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BNPL upstart Zilch becomes fastest ever unicorn with $2bn valuation

Zilch, the direct-to-consumer buy-now-pay- later (BNPL) provider, has closed its Series C round.

a man with his arms crossed

Philip Belamant

The founders of BNPL fintech Zilch have seen their stake in the two year old firm reach a combined $1bn following its latest funding round.

Zilch yesterday closed a $110m Series C funding round, pushing its valuation to more than $2bn and making it the fastest European company to become a unicorn from its Series A round. 

The oversubscribed round was led by Ventura Capital and Gauss Ventures, and was closed in just 3.5 weeks from its launch.

Zilch, which was founded by Philip Belamant, who is its CEO, still has over half of its equity capital in the hands of founders, the vast majority owned by Belamant.

Headquartered in London, the company was one of the first BNPL providers in the UK to receive a consumer credit license from the FCA and secured a lending license in California earlier this year. 

It is planning, Belamant told AltFi, to fully launch in the USA in early 2022 and EU “soon thereafter.”

In the UK it has seen rapid traction and now counts more than 1 million users. It will increasingly look to take on Klarna in all three markets next year.

Belamant says his strategy to compete in a busy playing field, dominated by the Swedish BNPL provider is to use “the latest tech to disintermediate the very network effect that has served Klarna until today”. 

“Similar to what Zoom did to skype, Zilch will continue directly serving customers and allowing them to pay over time anywhere for anything. This strategy has proven to be far more scalable so far in the UK and we are excited to bring it to the USA very soon.”

Over the summer of 2021, Zilch acquired Miami-based NepFin and named Albert Periu as CEO of the U.S.

While we’ve achieved phenomenal growth in the U.K., there is tremendous opportunity in the U.S. market,” Belamant said.

“Consumers want to build relationships with companies like Zilch that provide flexible BNPL payment options and whose terms and availability aren’t controlled by the large retailers. Our unique model allows us to disrupt the network effects setup by incumbents and scale at speed as we sell through social rather than through sales teams.”

Since the company’s last funding round in March 2021, the business has grown more than 800 per cent.

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