And that’s despite the fact that Checkout.com is anything but a household name.
The company handles back-end payment processing for the likes of Netflix, Deliveroo, and Sony, as well as many other London “fintechs” and a large swath of the world’s cryptocurrency businesses. You’ll rarely see its logo, and as far as Pousaz is concerned, the company operates when consumers don’t know it’s there.
“[Our customers] want error-free trading. Five years ago, there were websites that would tell you, “Please don’t refresh the page, it may take up to 30 seconds,” when you check out. We process a transaction in 200 milliseconds.
“Most people don’t realize that we make a real impact on society, but our technology probably touches your credit card two or three times a day. We are a humble, hard working company with no ego.”
Surfer makes waves
While Pousaz has the ambitious task of taking transactions away from big banks and incumbent payment companies like Worldpay, he ended up in the industry by accident.
After dropping out of university in Lausanne after the death of his father to spend a lifetime surfing up and down the California coast, he ran out of money and took a job at the payments company IPC. He quickly decided on a life as an entrepreneur.
“I thought the opportunity was much bigger than just the US, which they were exclusively focused on,” says Pousaz. “I thought it would be better to try it myself than to do it for someone else.”
Two years after going it alone in 2009, he spent $350,000 (£255,700) to acquire a small Mauritius-based company licensed to process transactions on the Mastercard and Visa networks. That led to him founding Checkout.com in London in 2012, the site that resulted from the Financial Conduct Authority’s support of financial technology companies.
Although the internet was well established by then, it was a very different landscape. “Amazon was a bookstore, Gmail barely existed, Instagram didn’t exist. The whole e-commerce wave of today started between 2010 and 2013, so in a way I like to think I saw the opportunity early on.”