Fintech Pleo has raised $200m in an extended Series C round at a valuation of $4.7bn, hot on the heels of its last cash injection in July that saw it pass the unicorn threshold at lightning speed.
Pitching itself as the “largest spend management company in Europe”, Pleo provides expense management subscriptions to businesses that allow them to issue smart company cards to employees and keep track of spending with automated expense reports.
Its latest cash injection is actually an extension of its funding round in July, and brings the total raised in the Series C round to $350m. But most notably, its valuation has exploded in this time: in July, Pleo was valued at $1.7bn.
Today, it has stolen Monzo’s thunder from yesterday and reached $4.7bn – making it one of the most valuable startups in Europe.
Pleo has a strong presence in the UK, where its 60-strong office in Shoreditch will soon be shifting locations to accommodate a planned doubling in headcount to at least 120 people in the next year.
Its new product launches in the UK, including a B2B bill payment product ‘Bills’ in April, have been well received, and the company intends to focus on the UK as one of its core areas of growth.
After pivoting during the pandemic to focus more on integrating digital payments into its platform so that employers could track their staff spending on items needed for working from home, Pleo grew its customer base to 20,000 active users across six markets – the UK, Denmark, Sweden, German, Ireland, Spain.
A big chunk of today’s capital will be funnelled into the fintech’s aggressive European expansion plans next year, which include its imminent entrance into Austria, as well as fourteen other EU countries – including Finland, the Netherlands, France and Portugal.
“The fact is that we didn’t need to continue to raise this year – but our Series C saw such demand that this extension was made possible,” says co-founder and CEO Jeppe Rindom.
With the big wad of cash comes “big ambitions”, Rindom says.
“We’re talking about 15 new territories in Europe, meaning we want to be operating in over twenty countries by 2023. The money helps, but we’re not complacent.
“We’ll continue being Pleo: pushing forward, doubling our 400-strong team, iterating our product, building more tools and features, taking us from invoice management and employee reimbursement into lending and beyond. It’s a hugely exciting time and we look forward to the next stage of Pleo’s growth.”
Pleo says it has committed to acquiring one million “engaged users” by the end of 2025. Over the last six months, Pleo has onboarded up to 1000 new customers every month, helped in large part by the launch of a “freemium model” aimed at helping SMEs that bypasses its normal £10 per user subscription model.
The funding round extension was led by tech-focused investment manager Coatue Management, who have had a very busy period, having joined Monzo’s latest funding $500m funding round, too. They were followed by Alkeon Capital, and existing backers including Bain Capital Ventures, Thrive Capital, Creandum, Kinnevik, Founders, Stripes and Seedcamp.
“Pleo understands this critical shift for modern companies toward employee centricity—providing workers with a fun-to-use spend management app that automatically tracks their corporate spending and generates expense reports, paired with the powerful tools businesses need to create full visibility and management of every penny spent,” said Keri Gohman, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures.
“With this extension to the Series C, Pleo is in an even stronger position – they’re undeniably the dominant player in small business spend management, an $80bn+ opportunity in Europe alone, and will only grow more essential to businesses as the company expands into bill payments in the near future.”
It’s an extremely sharp valuation uptick when compared with British neobank Monzo, which yesterday revealed its valuation increased by 200 per cent this year to $4.5bn, after its latest $500m growth funding round, led by Abu Dhabi Growth Fund, new investors Coatue and Alpha Wave Ventures, and existing backers Accel and Goodwater.