Sezzle's logo on a welcome board at the Australian Securities Exchange, where its shares started trading Tuesday.
As its initial public offering took off on the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney Monday night Minnesota time, Sezzle Inc. came unbound from a quiet period and disclosed growth metrics for the second quarter. They showed revenue of $2.2 million, eclipsing sales for full-year 2018, and that Sezzle is still in the hockey-stick portion of its rise.
The Minneapolis fintech company had 5,048 retailers using its payment scheme, which allows low- or no-credit shoppers to buy something and pay it off in installments, on their websites on June 30. That’s up 52% from March 31 and faster than the 49% growth in its retail base from the end of last year through March.
The amount of sales handled by Sezzle grew at a slightly slower pace, 47% in the second quarter. But that could change in coming months if it succeeds in attracting larger retailers to offer the Sezzle payment option.
“To date, we’ve had a lot of success partnering with small businesses,” Paul Paradis, Sezzle’s chief revenue officer, said Tuesday. “While we see that being a core strategy going forward, we do believe we need to move upstream and work with medium-sized and large enterprises … That’s where you get a broader consumer base.”
The company will use a sizable portion of the $30 million proceeds from the IPO to beef up its sales and marketing to retailers and develop its technology systems to be able to handle large retail websites.
Next Monday, a new top sales executive, Anna Meyer, will join Sezzle. She’s a 14-year sales veteran of SPS Commerce and spent several years working in China and Australia to develop its overseas business.
Sezzle is in a battle with Australia-based Afterpay Touch Group to provide alternative payment options to U.S. retailers eager to reach e-commerce customers, particularly young adults, who don’t have credit cards or don’t want to use them. Both firms take a fee from retailers, as credit card firms do, for facilitating transactions.
“We think within next five years installments are going to be a dominant payment method in the United States,” Paradis said. “We want to lead the charge. We’re going to keep pushing.”
Such alternative payments are far more popular in Australia, where Afterpay is a market leader, and one reason that Sezzle executives decided to list the company in Sydney rather than New York.
On the first day of trading (Tuesday in Australia, late Monday Minnesota time), Sezzle shares jumped 80% and they jumped another 25% in Wednesday's trading. Afterpay’s shares are up more than ninefold since they started trading in 2017.
Paradis said he’s confident Australian investors can supply Sezzle’s capital needs for some time to come.
“We’re a small cap in Australia and they do have a good amount of money there,” he said. “We don’t have any plans to leave the ASX. We think it’s going to support us for the next many, many years.”
It’s been about 20 years since a high-tech startup from the Twin Cities made an initial public offering. Back in the late 1990s, firms like Digital River and NetRadio Corp. were part of a tech boom in the U.S. stock market. SPS Commerce went public in 2010, though it was well beyond startup phase.
Recent IPOs in the Twin Cities have come from the medtech and financial services arena. Ceridian HCM Holding, a software company that descended from Minnesota’s long-ago tech giant Control Data Corp., went public last year, 11 years after delisting itself.