16. Adyen

The company that gave Paypal the wooden shoe.

Founders: Arnout Schuijff, Pieter van der Does (CEO)
Launched: 2006
Headquarters: Amsterdam
$266 million (PitchBook)
Valuation: $2.3 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Software-defined security
Online/mobile payments, software, credit cards

George Kavallines | CNBC

Most consumers likely never heard of Adyen — and the Amsterdam-based company is just fine with that. Started in 2006, it is one of the fastest-growing companies in the online payments industry and counts Uber, eBay, Netflix and Spotify among its customers. Unlike a customer-facing payment app like Apple Pay, Adyen (Surinamese for "start over again") works directly with merchants to give them a single-payment platform that can work in different regions around the world. It also courts brick-and-mortar retailers, selling them on the ability to use a single-payments system for both online and in-store sales.

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The company is doing well with this strategy. It generated $1.14 billion in revenue last year, a 62 percent increase from 2016. Adyen claims it processed $122 billion in volume for merchants in 2017, a 61 percent uptick. In April, Reuters reported that the company is getting ready for a summer IPO that could value it at possibly more than $8 billion.

Given that Adyen has been profitable since 2011, raising new funds now isn't essential, but it would help bolster its expansion plans and new product offerings. Just this past year, it rolled out WeChat Pay, a popular mobile payment app in China, allowing Adyen merchants to offer WeChat Pay on their point-of-sale terminals worldwide. The addition of WeChat Pay means that Adyen merchants can now accept payments from China's three largest payment providers, including Alibaba's Alipay and China UnionPay.

Adyen has raised $266 million in funding from venture firms such as Iconiq Capital, General Atlantic and Index Ventures. The behind-the-scenes company made its own headlines recently when its customer, eBay, announced that it would be using Adyen rather than PayPal as its primary payments provider going forward.