SumUp — the fintech that provides payments and related services to some 4 million small businesses in Europe, the Americas and Australia — has picked up some growth funding to navigate the choppy waters of the current fintech market, waters that have tipped and swayed SumUp itself.
The startup, which has roots in Germany but is based in London, has raised €285 million (just under $307 million). It plans to use the money to continue growing its business organically launching more financial services — around the card readers and other point-of-sale tools, it offers invoicing, loyalty, business accounts and more. It’s also eyeing up more geographies beyond the 36 where it is currently active.
And it will also be turning its attention to inorganic growth — that is, M&A. The latter is something to watch: we are currently in a buyer’s market, with fintech startups facing a significantly tighter funding landscape, down by 36% globally in the last quarter, according to S&P.
(Sometimes an M&A deal might check a couple of strategic boxes: when SumUp acquired the loyalty startup Fivestars in 2021, that gave it a leg up in the U.S. and also introduced new services to the platform.)
Sixth Street Growth is leading this latest round, with previous backers Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, Fin Capital, and Liquidity Group also participating. SumUp has now raised around $1.5 billion, per PitchBook data.
Hermione McKee, who was appointed as SumUp’ CFO earlier this year, described the round as “mostly equity” but declined to give more exact figures. She also declined to give a specific valuation for SumUp, except to say that it’s higher than the $8.5 billion that SumUp reached in 2022 when it raised €590 million (half in equity; half in debt).
The company says that it has been “positive on an EBITDA basis since Q4 2022” (note: this is not the same as profitable). And that it has had over 30 percent “top line growth” year on year.
But on the other hand, there are other indications that business is tough right now. SumUp says that its customer base currently totals around 4 million, which is exactly the same figure it quoted two years ago.
And today’s funding news comes in the wake of some other rocky data points for the company. It was only a couple of months ago that Groupon disclosed that, as part of a larger group of secondary transactions between existing shareholders, it sold part of its stake in the company at a valuation of $4.1 billion. In other words, it made the sale at less than half what the company was worth in 2022.
That $8.5 billion valuation from 2022, meanwhile, was a major discount on the €20 billion ($21.5 billion) SumUp had been hoping to achieve, underscoring how hard it has been to raise big equity rounds. (And in line with that, SumUp’s last raise, in August, was for a $100 million credit facility.)
Payment tech businesses in Europe and the U.S. also faced some tough scrutiny and slower business.
PayPal and Square, two publicly-listed U.S. companies that compete directly with SumUp, have seen their share prices and market caps tank since 2022. (PayPal’s share price is currently less than $60/share, down from a peak of nearly $300/share. Square and parent company Block are trading at around 25% of its peak.) Stripe famously saw its valuation nearly halved to $50 billion this year.
Closer to home, publicly listed Adyen has also been in the financial doldrums after reporting sluggish growth. But as a measure of how volatile the market is right now, and how thirsty investors are for any signs of good news, Adyen’s mere statement of a turnaround plan (plan, not results) sent the company’s stock up 30%.
Klarna and Checkout have, so far, not been so lucky: Klarna’s valuation dropped some 85% the last time it raised money; Checkout had a $40 billion valuation when it raised $1 billion in January 2022, but since then it’s reportedly marked down that figure to $10 billion internally.
Now 11 years old and one of the biggest of the privately-held payments startups, SumUp is banking on its track record of longevity as a signal of its stability.
“For over a decade, SumUp has consistently delivered sustained growth and boldly entered and led entirely new product categories and markets,” said Nari Ansari, MD at Sixth Street Growth in a statement. “This… track record and culture of innovation combined with SumUp’s thoughtful approach to growth and efficiency are well-aligned with Sixth Street Growth’s investing strategy.”