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Payhawk becomes the first-ever Bulgarian unicorn at $1bn valuation

By Joy Dumasia

March 02, 2022

  • Bulgaria
  • Cross Border Payments
  • Europe
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Payhawk, the payment and expense solution with offices in London, Sofia, Berlin, and Barcelona, has raised $100 million to extend its Series B round to $215 million. The Series B extension means that the company hits 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 attracting and retaining the top 1% of talent in the market. 

Lightspeed Venture Partners, a leading global venture capital firm with over $10.5 billion 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 $115 million and less than a year after its $20 million 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.

Finance teams currently 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 critical elements in a single platform. The company also provides an industry-first 3% cashback on card payments up to the total subscription amount, enabling customers to drive their subscription costs to zero while benefiting from enterprise-grade software.

The fresh capital will further grow Payhawk’s product team by adding 60 additional senior software engineers in Sofia from the top 1% of the market. This is to meet 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 will open offices in Amsterdam and Paris in March and 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 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.”

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