French startup SlimPay just raised $16.6 million (€15 million) from Prime Ventures for its payment processing solution. SlimPay is all about making recurring payments in Europe as easy and seamless as possible.
In a few clicks, you can set up SEPA bank account debits without having to mail an authorization to your bank. The company also takes care of credit card payments, but this space is much more competitive. The startup’s motto is that SlimPay should be able to take care of all sorts of payments as long as it’s recurring.
And this is key to understanding SlimPay from an American perspective. In the U.S., most online recurring payments take advantage of your credit or debit card. It’s very rare that you link your bank account directly with a newspaper website to pay for your subscription for example. Even for your mobile phone bill you can pay with your credit card.
But in Europe and in France particularly, you rely on SEPA direct debits for many things, from your utility bills to your unlimited cinema subscription. Until recently, authorizing a company to debit your bank account was a cumbersome process. When I signed up for my current cell phone plan, I had to print a document, sign it and mail it to Orange.
SlimPay replaces all this with digital signatures and an optimized signup process. In other words, as a online subscription service, you might end up getting higher conversion rates thanks to SlimPay.
There is also a big advantage compared to relying on credit and debit card — bank accounts don’t expire, making it effortless to keep paying for a service as customers don’t have to enter new credit card information.
SlimPay works with many French companies already, from electricity providers (EDF) to music streaming services (Deezer) and telecommunication companies (SFR). Chances are you are already using SlimPay but you don’t realize it. In 2014 alone, the company processed €2.4 billion, taking a small cut on every payment.
Today’s funding round is great news as the company is mostly focused on its home market for now. And there is no reason why SlimPay shouldn’t expand to other European countries as the SEPA system is a unified standard. The Eurozone is the natural next step for the startup.
The company also wants to provide different tools to make using SlimPay much easier for smaller developers and companies. There will be more online documentation and API end points in the coming months. To do all this, the company plans to double its team by the end of the year.
While there are many competitive fintech startups in both the U.S. and the U.K., I’m noticing more startups based in France or Germany that want to take advantage of this huge home market, the Euro area. Number26, Prêt d’Union and SlimPay are perfect examples of this trend. I hope that this list will get longer in the coming months.