Zilch, a London-based financial technology (fintech) company, announced its acquisition of Neptune Financial (NepFin) on August 12, 2021. NepFin is a technology-based direct lender that provides consumers with flexible solutions to spend in capital.
The acquisition was made possible by the latest fundraising efforts of Zilch, a Series B expansion that raised $ 110 million. This result brings the total financing of the acquisition to more than $ 200 million, allowing Zilch to expand into the United States. It will also help the company to ensure regulatory compliance and licensing requirements necessary to conduct financial transactions in the United States. Major investors in this latest fundraising effort included Goldman Sachs Asset Management and DMG Ventures, the venture capital arm of companies like the Daily Mail and the General Trust.
Zilch has previously appointed executives to lead its operations in the United States, including Albert Periu and Thomas Meister. Periu will serve as CEO of the US branch, while Meister will be both COO and General Counsel. Both executives have extensive knowledge of the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) industry based on their experience at Funding Circle and NepFin, where they developed their fintech lending business in the United States.
NepFin offers Zilch a number of specific advantages for expanding in the United States. For example, it already has a strong technological infrastructure that supports its existing operations. In addition, NepFin is licensed as a California Financial Lender, indicating that it has the necessary framework to comply with that state’s regulatory requirements. NepFin also shares a common ideology with Zilch in that both companies have a sense of responsibility to provide customers with alternative methods of making purchases that will not accumulate debt or affect their credit rating.
Past fundraising efforts
Zilch had already raised $ 80 million in April 2021 for its expansion in the United States, bringing its total value to over $ 500 million. Investors in this funding round have included small businesses and individuals, although Zilch founder and CEO Philip Belamant has said he will target large investment firms in the future. The specific purpose of this financing is to stimulate Zilch’s expansion in the United States by serving as a leading line of debt, rather than supporting its operations in the United Kingdom.
Periu said he admired Zilch’s successful innovations in the BNPL space for some time prior to the acquisition, and added that he was delighted with how the culture, mission and values of the two companies align. This shared ideology was a major factor in its decision to acquire NepFin. Periu also said that NepFin was the second of its companies to be acquired by a UK-based company. According to Periu, “Our team is looking forward to building on our past experience, building roots in Miami and attracting talent to solidify Zilch as a leader in FinTech in the United States as we move towards the end. from 2021 and beyond. “
Belamant said he explored options for expansion in the United States for some time before securing the necessary funding. He currently plans to begin this expansion before 2022, initially focusing on areas such as customer service, engineering, marketing, sales and regulatory compliance. Belamant also said the success of the latest funding round makes it the perfect time to take another major step towards launching Zilch in the United States. Belamant added: “Albert, Tom and their team have done a tremendous job, and adding them to our team gets us started with regulations in mind.” He then expressed confidence that his US team will build on Zilch’s previous successes to bring its scalable BNPL product to the United States.
Zilch’s business model is focused on providing its customers with new ways to purchase products and services that won’t damage their credit rating or increase their debt. This model includes a strong sense of corporate responsibility that includes transparency in its operations. For example, Zilch is currently the only BNPL company that uses flexible credit checks and open banking technology to obtain a customer’s accessibility profile in real time. As a result, Zilch is able to accurately identify the services a client can afford, which helps them avoid unsecured debt.
Belamant founded Zilch in 2018, founding his startup in London. Zilch’s platform beta launched in 2019, and the company currently employs around 150 people who process an average of 150,000 apps each month. This platform sets itself apart from its competitors by allowing customers to make payments without interest or other fees for a period of up to six weeks.
The background checks required by Zilch to assess a client’s affordability are performed by Credit Kudos. These controls are in large part why the first BNLP provider to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was Zilch. This space is changing rapidly in the UK, and analysts expect BNPL transactions to account for ten percent of all online sales in the UK by 2024. As a result, the FCA may tighten regulations soon. for BNPL providers operating in this country.
Belamant is a Cum Laude graduate from RAU University in South Africa, earning both a Bsc IT and a Bsc IT Honors. He started his first business at the age of 21 by winning the Microsoft sponsored Project Firefly competition based on his thesis on AI and biometric technology. Belamant has also founded other FinTech companies over the past 16 years, which has given him extensive experience in the payments industry.
These companies include one of Africa’s top 40 FinTech companies, which gained over a million users in the first six months. This company was the largest wireless access service provider (WASP) in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa. Belamant has also launched mobile payment services in 15 countries, including India and countries in Africa and Europe. The user base of these services exceeds 20 million, with major partners such as Airtel, MTN, Orange, TNM and Vodafone. Belamant also launched UBER’s first Cash-To-MasterCard solution in Africa.