Europe’s fintech sector is fiercely competitive, with private startups valued in the tens of billions of dollars vying to steal market share from established banks.
Oscar Wong | Moment | fake images
LONDON — Nium, a $2 billion digital payments startup based in Singapore, has big plans for its European business.
The company, whose software helps businesses manage money flows across borders, is in talks to make an acquisition worth up to $400 million to fuel an expansion on the continent, the CEO and CEO told CNBC. co-founder Prajit Nanu.
“Europe is a big deal for us,” Nanu, who now lives in San Francisco, said in an interview in London. The firm is in talks to buy an enterprise-focused payments company worth “anything between $20 million and $400 million,” she added.
Of its 1,000-strong global workforce, Nium currently has about 150 employees in Europe and plans to hire an additional 100 in the next 12 months, Nanu said.
The company is on track to generate around $150 million in annual global revenue this year, with between $80 million and $90 million of sales coming from Europe, according to Nium’s CEO.
It’s a relatively unknown name in the world of fintech, but Nium is growing fast. The company recently reached a valuation of $2 billion and has attracted some notable investors, including Visa and Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek.
The startup competes with both bank incumbents and other fintech companies, such as Britain’s Wise and Australia’s Airwallex. It has other fintechs like Currencycloud, which was bought by Visa last year, and Transfergo as clients.
Europe’s fintech sector is fiercely competitive, with private startups valued in the tens of billions of dollars vying to steal market share from established banks. Klarna, the fintech buy now, pay later, was last valued at $46 billion, while payment firms Checkout.com and Revolut are now worth $40 billion and $33 billion, respectively.
But Nium’s CEO is betting there’s plenty of room for startups like his that focus on handling payments for businesses rather than consumers.
Nium’s European division has accelerated over the past year, thanks in part to its acquisition of Ixaris, a London-based company that issues virtual payment cards for the travel industry. Fortunately, the deal was timed, says Nanu.
“We had the audacity to buy a travel payment company before vaccines became a thing,” he said, adding that Nium gave Ixaris a term sheet from January 2021. The first covid-19 vaccine was administered in the UK in December 2020. .
When deal negotiations began, Ixaris was processing £15 million ($18.8 million) in transaction volume and earning £100,000 in revenue, Nanu said. Fast-forward to March 2022 and the company is now generating £400 million in volume and just under £6 million in revenue, he added.