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STATE OF PLAY

A guide to the biggest beasts in the fintech unicorn herd

Mark Long for Quartz
John Detrixhe
By John Detrixhe

Future of finance reporter

There are too many unicorns. That is what the founder of one of Europe’s highest-valued fintech unicorns told me on the sidelines of Web Summit, a conference in Lisbon where some 70,000 delegates were hoping unicorn dust would rub off on their own endeavors.

He’s not the only one who thinks a cull of the billion-dollar beasts may be coming. The travails of WeWork and Uber, unicorns par excellence, recently demonstrated that justifying sky-high valuations may require a path to profitability after all. Financial technology startups have been basking in hype for some time, and firms with fast-rising valuations often got a late-stage boost from the same companies—the likes of SoftBank, T. Rowe Price, and Sequoia Capital—that have driven up the price tags of startups in other sectors.

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