AirTree Ventures and Decade Partners inject $25 million into Zepto to fuel the next wave of innovation transforming the payments landscape, accelerate company headcount growth and drive Zepto’s international expansion.
Describing the investment, Zepto CEO Chris Jewell said, “We are excited to partner with AirTree Ventures and Decade Partners on our first external funding round. From our roots as a bootstrapped Byron Bay upstart, Zepto has grown to become a market leader in the payments industry. We intend to use this capital to grow our team and technology in a meaningful, empowering way as we meet the demands of an ever-evolving domestic market, as well as accelerate our expansion into international markets,”
The investment comes after explosive growth of 10X YoY revenue growth over four financial years since 2018. Zepto is now facilitating more than $4 billion in payment volume each month, and currently serves hundreds of Australian businesses including Binance Australia, Superhero, Novatti Group, Nimble, Powerpay, Till Payments, Bluestone, Rentbetter, Biz Pay and Get Blys.
From our roots as a bootstrapped Byron Bay upstart, Zepto has grown to become a market leader in the payments industry.
Describing the investor engagement process, Zepto CCO Carolyn Breeze said, "There were a few Ah-ha moments for me. But the most wonderful thing was the validation that we were on the right track, that the opportunity we see, and the ambition we have was not lost on the investors. Not one of them said, 'Oh, that's too ambitious', or, 'We don't think you guys can get there for these reasons'. The feedback was so positive, it inspired us to aim even higher."
A cross-departmental team of Zepto's senior leadership contributed to the pitch and presentations which evolved dramatically. It's fair to say that the team over-thought and over-rehearsed the presentation initially. Yet as the meetings progressed, and the investors grasped the opportunity in the Zepto product, they quickly became more interested in responses to questions like, 'What are you excited about?' 'What are you passionate about?'
As Carolyn puts it, "The process became less about the pitch or the scalability of our offering––that was a given quite early on. From that point, the level of personal engagement deepened. There was a much greater sense of, OK, we want to spend more time with each of you. That helped the investors answer the questions they were asking themselves: Do we believe in these people? Are they genuine people? Are they good people? Can they execute?
What I loved was that it became a constantly reaffirming conversation that got heightened and more intense as we went along. It was clear they were investing, not just in the business, but in the people within it.
This view is echoed by Tom Hordern, Co founder at Decade Partners, who said:
Merchants are choosing Zepto because it’s fast, secure and most importantly developer first and led. These attributes are key to Zepto’s success, and Decade Partners believe this can be traced back to Zepto’s exceptional team and culture
TOM HORDERN, CO FOUNDER OF DECADE PARTNERS
Similarly, James Cameron, Partner at AirTree Ventures, noted:
The global payments landscape is in the middle of its biggest upheaval in decades, as open banking and real-time, bank-to-bank payments are transforming how we pay and get paid. With open banking and the NPP, Australia has found itself at the centre of this disruption – and Zepto is the leading innovator in this space. We believe Chris and the Zepto team are part of the next generation of fintech pioneers.
JAMES CAMERON, PARTNER AT AIRTREE VENTURES
AirTree Ventures has invested in a roll call of Australian tech success stories including Canva, Linktree, Mr Yum, MILKRUN, Immutable, Brighte, Who Gives a Crap and Employment Hero.
Zepto would like to acknowledge the work of Herbert Smith Freehills’ private equity and venture capital team led by Head of Venture Capital, Peter Dunne, partner Aaron White and solicitor Katherine Duong who advised Zepto throughout.
“We enjoy working on transactions with founders and their management teams and helping companies to achieve their goals, and we love it even more when we get to partner with teams as great as Zepto’s. Well done to the founders, CEO Chris Jewell, COO Matthew Zaina, Head of Legal and Compliance Iona Luke and the rest of the Zepto team for their work on this raise. We are looking forward to seeing what else the team achieves this year,” said Katherine.
Herbert Smith Freehills’ market-leading work in Australian venture capital includes raisings for Linktree, Who Gives a Crap, SafetyCulture, Deputy Group, Culture Amp, and now Zepto.