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Papara acquires Rebellion, becomes Europe’s latest fintech unicorn

July 19, 2023

Papara acquires Rebellion, becomes Europe’s latest fintech unicorn

Papara, the market-leading Turkish neobank, today announces the acquisition of Madrid-based neobank Rebellion, bringing the Turkish neobank’s valuation to over $1bn. This strategic move propels Papara into the coveted unicorn club, solidifying its position as one of the first bootstrapped unicorns in Europe.

The deal also marks the first step in Papara’s ambitious global growth strategy, as the business gains an instant presence outside of its home market for the first time, in order to drive financial inclusion for all.

Papara has purchased Rebellion from its current owners, Beka Finance, in a multi-million dollar cash and stock transaction that brings Papara’s valuation to over $1bn, making the business Europe’s latest unicorn and one of very few to have reached this milestone with no prior external investment. As well as being bootstrapped, unlike other challenger banks, Papara became profitable just two years after being founded by Ahmed Karslı in 2015.

One of Spain’s best-rated financial apps, Rebellion offers its customers many of the same products and services as Papara, including money transfer, prepaid cards and cashback to drive financial independence. Founded by Sergio Cerro and Alex Sagrado in 2017, Rebellion has received investment of 15 million euros to date.

Papara’s acquisition of Rebellion – which will rebrand to Papara Spain – offers the business a strong foothold in the fast-growing Spanish banking market, where digital and technological innovation is continuing to thrive. Current Rebellion employees will also join Papara’s rapidly expanding team, which grew by 43% in the last 12 months, and report into CEO Emre Kenci.

Papara’s founder and Chairman, Ahmed Karslı, said“Papara was founded on the principal of financial inclusion for all, and this deal will allow us to ensure that is reality for even more people. 2023 is the year in which we are beginning to execute our ambitious international growth strategy, and we are confident that Rebellion is the perfect foundation upon which to expand our global reach. The business and team stood out to us for a number of reasons, primarily its unrivalled local market knowledge, best-in-class products and, most importantly, alignment of goals to our own. We look forward to working with their talented team and building on Rebellion’s local market success.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Rebellion co-founder Sergio Cerro said: "This acquisition presents an exceptional opportunity to propel a project that aligns seamlessly with the Spanish neobanking market. Given the absence of a dominant player in the Spanish sector, and considering the prevailing economic landscape, I strongly believe that Papara is the ideal partner to synergistically blend resources, business vision, and ambition."

This year, Papara expanded its product suite outside of its core banking offering for the first time, to include pet, home, travel and mobile insurance. In a world first, the business also launched its Voice Card with long-term partner BlindLook, bringing fast and secure payments for visually impaired users. The business hit 16 million users in April 2023.

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