Founder: Guillaume Pousaz (CEO)
Funding: $1.8 billion
Valuation: $40 billion
Key technologies: Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 1 (No. 13 in 2021)
Payments company Checkout.com went seven years after its launch without accepting external funding. But in January, the European unicorn closed a $1 billion Series D funding round and saw its valuation rise to $40 billion.
Founded in 2012 by Swiss-born college dropout and entrepreneur Guillaume Pousaz to solve the problem of online payment processing for merchants and their customers, the start-up competes in the same space as U.S. payments giant Stripe, ranked No. 8 on this year's CNBC Disruptor 50 list, and Dutch rival Adyen, processing billions of dollars in transactions every year for the likes of Coinbase, Pizza Hut and H&M.
It's no secret that the digital payments industry was a key beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it processed hundreds of billions of dollars in payments in 2021 alone. It has also tripled its transaction volume for the third year in a row and it now has 1,700 employees across 19 countries.
Checkout.com began turning heads in 2019 when it raised $230 million in a Series A financing round. In 2021 the company raised $450 million in Series C funding and was valued at $15 billion. Since then its valuation has jumped 167% in only 12 months. Investors include Altimeter, Dragoneer, Franklin Templeton, GIC, Insight Partners, The Qatar Investment Authority, Tiger Global and the Oxford Endowment Fund.
Only time will tell if private valuations hold up despite the massive pullback in public fintech stocks — Adyen shares have lost roughly 40% of their value this year, while some of the public market's largest payment players, such as PayPal, are down by even more. With its new round, Checkout.com said it plans to move deeper into the U.S., one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world, and said it plans to grow its North American-based employee base by 200% in 2022 alone.
It also is looking to strengthen its position in the Web3 space. Checkout.com is used by several of the leading crypto exchanges, representing almost 80% of the global trading volume, and it says it is privately beta testing a solution to settle transactions for merchants using digital currencies.
In December 2021, Checkout.com hired former Meta executive Meron Colbeci as its chief product officer. Colbeci had been at Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, since 2018 as director of product management, helping develop its Novi cryptocurrency wallet and other payment initiatives.
Pousaz told CNBC in 2021 that he anticipates the possibility of accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in the future. "From time to time, we do hear from our merchants that they are considering accepting crypto payments. At the moment adoption remains relatively low, and so it has yet to make it onto our roadmap, although I think it's definitely possible in the future. We continue to be engaged in the conversation and developments of cryptocurrencies and believe in the need for strong regulation to protect the ecosystem and the consumers it serves."
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