$140 MILLION: Australian digital bank Judo Capital just completed this year's biggest startup equity raise

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
  • Judo Capital finalised its first round of equity raising at $140 million.
  • The raise is the biggest by an Australian startup this year.
  • The company expects a a banking license from APRA later this year.

Digital bank Judo Capital has closed a first round equity raising of $140 million, the largest by a startup in Australia this year.

The raising beats the $US80 million ($A108 million) raised last month by Melbourne-based fintech Airwallex, a cross-border payments company, in a Series B funding round.

Email marketing company Campaign Monitor, which raised $US250 million in 2014, is still believed to hold the record for the highest equity raising by an Australian startup.

Investors in the SME funder came from Australia and overseas, including Credit Suisse Asset Management, Abu Dhabi Capital, Myer Family Investments and Ironbridge.

The company is hoping for a banking license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) later this year.

Co-founder and joint CEO David Hornery says the goal of becoming Australia’s first genuine challenger bank for the SME market is now one step closer.

“Since the commencement of trading in early April, engagement with the market and commercial brokers has exceeded our expectations and pleasingly we are well on our way of reaching our first lending milestone of $100 million to SMEs in Australia to help support their business aspirations,” he says.

“We’re also excited to announce the opening of a new office in Sydney in September, as part of our ambitious national growth plans supported by a full banking licence which we anticipate will be finalised by the end of the year.

“The incredible support shown by the local and international investment community marks the beginning of a new era in banking where trust and relationships once again take primacy. At Judo, everything we do is driven by our goal of building Australia’s most trusted business bank.”

Joseph Healy, Co-founder and joint CEO, says he believes it is the highest equity raising, pre-revenue, of any start-up in recent Australian corporate history

“We are delighted with the breadth and depth of our investor base, many of whom have indicated a desire to invest in future equity raisings,” he says.

“SMEs have been starved of capital by the big banks, which largely require property as security against loans. At Judo we’re turning the tables in favour of SMEs, so that they get the service and funding they desperately need and deserve.”

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