As buy-now-pay-later startups keep raising capital, a dive into Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm’s earnings

The Venture Capitalist Continues Evidence of ongoing optimism about not only e-commerce, but also specific models for financing consumer purchases, to fund buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) startups.

Evidence of continued investor confidence in the BNPL sector in the second quarter emerged several times. Divido, a startup described by Nerdshala as “white-label” [BNPL] Platform for retail finance that integrates with e-commerce platforms,” raised $30 million. and Zilch raised $80 million for an “over-the-top” BNPL solution.

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Zilch is now worth $800 million.

There are other examples, but they will be enough to get us in the right mindset for today’s work as we look at data points regarding the financial performance of more mature BNPL tech companies. So, as in February when we were looking at the Q4 2020 data, today we are looking at the recent performance of Klarna, Confirm and Afterpay.

Growth vs. Profitability

As startups scale, they tend to focus a bit more on profitability. Super-early-stage startups often aren’t concerned about net margin, for example, because their revenue may be nascent and their costs increase as they staff for a product launch or another similar event.

But as those same startups mature in the unicorn arena, questions will begin to arise about the profitability of their models, operating cash burn and overall profitability on a unit-by-unit basis. The Rule of 40 is a startup rubric for a reason.

And in the cases of Affirm and Afterpay, we’re actually investigating public companies. So we could safely care even more about their profitability than if they, like Klarna, were still waiting for an IPO.

Then, for each, we’ll consider growth and profitability. let’s start with karnas:

Klarna’s latest dataThe tackle, Q1 2021, breaks down as follows:

  • Global GMV of $18.9 billion, +91% from a year ago

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