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Zilch makes first acquisition as it looks to expand into the US

BNPL provider Zilch will begin to put down roots in the US thanks to its acquisition of commercial lender NepFin.

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Philip Belamant/Zilch

We were promised a flurry of fintech M&A activity and, so far, 2021 has not disappointed us.

Now, it’s the turn of London-based buy-now-pay-later fintech Zilch, which has made its first acquisition in NepFin, a San Francisco-based direct lender.

NepFin, or Neptune Financial Inc. as it’s sometimes known, is a venture-backed commercial lending fintech that provides debt funding to help entrepreneurs and investors grow small and medium-sized businesses in the US.

The acquisition of NepFin, of which financial details have not been disclosed, will help Zilch realise its own American Dream, with plans to hone in on the recent Miami fintech boom and considerably scale its US team.

“This is the second time one of my companies has been acquired by a UK-based company and I’m thrilled at how their mission, values and culture aligned with ours,” Albert Periu, CEO and co-founder of NepFin, said.

“Our team is looking forward to leveraging our prior experience, creating roots in Miami and attracting talent to solidify Zilch as a FinTech leader in the US as we head into the end of 2021 and beyond.”

Periu and his fellow co-founder Thomas Meister will join the Zilch team as US CEO and COO and General Counsel respectively. 

“We’ve been exploring growth options in the US for some time and following the additional funding, now was the perfect time to take another meaningful step towards our US launch,” Philip Belamant, CEO and founder of Zilch, added.

“Albert, Tom and their team have done tremendous work and adding them to our team enables us to hit the ground running with regulation top of mind. We’re highly confident that the team will mirror and build upon the success of Zilch as we bring the most scalable BNPL product to the US market.”

Zilch was able to make the purchase thanks to its latest extension of its $110m Series B funding round.

Unlike traditional BNPL fintechs, such as Klarna and Clearpay,Zilch allows customers to pay in interest-free instalments at any online retailer where Mastercard is accepted, not just the ones supported by its platform. 

Through the use of open banking, the fintech ensures that customers can afford to repay their deferred purchases by using real-time insights into a consumer’s financial wellbeing and current expenditure.

In November 2020, Zilch became the first UK BNPL firm to gain consumer credit authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), after it took part in the FCA’s regulatory sandbox programme.  

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