Guillaume Pousaz, the founder of London-based Checkout.com, is now one of Europe’s wealthiest tech entrepreneurs, with company documents and VC sources revealing that Pousaz’s stake in the payments startup puts him on Forbes 2021 list of the world’s billionaires with a $9 billion estimated net worth.
Pousaz, a college dropout who founded Checkout.com in 2012 to solve the problem of online payment processing for shops and shoppers around the world, still owns about two-thirds of the company after three rounds of funding. Investors valued Checkout.com at $15 billion in January, when it raised $450 million to further its growth.
The January valuation is almost three times Checkout.com’s previous valuation of $5.5 billion value in June last year, marking the rapid rise of a company few knew much about before 2019.
According to three VC insiders, Pousaz owns a 67% stake in Checkout.com. That makes him the one of the richest European fintech billionaires, above the likes of Nik Storonsky at Revolut (worth $1.2 billion) and the recently minted billionaire founders of Klarna, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski ($2.2 billion) and Victor Jacobsson ($2.7 billion).
Checkout.com’s competitors, namely Stripe and Adyen, are two of the runaway leaders in the online payments space. In February investors valued Stripe at $115 billion while publicly traded Adyen has a market cap of around $60 billion.
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A spokesperson for Checkout.com declined to comment on Pousaz’s stake or net worth.
The Story So Far
Pousaz, who dropped out of college after failing his economics finals, founded Checkout.com in 2012 after a spell surfing in California and a middling first attempt to break into the fintech space through NetMerchant, described by Pousaz in a 2019 interview with Forbes as a solid but unremarkable low cost U.S.-to-Europe money transfer service.
His next project, Opus Payments, began life in 2009 and changed its name to Checkout.com in 2012. The business allows companies to process and accept cross-border payments from a handful of popular sources–debit and credit cards, online banks, PayPal, Apple Pay and other eWallets. Pousaz generates revenues by pocketing a few pence for every pound or dollar companies spend.
He has been hard at work for over a decade now. In January Checkout.com says it tripled—to an undisclosed amount—the number of payments it processed in 2020. Customers include H&M, Pizza Hut and Deliveroo, plus about 500 recently added online retailers. In 2019 revenues climbed to $146 million, from $74 million in the prior year; the company hasn’t disclosed whether it’s profitable or not. Staff headcount doubled to over 300 in 2020 as well.
While Checkout.com has grown by pocketing small sums across billions of transactions it processes online, on a personal level Pousaz has not dealt investors very much equity in the company.
Arriving at a multi-billion dollar valuation while coming away with such a sizable stake is no small feat. Big name investors in Checkout.com, namely Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, billionaire Yuri Milner’s VC firm, DST Global, and New York City-based Insight Venture Partners. In January Tiger Global Management also invested.
Additional reporting, Alex Konrad