Satispay, Italy’s leading provider of payment services on mobile devices, has closed a series D round of as much as €320 million, thus reaching unicorn status, having its value thereby surpass the one billion thresholds. The all-equity round will be closed once approvals are obtained from the relevant authorities in the coming weeks. This was recently announced in Milan by scaleup co-founder and CEO Alberto Dalmasso at the press conference presenting the deal.
That the deal was on the way had already been leaked last July, when, however, there was talk of a much smaller round i.e., €134 million, but nonetheless Addition’s name had already been circulating as the lead investor in the new capital increase.
Addition’s role as a lead investor was later confirmed yesterday. The U.S. fund was launched in 2020 by Lee Fixel, former head of Tiger Global’s private equity division, that same year raised two funds of $1.3 billion each, and then raised another in 2021 of $1.4 billion. But that’s not enough, because in June this year he launched the raising of the fourth fund, with a target of $1.5 billion. Satispay “is revolutionizing the mobile payment scenario in Europe with the goal of getting to be the most popular payment system in Europe,” said Lee Fixel, the founder of Addition.
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Also participating in Satispay’s new round was Greyhound Capital, already a shareholder since 2018, which increased its stake in the company
They are joined by Coatue, Lightrock (part of LGT Capital Partners’ group), Block Inc (formerly Square Inc), Tencent, and Mediolanum Gestione Fondi sgr, among others. All already investors who entered the capital in the previous round. This round thus brings to €450 million the total fresh capital raised by Satispay since its founding in 2013 by Alberto Dalmasso, Dario Brignone, and Samuele Pinta.
The Italian mobile payments fintech’s last previous capital raising was in November 2020. Back then, it was a €93 million Series C round, including €68 million in capital increase and €25 million in share purchase sold by Iccrea Banca and other historical partners. That round had been underwritten for €37 million by Italian investors and €56 million by foreign investors. Specifically leading the round had been: LGT Lightstone, the growth equity impact investing arm, part of LGT Capital Partners, the world’s largest family-owned private banking and asset management group (20 million).
Previously, in September 2018, Satispay closed a €15 million round, with a post-money valuation of €115 million. The following participated: Iccrea Banca, new partner Banca di Piacenza, Copper Street Capital, funds Endeavor Catalyst and Greyhound Capital, Banca Valsabbina, Sparkasse, and Club degli Investitori di Torino. The scaleup previously raised 18.3 million in the round closed in September 2017. On that occasion, Banca Etica, Banca Sella Holding (through Sella Ventures), the venture Shark Bites, and Smartclub, a vehicle managed by Alessandro Fachin, senior private banker at Ersel, who in turn had involved a group of leading entrepreneurs, had also entered as new investors. And before that round there had been two others, a 5.5 million round in September 2014 and a 3 million round in September 2015, which had included Iccrea Banca, Banca Alpi Marittime, and successful managers and entrepreneurs such as Jonathan Weiner and Ray Iglesias (founders of the Google Wallet project and, later Money2020), Nicola Carbonari (founder of Autoscout24), Giuseppe Donagemma (former vice president networks of Samsung Electronics and Nokia), as well as industrial players such as Egea, a Alba-based multi-utility operating in the environmental and energy sectors.
With such growth, the question about a possible hypo is a must. But Dalmasso put the brakes on the listing: “It has always been our goal, but now is not the time. We are still small from the team’s point of view even if not as numbers and, at this stage, we prefer to avoid the pressure of quarterly reports and then “the capital market is still capacious and makes a stock market landing less urgent.”
And about the investors who participated in the last round, the CEO explained, “They are not just investors but useful interlocutors for brainstorming. They especially help us to share experiences. There are interoperability synergies with them.”
Meanwhile, Satispay is looking at possible acquisitions to grow in Europe but also to consolidate its position in Italy
The target is not competing payment companies but, on the contrary, related businesses, companies providing customer services that will complement the offer. “We look at all of Europe but there is a lot in Italy as well. In fact, the targets are more Italian than international. There are small companies struggling to make capital raises that are very interesting on the technology side. We can be supportive,” Dalmasso said again. No interest, however, in the consumer credit business or loans in general. “Those are still far away because we still want to improve as a payment system, and we certainly don’t need to confront rate volatility as well. Rather we want to extend into the world of prepaid services,” the CEO added.
As a reminder, in July 2021 the scaleup has already acquired AdvisorEat, an Italian startup that through its dedicated app selects and recommends the best restaurants that can liven up a business trip or breakfast, allowing members to accumulate points to be converted into gift cards, vouchers or charitable donations.
Dalmasso continued, “We are very pleased because, following this round, we feel we have all the tools and resources we need to realize our vision: to create the next leading payment network in Europe. Not only do we feel we have the necessary capital, but also experience and expertise. In the past two years we have grown tremendously, more than doubling our customer base and launching in three other European countries. In addition, we have brought in many talents to our team who are helping us transform Satispay into a bigger, more structured, and competitive company. It is truly a new beginning and we feel more determined than ever. This is a decisive and exciting time of great acceleration.”
Satispay is working with a debit and credit card-independent payment super network model, created to accelerate the replacement of cash and become a Europe-wide everyday tool. “The company has grown and now its community has already surpassed 3 million people and 200,000 active stores and is continuously increasing,” the founder stressed.
Satispay is also expanding across borders. In fact, it has entered Germany (in Berlin and Nuremberg), expanded to Luxembourg and France (in Metz in the northeast and on the French Riviera), and now “we are looking with a tactical attitude, without exaggerating, at Belgium, Holland, Austria, Greece, and Portugal. But there is still room in Italy, which can become a source of income that can finance international growth within a couple of years.”
As for the income statement breakeven, it is not a stake because, Dalmasso implies the bar is continually being moved further ahead: “We know what size we need to be profitable but we don’t want a company with a small ebitda,” and for now he preferred to invest in growth “without worrying too much about breakeven.” That said, “we will work on efficiency, in a couple of years we want to double the pace of growth. And in the next three years we will define whether to settle down or grow again.”
Asked about expectations about the next government, Dalmasso finally repeated what he had also submitted to the previous executive: “We are asking to treat all payment instruments equally. The 2015 pos obligation law is wrong, the penalties to merchants do not work, and the only regulation talks about card obligation: in our opinion, we should talk in general about electronic payments.”
Satispay allows smartphone payments to be made via a wallet with direct debits to the bank account. But in addition to simple payments between users and in businesses, the scaleup has gradually moved on to introduce new services. Indeed, the business has been expanded to cell phone top-ups and a service that allows payments to the public administration, including fines and Tari, to be made via mobile, but most importantly, an automatic piggy bank service has been included to allow users to set aside small amounts each time they make a payment through the app. Finally, in November 2021, it entered into a partnership with Young Platform, Italy’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, aimed at making it easier to buy bitcoin by allowing all Young Platform users to top up their wallet directly with Satispay, instantly and free of charge.
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First published in Be Beez, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the articles from the originals. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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