Greater Boston Fintech Startups Raised $3.8 Billion in 2021

I follow roughly 165 active fintech (insurtech, regtech, etc.) startups headquartered in Greater Boston which, by my definition, runs from Portland to Providence and as far west as Springfield. The number hasn’t changed much since 2020 despite the higher-than-usual number of exits last year (see below), which means fintech startup formation in the area is continuing apace. 

2021 was a record-breaking year for Boston’s fintechs in many ways. Over 60 local fintechs raised more than $2.7 billion in equity from angels, VCs, private equity investors, and strategic sources — easily more than double the amount raised in any prior year. Even without Devoted Health’s $1.15 billion round, the amount raised was unprecedented. Approximately 35% of local fintechs raised capital last year, a figure that had held steady at about 20% for several years.

This is in addition to more than a billion raised from public markets in traditional IPOs. In May, Flywire {FLYW} sold 10.4 million shares at $24 a piece to raise $250.6 million. The company’s valuation was about $2.4 billion at the time. The stock popped immediately afterward and remained above its IPO price. Flywire had also raised $60 million in March, prior to the IPO (included below).

In September, Toast {TOST} sold 21.7 million shares at $40 per share raising approximately $870 million and valuing the company at close to $20 billion. As of this writing, the share price is slightly below the offering price.

(Circle has announced plans to go public via a SPAC merger with Concord Acquisition Corp (CND) at a $4.5billion valuation. The transaction was supposed to close by year-end, but I’ve seen no news. Circle did raise $440 million in a private equity round of funding from institutional and strategic investors earlier in the year, which is also included below.)

Of great interest is the impact these IPOs will have on the availability of capital to future startups in the ecosystem. Will executives cashing out from these companies use their new-found liquidity to fund the next round of ideas from local fintech entrepreneurs, creating a virtuous circle? One can certainly hope. The emergence of a new group of deep-pocketed, experienced operators as fintech angels would certainly have a salutary effect. It’s an element the region has been missing.

The Boston fintech ecosystem continued to strengthen in 2021.

What is a Greater Boston Fintech?

Keeping track of the comings and goings of Greater Boston fintech startups increasingly raises existential questions. For example, what is a fintech? It’s easy to joke that every company is a fintech company because many software firms are incorporating financial services, often payments, into what they offer. Embedded fintech blurs the boundaries. In addition, we’re seeing a lot of innovation at the intersection of fintech and other industries, particularly healthcare. 

And, what does it mean to be based in Greater Boston? I try to cast a wide net. COVID accelerated a trend toward distributed workplaces, so determining where a startup is headquartered is increasingly a judgement call. I do exclude subsidiaries of fintechs with headquarters elsewhere. But if a CEO lives in or relocates to Boston, or most of the team remains in the area after a founder decamps for a West Coast city with smokier air, I will tend to include the company they run. 

What happens when companies clearly move? Catch relocated to Manhattan over the summer in search of higher rents, but their Series A was raised while still in Boston and was raised based on the progress they’d made while in Boston, so I included them on this year’s list.

Here are the 2021 angel, venture, and private equity funding rounds I tallied (including four for which the dollar amount was not disclosed):

Devoted Health $     1,150,000,000 
Circle $        440,000,000 
BitSight Technologies $        250,000,000 
Corvus  $         115,000,000 
Insurify $         100,000,000 
Overjet $           69,500,000 
Hometap $           60,000,000 
LendBuzz $           60,000,000 
Flywire (was peerTransfer) $           60,000,000 
botkeeper $           42,000,000 
Stavvy $           40,000,000 
Posh Development $           27,500,000 
Hi Marley $           25,000,000 
Databento (aka Elisify) $           24,249,955 
OpenExchange $           23,000,000 
Splitwise $           20,000,000 
Gradiant AI $           19,685,854 
BondLink $           18,000,000 
Coin Metrics $           15,000,000 
Stride Funding $           12,000,000 
Catch $           12,000,000 
Reach Platform $           12,000,000 
Own Up (was RateGravity) $           12,000,000 
Knox Financial $           10,000,000 
FutureFuel $           10,000,000 
eternalHealth $           10,000,000 
Zingaroo / Z-Squared Securities  $             8,500,000 
Herald $             8,000,000 
Energetic Insurance $             7,000,000 
Veruna $             6,000,002 
Aliaswire $             6,000,000 
PureStake $             6,000,000 
Monit $             5,200,000 
CapShift $             5,000,000 
Marstone $             5,000,000 
Till Financial $             5,000,000 
Certificate Hero $             4,500,000 
Givinga $             4,000,000 
Paerpay $             3,953,000 
Cake $             3,700,000 
Ark PES $             3,400,000 
Wunderite $             3,000,000 
Jassby $             2,900,000 
PredictAP $             2,765,000 
Bento $             2,700,000 
Foundation Devices $             2,500,000 
Kappa Pay $             2,100,000 
Almond Finance $             2,000,000 
Lumint Currency Management $             2,000,000 
Esprezzo $             2,000,000 
FiVerity (was Coalesce.ai) $             2,000,000 
Relativity6 $             1,900,000 
Everyday Life $             1,507,493 
Micronotes $             1,334,932 
Raise Green $             1,300,000 
KingsCrowd $             1,100,000 
BodesWell $             1,000,000 
Envel $               500,000 
Cshflow $                  10,000 
Physis Investment $                      –   
Screener.co (was FinToolbox) $                      –   
Scientific Financial Systems $                      –   
Resultid $                      –   

M&A

At least 17 Boston area fintech were acquired in 2021. In many cases, terms were undisclosed. In some of these instances, prices will be revealed in later regulatory filings. In others, it indicates the transaction was an acquihire. The two cases where the price was reported are:

  • Mineral Tree, which had raised more than $120 million in capital from Great Hill Partners and others, was purchased by Global Payments for $500 million in cash.
  • Saylent Technologies, founded in 2007, was purchased by MeridianLink for $38.5 million. Saylent had raised debt from Trinity Ventures in 2017 and from Massachusetts Capital Resource Company in 2020.

A few other noteworthy exits:

  • Forge.ai was purchased by FiscalNote.
  • Edmit was acquired by Vemo Education.
  • Bitcoin ATM provider LibertyX was bought by NCR.
  • Insurtech Ask Kodiak was bought by IVANS
  • Lola, which had raised $82 million, was acquired by CapOne after announcing it was shutting down. The firm started in travel but later pivoted to fintech.
  • Finomial was purchased by SEI.

——

I am certain to have missed some funding events and exits and to be unaware of some stealthy startups. My sources of data include, in order of authority: Edgar, reputable publications, CrunchBase, disreputable publications, rumor, speculation, ATN, and the witting proliferators of misinformation at Meta subsidiary Facebook. Please be in touch if you are aware of any startups, funding events, exits, or closures I have not included.

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