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SlimPay Grabs $16.6M To Make Recurring Payments Easy In Europe

Like most modern wonders, the magic of automatic billing is something that is easy to overlook – probably because no one really likes thinking about paying bills as there are many, many more interesting ways to spend money.

Which is the beauty of automatically recurring payments. While everyone should look at their bills to make sure they are being charged correctly, if you really don’t want to, you really don’t have to. In general, any U.S. consumer with a bank account or access to a prepaid card can setup autopay and never ever have to look at a bill again, as long as there is money in the account and/or on the card.

Europeans, on the other hand, do not have things quite so easy. In the U.S., the vast majority of Americans who setup an autopay use their debit/credit card to do so. In Europe, card-based payments are somewhat less common — especially for things like utilities or mobile phones. Digital payments are instead often backed via SEPA and direct debited from bank accounts.

(SEPA is the Single Eurozone Payments Area – a multi-phased European initiative to allow customers to make cashless euro payments to anyone located anywhere in the Eurozone, using a single bank account and a single set of payment instruments.)

The problem is that right now, according to reports, authorizing a company to repeatedly debit a bank account is something of a hassle that involves lots of printing, signing and mailing paperwork.

And as that problem has been most acutely experienced in France, it is not all that surprising that the French firm SlimPay has risen to the occasion and use of tech to streamline the process.

“The Single Euro Payments Area is on track, and it’s presenting a real international trade development opportunity. A French or German merchant can now charge their clients in more than 34 countries. We have ambitions to become the European leader in recurring payments,” noted SlimPay co-founder and CEO Jérôme Traisnel in an email conversation with PYMNTS.

SlimPay was founded by Traisnel and Jean-Louis Hoenen in 2009 as a SaaS-based technological solution for recurring payments. SlimPay’s merchant partners integrate SlimPay into the backend of their website to enable recurring payments through SEPA direct debits. The firm has grown swiftly since its inception a little under six years ago; though the firm only employs 35 people, they service 2,000 companies. And while the client list may not be entirely familiar to Americans — in Europe, EDF, Nespresso and Deezer are largely recognizable names.

“Today we are witnessing a fundamental shift in consumption patterns, which establishes a new model founded on the usage, and no longer the ownership, of goods and services,” Traisnel noted, “and as consumers are switching their focus on renewable access instead of ownership – businesses are going to need to make it easy and seamless to setup payments that recur. We do cards as well, but our expertise in the SEPA direct debit is what sets us apart in the marketplace and we think it is what will push us to be the dominant player in recurring payments.”

And that big goal has just gotten a big vote of support in the form of $16.6 million (€15 million) in funding from a single investor, the Netherland’s Prime Ventures.

“We know the Internet payment industry quite well and recognized that SlimPay addresses a very important pain point both for Internet subscription companies as well as traditional companies,” noted Sake Bosch, founder and managing partner at Prime Ventures, in a statement. “In addition to that Jerome is a successful serial entrepreneur and that the company has made an incredible traction in the market place already and well-positioned to grow internationally.”

And growth it seems will be in SlimPay’s future — as Traisnel says the company is looking to put the new funding into expansion with a doubling of its staff.

“This fundraising will allow us to grow our current team by taking on new people, particularly in the commercial, marketing, and IT (for developers) departments,” Traisnel said. “The company employs 35 staff members and plans to hire 30 new ones by the end of the year with the stated goal of doubling our turnover in 2015. So many great prospects to come…”

And also in expanding its offerings for small business in the Eurozone — and by expanding its physical presence, most immediately to Spain and England.

SlimPay is swimming in an ocean that has gotten more crowded since they first waded in, though admittedly none with SlimPay’s intense focus on SEPA. And despite the competition, Traisnel remains confident.

“We offer the best solutions on the market in terms of SEPA Direct Debit,” he said. “Nevertheless, the FinTech world being in constant motion and the competition becoming greater, it is always necessary to innovate.”

Week Activity for July 3, 2015

The largest deal of the week was the roughly $6.9 billion agreement in which General Electric is selling its vehicle fleet management business to Canada’s Element Financial Corp. As had been widely reported in the financial press, the U.S. conglomerate is in the process of sharpening some of its strategic focus and is selling its finance operations. Coming within the B2B space, the GE deal takes its place as the largest single transaction to date across our investment universe (see chart below) — and certainly for the week. Though it is not payments industry specific, as the fleet operations encompass a broad range of functions, the GE deal does fall within B2B and finance.

Other notable deals during the week included PayPal’s intent to acquire Xoom, a digital money transfer provider based in California, for $890 million. The all-cash deal represents a major step for PayPal, and for its incoming CEO, as it places the payments company squarely up against traditional money transfer giants such as Western Union.

The deal also sets a marker of sorts within the peer-to-peer investment landscape, as it is the largest fund flow we’ve seen in the space to date – should the deal go through. Thus far there are some headlines indicating at least some shareholder concerns, as a former SEC attorney and a securities litigation firm are investigating the deal, wherein the $25 a share being paid represents “virtually no premium” over one Wall Street analyst’s estimated $32 a share value.

Coming on the heels of the Xoom announcement, in terms of dollar tallies, the Cisco-for-OpenDNS deal, at June’s end, for $635 million, comes within the cloud and data security industry, and represents a move by the networking behemoth to push a bit further into real-time threat detection.

Geographically speaking, the U.S. was the most active of all regions, followed by Europe (excluding Russia).

See below for a list of the top five investees in the week that ended on July 3.

Hundreds Of Millions And Billions, Oh My!

The final week of June saw a few hundred million dollar deals and one mega-deal. The largest deal of the week was the roughly $6.9 billion agreement in which General Electric is selling its vehicle fleet management business to Canada’s Element Financial Corp. As had been widely reported in the financial press, the U.S. conglomerate is in the process of sharpening some of its strategic focus and is selling its finance operations.

GE Wins The Prize As The Big Dog Deal To Date

Coming within the B2B space, the GE deal takes its place as the largest single transaction to date across our investment universe (see chart below) — and certainly for the week. Though it is not payments industry specific, as the fleet operations encompass a broad range of functions, the GE deal does fall within B2B and finance.

PayPal Grabs The Cross-Border Headlines

Other notable deals during the week included PayPal’s intent to acquire Xoom, a digital money transfer provider based in California, for $890 million. The all-cash deal represents a major step for PayPal, and for its incoming CEO, as it places the payments company squarely up against traditional money transfer giants such as Western Union and advances its consumer value proposition.

The PayPal announcement also sets a marker of sorts within the peer-to-peer investment landscape, as it is the largest fund flow we’ve seen in the space to date – should the deal go through. Thus far, there are some headlines indicating at least some shareholder concerns, as a former SEC attorney and a securities litigation firm are investigating the deal, wherein the $25 a share being paid represents “virtually no premium” over one Wall Street analyst’s estimated $32 a share value.

Cisco Beefs Up Security

Coming on the heels of the Xoom announcement, in terms of dollar tallies, the Cisco-for-OpenDNS deal, at June’s end, for $635 million, comes within the cloud and data security industry, and represents a move by the networking behemoth to push a bit further into real-time threat detection.

The U.S. Leads

Geographically speaking, the U.S. was the most active of all regions, followed by Europe (excluding Russia).

If You Want To Read The Whole Story

Activity Picks Up Through the Month’s End – and Into July

The month of June turned out to be marked by robust investment activity, toward the latter part of the month at least, and the month’s total of $9 billion in fund flows comes in fourth among the six months thus far in 2015, topped by March, April and February, which showed activity of, respectively, $10.3 billion, $9.7 billion and $9.1 billion. As has been the case pretty much all year, banking, trade finance, alternative finance, security and B2B commerce transactions have dominated the investment tracker.

In terms of investment stage during last week, the overwhelming percentage, at 75 percent, has come from the venture capital firms, and this extends across both broadly defined areas of financial technology and B2B transactions. Seed rounds have trailed venture capital, at 17 percent.

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