By Exec Edge Editorial Staff
As a fintech startup focused on Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) financing, Zilch started working on its second round of funding in April to support increased growth and expansion. After raising over $80 million for Series B, Zilch secured an additional $110 million from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and DMG Ventures.
The funding from Goldman Sachs came from both debt and equity pledged by the asset management arm’s private credit team. DMG Ventures is a part of Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT)(LON: DMGT). The support from Goldman Sachs also shows the promise of the burgeoning BNPL sector and specifically Zilch, since the firm is known for only backing the best in the industry.
Zilch is a UK-based startup that offers smarter payment options for those who are trying to control their personal cash flow. The company’s unique approach to payment-deferred processing offers a patent-pending system that requires no third-party integration. Anywhere that accepts Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is also able to accept the Mastercard-backed Zilch card.
Zilch also remains committed to a cleaner planet by offering only a virtual card to reduce the amount of PVC put into the landfill every year due to old credit, gift and membership cards. The company says it is committed to greener practices with the virtual wallet that allows payments to be made from one account. Zilch even has Tap & Pay for a faster and more convenient way to spread out payments for in-store purchases.
In order to build a stronger relationship with customers, Zilch is very upfront about what can be borrowed. There is no interest and no fees on the money used to alleviate financial burdens. Zilch wants to allow the customer to determine when they purchase things based on need or desire—not a specific payday.
This does not mean people can get themselves deep into debt. Zilch is careful to do a check on all customers, helping them stay within spending limits they will be able to pay back without an issue. Zilch only backs low-value discretionary purchases, providing freedom and flexibility without ensnaring people in debt.
Targeting largely young adult populations, Zilch is designed for the Millennial and Gen Z tech-minded shopper who wants to be smart with money. The easy-to-use app helps people shop the stores connected to Zilch, track purchases and receive payment alerts. The link with open banking means customers can always know what amount they are approved to spend through Zilch for the BNPL option.
The leadership at Zilch has announced that the Series B funding round, now totaling around $200 million, is going to help them expand services to the US and continue to grow in the UK.
“As our customer numbers continue to grow, we’ve taken the decision to raise additional capital to service this phenomenal demand,” says Zilch CEO and Founder Philip Belamant. “We’re delighted that well-respected institutions, such as Goldman Sachs and DMG Ventures, share our vision of what credit should be in today’s world and how that can be delivered directly to customers in the most responsible way.”
Zilch has experienced massive growth since its start in 2019 when the initial BETA version was released as a fully functional payment option. Since then, it has worked through the rigorous Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) process to become the first UK BNPL company to complete licensing and achieve consumer credit authorization status.
With over 700,000 users, Zilch has gained a steady influx and continues to grow at over 120 percent per quarter. Each potential customer is carefully vetted with a soft credit check and background check to ensure they are provided with the right financial backing solutions.
Ultimately, Zilch would like to see BNPL be an option for anyone, anywhere. The company believes their revolutionary payment solutions are providing freedom unlike anything else.
In 2020, 37 percent of customers in the UK said they had used a BNPL service at some point. More than half (52 percent) said they had increased the use of these services during the pandemic. Approximately 9.5 million UK customers said they had avoided a retailer because they didn’t offer a BNPL option at checkout.
Though BNPL services are increasingly popular for eCommerce, companies like Zilch are working to make them a reality for in-store purchases as well. Because of the real-time connection and no need for third-party connectivity, Zilch is making it possible for those in the UK to start benefiting from BNPL solutions beyond the virtual space.
About Philip Belemount
As a leader in fintech, Philip Belamant has founded and successfully exited a number of startups in various parts of the industry. His work includes creating PBEL and growing it to 5 million users with $100 million revenue before selling it to Net1 UEPS Technologies (NASDAQ: UEPS).
Before creating his own startups, Belamant was part of the creation and launch of the first Cash-to-Mastercard program for UBER in South Africa. He helped start and launch the virtual cards in Mexico, USA, Africa, India and Spain. His work within Africa also included launching mobile payment and value-added services to 15 countries there.
Established to offer something different in the BNPL world, Zilch has the friendly and down-to-earth approach of the modern generations. The fintech player focuses on sustainable spending and growth for its UK customer base. The company wants people to feel liberated and not burdened by debt, making its approach to fees and interest rates nearly unbelievable.
Instead of counting on late fees and interest from the customer, Zilch makes money by getting the cut from the retailer (what is normally paid to the credit card company). Because users can save money and enjoy convenient purchasing, the company is experiencing rapid growth. Approximately 20,000 new applicants are currently being approved each month.