Turkey’s Papara became the country’s first fintech firm to reach unicorn status following a recent deal with Spain’s Beka Finance SV SA.
Beka last week received an undisclosed amount of cash and shares in the Istanbul-based firm in exchange for the acquisition of Papara’s Spanish rival Rebellion, which offers mobile banking services such as money transfers, prepaid cards and cash-back.
“When we gave Beka Finance our shares, they became our shareholders at a price level that valued our company at unicorn level,” Papara founder Ahmed Karsli said in a phone interview, referring to a tech startup with a valuation over $1 billion.
Papara’s unicorn status is particularly significant after a global slump in valuations in global tech assets reached Turkey. Venture capitalists only invested about $111 million in Turkish assets during the first half of this year, according to data from startups.watch, an Istanbul-based industry monitoring group. This compares to the boom years of 2021 and 2022 when investments in Turkish startups reached $1.9 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.
Founded in 2016 as an electronic payments firm, Papara, was growing only on its equity until Beka Finance joined as a partner, according to Birce Ciravoglu, Papara’s M&A and expansion director. This year, it expanded its product offerings beyond core banking services to include pet, home, travel and mobile insurance.
“Papara is the first fintech unicorn startup out of Turkey,” he said in a phone interview. “It has also become one of the leading fintech firms in Europe with 16 million active individual and corporate users,” she said. “I am so excited about this fact.”
The company is in advanced negotiations to buy another European neobank, Ciravoglu said. “Then we can share with the public the exact amount of our valuation,” she said.
Source from: Bloomberg