In my last post, I covered the financials of several private UK enterprise SaaS companies. In this post, I will focus on private UK financing and payment SaaS companies. UK-based companies have traditionally been leaders in the financing and payment market by virtue of the importance of the UK banking sector as well as the UK’s progressive financial regulations.
I’ve recently written about Demica and its surging market share in the supply chain finance market. Let’s take a look at Demica’s 2018 financials. (2019 will not be available for a while.) In 2018, Demica reported the following:
- A revenue increase of 53% to £8.4 million.
- The financing of $100bn in receivables/payables annually
- A gross margin under 15%, as most of its costs are financing costs paid to others
- Ebitda of -£5.145 million
- Raised £19.1 million from investors including the IFC (part of the World Bank). And just last week, Demica reported that it raised another $30 million
The company is clearly taking market share. It has also bought itself some running room with its new equity raise but needs to continuing growing quite a bit to reach scale.
I knew nothing about HPD until I researched this post. HPD’s software helps financial institutions offer factoring, asset-based lending, discounting, and supply chain finance services. The company claims that its platform, Lendscape, “is the world’s leading asset-based lending and factoring software platform. We handle $50 billion of receivables and serve 50,000 clients worldwide.” (Presumably, HPD means its clients handle the receivables using their HPD Lendscape software.)
For the year ended October 31, 2018, HPD reported:
- Revenue growth of 13% to £14.8
- Ebitda of approximately £1.9 million
- HPD’s gross margin was a not-very-saas-like 38%. This could simply result from how HPD allocates expenses. Another explanation could be that HPD has only about 2/3 recurring revenue and only half of recurring revenue is cloud-based. HPD has been selling to financial institutions for a long time it likely has substantial on-premise revenue on which it now earns tech support fees. (The company says it expects cloud revenues to eventually be 75% of recurring revenues and recurring revenues to be 75% of total revenues.)
In all, HPD is a solid, growing, and profitable business despite having to make the transition to the cloud.
I’ve written previously about UK-based payments companies GoCardless and Optal, here. (Note that WEX subsequently announced it is acquiring Optal for $1.7 billion.) Two more private UK SaaS companies in the area of cross-border payments are CurrencyCloud and Rapyd.
I was unfamiliar with Currencycloud prior to researching this blog post. The company is clearly known to many others as it has raised $140M in capital! Currencycloud sells software to financial services firms (banks and fintechs) to help them collect, convert, pay, and manage cross-border transactions. The company describes itself as follows:
Currencycloud is a global payments platform built on smart technology that takes the complexity out of moving money. Developers use our API building blocks to build customized payment solutions. Whether you want to embed our payments infrastructure into your products or services, or build on top of it, we’ll fit into your business in a way that works for you.
We take care of all the intricacies and regulatory hurdles involved with cross-border payments, giving you the tools to globalize your business.
The company seems to help smaller banks and “challenger” banks avoid the correspondent banking system for international payments.
Currencycloud reported the following for the year ended December 31, 2018:
- Revenue grew 54% to £20.2 million
- Operating profit was essentially break-even, so EBITDA was positive. The bottom line is Currencycloud is a “rule of 50” company.
- Gross margin was a little over 50%
- Currencycloud payment volume was up (a slower) 17% to 3.3 million transactions. Total payment value was up 24% to £7.8 billion. The average payment is therefore approximately £2,363 which is on the small side for cross-border payments.
- These numbers, together with the net revenue number, imply a take rate of 26 bps or £6.12 per payment.
- Currencycloud has a three-pronged pricing strategy comprising its total take rate:
- 40% of revenue comes from a commission receivable (presumably on payment value)
- 35% comes from a platform usage fee (presumably a subscription)
- 25% comes from a transactional fee (presumably per transaction)
This is a substantial, growing, profitable payments company, hence the valuation.
Rapyd is another new one for me, but not for the VCs. The company has raised $180 million at a valuation of $1.2 billion and bills itself as the “world’s largest local payment network.” Rapyd describes its solutions as follows:
Today, Rapyd helps businesses create great local commerce experiences anywhere. We build the technology that removes the back-end complexities of cross-border commerce while providing local payments expertise. Global ecommerce companies, technology firms, marketplaces, and financial institutions use our fintech-as-a-service platforms—Collect, Disburse, Wallet, and Issuing—to seamlessly embed localized fintech and payments capabilities into their applications in a simple way. We have also built the Rapyd Global Payments Network that lets businesses access the world’s largest local payment network with over 900 locally preferred payment methods including, bank transfers, ewallets, cash in more than 100 countries.
As you can see, Rapyd is more oriented to mass consumer payments rather than B2B payments. It allows companies to pay consumers at ATMs without bank accounts, push payments to debit cards, and issue cards globally.
Unfortunately, we can’t learn anything about Raypd from its 2018 financial filing. At that point, Rapyd qualified for the UK’s micro-entity exemption meaning it had 2 of the following:
- a turnover of £632,000 or less
- £316,000 or less on its balance sheet
- 10 employees or less
In 2018, Rapyd had an average of 4 employees and most of the money it raised came in 2019. Rapyd says it is looking two make two acquisitions, one of a card-issuing platform and one of a payments player in Asia Pac. The company says the acquisitions are likely to cost more than $100 million each. It may be best to think of Rapyd as a fintech-as-a-service idea with some tech (how developed is unclear), plus a blank check acquisition company. You are betting on the management team to put this money to good use!
The market loves cross-border payments stories right now, Rapyd is cashing in on that excitement.