Aussie-founded BNPL provider Scalapay rockets to unicorn status with $692 million raise

Scalapay-Johnny-Mitrevski-Simone-Mancini

Scalapay co-founders Johnny Mitrevski and Simone Mancini. Source: supplied.

Wollongong-founded BNPL startup Scalapay has closed a whopping $692 million Series B round, boosting its valuation to “well past” US$1 billion and earning it a place in Australia’s official unicorn club.

The fintech burst onto the Aussie scene in September last year when it raised $210 million in Series A funding, at a valuation of more than $1 billion in AUD.

Now Scalapay is valued at “well past 1 billion in all the currencies”, co-founder Johnny Mitrevski tells SmartCompany.

Founded in 2019, it is also one of the fastest Aussie startups to hit official unicorn status — that is, a valuation of US$1 billion or more.

Back in March 2019, Airwallex hit the milestone at just three-and-a-half years old. Scalapay has now pipped its fellow fintech to the post, getting there in just shy of three years.

Scalapay’s latest round attracted investment from a slew of big-name international VCs.

The round was joint-led by Tencent and Willoughby Capital, and also included backing from Tiger Global, Gangwal, Moore Capital, Deimos, and Fasanara Capital.

Scalapay’s three-fold growth

A relative latecomer to the global BNPL scene, Scalapay is headed up by Mitrevski and fellow Aussie co-founder Simone Mancini.

The pair saw how well the model worked, particularly in the fashion sector, and saw a gap in the market in super-fashionable western European cities, where the trend hadn’t taken off in such a big way yet.

Scalapay initially focused on the heart of fashion in Milan, and now has a presence in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria.

The brand is also working with international retailers including Moschino, Nike, Samsonite and Pandora, and is an official sponsor for Milan Fashion Week.

Since the September raise, payment volumes and revenues have each increased three-fold, Mitrevski tells SmartCompany.

Scalapay has invested in its first marketing and brand awareness campaign across Italy and France, and doubled its headcount.

It has also launched its ‘Magic’ online checkout platform, designed to streamline e-commerce for merchants — with or without a BNPL element.

This latest round gives the startup a long, safe runway to continue on that growth trajectory, Mitrevski explains.

But it is also pegged for growth through mergers and acquisitions.

“We’re definitely looking to open up new markets as well as growing new business and accelerating our growth through M&A.”

Fintech from Sydney to the world

Mitrevski acknowledges the “amazing achievement” of reaching unicorn status in such a short space of time.

“I think we’ve worked about 10 years of hours,” he jokes.

But the overwhelming feeling for him is one of pride, largely in the teams assembled locally and on the other side of the world in Europe.

“We’ve been very advantageous in the people we’ve brought in. They’ve definitely helped us rocket forward,” Mitrevski says.

This is also an achievement for Aussie tech more broadly. This is a business, built out of the Innovation Campus at the University of Wollongong, that was truly thinking globally from day one.

Scalapay’s growth shows it’s possible for Aussie-born businesses to find success outside of Australia — and fast.

That’s especially true for fintechs, and for the Sydney and Greater Sydney area, Mitrevski adds.

“We have so many large banks that we’re developing consumer-facing products for. It’s a ripe ecosystem for us to be building fintech — and world-leading fintech,” he says.

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