Tencent makes new overseas fintech foray, joining biggest shareholder Prosus in US$80 million funding round of European online broker BUX
- The latest investment by Tencent and Prosus gives the two internet giants a greater foothold in Europe’s fast-growing web-based trading sector
- Web-based trading platforms have been on the rise in Europe as more of the financial industry moves online and interest rates remain depressed
“There used to be a huge hurdle for people to start investing, especially for younger people,” Naeff said. “It was overcomplicated. The app makes investing affordable, accessible and intuitive for the newer generation especially.”
Web-based trading platforms have been on the rise in Europe as more of the financial industry moves online and interest rates remain depressed, while trading in cryptocurrencies has surged in popularity. The continent is still a relatively untapped market compared with the US, Naeff said, and companies including BUX and Bitpanda are among those attracting investor capital.
Bitpanda, a Vienna-based cryptocurrency-focused broker, raised US$170 million last month to make it Austria’s first unicorn, passing the US$1 billion valuation mark.
Prosus, majority owned by Cape Town-based Naspers, invests in e-commerce companies around the world, with food delivery, payments and education among its favoured industries. The Dutch firm holds a 29 per cent stake in Tencent and the companies have a track record of co-investing.
“When I was a child, the way my parents would encourage me to build up wealth was through a savings account,” said Sandeep Bakshi, Prosus Ventures head of Europe investments, in the same interview. “If you do that today, you will lose money in Europe with the negative interest rates, so the average individual needs to participate in equity markets.”
The funding round makes Tencent and Prosus the largest investors in BUX. Others include ABN Amro Ventures and Optiver Holding