The year 2021 is a Grand Cru for French Tech. In this month of October, the startup Swile became the 19e French unicorn on the occasion of a capital increase of 200 million dollars from abroad. It must be said that the Swile card is now in the hands of more than 500,000 employees. Born in Montpellier three years ago, the startup reaches 13% of the meal voucher market and recently signed with Casino, its first CAC40 company.
It is an exploit. While the meal voucher market was classified as impenetrable and limited to a French specificity, the startup Swile has managed to find a place for itself and aim much higher. Soon, its cards and services will be exported to Mexico and Brazil. The Softbank meeting before the summer was decisive, his management told Echos. The Japanese holding company has created an envelope of 5 billion dollars for the markets of Latin America and Swile will be among the startups to benefit from it.
3 candles, $ 1 billion
How did Swile manage to get out of the meal vouchers market – large but limited to France? By launching a card with Mastercard, its teams very quickly sought to develop very broad services based on the needs of a company and its employees. This is how payday advances, peer-to-peer payments and even gift vouchers have joined restaurant vouchers.
To make its card a benchmark and boost its use, Swile has also become an account aggregator thanks to the new Payment Services Directives (DSP2) which have encouraged “open banking ». Now, employees can link their bank account to the card and thus settle transactions by automatically completing the remaining amount to be paid with their bank account.
As a result, in just 3 years, the Montpellier startup has achieved unicorn status, which is given to nuggets exceeding one billion dollars in valuation and which have not yet taken the path to the stock market.
“We will use all this capital”
Swile will soon turn to Mexico and Brazil, where she should know a real springboard. Supported by Softbank, but also Index, Eurazeo and Bpifrance, the company founded by Loïc Soubeyrand should not have to worry about financing its investments. In this regard, the entrepreneur explained: “For our expansion, we are studying all options, including buyouts. But whether it is to feed growth organically or externally, we will use all this capital ”.
These words are not only future projects. Already, to prepare for her arrival in Brazil, she bought the company Vee Benefícios which has more than 750 companies subscribing to its services. A total cost of $ 30 million, which will accelerate deployment and take advantage of the company’s knowledge of local habits – the largest in the world for meal vouchers. 90 employees work for Vee Benefícios. Ultimately, Swile will have 1,000 employees. In France and across the Atlantic.