June 17, 2020 / 3:01 AM / 18 days ago

Investment in Israeli financial tech firms doubled in 2019

TEL AVIV, June 17 (Reuters) - Investments in Israeli financial technology firms rose 107% in 2019 to a record $1.8 billion, according to a report released on Wednesday by Start-Up Nation Central.

Israel ranks fifth in fintech investments after China, the United States, the United Kingdom and India and accounts for 5.1% of global investments in this field.

Six of the capital rounds raised by Israeli fintech companies in 2019 exceeded $100 million, compared with only one in the previous year. These included Lemonade, which raised $300 million and Next Insurance, which raised $250 million.

Earlier this month insurance start-up Lemonade filed for a U.S. initial public offering.

The participation rate of foreign investors was 69% of all rounds in 2019, compared with 57% in 2018.

Start-Up National Central, a non-profit organisation, said the fintech industry is not immune to the shock experienced by other technology sectors in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“Foreign investors may want to maintain their distance now, while the local ones will focus on protecting their portfolio companies,” said Yair Fonarov, head of the fintech sector at Start-Up Nation Central. “The younger companies will therefore have a harder time finding investors.” (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer)

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