AUBG Alumni-Founded Payhawk Becomes Bulgaria’s First-Ever Unicorn

November 23, 2022
AUBG Alumni-Founded Payhawk Becomes Bulgaria’s First-Ever Unicorn

AUBG is happy to share the success of its alumni who are among the co-founders of the first-ever Bulgarian Unicorn.

We are re-publishing Payhawk’s press release from March 1 2022 written by Magdalena Hristova.

From press release:

  • The additional funding extends Payhawk’s Series B round to $215m. This comes only three months after the first wave of Payhawk’s Series B, which was the second largest Series B for a B2B company in Central and Eastern Europe
  • The company has raised an additional $100m in a round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners at a valuation of $1bn. As a result, Payhawk becomes the first-ever Bulgarian unicorn
  • The previous round in November 2021 valued the company at $570m. After continuing to double its annualized recurring revenue every quarter, the valuation is set to hit $1bn
  • New investors joining the round are Sprints Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, HubSpot Ventures and Jigsaw VC. All existing investors including Greenoaks, QED Partners, and Earlybird Digital East are participating
  • The fintech will use the funds to further grow its product team, double down on its efforts to build best-in-class enterprise features, and expand the sales and marketing team for new market penetration in 2022

Payhawk, the payment and expense solution with offices in London, Sofia, Berlin, and Barcelona, has raised an additional $100m to extend its Series B round to $215m. The Series B extension was raised at a valuation of $1 billion, making Payhawk the first-ever Bulgarian company to achieve unicorn status. The company plans to become a catalyst for the Bulgarian startup ecosystem and continue to attract and retain the top 1% of talent in the market.

Lightspeed Venture Partners — a leading global venture capital firm with over $10.5bn under management and prior investments in companies like Affirm, Grafana, Faire, FTX, Personio, Snap, and others — leads the funding extension, with Sprints Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, HubSpot Ventures, and Jigsaw VC also joining the round.

The additional funding comes only three months after Payhawk announced the initial tranche of Series B funding in November 2021 of $115m, and less than a year after its $20m Series A round in April 2021. With the extra funds, Payhawk now has the financial clout required to aggressively expand its presence in the mid-size enterprise market and continue its ambitious global expansion plans.

Currently, finance teams still do a significant amount of manual work due to multiple disconnected tools for cards, payments, invoices, and expense management. Payhawk reduces this by combining those key elements in a single platform. The company also provides an industry-first 3% cashback on card payments up to the full subscription amount, enabling customers to drive their subscription costs to zero, while benefiting from enterprise-grade software.

Payhawk emerges as the leading platform for large SMEs and enterprise customers, especially those with a multinational footprint. The company serves businesses in 30 countries across a variety of industries, currencies and payment methods.

The fresh capital will be used to further grow Payhawk’s product team by adding 60 additional senior software engineers in Sofia from the top 1% of the market. This is with the aim of meeting growing customer demand for new features like mileage tracking and per diem, in light of the incremental return of business travel. Other existing features for enterprise customers will be extended too, including Oracle Netsuite integration, Subscription Management and Budgets.

Building on the momentum from the first influx of Series B capital, Payhawk is set to open offices in Amsterdam and Paris in March, and in New York in September. The company’s headcount is also set to triple from 100 to more than 300 by the end of this year, with the extra funds set to fuel a renewed sales and marketing push for further market expansion.

Arsham Memarzadeh, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said, “Payhawk is more than just spend management software. It’s a one-stop-shop for finance teams to consolidate the previously disparate systems required to spend, track, process, and budget corporate funds. After getting to know the team for over a year, we’ve been blown away with their pace of product development, building the most comprehensive solution in the market in less than four years.”

Hristo Borisov, CEO and Founder of Payhawk, said, “We always knew that we could build a big company if we addressed a significant problem in a large market. The size of the opportunity still drives our growth and ambition today. Every employee that deals with company payments feels that there should be a better way to do it, but this huge problem was never tackled by a strong product team with a hardcore engineering background. This is what Payhawk brings to the market.

“Becoming the first unicorn in Bulgaria is a huge testament to the hard work and resilience of our team over the last three and a half years. We are just at the beginning of our journey, and we cannot wait to continue reinventing how businesses manage their payments.”

Hristo Borisov

Read an interview with Hristo Borisov