Meet Adyen: the European unicorn redefining payments

Meet Adyen: the European unicorn redefining payments


Adyen is a quite discrete payment technology company founded in 2006 in Netherlands. If that name doesn’t ring a bell to you, please remain attentive. The company has recently been featured among the Three Unicorns to Bet On by Fortune Magazine, being valued at $2.3B, after a secretive injection from Iconiq Capital, the wealth management firm that manages investments for the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

Adyen serves as a middle-man for Uber, AirBnb, Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, Evernote, Yelp, Mango, KLM or JustFab. The company counts among its 4,500 clients, 7 out of the 10 largest American internet giants, and 3 out of the 5 biggest ready-to-wear brands.

Following Rude Baguette’s SPEND event, we caught up with one of our speakers: Philippe de Passorio, France’s country manager of Adyen, to learn how Adyen is improving payment processing and why this is a big deal for companies.

Adyen rethinks our aging payment infrastructures

Today, almost 15% of the global transactions made online with a credit card fail, about 25% of that is because of insufficient funds, and the other part of these refusals are the result of an obsolete payment infrastructure. The old system of payments involves lots of different parties. This huge and complex machine is declining, having some trouble to keep up with the evolution of commerce, and resulting in a lot of waste. Here lies the opportunity where Adyen comes in, converting wrongly refused card transactions into approvals. “So much fintech innovations were simply about adding a new layer on top of old technology. No one was attacking the old rails,” explained Philippe de Passorio.

Adapting to every country regulations is laborious for traditional structures, but not for Adyen. By updating their services very often to these always changing financial services schemes, they are able to process changes with a disconcerting ease comparing to others.

Transparency is also an important factor for Adyen, as Philippe de Passorio explained: “Last year, European Parliament imposed transparency on interbank fees for card payments, Adyen shed light on these charges way before that.”

Commerce is global nowadays, and where consumers are expecting the same payment experience everywhere in the world, Adyen’s capacity to process online transactions as well as point of sale payments, through the same platform. The company’s omni-channel solution is what make the company so appealing for merchants : “The idea is to free retailers, merchants from using multiple payments systems and instead plug into a single global platform. This allows any store – online or not –  to accept payments in multiple currencies using more than 250 payment methods, from Credit Card to Apple Pay.”

So what are the concrete benefits of an omni-channel approach for companies; and how Adyen transforms the consumers shopping experience?

The Infinite Aisle is the concept that a shopper is able to purchase whatever they want, without restrictions on time, location, channel, or even what is available in store. Some retailers, for instance, have transformed their in-store experience thanks to Adyen’s platform. No need to make the line at the cashier to pay your products, store employees are equipped with Adyen’s mobile POS in order to take anyone payments. And if your a product is missing, just use the tablets available, order the product you want from the web-based inventory and pay on the spot.

The fact that companies can centralize their different payment channels translates into a lot more flexibility, another example is in-store returns from online orders, proposed by several Adyen’s partners like Mango.

Payment is a success factor for businesses

Last month, Adyen’s launched RevenueAccelerate, a data-driven suite of automated tools which sits at the core of the Adyen payments platform optimizing the process of every payment to increase authorization rates, without the merchant having to lift a finger. Adyen’s payments platform is built from the ground-up to connect directly to the card schemes, giving it access to extensive data from every transaction. RevenueAccelerate uses this data, and machine learning, to build intelligent rules which adapt both the format and the route of each payment in real-time, ensuring the highest chance of an authorization.

“Adyen’s platform can also capture smart and qualified data about customers as they buy across multiple venues, thus allowing it to provide additional services such as fraud detection,” commented Philippe de Passorio.

All that data has multiple applications. It can let the store know that a customer has shopped at their online store before, or at another location, so they can build their loyalty schemes on the same platform and reduce the risk of fraud.

A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Adyen states that revenue gained on Adyen transactions by global e-commerce organizations is 1.43 percent, translating into millions of dollars in profits. “Payment was just a commodity, today, and thanks to companies like Adyen, it is becoming a fully-fledged strategic component for merchants,” concluded de Passorio.

In 2014, Adyen has processed $25B of transactions through its platform, last year this amount has doubled, and the company expects to reach $110B in 2016. Since their implementation in France three years ago, they recruited prestigious clients such as Showroomprivé, Lacoste, Birchbox, Vestiaire Collective, Etam or Blablacar.