SaltPay has invested in at least 19 businesses across Europe in just two years; some are full acquisitions; others are minority stakes. Companies in the SaltPay family now span the whole payments value chain from small business software to independent sales organisations (ISOs) and merchant acquiring.
SaltPay management has made few public comments, apart from one article on Sifted, but its ambitious business model would appear to be:
- Buy ISOs and PSPs to gain distribution to small businesses
- Cross-sell software/VAS to the ISO’s merchant customers, and
- Switch processing to the in-house platform (Borgun)
While it’s clearly going to be a challenge to integrate all these capabilities into a simple go-to-market proposition, SaltPay should have the resources it needs to be successful. It has reportedly raised an astonishing $700m in VC funding including $500m in April 2021 from Hedosophia (an early investor in Viva Wallet) and Tiger Global – also an investor in Checkout, Raypd and True Layer.
I’ve listed SaltPay’s subsidiaries and investments below. All are wholly owned unless otherwise stated. The information is based mainly on SaltPay Europe Ltd’s 2021 accounts filed at Companies House at the end of December 2022.
It’s quite a story so please let me know if I’ve missed anything.
Borgun, the Icelandic acquirer (renamed SaltPay IS) was purchased in 2020 from two local banks – Islandsbanki and Eignarhaldsfelagia. for an undisclosed sum. According to its 2021 report and accounts, pe-tax losses were c.€10m but management now expects break-even by 2024. Borgun serves clients in Iceland, UK, Hungary, Czech, Croatia and Slovakia. SaltPay has injected additional capital into the business which is directly held by SaltPay’s holding company.
ISOs & PSPs
B-Payment – a successful Hungarian ISO which has been working with Borgun as its acquirer for many years. B-payment services 10,000 small business merchants generating c.6m transactions per month and has 50 staff.
Merchant Payment Acquiring Services– a leading ISO in Slovakia, with 4,500 SME customers using 58K POS terminals. MPAS operates in both Slovakia and Czech Republic and was an early adopter of PAX Android in Europe.
Retail Merchant Services – one of the larger UK ISOs, RMS showed a pre-tax loss of £18.5m in 2020 on turnover of £30.4m. It uses Elavon and Global Payments as acquirers. RMS was acquired from its founder by TCV, a US investment fund, in 2017 and sold to SaltPay in 2022.
Mea Wallet – Oslo HQ’d tokenisation specialist which provides services to banks, issuers and merchants including Islandsbanki, former owner of Borgun. Salt Pay invested €19m in July 2022 according to a local blog and reportedly took full control at the end of the year.
Paymentology – London based, cloud issuer processing platform with clients including Natwest, Islandsbanki and Quicko. Paymentology competes with GPS and FIS.
Small business software
Storyous – a Czech ePOS business focused on restaurants/cafes. It claims over 5,500 customers and offers integrated payment processing from SaltPay, ČSOB and Global Payments.
Salescloud – ePOS software with customers in Icleand (its home market), UK, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal. SaltPay led a $4m funding round to take a 12% stake. Salescloud processes via the Valitor gateway.
Weasy – based in Portugal, Weasy offers webshops to small businesses with 85,000 accounts created to date. Weasy offers a great many payment options including Mutibanco, Stripe and Braintree.
Fanbase Technology – Edinburgh HQ’d software for lower league football and rugby clubs. SaltPay has a 20% stake and has also formed a JV company with Bobby Skinstad, the ex-Springbok South African investor who is listed as an advisor to Fanbase.
Odeal Odeme Kulus – SaltPay paid $3.5m for a 10% stake in this leading Turkish POS terminal and ePOS provider. Odeal has 75,000 merchants and offers access to five banks processing through its integrated POS terminals.
Loyverse – Cypriot ePOS vendor operating in Europe, North and South American as well as Australia. Its website claims 1m merchants have registered. Loyverse is listed on SaltPay’s website but it’s not clear what investment is held.
Value added services
Stamp – Amsterdam based Tax Free Shopping start-up competing with the established players – Planet and Global Blue. SaltPay has a minority stake.
Noona – booking software for appointment scheduling, Noona claims 600 customers and sells in Portugal, Czech and UK as well as its home market of Icleand. SaltPay invested $1.2m for a minority stake. Borgun is its processor.
Yoyo Wallet – a very high profile UK startup that span out of Imperial College, Yoyo provides loyalty solutions to quick service restaurants such Dunkin Donuts and KFC in the UK and South Africa. Yoyo claims 5m active monthly users spending at 18,000 stores. In 2020 (badly hit by Covid) YoYo suffered a pre-tax loss of £2.9m on sales of £3.1m. UPDATE: Salt Pay acquired Yoyo with an investment of £42m, according to Yoyo’s 2021 financial statements. The investment has allowed for the repair of Yoyo’s balance sheet, which was impacted by a £15m impairment charge relating to its South African operations, as well as a £7m fee to terminate a partnership with former investor Hard Yaka.
So Connect – based in Amsterdam, So Connect claims to have empowered more than 50,000 local businesses by improving their online visibility by boosting listings and reviews. Amsterdam. The service is live in UK and Spain.