BNPL start-up Scalapay is Italy’s first unicorn after $497m funding round

25 Feb 2022

Image: © Maria_Savenko/Stock.adobe.com

The freshly minted unicorn has launched a new platform focused on the online checkout experience, adding to its ‘buy now, pay later’ services.

Fintech start-up Scalapay has become Italy’s first unicorn with a valuation of more than $1bn after raising $497m in Series B funding.

The latest funding round was led by Tencent and Willoughby Capital, with participation from Tiger Global, Gangwal, Moore Capital, Deimos and Fasanara Capital.

Future Human

Scalapay has now raised a total of $700m to date in investment.

Founded in 2019 by Simone Mancini and Johnny Mitrevski, Scalapay offers a ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) service for e-commerce companies around the world. This allows customers to make a purchase without any up-front payment, after which they can pay in instalments, or entirely after 14 days.

Scalapay has also launched a new platform called Magic, focused on the checkout experience for customers. Mitrevski said this platform will address key reasons for “cart abandonment” on digital checkout pages, such as sign-up details, shipping, payment selection and privacy consents.

“With interest-free instalments, we transformed one of the most frustrating parts of the shopping experience, the payment, into something pleasurable,” Mancini added.

“Now with Magic, we are going one step further and helping European merchants transform their entire checkout experience, leverage a large network of shoppers, and offer repeat-like purchase experiences which drive significant increases in conversion.”

The Italian unicorn now plans to double its staff numbers by the end of the year, along with expanding its exec team and board. A recently added board member is former Venmo CEO Amit Jhawar.

“Scalapay is a brilliant solution that matches an elegant merchant solution with a simple but powerful user experience,” Jhawar said. “I knew Scalapay was a winner when I saw the merchant and consumer experiences that perfectly delivered value to both sides of the two-sided network in southern Europe.”

Brands and retailers that use Scalapay’s services include Decathlon, Calzedonia, Swappie, Moschino, Samsonite, Nike and Pandora.

The BNPL sector has seen rapid growth in recent years, with one of the most notable examples being Swedish company Klarna. Last March, it became Europe’s most valuable fintech company after a $1bn funding round.

A flurry of deals took place in this sector last year, with big players such as Mastercard recently joining the space with its Installments service in the US, UK and Australia. UK digital bank Monzo also jumped on the trend with its latest feature, Monzo Flex.

The sector has also attracted some scrutiny over the ease with which shoppers can amass debt through online shopping. The UK is planning regulations to oversee these payment providers, and the country’s financial watchdog recently told four BNPL players to change their “potentially unfair and unclear” terms and conditions.

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com