One of the biggest players in Britain’s fast-growing ‘buy now pay later’ finance sector will announce on Friday that it has secured funding from Goldman Sachs and the owner of the Daily Mail.
Sky News has learnt that Zilch has struck a deal to raise $110m (£80m) in debt and equity from Goldman’s asset management arm’s private credit team and DMG Ventures, a division of Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT).
The fundraising is an extension of Zilch’s Series B round, announced in April, and will take the overall size of the round to more than $200m, according to insiders.
Its increased capital injection reflects soaring demand for BNPL products during a period of growing regulatory scrutiny.
Zilch is expected to use the additional funding to continue building its brand profile and expanding into the US – a key target market.
The industry’s biggest player, Klarna, recently raised more than $600m in a funding round which valued it at a gargantuan $45.6bn.
Zilch has more than 700,000 customers, and earlier this year became the first company in the sector to launch a BNPL service, called Tap & Pay-over-time, enabling consumers to tap their card and pay for their purchase over a six-week period.
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The company, which was founded by chief executive Philip Belamant in 2018, was one of the first BNPL players to be fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The extension of its Series B round will place Zilch on a course towards an initial public offering, although the company has yet to decide on definitive plans such as the timing of a listing.
Mr Belamant said: “As our customer numbers continue to grow, we’ve taken the decision to raise additional capital to service this phenomenal demand.
“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.”
DMGT’s ventures arm has backed other fast-growing technology companies including Cazoo, the used-car marketplace which is about to list publicly in New York.
Zilch’s services are available to customers in shops wherever MasterCard is accepted, and argues that it is differentiated from competitors because it has direct relationships with consumers.
That means, it says, that it is not hampered by conventional obstacles relating to merchant acquirers, and contributes to what it says its high rating on the reviews platform Trustpilot.
Manuel Lopo de Carvalho, chief executive of DMG Ventures, said the pace of Zilch’s growth was “phenomenal”.
“There is a clear opportunity to provide more accessible and responsible credit to UK consumers and we’re delighted to support Zilch in the proliferation of its brand and message to UK customers nationwide,” he said.
The growth of the BNPL sector has drawn growing scrutiny from the FCA following a review led by Christopher Woolard, one of its former executives.
Zilch has publicly welcomed that scrutiny, arguing that it is “built upon responsibility, offers transparency and is the only player in the industry that uses Open Banking technology combined with soft credit checks to gain a real-time view and understanding of the consumer’s affordability profile and make an accurate recommendation of what they can afford, preventing problem debt”.
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