Fintech/Analysis/

Checkout.com becomes Europe’s largest unicorn with $15bn valuation

The payments company has secured a fresh $450m and has hinted at an IPO.

By Isabel Woodford

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Credit: Guillaume Pousaz, founder and CEO of Checkout.com

Online payments firm Checkout.com has become Europe’s top privately-held tech company.

The London company has secured a $15bn valuation at its Series C round, bringing in a fresh $450m fundraise from investors, which includes Tiger Global Management — also an investor in Checkout.com’s rival Stripe.

Checkout.com has nearly tripled its valuation since June, when it raised $150m at a $5.5bn valuation. Just two years ago Checkout.com was worth less than $1bn, first rising to prominence in May 2019 with a record breaking Series A round.

The fintech’s dramatic rise over the past year is partly a result of the boom in online payments triggered by the coronavirus lockdown, when Checkout.com said its transaction volumes increased by 250% year-on-year, with small businesses rapidly moving online.

The company has made a name for itself powering online commerce for thousands of merchants like Deliveroo, and is already profitable.

Checkout’s new crown as Europe’s most highly valued startup is also a testament to its global ambitions. The company is already making inroads in the Middle East and Asia, with 50% of its transactions now occurring outside the EU and the UK.

The next big focus is likely to be the US, where the startup has already opened small offices in Boston and San Francisco; taking on competitors like Stripe on their home turf. Checkout.com is also rumoured to be considering an IPO.

Any IPO would see it follow in the footsteps of Dutch competitor Adyen, which now has a market value of over $65bn. “We’re the next Adyen,” Checkout.com chief executive Guillaume Pousaz told the Financial Times in 2018.

Checkout.com is now the fourth most valuable fintech startup globally, leaping ahead of fellow payments firm Klarna, which was last valued at $11bn.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, London-based fintech Curve said it had raised $95m in a funding round led by IDC Ventures, Fuel Venture Capital and Vulcan Capital.

Checkout.com fact sheet

  • Checkout.com was bootstrapped for its first seven years by Pousaz, who is Swiss but is based in the UAE
  • Checkout.com is unusual in that none of its main investors are European, having opted instead to seek international backers — often associated with higher valuations. For instance, its Series B funding was led by US hedge fund Coatue, while other big investors include Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund GIC
  • The company has now raised $830m in just under two years
  • It has also begun investing in other fintech via a venture division, as first reported by Sifted

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