London-based tech tech Thought Machine has doubled its estimate to $ 2.7 billion as the cloud banking company attracts institutional investors such as Morgan Stanley and seeks to expand its international presence.
The $ 160 million funding round was held by Singaporean investor Temesec along with Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo and US bank Morgan Stanley.
Existing investors, including JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds Banking Group and Swedish financial group SEB, also participated.
“It means long-term investment: we’ve left the world of venture capital,” Paul Taylor, founder and CEO, told the Financial Times. “It’s a very hot market – we can never expand fast enough to meet the demand from banks.”
Thought Machine, launched in 2014, provides cloud storage infrastructure to the “Vault” of more than 35 banks around the world, allowing them to scale servers and computing power as needed.
Customers range from major lenders such as Morgan Stanley, Lloyds Banking Group, JPMorgan and Standard Chartered, to non-banks Atom Bank and Curve.
Currently, much of the basic banking infrastructure of banks remains on their premises in mainframes, he said. Thought Machine can replace that cloud servers, which reduces the need for expensive physical infrastructure. It is also easier to scale by introducing additional computing power from cloud data centers.
In an October earnings call, JPMorgan CFO Jeremy Barnum said the bank had chosen Thought Machine to support rapid innovation and sustainability.
The D-Series round comes months after it reached unicorn status following a $ 200 million round held by Nyca Partners in November.
In addition to expanding markets including Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, Taylor said the company is committed to targeting business and corporate banking as well as mortgages.
“Many banks have gone beyond the life cycle of their technology – they lack spare parts in terms of people who know how the systems work,” he added. “There is a false belief, ‘If we don’t change everything that could go wrong?’
Banks ’efforts to modernize technology are becoming increasingly important as their operations become increasingly digital. In a video from an internal meeting in Lloyds released in December, the group’s director of transformation, Nick Williams, said his local software was “out of order”. Lloyds spent more than £ 4 billion on technology between 2018 and 2020, and there is no speculation that its technology is unreliable, with one of the lowest levels of disconnection from major lenders.
While the cloud computing market is generally dominated by Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft, Taylor said there is still room for tech professionals.
“You have to focus on what’s key – Google did really well in the enterprise, but it can’t do everything,” said Taylor, who previously worked for Big Tech. “There are things like payments, fraud, anti-money laundering, tons of things.”
Taylor said Thought Machine had a deadline for public listing of about three years, after it showed several years of profit and growth, and it was considering all options where to list.
London was a strong contender for the initial public offering, he added.
The UK has sought to make its market more competitive against its counterparts across the English Channel and the Atlantic after Brexit, with plans for a new regulatory framework announced in the Financial Services and Markets Bill introduced under the bill. Queen’s speech last week.