SMB Online Bank Qonto Wants to Rule Europe

French online small business bank Qonto wants to become the digital bank of choice for one million European SMEs and freelancers by 2025. Today it announced an acquisition that moves it a few steps further in that direction.

Qonto has acquired German online bank Penta for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition brings together two fast-rising SMB-focused European online banks. Qonto has 250,000 customers across four markets (France, Germany, Spain, and Italy). Penta has 50,000 customers in Germany.

The companies seem to have similar products (payments, banking, business cards, etc.) and target markets. It’s unclear how much, if any, customer overlap exists between the two companies. Qonto has 700 employees and Penta has 200. It’s also unclear if the companies plan any redundancies. It seems likely that the two may have some overlap in their German operation at least.

“When Steve Anavi and I founded Qonto in 2016, we had the ambitious goal of simplifying everyday banking for SMEs and freelancers across Europe,” said Qonto CEO Alexandre Prot.

“Today, we’re already present in four European markets and, while I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved so far, we want to go even further: the natural next step was to join forces with Penta. We are thrilled to welcome the Penta team onboard.”

Qonto has raised $709 million since its founding. In January it raised 486 million euros at a 4.4 billion euro valuation. The dollar and euro are currently at close to parity.

Qonto’s solution set is tiered into offerings for “freelancers”, “SMEs, startups, and associations”, and “business creators”. Pricing for the simplest packages ranges from 9 to 149 euros per month depending on the tier.

Penta Sought $550M Valuation

Penta is an online bank that was founded in Berlin back in 2016. Since then the company has raised $83 million. Back in February, PYMNTS.com reported that Penta was negotiating with investors for a $500 million valuation. It’s unclear if it was successful. The acquisition suggests fundraising may have become more difficult. But there is no suggestion that Penta needed to be acquired.

Penta offers a solution set similar to Qonto’s. Its subscription-based banking solution for SMMEs ranges from a 9 euro “Starter” package to an “Enterprise” solution for 49 euros per month. The company offers small businesses payments, integration with their accounting solution, banking services (including Visa cards), and access to loans.

Still, Penta’s CEO positions the deal as a way for Penta to capitalize on its recent growth and accelerate its mission.

“[Penta CPO & MD] Lukas Zörner and his co-founders have written a real fintech success story,” said Penta CEO Markus Pertlwieser. “With the combination of increasing customer numbers and rising revenues, we have gained even more substance in the past 18 months. We are very excited that we now have the chance to actively shape digital banking for business customers in Europe as a team with Qonto.”

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