Berlin-based broker app Trade Republic Bank GmbH, co-founded by former Merrill Lynch banker Christian Hecker, raised about 250 million euros ($268 million) in its latest funding round, boosting its valuation despite difficult market conditions.

The round, led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, was an extension of an earlier one and raised the company’s valuation to 5 billion euros from 4.4 billion euros, Hecker told Bloomberg in an interview.

The new money comes as startups around the world have faced difficulty raising money as surging inflation and the war in Ukraine have dampened the economic outlook and soured investors on technology companies. Financial technology funding globally fell 18% last quarter from the previous one, the largest drop since 2018, according to a CB Insights research report. Many startups are also slashing jobs.

Trade Republic lets customers trade stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and other financial products, mostly without order commissions or other fees. It was founded in Germany in 2015, and is now also available in Austria, Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain.

Hecker, who doesn’t see an IPO any time soon, said the company will use the fresh money to expand to other European markets over the next year. Trade Republic also plans additional investments in existing markets that have shown strong growth, he added.

The company has massively expanded its engineering team in recent months, according to Hecker. “Between 20 and 30 developers have joined the company each month,” he said. Trade Republic now employs about 700 people, up from 600 in February. US-based rival Robinhood Markets Inc. said in April it is dismissing 9% of its staff. 

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.