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GoCardless: UK fintech becomes a unicorn after €274M financing round

Das GoCardless-Team © GoCardless
New startup unicorn GoCardless © GoCardless

Europe has gained another fintech unicorn! The British startup GoCardless was able to collect $312 million (€274 million) in a Series G financing round. The company valuation is now a whopping $2.1 billion (€1.8 billion). The investment follows a quick start in the open banking space. It aims to double account-to-account payments and build a global network for bank payments that rivals cards.

Michael Rouse from Klarna becomes the new board member

The round is led by Permira Growth Opportunities Fund, which has previous experience backing fintechs including Swedish unicorn Klarna. Also participating in the round is BlackRock Private Equity Partners. The company is also expanding its boardroom with a few real fintech experts. Michael Rouse, former Chief Commercial Officer at Klarna, is appointed to the Board of Directors of GoCardless. Koen Köppen, Klarna’s Chief Technology Officer and Mollie board member, will become an independent director.

“The rise of open banking presents a once-in-a-generation shift, one that will change the way payments happen all over the world. I am delighted to have partners like Permira and BlackRock Private Equity Partners on board, with their global footprint and strong expertise in tech, to support us in building a direct bank payment network that lets payments flow freely, without cards, expiration dates, or extra costs,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, co-founder and CEO of GoCardless.

Klarna’s next mega-round: Another €525m for Europe’s No. 1 fintech

GoCardless wants to become the market leader for direct bank payments

With the new capital, GoCardless intends to further advance its growing market position in the open banking area through product and geographic expansion. The ultimate goal is to become the world’s leading direct bank payment network. According to its own statements, the neo-unicorn processes transactions worth more than €22 billion annually for over 70,000 companies around the world, including DocuSign, Klarna, TripAdvisor, and Epson.

The company’s valuation has more than doubled since the last round of financing in December 2020. The number of employees increased by 85%. GoCardless has increased its investment in the development of open banking products and has launched Instant Bank Pay. According to the company, this is a new way to collect one-off bank-to-bank payments via open banking.

RBI CEE Fintech Atlas: Perspectives and developments of fintech and digital banking in CEE

Through Open Banking to the “Global Champion”

Klarna recently chose GoCardless to offer direct debit payments to its more than 21 million customers across the US. To expand in the market, Klarna leverages GoCardless’ experience in account-to-account payments. In addition, PayPal and GoCardless have signed a strategic agreement that will make GoCardless the direct debit payment partner for PayPal.

“We believe GoCardless is uniquely positioned to become a global champion in account-to-account payments through leveraging open banking. We are thrilled to back Hiroki and his excellent team to continue innovating and offering best-in-class solutions that are cheaper, faster, and a more secure way of collecting payments globally,” said Alberto Riva, Principal at Permira, on the new funding.

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