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The Rise of Challenger Banks

The global digital banks are rising, and they are making real progress. According to Fortune, “This year, these so-called challenger banks have already raised a total of $4.6 billion across 101 deals—and are on pace to break the record $5.3 billion they pulled in during 2019.” Simply, there is a huge opportunity for these banks in Nigeria and broad Africa.

Big investors are backing online banks more than ever, betting that these upstarts' low overhead and nimble technology stacks will let them keep grabbing customers from traditional financial institutions. This year, these so-called challenger banks have already raised a total of $4.6 billion across 101 deals—and are on pace to break the record $5.3 billion they pulled in during 2019.

These figures, set out in a new report by CB Insights, reflect in part a series of massive bets on the likes of Chime, which recently raised a $485 million Series F round that valued the online bank at $14.5 billion. The popularity of challenger banks among venture and private equity firms is reflected in this chart:

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