A five-times rise in value isn’t normal.

The valuation of Revolut, an international payments startup, is set to quintuple in less than a year due to a new fundraising round, according to people familiar with the matter.

DST Global, an investing firm founded by Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner, is expected to lead a round that values the company at about $1.4 billion, not including the new cash, the people said. Revolut has been pitching investors in recent months on a deal that would raise about $150 million, but the total amount collected could now climb to $250 million. The round is not yet closed.

Just last summer, the London-based company was valued in a round at about 200 million British pounds, according to PitchBook, not including the new cash. That was about $255 million in U.S. dollars at the time.

A five-times rise in value isn’t normal, and it’s a rare spike in what are generally tough times for the financial technology, or fintech, industry. But the company has seen a surge in transaction volume — which now measures $1.5 billion a month.

The hot startup, led by CEO Nikolay Storonsky, functions like a digital bank, allowing users to transfer money across different currencies without transaction fees. It claims 1.7 million users and has about 350 employees.

DST and Revolut declined to comment.

The company, which is only four years old, makes money through other fees and premium offerings. It has said that it broke even for the first time in the month of December. That declaration comes as the company launches new projects that could push profitability further away: Revolut recently unveiled its plans to expand into the United States, and now allows customers to transfer ordinary currency into cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

The Russia-born Storonsky has a reputation in the industry as being particularly hard-charging and brash.

“I can’t see how work-life balance will help you to build a start-up,” he told The Financial Times this winter. “You are competing with bigger players, with better funded start-ups; you’re competing for customers, you don’t have resources. So how are you going to win this game?”

Revolut’s previous backers include Balderton Capital and Index Ventures. It has also raised some money through crowdfunding.

Its top competitor, TransferWise, was last valued at $1.6 billion and is backed by venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz.

DST has in recent months focused more and more on the fintech sector; the firm is also leading a $350 milion round at Robinhood, the stock-trading company that caters to millennials, and led a $150 million round in Brazilian startup Nubank earlier this year.

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Author:

Theodore Schleifer

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