College Dropout Builds $19 Billion Fortune After Nixing Banking

(Bloomberg) — Guillaume Pousaz studied economics in college in his native Switzerland with hopes of becoming an investment banker.

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Then his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, leading him to drop out in his final year of studies in 2005 and later go to work for a payments-processing firm in the U.S.

It’s partly because of these events that Pousaz set up Checkout.com. Last week, the online-payments firm raised $1 billion from investors, including Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management and the Qatar Investment Authority, at a $40 billion valuation. At that level, Pousaz’s stake is worth about $19.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The London-based company said the funds would be used to expand in the U.S. and invest in technology, according to a statement.

A Checkout representative declined to comment.

The company, whose valuation has almost tripled from 2021, is the latest in the financial-technology sector to raise money at strikingly high levels. U.K. peer Revolut saw its value soar sixfold in July from its last round in 2020, while mobile-payments firm Stripe in March became the biggest U.S. startup at the time, with a $95 billion valuation.

Checkout has expanded rapidly since Pousaz, its 40-year-old chief executive officer, launched the company in 2012. Over the past year, the firm has opened new offices in six countries and says it now operates in almost two dozen nations. Clients include Yum! Brands Inc.’s Pizza Hut and crypto exchange Coinbase Inc.

Read more: Checkout CEO Worth $8 Billion Builds Family Office for Tech Bets

Pousaz’s surging fortune allowed him to set up his own family office last year, Zinal Growth. It has since invested in e-commerce startups Ziina and Wayflyer, as well as blockchain firm Snickerdoodle Labs, according to CB Insights and Crunchbase. Guillaume Waser, who previously worked for venture capital firm Swiss Startup Group, joined in June as managing partner.

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