E-commerce has been on a growth tear in the past few months, a result of more people opting to shop and pay for goods online to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing rules. To underscore the surge of business, a company that provides services to online merchants to help run and manage their transactions is today announcing a big round of funding.
Checkout.com, which provides an API-based platform for merchants to built checkout experiences accepting multiple forms of payments (currently numbering 150 currencies, all international cards and popular local payment methods), as well as fraud protection and reporting and other analytics around those transactions, is today announcing the it has raised another $150 million in funding, a Series B that catapults the London-based startup's valuation to $5.5 billion post-money.
(It's one more sign that while some startups and sectors have been feeling a huge pinch, there remain large and very lucrative areas of business where companies are continuing to grow, and investors are continuing to be very active.)
Checkout.com is profitable and has been since 2012, when it was founded, and so the primary purpose of the funding will be to strengthen its balance sheet (available cash is now more than $300 million), and more R&D investment, with a specific focus on building technology to further simplify and speed up settlements (an ongoing, large issue for online retailers).
“The way money moves into and out of businesses is changing rapidly," said Guillaume Pousaz, the CEO and founder, in a statement. "I believe that by solving financial complexity, you can radically unlock innovation -- starting with digital payments. At Checkout.com, we’ve built a technical architecture that enables pioneers to reinvent industries and redefine their relationship with consumers. Now more than ever, we are confident of our mission to build the connected payments that businesses deserve.”
There may be some transactions on the cards, too. In. February, the company acquired a French-based payment optimisation startup called ProcessOut, and considering how many startups have emerged to address the various complexities of online commerce, we may well see more consolidation down the road, so with Checkout.com shaping up to be one of the leaders, it's likely to play a role.
The funding is being led by Coatue, and others in this round include Insight Partners, DST Global, Blossom Capital, and Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, GIC. Several of these are repeat investors, backing Checkout.com in its $230 million Series A in May 2019, which holds the record of being the biggest-ever A-round for a European startup.
There are a number of payments startups (and larger, more mature businesses) competing against Checkout.com in the area of payments and its many aspects -- which involve not just taking payments themselves, but incorporating different payment methods, building easy and simple transaction interfaces, providing fraud protection, providing insights into what is working (and what is not), and offering accounting tools around that.
Others in the space space include the likes of Stripe, PayPal, Adyen, GoCardless and Square. As with these, Checkout.com's solution to helping with some of the complexity is to build the processes behind the scenes and make the solutions available by way of APIs in order to incorporate various functions by way of simplified, short lines of code.
Checkout.com has kept a relatively low profile up to now -- even its name sounds a bit generic and anonymous, when you think about it -- but it has held its own on the business front: the company has added more than 500 enterprise customers in the last year. Big new names include Grab, Revolut, Careem, Glovo, Robinhood, Farfetch, Klarna and Remitly, alongside older customers like Getty Images, Samsung, Adidas and many others.
And in addition to being profitable -- not a detail that has been transparent among some of its competitors, such as Stripe -- Checkout.com is growing at a fast clip, with transaction numbers had already up by 250% between May 2019 and May 2020, and seeing that rate accelerate in recent months.
Coatue is a notable lead investor in this round, being not only a prolific investor that has backed other e-commerce plays that have seen an uptick in activity in recent months, but also some of the biggest startups of the last several years, including Uber, Instacart and DoorDash.
“We have followed the business’ explosive growth and are inspired by Guillaume’s vision for the future of payments," said Kris Fredrickson, managing partner at Coatue, in a statement. "We’re incredibly excited to partner for the next phase of the Checkout.com journey.”