ClearBank, the largest next generation clearing and embedded banking platform in the UK, today 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 new investment will accelerate ClearBank’s global expansion of its clearing and embedded banking offering, initially in Europe before moving into North America and Asia Pacific.
The first new clearing bank in the UK in over 250 years at launch in 2017, ClearBank is the only next generation payments provider with direct access to all banking payment schemes in the UK (e.g. Faster Payments, BACS, CHAPS). As a regulated bank, ClearBank manages transactions end-to-end from order transmission to settlement, liquidity management and clearing.
As a leading supplier of embedded banking services in the UK, ClearBank provides over 13 million accounts to the customers of leading financial brands. ClearBank is the only platform providing bank accounts, with FSCS deposit protection, at scale, bringing embedded banking services to the mass market. This product offering is complimented by a range of related value-added services, including FX and multi-currency accounts
Unlike other providers with legacy systems, ClearBank’s end-to-end offering of regulated financial services is accessed via a single API to a powerful cloud-native software platform, which delivers greater speed, efficiency, and ease-of-use. It also enables innovation, including settling payments between customers on the ClearBank platform instantaneously, removing friction and lowering cost.
As a truly cloud native bank, the platform offers a new paradigm in resilience, with industry-leading uptime with no downtime for maintenance, unlimited scalability and elasticity, and triple real-time redundancy. Operationally, ClearBank has built a financially sustainable and highly scalable, low risk, business model, with all its £3bn of deposits held securely at the Bank of England, providing complete peace of mind.
ClearBank has seen tremendous growth and has been recognised as the #1 fastest growing tech company in Deloitte’s 2021 UK Technology Fast 50 awards together with the 2021 Card & Payments Award for Best Service.
This impressive combination has led to a customer base of over 200 financial institutions and fintechs, including Tide, Coinbase, Chip and Oaknorth Bank. ClearBank is also 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 SMEs.
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.
Charles McManus, CEO at ClearBank, 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. 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.”
ClearBank was advised by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. The investment remains subject to PRA and FCA approval.