Buzzy U.S. startup Pipe — which claims to be the “Nasdaq for revenue” — has just raised $250 million at a $2 billion valuation. The secret for the hype? It gives SaaS companies a way to get their revenue upfront, by "pairing them with investors on a marketplace that pays a discounted rate for the annual value of those contracts," as my colleague Mary Ann Azevedo so eloquently put it.
Virtually the same model is about to hit Europe in various guises, and the newest of the crop will be Uncapped, a London-based startup that plans to extend the model not just to SaaS companies but also to the booming sector of e-commerce.
It’s now raised an $80 million combined funding round of debt and equity to launch a suite of banking services tailored to the needs of this new wave of tech-driven companies. The round was led by Lakestar. Uncapped’s previous investors include All Iron Ventures, White Star Capital, Global Founders Capital, and Mouro Capital.
The company plans to use the cash to move into the banking space, with new products and services. Last year, the company began issuing Visa cards.
Founded in 2019, Uncapped is positioned as an alternative to traditional debt financing and venture capital, providing companies with growth finance for a flat fee that goes down to 6%, and fast-released capital. Businesses repay the capital as they make revenue. There is no set repayment and no compounding interest, equity or personal guarantees. There are even no credit checks or business plans required.
Uncapped arrives at an opportune moment. The pandemic has led to an e-commerce boom, but the sector requires much more capital than existing VCs can provide. Legacy banks don’t "get" new entrepreneurs. Neobanks are trying to provide it, but can still be slow.
Piotr Pisarz, co-founder of Uncapped, said: “Digital companies are innovating and evolving faster than ever before, but their legacy banking providers are not keeping up with the pace. We want to help digital entrepreneurs with quick access to funding, insights that help their business grow, rewards they actually care about, and modern integrations that will save them time and money.”
“The reality is that legacy banks don’t really understand the needs of digital entrepreneurs, and their dated infrastructure is not up to the standards required to help their business grow. So it’s no surprise that 82% of business owners say they are unhappy with their bank,” Asher Ismail, co-founder of Uncapped, added.
Nicolas Brand, partner at Lakestar, said: “The composition of our economies is changing, with digital native businesses contributing an ever-increasing share to overall GDP. Uncapped uses real-time data provided by its clients across APIs to offer bespoke credit and other novel banking services.”