Dutch challenger bank bunq announced that it has received regulatory approval for its €193m Series A funding round, valuing the firm at €1.6bn.

Dutch Central Bank’s approval will see bunq welcome its first external investor Pollen Street Capital.

It is a completely self-funded challenger bank with operations in 30 European markets.

The funding, which was announced earlier this year, is claimed to be the largest Series A round for a European fintech.

bunq plans to use the funding to support it merger and acquisition strategy to further its growth.

The funds will be used for expansion across Europe with a focus on Germany and France.

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The lender has already introduced German, French and Spanish IBANs and opened new offices in Cologne and Paris.

bunq, which is currently hiring, plans to double its employee headcount by the end of 2022.

In a blog post, bunq founder and CEO Ali Niknam stated that “while this is a new beginning for bunq, it’s also an exciting opportunity to continue the mission we started nearly a decade ago. We still truly believe that a healthy society is best served by a diverse banking sector. That’s why we built a fully mobile bank that puts its users first in everything it does.”

Additionally, as part the deal bunq made its first acquisition of Ireland-based lender Capitalflow.

The lender announced its first profitable month earlier this year and aims to break even on a monthly basis by the end 2021.