Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Sezzle, the Minneapolis-based financial technology company that developed a buy-now, pay-later platform, has added another big-name brand to its list of partners.

Sezzle recently secured a $30 million investment from credit card and payment services company Discover. That capital will be applied to Sezzle’s expansion and marketing, while the partnership gives Sezzle the benefits of distribution with one of largest card issuers in the U.S.

In return, Sezzle will implement a referral program, which essentially graduates its customers into Discover’s financial services and banking products, CEO Charlie Youakim said.

“Discover’s got a ubiquitous payment network, and their view is they can be a great partner in building out our buy-now, pay-later network by enabling that network for us to bring our product to [small and medium-sized businesses] in the offline world,” Youakim said. “And not just offline, but to utilize that network to enable distribution in spaces that we probably have not penetrated as much.”

Sezzle, which launched in 2017, had a pre-existing referral partnership with Discover, in which the Illinois-based card company introduced their merchant customers to Sezzle’s platform.

“This makes it deeper through technical integration because now any merchant that accepts Discover cards is going to able to accept Sezzle with the click of a button,” said Paul Paradis, president of Sezzle.

In the past few months, Sezzle has added other large corporate partners in digital sports media company Barstool Sports; Austin-based BigCommerce, a publicly traded e-commerce company with customers such as Ben & Jerry’s and Sony; and Minneapolis-based Target Corp.

Earlier this summer, Sezzle announced it had entered into a three-year agreement with Target after completing a proof-of-concept run for its buy-now, pay-later platform with the retailer. Target has a history with Sezzle, having mentored its founders in 2019 through its Techstars retail accelerator.

“When you’re a young company, your brand clout matters,” Youakim said.

Sezzle also recently filed a preliminary registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its planned initial public offering in the U.S. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed IPO have not yet been determined.

Sezzle has been a publicly traded company on the Australian stock exchange since 2019, which allowed the company to draw $30 million in investment backing for its digital version of installment plan payments.

The U.S. public offering is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process. Youakim did not comment further regarding the SEC registration statement or IPO.

Sezzle experienced a surge of new customers during the pandemic, ending 2020 with more than 2.2 million active users, up from 914,886 in the prior year. The company reported income of $49 million for 2020, compared with $13.3 million for 2019.

Over a 12-month period ending this July, $1.4 billion in merchant sales were made through Sezzle’s platform, and the company now boasts 3 million active users and more than 41,000 retailers.

Since launching four years ago, Sezzle has grown to about 400 employees.

“A lot of our model right now is scaling, trying to get outthere ahead of the business,” Youakim said. “There are a lot of players coming into this space and trying to plant flags.”

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