WhenThen’s no-code payments platform attracts $6M from European VCs Stride and Cavalry

The payments space – amazingly – remains up for grabs for startups. Yes dear reader, despite the success of Stripe, there seems to be a new payments startup virtually every other day. It’s a mess out there! The accelerated growth of e-commerce due to the pandemic means payments are now a booming space. And here comes another one, with a twist.

WhenThen has built a no-code payment operations platform that, they claim, streamlines the payment processes “of merchants of any kind”.  It says its platform can autonomously orchestrate, monitor, improve and manage all customer payments and payments ops.

The startup’s opportunity has arisen because service providers across different verticals increasingly want to get into open banking and provide their own payment solutions and financial services.

Founded 6 months ago, WhenThen has now raised $6 million, backed by European VCs Stride and Cavalry.

The founders, Kirk Donohoe, Eamon Doyle and Dave Brown  are three former Mastercard Payment veterans.

Based “out of Dublin, CEO Donohoe told me: “We see traditional businesses embracing e-comm, and e-comm merchants now operating multiple business models such as trade supply, marketplace, subscription, and more. There is no platform that makes it easy for such businesses to create and operate multiple payment flows to support multiple business models in one place – that’s where we step in.”

He added: “WhenThen is helping ecommerce digital platforms build advanced payment flows and payment automation, in minutes as opposed to months. When you start to integrate different payment methods, different payment gateways, how you want the payment to move from collection through to payout gets very, very complex. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, as an entrepreneur building different businesses that had to accept collect and pay payments.”

He said his founding team “had to build very complex payment flows for large merchants, airlines, hotels, issuers, and we just found it was ridiculous that you have to continue to do the same thing over and over again. So we decided to come up with WhenThen as a better way to be able to help you build those flows in minutes.”

Claude Ritter, managing partner at Cavalry said: “Basic payment orchestration platforms have been around for some time, focusing mostly on maximizing payment acceptance by optimizing routing. WhenThen provides the first end-to-end payment flow platform to equip businesses with the opportunity to control every stage of the payment flow from payment intent to payout.”

WhenThen supports a wide range of popular payment providers such as Stripe, Braintree, Adyen, Authorize.net, Checkout.com, etc., and a variety of alternative and locally preferred payment methods such as Klarna Affirm, PayPal, BitPay.

“For brave merchants considering global reach and operating multiple business models concurrently, I believe choosing the right payment ops platform will become as important as choosing the right e-commerce platform. Building your entire ecomm experience tightly coupled to a single payment processor is a hard correction to make down the line – you need a payment flow platform like WhenThen,” added Fred Destin, founder of Stride.VC.

#adyen, #authorize-net, #bitpay, #ceo, #checkout-com, #dublin, #e-commerce, #entrepreneur, #europe, #finance, #financial-services, #fred-destin, #klarna, #managing-partner, #mastercard, #merchant-services, #mobile-payments, #money, #online-payments, #open-banking, #payment-gateway, #payment-processor, #payment-solutions, #paypal, #stripe, #tc

Wayflyer raises $76M to provide ‘revenue-based’ financing to e-commerce merchants

Wayflyer, a revenue-based financing platform for e-commerce merchants, has raised $76 million in a Series A funding round led by Left Lane Capital.

“Partners” of DST Global, QED Investors, Speedinvest and Zinal Growth — the family office of Guillaume Pousaz (founder of Checkout.com) — also put money in the round. The raise comes just after Wayflyer raised $100 million in debt funding to support its cash advance product, and 14 months after the Dublin, Ireland-based startup launched its first product.

With an e-commerce boom fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wayflyer is the latest in a group of startups focused on the space that has attracted investor interest as of late. The company aims to help e-commerce merchants “unlock growth” by giving them access to working capital (from $10,000 up to $20 million) so they can improve cash flow and drive sales. For example, more cash can help these merchants do things like buy more inventory in bulk so they can meet customer demand and save money. 

In a nutshell, Wayflyer uses analytics and sends merchants cash to make inventory purchases or investments in their business. Those merchants then repay Wayflyer using a percentage of their revenue until the money is paid back (plus a fee charged for the cash advance). So essentially, the merchants are using their revenue to get financing, hence the term revenue-based financing. The advantage, Wayflyer says, is that companies make repayments as a percentage of their sales. So if they have a slow month, they will pay back less. So, there’s more flexibility involved than with other mechanisms such as traditional bank loans.

Co-founder Aidan Corbett believes that in a crowded space, Wayflyer’s use of big data gives it an edge over competitors.

Corbett and former VC Jack Pierse spun Wayflyer out of a marketing analytics company that Corbett had also started, called Conjura, in September 2019.

“Jack came to me and said, ‘You should stop using our marketing analytics engine to do these big enterprise SaaS solutions, and instead use them to underwrite e-commerce businesses for short-term finance,’ ” Corbett recalls.

And so he did.

“We just had our heads down and started repurposing the platform for it to be an underwriting platform,” Corbett said. It launched in April 2020, doing about $600,000 in advances at the time. In March of 2021, Wayflyer did about $36 million in advances.

“So, it’s been a pretty aggressive kind of growth,” Corbett said.

Over the past six months alone, the company has seen its business grow 290% as it has deployed over $150 million of funding across 10 markets with a focus on the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia. About 75% of its customers are U.S. based.

Wayflyer plans to use its new capital toward product development and global expansion with the goal of entering “multiple” new markets in the coming months. The company recently opened a sales office in Atlanta, and also has locations in the U.K., the Netherlands and Spain.

To Corbett, the company’s offering is more compelling than buy now, pay later solutions for consumers for example, in that it is funding the merchant directly and able to add services on top of that.

“There’s a lot more opportunity for companies like ourselves to differentiate because essentially, we focus on the merchants. And when we underwrite the merchant by getting data from the merchant, there’s a lot of additional services that you can put in on top,” Corbett explained. “Whereas with buy now, pay later, you get information on the consumer, and there’s not as much room to add additional services on top.”

For example, if a business requests an advance and either is not approved for one, or doesn’t choose to take it, Wayflyer’s analytics platform is free to anybody who signs up to help them optimize their marketing spend.

“This is a critical driver of value for e-commerce businesses. If you can’t acquire customers at a reasonable price, you’re not going to be around very long. And a lot of early-stage e-commerce businesses struggle with that,” Corbett said.

It also can pair up a merchant with a marketing analytics “specialist” to analyze its marketing performance or an inventory “specialist” to look at the current terms and price a business is getting from a supplier.

“Our focus from the very beginning is really supporting the merchants, not just providing them with working capital,” Corbett said.  

Another way the company claims to be different is in how it deploys funds. As mentioned above, merchants can pay the money back at varied terms, depending on how sales are going. The company makes money by charging a principal on advances, and then a “remittance rate” on revenues until the total amount is paid back.

“We tend to be more flexible than competition in this way,” Corbett said. “Also, some competitors will pay invoices on merchants’ behalf or give them a pre-charged card to use on advertising spend,” Corbett said. “We always give cash into a merchant’s account.” 

Wayflyer recently inked an agreement with Adobe Commerce, a partnership it said would provide a new channel to further amplify its growth with the goal of funding 8,000 e-commerce businesses in the first year of the partnership.

For his part, Left Lane Capital Partner Dan Ahrens said that his firm was impressed by Wayflyer’s “nuanced understanding of what will drive value for their clients.”

“The team’s focus, specialization, and deep analytical expertise within the e-commerce market also drives superior underwriting,” he told TechCrunch. “Their explosive growth has not come about by taking on undue risk. We are big believers that their underwriting will only improve with scale, and that Wayflyer will be able to compound its competitive advantages over time.”

As mentioned, this is an increasingly crowded space. Earlier this month, Settle announced it had raised $15 million in a Series A funding round led by Kleiner Perkins to give e-commerce and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies access to non-dilutive capital.

#adobe, #atlanta, #australia, #bank, #checkout-com, #distribution, #dst-global, #dublin, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #economy, #finance, #funding, #fundings-exits, #guillaume-pousaz, #ireland, #kleiner-perkins, #left-lane-capital, #merchant, #netherlands, #qed-investors, #recent-funding, #spain, #startup, #startups, #tc, #underwriting, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #wayflyer

Best practices as a service is a key investment theme to watch in 2021

Enterprise IT has been completely transformed by SaaS the past decade. Okta last week published a report that showed that the largest companies now use 175 apps, a doubling over the past few years. More professionals have more tools to do their jobs than ever before. It’s an explosion of creativity and expressiveness and operational latitude — but also a recipe for disaster.

It’s one thing to give people and businesses tools — and something else to train them to use those tools effectively. Worse, as the number and complexity of software has skyrocketed the past decade, it’s only become harder for end users to grapple with offering their customers the best possible experience.

That’s the opportunity for a range of new tools that are designed to guide — sometimes forcefully — people to use the software they have in the best possible way, in what you might dub “best practices as a service.” It’s software that is opinionated on what “best” looks like within its domain, and ensures that as many people follow that model as possible with minimal dissension. It’s simplicity-in-a-box for a complex world.

Let me give some examples from a few major fields of startups in e-commerce, security, web development and finally, in my chosen profession, writing to illustrate what I mean.

#checkout-com, #enterprise, #fast, #grammarly, #rapyd, #saas, #security-scorecard, #solarwinds, #textio, #venture-capital

Fast raises $102M as the online checkout wars continue to attract huge investment

This morning Fast, a startup that provides online checkout and identity products, announced that it has closed a $102 million Series B. The new funding event was led by Stripe, a previous investor in Fast.

Stripe, an online payments giant, also led Fast’s Series A last year, a deal worth $20 million. Fast has raised $124 million to date, it said in a release.

TechCrunch reached out to Fast for comment regarding its growth pace. The company shared that gross merchandise volume (GMV) processed by its checkout service has “more than tripled each month,” adding that it expects that “trend to continue and increase.” The growth pace is hard to rate as we lack a base from which to scale, but we do now have an expectation for future GMV progress from Fast that we can use as a measuring stick.

Fast’s outsized Series B comes after a number of rival online checkout providers have also raised large rounds.

In late December Bolt, which provides online checkout, identity, and payments services raised a $75 million extension to its Series C round. The company also shared a number of growth metrics, allowing TechCrunch to get a handle on its current size, and expectations for future performance.

Then in mid-January Checkout.com raised $450 million at a $15 billion valuation. TechCrunch wrote at the time that “Checkout.com wants to build a one-stop shop for all things related to payments, such as accepting transactions, processing them and detecting fraud.” So, similar to Bolt and in competition with elements of what Fast offers.

Finally, Rapyd announced that it raised $300 million at a $2.5 billion valuation one day later. Rapyd provides fintech services via an API, TechCrunch noted, but as it does support global ecommerce payments and sells anti-fraud tech, it seems to fit inside this group.

Tack on Fast’s new Series B and inside the last month or so we’ve seen $927 million — at least — flow into startups with overlapping ecommerce infrastructure market targets. That’s just under $26 million a day since the Bolt round, an enormous amount of capital in a short period of time.

How are the companies all raising in such rapid-fire fashion? The most obvious answer to the question is that ecommerce is so big, and so critical to the global economy, that improving the experience of vending goods online for both sellers and buyers is a problem space with room for many players. That so many startups in the race to solve online commerce have each raised implies that they are all, so far, enjoying strong growth rates; and that implies a gigantic market into which they all hope to grow.

And it’s hard to argue in the wake of COVID-19 boosting ecommerce, and generally accelerating the digitization of the global economy, that such technologies will be constrained by market size anytime soon.

#bolt, #checkout-com, #fast, #fundings-exits, #rapyd, #startups

Checkout wants to be Rapyd and Fast

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture-capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. We’re back on this lovely Saturday with a bonus episode!


There is enough going on that to avoid failing to bring you stuff that we think matters, we are back yet again for more. This time around we are not talking Roblox, we’re talking about ecommerce, and a number of rounds — big and small — that have been raised in the space. Honest question: do y’all plan to release news on the same week? Are trends a social construct?

From Natasha, Grace, Danny, and your humble servant, here’s your run-down:

  • Webflow raised $140 million in a round that it says it did not need. This is not a new thing. Some startups are doing well, and don’t burn much. So investors offer them more at a nice price. In this case $2.1 billion. (Webflow does no-code
  • Checkout.com raised $450 million. The rich really do get richer. In this case the founders of Checkout.com, whose company is now worth around $15 billion Checkout.com does, you guessed, online checkout work. Which as Danny explains is complicated and critical.
  • We also talked about this Bolt round, for context.
  • And sticking to the ecommerce theme, Rapyd raised $300 million at around a $2.5 billion valuation. There is infinte money available for late-stage fintech.
  • Early stage as well, it turns out, with Tradeswell raising $15.5 million to help businesses improve their net margins.
  • Finally, ending with a chat on infrastructure, Nacelle closed an $18 million Series A. 

And now we’re going back to bed.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#bolt, #checkout-com, #ecommerce, #equity-podcast, #fast, #fundings-exits, #nacelle, #rapyd, #startups, #tc, #tradeswell, #webflow

Checkout.com raises $450 million and reaches $15 billion valuation

Payments company Checkout.com is raising once again. The company has closed a $450 million Series C round with Tiger Global Management leading the round — Greenoaks Capital and all existing investors are also participating.

If you’re not familiar with the company, Checkout.com wants to build a one-stop shop for all things related to payments, such as accepting transactions, processing them and detecting fraud. It focuses on large merchants and tries to make its product as customizable as possible so that you integrate it as an infrastructure partner in your product.

The company’s fundraising story in particular is jaw-dropping. The startup was founded in 2012 in London. At first, it grew slowly and methodically. Every time it would generate a bit of revenue, it would hire more people. “We can hire one employee this month. Now we can hire two employees this month,” founder and CEO Guillaume Pousaz said at TechCrunch Disrupt when thinking about the early days of the company.

But Checkout.com kept growing and growing until it raised one of the biggest Series A rounds ever for a European company — $230 million at a $2 billion valuation. Just a year later, Checkout.com added $150 million in funding at a $5.5 valuation.

Checkout.com is now valued at $15 billion based on today’s funding round. According to the startup, it is now the fourth largest fintech company globally.

Checkout.com had 440 employees in January 2020. It finished 2020 with 940 employees. And this year, the company plans to hire an additional 700 people.

While Checkout.com didn’t actually need to raise to stay alive, Pousaz says VC firms are a form of validation. Suddenly, you can talk with big prospects if you’re backed by Insight, DST, Coatue, Tiger Global Management, etc.

And yet, the company needs a lot of money on its bank account to expand to more countries. “Today, we process billions every week,” Pousaz told me in December. “And when you process over a billion euros per week, your cash flow on your bank account increases significantly. So you need to be well capitalized for regulators.”

Technically, there isn’t a single bank account that holds the company’s cash. Checkout.com is regulated in the U.K., but also in France, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. And the company is working on adding India, the Philippines. And it turns out you need cash on your balance sheet in the Philippines if you want to get a license from the local regulator — it doesn’t matter if you have a ton of money sitting in your bank account in London. That’s why raising capital can be helpful.

But why do investors want to hand over more and more money? “At any point you have a lot of visibility on what your next year is going to look like,” Pousaz told me. “It’s something that investors like because you can show them your pipeline and all your customers in your pipeline. If you forecast on the pipeline, it gives you a good idea of how much you’re going to generate in the coming year.

“For instance, I could tell you right now that we’ll grow by at least 80% in 2021,” he added. And that’s only based on clients who are currently in the process of integrating Checkout.com. The company already tripled its payment processing volume in 2020 compared to 2019.

In many ways, Checkout.com tries to forecast like a public company. It isn’t focused on runway as it is EBITDA profitable. Instead, it tries to reinvest a lot of its revenue in the company. “We don’t generate $50 million in EBITDA, far from it. But we generate double-digit million dollars,” Pousaz told me.

With today’s funding round, the company will open two new offices in the U.S. In addition to San Francisco, Checkout.com will have offices in New York and Denver.

#checkout, #checkout-com, #guillaume-pousaz, #tc

Fintech startups are increasingly focusing on profitability

Fintech startups have been massively successful over the past few years. The biggest consumer startups managed to attract millions — sometimes even tens of millions — of users and have raised some of the biggest funding rounds in late-stage venture capital. That’s why they’ve also reached incredible valuations.

After a few wild years of growth, fintech startups are starting to act more like traditional finance companies.

And yet, this year’s economic downturn has been a challenge for the current class of fintech startups: Some have grown nicely, while others have struggled, but the vast majority of them have changed their focus.

Instead of focusing on growth at all costs, fintech startups have been drawing a path to profitability. It doesn’t mean that they’ll have a positive bottom line at the end of 2020. But they’ve laid out the core products that will secure those startups over the long term.

Consumer fintech startups are focusing on product first, growth second

Usage of consumer products vary greatly with its users. And when you’re growing rapidly, supporting growth and opening new markets require a ton of effort. You have to onboard new employees constantly and your focus is split between product and corporate organization.

Lydia is the leading peer-to-peer payments app in France. It has four million users in Europe with most of them in its home country. For the past few years, the startup has been growing rapidly; engagement drives user signups, which drives engagement.

But what do you do when users stop using your product? “In April, the number of transactions was down 70%,” said Lydia co-founder and CEO Cyril Chiche in a phone interview.

“As for usage, it was obviously very quiet during some months and euphoric during other months,” he said. Overall, Lydia grew its user base by 50% in 2020 compared to 2019. When France wasn’t experiencing a lockdown or a curfew, the company beat its all-time high records across various metrics.

“In 2019, we grew all year long. In 2020, we’ve had very good growth numbers overall — but it should have been amazingly good during a normal year, without the month of March, April, May, November.” Chiche said.

In March and early April, Chiche didn’t know whether users would come back and send money using Lydia. Back in January, the company raised money from Tencent, the company behind WeChat Pay. “Tencent was ahead of us in China when it comes to lockdown,” Chiche said.

On April 30, during a board meeting, Tencent listed Lydia’s priorities for the rest of the year: Ship as many product updates as possible, keep an eye on their burn rate without firing people and prioritize product updates to reflect what people want.

“We’ve worked hard and shipped everything related to card payments, contactless mobile payments and virtual cards. It reflected the huge boost in contactless and e-commerce transactions,” Chiche said.

And it also repositioned the company’s trajectory to reach profitability more quickly. “The next step is bringing Lydia to profitability and it’s something that has always been important for us,” Chiche said.

Let’s list the most frequent revenue sources for consumer fintech startups such as challenger banks, peer-to-peer payment apps and stock-trading apps can be divided into three cohorts:

Debit cards

First, many companies hand customers a debit card when they create an account. Sometimes, it’s just a virtual card that they can use with Apple Pay or Google Pay. While there are some fees involved with card issuance, it also represents a revenue stream.

When people pay with their card, Visa or Mastercard takes a cut of each transaction. They return a portion to the financial company that issued the card. Those interchange fees are ridiculously small and often represent a few cents. But they can add up when you have millions of users actively using your cards to transfer money out of their accounts.

Paid financial products

Many fintech companies, such as Revolut and Ant Group’s Alipay, are developing superapps to serve as financial hubs that cover all your needs. Popular superapps include Grab, Gojek and WeChat.

In some cases, they have their own paid products. But in most cases, they partner with specialized fintech companies to provide additional services. Sometimes, they are perfectly integrated in the app. For instance, this year, PayPal has partnered with Paxos so that you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies from their apps. PayPal doesn’t run a cryptocurrency exchange, it takes a cut on fees.

#challenger-bank, #checkout-com, #cyril-chiche, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #guillaume-pousaz, #lydia, #neobank, #startups

Bolt adds $75M to its Series C, as the battle to rule online checkout continues

Bolt, a startup that offers online checkout technology to retailers, announced this morning that it has added $75 million to its Series C round, bringing the financing to a total of $125 million.

WestCap and General Atlantic led the new tranche, which Bolt CEO Ryan Breslow told TechCrunch was raised at around twice its Series C valuation. PitchBook pegs the company’s Series C at a post-money valuation of $500 million, implying that the Series C1 values Bolt at around $1 billion.

The company is calling the latest check its “Series C1.’ Why not just call it a Series D? According to Breslow, Bolt’s future Series D will be much larger.

While Bolt’s creatively demarcated Series C1 is interesting, the capital event is in line with how the checkout space is growing in aggregate right now. There’s a lot of money being put to work on solving a particular e-commerce pain point.

Fast, a competing online checkout software provider, raised $20 million in March. And this June, Checkout.com, which is based in England but has a global stable of offices, raised $150 million at a $5.5 billion valuation.

Bolt, meanwhile, announced the first $50 million of its Series C in July. The company’s C1 event, therefore, represents not only the fourth major investment into checkout tech this year, but it also fits into a now-regular trend of fast-growing startups raising two checks in 2020 — companies like Welcome, Skyflow, AgentSync and Bestow also completed the feat this year.

But enough talking about its market. Let’s dig into what Bolt is building and why it just took on another truckload of cash.

Series C1

Bolt offers four connected services: checkout, payments, user accounts and fraud protection.

The company’s core offering is its checkout product, which it claims is both faster than comparable industry averages and has higher conversion rates. The startup’s payments and fraud services fits into its checkout universe by ensuring that transactions are real and that payments can be accepted. Finally, Bolt’s user accounts (shoppers are prompted to save their credentials when they first execute a purchase with the startup’s tech) boost the chance that someone who has checked out online using its tech will do so again in the future, helping Bolt to sell its service and ensure customers benefit from it.

The more shoppers that Bolt can attract, the more accounts it will have in the market feeding more data into its anti-fraud tool and checkout personalization technology.

And Bolt is reaching more online buyers, with the company claiming a roughly 10x gain of the number of people who have made accounts with its service this year. According to Breslow, the number was around 450,000 last December. It’s around 4.5 million now, he said, and Bolt expects the figure to reach 30 million next year.

Given the huge scale of its expected account creation, TechCrunch asked Breslow about his confidence interval in the number. He said 90%, thanks to Authentic Brands Group (ABG) linking up with Bolt, a deal that his company announced last month. Breslow said that ABG has 50 million shoppers; perhaps the 30 million figure is possible.

(Distribution for checkout tech is like oxygen, so competing companies in the space love to chat about their availability gains. Here’s Fast talking about being supported by WooCommerce from last week, for example. Fast declined to share processing growth metrics with TechCrunch after that announcement.)

Bolt’s historical shopper growth has paid dividends for its total transaction volume. The company told TechCrunch that it processed around $1 billion in transactions this year, up around 3.5x from its 2019 gross merchandise volume (GMV). That approximate pace of growth implies a roughly $286 million GMV result for Bolt last year; how far the company can scale that figure in 2021 will be our chief measuring stick for how well its ABG deal performs.

Breslow told TechCrunch that Bolt expects to 3x its GMV in 2021, which we read as implying a roughly $3 billion number.

But don’t just take that figure, apply a payment processing percentage, and walk away with a revenue guess for Bolt. The company does make money from payments, but also from charging for its other services — like fraud protection — on a SaaS basis. So Bolt is a hybrid payments-and-software company, an increasingly popular model, though one that certain categories of software are slow to pick up on.

Underpinning Bolt’s plans to treble GMV and greatly expand its shopper network is its new capital. The $75 million cache of new dollars is going into handling market demand, moving upmarket and engineering, the company said. In short there’s a lot of in-market demand for better checkout tech — hence all the venture activity — and larger customers need more customizations and sales support. Bolt is going to spend on that.

Given that Bolt just reloaded, it would not be a surprise to see Fast or Checkout.com raise more capital in Q1 or Q2 of 2021. More when that happens.

#bolt, #checkout-com, #ecommerce, #fast, #fundings-exits, #startups, #tc

What makes Checkout.com different from Stripe

While Checkout.com has kept a low profile for many years, the company raised $380 million within a year and reached an impressive valuation of $5.5 billion. It wants to build a one-stop shop for all things related to payments, such as accepting transactions, processing them and detecting fraud.

You might think that it sounds a bit like Stripe. In an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt, I asked founder and CEO Guillaume Pousaz what makes Checkout.com different from Stripe, Adyen and other companies in the payment space. It comes down to a very different philosophy when it comes to product and market approach.

“We only do enterprise. We really only work with the big merchants. There are a few exceptions here and there but it’s mostly enterprise-only and it’s purely online,” Pousaz said.

“I once met [Stripe CEO] Patrick Collison and I joked with him. I said you might have a million merchants, I have 1,200 merchants but I know every single one by name and they all process tens of millions every year. So I think it’s just a different business,” he added later in the interview.

Checkout.com now has a ton of money sitting in its bank account, but it has been a long and slow journey to reach that level. The company has been around for many years and reached profitability in 2012. It has been spending very meticulously over the years.

When talking about the early days of the company, Pousaz said the team grew really slowly. “We can hire one employee this month. Now we can hire two employees this month,” he said.

Today, the company still tries to remain as lean as possible. “It’s really a matter of discipline. All these companies, they raise a lot of money, they spend a lot of money and I don’t challenge that model. For us, embedding that discipline and frugality in the company in how we run it is something that was important to us,” Pousaz said.

“There’s no problem with spending. Just make sure that when you’re spending, you’re wise about it. You just don’t spray and pray. You see this unfortunately too much with tech companies.”

That’s why Checkout.com mostly invests in its own product. Nearly two-thirds of the company is working in product, IT and engineering. Only 13% of the company is working in sales, which is much less than some of its competitors.

But why did Checkout.com raise hundreds of millions of dollars then? “At some point, you need validation. And the validation was really important for us. When you have Insight, DST, Coatue, GIC, Blossom it changes your dimension,” Pousaz said.

When talking about regulators, Checkout.com has licenses in Brazil, the U.K. and France (for contingency), Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. It’s a never-ending process as the company is still working on licenses in other key markets, such as Japan.

“These regulators are super thorough. You don’t pass because you’re a nice guy, you pass because you have the right processes,” Pousaz said.

I challenged that notion and mentioned the Wirecard collapse. He obviously thinks that Wirecard and Checkout.com are in a different position right now.

“All my money is sitting with JP Morgan, it’s pretty simple. There’s no bank account in the Philippines and funny stuff,” Pousaz said. “The Wirecard story is so big that the real question is — go and ask the question to the auditors. Because the auditors that I have, which for the record is PwC, ask me to show them the bank statements and everything. And there are super thorough, it’s a super long process.”

“How did the Wirecard story happen? I don’t know,” he added.

#checkout-com, #disrupt, #disrupt-2020, #disrupt-sf, #disrupt-sf-2020, #europe, #guillaume-pousaz, #startups, #tc