts, and additional FX services. These capabilities will allow ClearBank to support existing customers in scaling internationally and welcome new customers 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.

Mark Beith, Partner at Apax Digital, commented: “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. Doing it at scale and while delivering exceptional customer satisfaction is truly special. 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.” 

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