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'Europe's Stripe' raises €90m as COVID drives online shopping boom

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
Mollie's chief commercial officer Ken Serdons, left, and founder Adriaan Mol. Photo: Mollie
Mollie's chief commercial officer Ken Serdons, left, and founder Adriaan Mol. Photo: Mollie

A Dutch company that helps businesses like Deliveroo and Moet champagne take payments online has raised €90m (£78m, $103m) to expand across Europe.

Mollie announced on Tuesday it had raised money from TCV, a Silicon Valley-based investment company that has helped the likes of Netflix and Airbnb to expand.

Founded in 2004, Mollie provides simple online tools to allow businesses to take online payments. The company works with small companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany, as well as bigger businesses like Deliveroo, Moet & Chandon champagne, UNICEF and Toms shoes.

The company competes with the likes of Stripe, a US company valued at $36bn, fellow Dutch company Adyen (ADYEN.AS), which has a stock market value of €40bn, and $225bn US giant PayPal (PYPL).

“Compared to Stripe, we have a very similar product,” Ken Serdons, Mollie’s chief commercial officer, told Yahoo Finance UK.

“How we differentiate is we are a lot more local. We do all the local payment methods and we do them in a very optimised way.”

Mollie’s founder and chief executive Adriaan Mol said small businesses were still “under-served” despite the fierce competition in the market.

READ MORE: COVID-19 will permanently change how we shop, says Klarna CEO

He said Mollie was growing much faster than competitors, with payments growing 100% year-on-year. The company is currently processing around €1bn a month.

“We were able to bootstrap the company for such a long time because we’re able to build such a good product that our customers are happy with and this creates this flywheel effect,” Mol said.

Serdons said growth has accelerated in recent months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had shifted a lot of buying activity online.

“Obviously COVID has helped a lot as well,” he said. “But now you keep on accelerating. We believe that consumers have fundamentally changed their behaviours. We’ve gained a couple of years on the trend of offline to online conversion, which was already happening.”

Serdons view is shared by others in the industry. Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the founder of Swedish payment company Klarna, told Yahoo Finance UK in May that COVID-19 caused “a bump in the curve” of online shopping adoption.

COVID-19 did not factor into Mollie’s pitch to investors but Mol said it “probably” helped the company by accelerating digital shopping.

Mollie is already profitable but Mol said it “felt good to secure some more money in the bank”. He added that bringing TCV on as an investor also made strategic sense.

“TCV has seen a lot of growth so we can use their expertise in that sense,” he said. “They’ve helped companies like Netflix and Airbnb.”

Mollie reached unicorn status in this deal — an industry term for a private tech company valued at above $1bn. However, Mol wouldn’t comment on the specific price tag on his business.

The company plans to use the funds it has raised to invest in product development and international expansion.

Mollie does not yet have any boots on the ground in the UK but Serdons hinted this could changed in the coming months. Asked if the UK was on the roadmap for expansion, he said: “We’re looking at all the biggest markets in Europe.”