In today’s global era, the ability to process payments in currencies all over the world is becoming increasingly important.
Although some would think that a global bank could accomplish this with ease, the fact is that even global banks don’t have offices in every country on the planet. Thus, they need to partner with local banks in order to process payments in that country’s currency. This creates issues with regulations from country to country, currency conversion, and payment remittances in different countries, among other things.
But that problem has a solution in the form of global payment systems such as Adyen, Network International, and Worldpay.
“Adyen highlights the growth and innovation within the complex international payments segment, given the increasing demands for its cross-border, omni-channel payment processing solutions from many of the world’s largest technology-enabled companies,” says Jonathan Korngold, managing director and global head of financial services at General Atlantic.
Adyen “solves a real structural problem in the industry, something that banks are not equipped to deliver on their own,” says Pete Casella, co-head of Point 72 Ventures.
The founders of Adyen had already worked in the payment space. They formed a company called Bibit, which was eventually sold to Worldpay. “Being an insider to the payment industry, [Adyen’s founders] appreciated some of the vagaries of the opportunities and challenges,” Korngold says.
Adyen is now tremendously profitable. They secured €11 million in funding in their first venture capital investment round. At the end of 2014, the company received $250 million in funding from General Atlantic and other investors. Unlike many companies that received large amounts of venture capital funding, Adyen still has not burned through those investments.
“If you are an investor and you get in on a company like that early, you could be in a very good position,” says Amy Nauiokas, founder and chair of Archer Gray and founder and president of Anthemis. “But they don’t necessarily need later-stage money or an IPO in order to continue to be profitable.”
Adyen is not the only international payment company. Klarna, a Swedish startup, and U.S.-based firm Stripe, as well as the well-established Worldpay, Chase Paymentech, and First Data are also competitors in the space. Although the latter three companies handle about $1 trillion each per year in payments, 10-year-old Adyen is on track to process $70 billion in transactions this year.
“The online and mobile payments [space] is becoming increasingly competitive and attracting interest from players across the technology industry,” says Ruomeng Wang, an analyst at IHS. “This threatens to disrupt even the established players.”
Brendan Miller, an analyst with Forrester, says that Adyen, like Bibit, could be swallowed by one of its larger rivals before it grows to those companies’ size.
Whatever happens in the mobile payment space, it’s clear that Adyen has earned its status as a unicorn (a company valued at more than $1 billion) and is becoming serious competition for the established companies in the space.