Payments (2024)

Startups trying to get to payday

Last updated: 14 Mar 2024

Market 101

Payments is a giant market with many different players duking it out for their slice of the hyper-competitive pie. New ways to pay have appeared over the years, spanning buy now, pay later (BNPL) schemes, QR codes, account-to-account payments, wallet payments and digital currencies — though a lot of us still pay for stuff the boring way (with debit cards). For example the use of digital wallets including Google Pay and Apple Pay, has grown unevenly in Europe and only accounts for 10% of UK retail payments.

Europe has a well-stocked stable of payments companies nonetheless. Dutch payment processor and IPO poster child Adyen has a market cap of €50bn+ as well as an extensive mafia of its own and UK-based Wise and Sweden’s Klarna recorded blowout profit performances in 2023. All of these companies ballooned during the pandemic and phrases like “I’ll Revolut you” became common. But when tech’s bubble burst in 2022, some players landed back to earth with a rather loud thud. Klarna, for example, was valued at $46bn in June 2021; by 2022, this valuation had plummeted to $6.7bn. The 2022 downturn also sent several major crypto companies into bankruptcy and tainted the industry’s reputation.

Revenue growth at payments firms continues to suffer with inflation forcing consumers to spend less. VCs say it's not enough to be a buzzy fintech anymore — these days investors are looking for concrete evidence of traction and revenue. Bets on the sector are more sparing: 2023 saw VCs cough up $2bn for Europe’s payments startups, down from $6.8bn in 2022 and $9.9bn in 2021, according to Dealroom data. Yet VCs liked the numbers they saw for a handful of startups, including UK payments startup SumUp, known for its small card readers, which raised €285m. Other big 2023 payments rounds include an $80m Series B for London-based mobile-first payments company TerraPay and a $60m Series B for the UK’s online payments player Volt.

After a year that saw most startups assailed by worries about growth and margins, will life get any easier for payments firms in 2024? Like other parts of the tech economy, the sector has startups that find themselves in need of an exit plan. Industry watchers say consolidation deals are likely this year. Meanwhile, competition over international money transfers is intensifying: HSBC's new fee-free product Zing sees the bank muscling onto terrain occupied by Revolut and Wise. And crypto is rearing its head again, but investors won’t be lured back to newfangled startups with sketchy business models (surely not, right?).

Early stage market map

Key facts

$150tn

is the estimated worldwide sum of money that flowed cross-border in 20221

8.9m

was the number of downloads for the Klarna app from Q1-Q3 20232

14%

of payments in the UK in 2022 were with cash, down from 54% in 20123

Startups tracked by Sifted

Sifted take

The last decade saw a generation of breakout payments brands in Europe. But with startups beset by worries over growth and margin, it's not going to be easy for the ones coming up in 2024. Pro-tip: it's always worth keeping an eye on the UK. Europe's fintech capital has suffered lately, but it remains, as VC Andreessen Horowitz puts it, "the goldilocks of financial services": big enough to be meaningful on a global scale, but small enough to make decisions much faster than the US or the rest of Europe.

Rising stars

Atoa

Points of sale payments

Total funding

€8.1m

London, UK
2022

Point-of-sale startup offering lower-fee payments. Passion Capital, Valar Ventures and Moon Capital Ventures have all chipped in.

Round

Seed

Valuation

Undisclosed


Date

2023

Size

€6m

Vyne

Account-to-account payments

Total funding

€17.7m

London, UK
2019

A "full stack" payments solution for merchants that counts Seedcamp, Partech and Triple Point Ventures, among others, in its cap table.

Round

Seed

Valuation

Undisclosed


Date

2021

Size

€14.1m

Hero

E-commerce payments

Total funding

€7m

Paris, France
2021

B2B payments platform that hase been backed by Rapyd Ventures and Embedded.Capital among others.

Round

Seed

Valuation

Undisclosed


Date

2022

Size

€7m

Super Payments

Rewards & experiences

Total funding

€32.1m

London, UK
2022

Payments network that offers better terms for merchants and rewards to customers. It counts Accel, Union Square Ventures and LocalGlobe in its cap table.

Round

Seed

Valuation

Undisclosed


Date

2023

Size

€7.6m

Early stage startups to watch

Akurateco

Tallinn, Estonia
2019
Angel

400k

300k

-

anybill.de

Regensburg, Germany
2019
Early VC

4.9m

3m

-

Aria

Paris, France
2019
Series A

19m

15m

-

Atoa

London, United Kingdom
2022
Seed

8.1m

6m

-

Avian Labs

London, United Kingdom
2022

-

-

-

-

Beez

Alba Iulia, Romania
2018
Series A

1.5m

-

-

Bflows

Cagliari, Italia
2017
Seed

2.7m

1.3m

-

BillTech

Warsaw, Poland
2017
Grant

90k

50k

-

BIZAO

Paris, France
2019
Series A

8m

8m

-

Boodil

Manchester, England
2022
Pre-seed

640k

640k

3.2m

Bridge

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2018
Support Program

3m

3m

-

BridgerPay

Limassol, Cyprus
2019
Pre-seed

6m

6m

-

Brite payments

Stockholms kommun, Sweden
2019
Series A

54.5m

54.5m

-

BVNK

London, United Kingdom
2021
Series A

36.4m

36.4m

-

Cashy

Bialystok, Poland
2018
Seed

4.6m

-

-

Centiglobe

Stockholms kommun, Sweden
2017
Seed

6m

5m

-

Crezco

London, United Kingdom
2020
Series A

14.5m

10.9m

15m

Devengo

Madrid, Spain
2019
Angel

4.5m

1.5m

-

Dintero

Oslo, Norway
2017
Early VC

4.5m

3.3m

-

Easypol

Rome, Italy
2018
Series A

2.7m

2m

-

Esca

Dublin, Ireland
2021
Pre-seed

400k

120k

-

fena

London, United Kingdom
2019
Seed

-

780k

-

Fenige

Warsaw, Poland
2020
Seed

1.5m

1.5m

-

Fero Payment Science

Amsterdam, Netherlands
2022
Seed

2.7m

2.7m

-

Fipto

Nanterre, France
2022
Seed

15m

15m

-

Flatpay

Herlev, Denmark
2022
Series A

18.5m

15m

-

FlowPay

Campi Bisenzio, Italy
2019
Early VC

1.2m

600k

-

getpaid

Madrid, Spain
2022
Seed

6.9m

5.6m

-

Grafterr

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2019
Pre-seed

1.2m

740k

-

Hands In

London, United Kingdom
2022
Pre-seed

584k

584k

-

Hero

Paris, France
2021
Seed

7m

7m

-

Kadmos

Berlin, Germany
2021
Series A

35.1m

26.8m

-

Kevin.

Vilnius, Lithuania
2017
Series A

71.8m

59.1m

-

KillBills

Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
2020
Seed

4m

4m

-

KodyPay

London, United Kingdom, England
2022
Debt

10.8m

2.7m

-

KogoPAY

London, United Kingdom
2018
Seed

1.4m

1.2m

-

Kravia

Bergen, Norway
2018
Series A

5.5m

1.9m

-

Kresus

Lyon, France
2020
Seed

1m

1m

-

Leanpay

Ljubljana, Slovenia
2016
Seed

4.6m

1m

-

Ledyer

Stockholms kommun, Sweden
2021
Seed

-

1.4m

-

Libeo

Paris, France
2019
Series A

26.1m

20m

-

Lidio

Istanbul, Türkiye
2020
Series A

1.8m

1.8m

-

MALL Pay

Prague, Czech Republic
2018
Seed

2m

-

-

Mercuryo

London, United Kingdom
2018
Early VC

9.3m

6.8m

-

Monavate

Cambridge, United Kingdom
2020
Seed

6m

6m

-

MONEY WALKIE

Saint-Mandé, France
2019
Seed

850k

850k

-

Monisnap

Paris, France
2017
Early VC

12.5m

10m

-

Monite

Berlin, Germany
2020
Seed

16.4m

5.6m

-

Montonio

Tallinn, Estonia
2018
Series A

14.1m

11m

-

NomuPay

Dublin, Ireland
2021
Series A

48.7m

48.7m

-

Nook

London, London
2021
Pre-seed

2.7m

1.7m

-

NORBr

Amsterdam, Netherlands
2021
Seed

2m

2m

-

Numeral

Paris, France
2021
Early VC

13m

13m

-

OneFor

Düsseldorf, Germany
2020
Seed

10m

10m

-

Orain

Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain
2016
Early VC

3.3m

3m

-

Orderli

Leeuwarden, Netherlands
2020
Seed

950k

880k

-

Ordo

London, United Kingdom
2018
Series A

12m

12m

-

PawaPay

London, United Kingdom
2020
Seed

8.2m

8.2m

-

Paycritical

Lisboa, Portugal
2019
Angel

400k

400k

1m

PayLead

Bordeaux, France
2016
Series A

6m

6m

-

PayQin

London, United Kingdom
2017
Seed

650k

700k

-

Payrails

Berlin, Germany
2021
Seed

18.6m

13m

-

Paystrax

Vilnius, Lithuania
2018
Seed

1.4m

1.4m

-

Paytently

Sliema, Malta
2022
Angel

1m

1m

5m

Paytia

London, United Kingdom
2016
Angel

2.1m

690k

-

PayTrip

Orléans, France
2017
Seed

1m

1m

-

Pej

Malmö kommun, Sweden
2016
Series A

2.7m

2.4m

-

Pomelo Pay

London, United Kingdom
2018
Series A

11.6m

8.5m

-

sheerME

Lisbon, Portugal
2021
Seed

6.5m

2.5m

-

Silverflow

Amsterdam-Duivendrecht, Netherlands
2019
Early VC

32.7m

15m

-

Simpler.

London, UK
2021
Seed

2m

2m

-

Softpay

Copenhagen, Denmark
2019
Seed

-

4.5m

-

Sokin

London, United Kingdom
2019
Angel

-

-

-

SPENSE AS

Oslo, Norway
2020
Pre-seed

6m

1m

-

Splitty Pay

Milan, Italy
2018
Seed

360k

-

-

SPOKO

London, United Kingdom
2017
Series A

4.5m

4.5m

-

Sunday

Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France
2021
Series A

112.7m

90.9m

-

Super Payments

London, United Kingdom
2022
Seed

32.1m

7.6m

-

SymblePay

Vedbæk, Denmark
2020
Seed

480k

480k

-

Treyd

Stockholms kommun, Sweden
2020
Series A

22.8m

10.9m

-

Trisbee

Prague, Czech Republic
2017
Seed

1.4m

500k

-

trustshare

London, United Kingdom
2020
Early VC

2.8m

-

-

Two

Oslo, Norway
2020
Series A

28.8m

18m

-

Uelz

Valencia, Spain
2017
Seed

2m

800k

-

Vibepay

United Kingdom
2017
Seed

1.5m

1.5m

-

Vibrant.io

Aarhus, Danmark
2021
Seed

7.1m

5.3m

-

Volume

London, United Kingdom
2022
Pre-seed

2.2m

2.2m

-

Vyne

London, United Kingdom
2019
Seed

17.7m

14.1m

-

Wamo Technology Limited

London, United Kingdom
2021
Seed

5m

1.5m

19m

wearonize

Zurich, Switzerland
2019
Seed

3.5m

1.9m

-

WyzePay

London, United Kingdom
2020
Seed

460k

460k

-

Xelda

Dublin, Ireland
2021
Seed

910k

910k

-

Yabie

Stockholm, Sweden
2017
Series A

50m

15m

91m

Yavin

Paris, France
2019
Early VC

6.2m

5m

-

Yoordi - scan order pay

Zurich, Switzerland
2019
Seed

-

-

-

Zaver

Stockholms kommun, Sweden
2016
Early VC

8.5m

5m

-

ZTL Payment Solution

Oslo, Norway
2018
Seed

4.4m

1.2m

-

ZTLment

Copenhagen, Denmark
2020
Seed

1.3m

1.3m

-

Europe’s success stories

Who early stage startups are up against

(Pre-)Seed

SeriesA

SeriesB

SeriesC

SeriesD+

IPO/Exit

London-based Zilch offers a payment card that gives customers the flexibility to pay over time or pay in full to earn rewards. It includes Goldman Sachs, DMG Ventures among others in its cap table.

(Pre-)Seed

SeriesA

SeriesB

SeriesC

SeriesD+

IPO/Exit

Swedish BNPL startup with a bunch of noteworthy investors in its cap table, such as Mubadala Capital, Blackrock and Sequoia.

(Pre-)Seed

SeriesA

SeriesB

SeriesC

SeriesD+

IPO/Exit

Milan-based startup that helps businesses accept mobile payments. Coatue, Lightrock, Tencent and others are on the cap table.

(Pre-)Seed

SeriesA

SeriesB

SeriesC

SeriesD+

IPO/Exit

London-based company enables businesses to accept subscription or one-off payments and is used by over 85k businesses. It includes Blackrock, Bain and Accel on its cap table.

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