How Bitpanda became Austria’s first unicorn? 4 secrets to billion dollar growth

Bitpanda Image credits: Bitpanda

The total number of unicorns around the world is erupting! With the transformation into a neobroker, Bitpanda is setting new standards in Europe. The Austrian fintech just got closer to their big goal of being a ‘global player’ with their latest $170 million (nearly £122.5 million) Series B funding.

With this, it became one of Europe’s largest-ever capital raises at the Series B stage and marks Bitpanda out as the country’s first “unicorn” – a firm worth over $1 billion.

The funding round was led by Valar Ventures along with participation from the partners of DST Global. This round comes just six months after the Series A funding of $52 million (nearly £37.5 million). Notably, the company achieved unicorn status with a valuation of $1.2 billion (nearly £0.9 billion).

Eric Demuth, Co-Founder and CEO of Bitpanda, said: “Becoming Austria’s first unicorn is a great achievement, and I’m incredibly proud of the team for everything we have accomplished over the past few years.”

James Fitzgerald, Founding Partner of Valar Ventures, said: “One of the positive changes caused by the pandemic was an increased interest in personal finance. With over 700,000 new users in just six months, we know that people want access to the platform, and we’re excited to bring Bitpanda to every investor in Europe.”

Bitpanda is a Robinhood-like app where you can buy/sell not just digital assets but will soon be able to trade stocks. Established in 2014 by Eric Demuth, Paul Klanschek and Christian Trummer, Bitpanda witnessed profits so far in 2021. Also, its user base has grown from 1.3 million to over 2 million. Recently, the company released its first physical product — Bitpanda Card, a debit card that allows you to spend your investments like cash. Visa facilitates this card.

Massive expansion plans ahead

Already, Bitpanda expanded into France, Spain, Turkey, Italy and Poland in 2020. Now, the company further intends to expand into new European markets. Back in December last year, Bitpanda launched an innovation hub in Krakow to double the workforce. Also, it plans to form tech hubs and offices in Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris and Berlin.

UK plans detailed!

The crypto unicorn has already announced the opening of an office in London. Speaking to UKTN about their plans for the UK, Paul Klanschek, CEO and Co-Founder of Bitpanda says, “We are an Austrian company, meaning we have strong roots in Europe, and this is why the UK is the next logical step.”

He further continues, “Regardless of Brexit, we are committed to providing a solution across borders, with no hard borders between people and their finances. There is a lot of talent in the UK, so our presence will be even higher in the future. The timeline is not set yet; however, we’re pushing forward as fast as possible to open up, and yes, we are already in the process of hiring in London.”

Though the pandemic contributed a lot to the growth of Bitpanda, the company had already laid the foundation for its current success with consistently strong growth.

What did it do, and what can you learn? We ask Klanschek to share the key tactics to success, and here’s what he says.

1. Timing is crucial, we all know that.

“Unlike many startups in the crypto sector, we’ve been here from the early days. The Bitpanda platform scores on the user experience: Our platform is all about ease of use: an easy verification process gives you access to an intuitive, fast and secure investing experience.

By offering services like 24/7 trading, real-time settlement, savings plans, industry-first products and cross-platform compatibility, we have shown a deep understanding of the customer base as well as traditional pain points. We listen to our community and strive for the very best.

This is also why we launched the Bitpanda Card, our first physical product, allowing users to spend any of their assets, be that with crypto, metals, or fiat, as they please.”

2. Neobroker for the mass market investment space

“Given that mission, Bitpanda is going to establish itself as its own brand and make use of the in-house approach to provide the highest quality products. Especially if you’re a scaleup, it’s important to outline a strict workflow and develop corporate ethics from the very beginning. Team spirit is something you’ll never have with an acquired team. People’s relationships influence how products are created and, consequently, the final result.”

3. A solid business model

“A good business model remains essential to every successful organisation – whether it’s a new venture or an established player. A major reason why companies fail is that they don’t have a solid business model that only works with economies of scale.

So in order for them to survive, they need to raise capital. When in turn you should be raising capital not to sustain your business, but to scale it. Bitpanda has been operating profitably and independently for more than four years, and we have strong unit economics.”

4. Top tier VCs

“Scaling up is an expensive task and comes with the necessary tough decision on which VCs to go with. Founders need great venture partners not only to sign the check but to provide good advice, make business connections and provide benchmarks against companies with similar business models in their portfolio.

The most valuable asset the top tier VCs have provided us at Bitpanda is by far networking and advice. This has a huge impact on the business, from attracting top-notch talent in an insanely competitive market, to generating confidence with potential customers and driving further connections.”