A quiet London-based payments startup just raised among the biggest Series A rounds ever in Europe

You probably haven’t heard of Checkout, a digital payments processing company that was founded in 2012 in London. Apparently, however, investors have been keeping tabs on the low-flying company and like what they see. Today, Checkout announced that it has raised $230 million in Series A funding at a valuation just shy of $2 billion co-led by Insight Partners and DST Global, with participation from GIC, the Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund; Blossom Capital; Endeavor Catalyst; and other, unnamed strategic investors.

It’s the first institutional round for the company; it’s also one of the the biggest Series A rounds ever for a European company.

What’s so special about Checkout that investors felt compelled to write such big checks? In a sea filled with fin-tech startups, it’s hard to know at first glance what differentiates it, or whether investors merely spy a huge opportunity, particularly given the company’s recent revenue numbers.

Checkout helps businesses — including Samsung, Adidas, Deliveroo, and Virgin, among others — accept a range of payment types across their online stores around the world.  According to the WSJ, the fees from these services adds up to a lot, too. It says Checkout’s European business generated $46.8 million in gross revenue and $6.7 million in profit in 2017, information it dug up through Companies House, the United Kingdom’s registrar of companies.

It’s obviously part of two huge trends that seem to be lifting all boats, too — that of the ongoing boom in online shopping, and the growing number of businesses using online payments. Little wonder that investors poured into payments startups last year more than four times what they invested in them in 2017 ($22 billion, according to Dow Jones VentureSource data cited by the WSJ).  Little wonder, too, that payments startups that have gone public are faring well, including the global payments company Adyen, which IPO’d on the Euronext in June of last year and has mostly seen its shares move in one direction (upwards) since. The company, valued at $2.3 billion by investors in 2015, is now valued at nearly $21 billion.

Though Checkout’s Series A is stunning for its size, according to Dealroom data, it isn’t the largest for a European company, though nearly.

In 2015, the U.K.-based biotech company Immunocore closed on $320 million in Series A funding. In 2017, another U.K. fintech, OakNorth, a digital bank that focuses on loans for small and medium enterprises, raised $200 million in Series A funding. (It has gone on to raised roughly $850 million altogether.)

Meanwhile, TradePlus24, a two-year-old, Zurich, Switzerland-based fintech company raised $120 million in Series A funding in January of this year. TradePlus24 sells to small and mid-size companies, insuring their account receivables against default and selling them secured credit lines.

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