We call them unicorns: Fintech companies that were founded after 2000 and are now valuated at 1 billion dollars or more. Named after the mythological creature, they are just as rare. Nevertheless, we found three of them and asked how they became a unicorn. Today part 1: iZettle.
How did you become a Unicorn?
Jacob de Geer (CEO): “Fundamentally it comes down to a great market and product fit. Looking across Europe there are still over 20 million small businesses that can’t take card payments. The main reason why a huge part of the addressable market has been left untouched is the outdated business practices employed by traditional players in this industry. There are many reasons behind success, but there is a massive element of luck and timing that is beyond your control. One thing you learn when you start a business from scratch is not to expect anything.”
What is it that you do better than your competitors?
“We are the undisputed European and Latin American leader within our niche. So we’re doing something right. Broadly speaking, success comes down to hard work and focus, there’s no getting away from that. We have a world-class team and we’re well financed by some of the world’s best venture capitalists. We also have the most experience, and hence more data from which we can learn what to improve in terms of our service and the different features we offer.”
What is your vision on the market?
“Our goal is to build a suite of smart products and services for small business. In Sweden, our most mature market, roughly 50 percent of all payment terminals are from us. One of the positive aspects about being a Swedish company with a limited market is that you need to prepare for expansion the day you start building your business. This is part of the reason why you see many Swedish tech companies, such as Spotify, King and Klarna, being successful right now.”
HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
Founders: Jacob de Geer en Magnus Nilsson
What it does: iZettle develops card readers and a service for processing mobile payments