LONDON — There’s a new fintech unicorn in town.

Danish start-up Pleo, which sells corporate expense management software and linked “smart” payment cards, has boosted its valuation to $1.7 billion in a $150 million equity financing round.

The investment, led by Bain Capital Ventures and Thrive Capital, makes Pleo the latest privately-held tech company in Europe to surpass the coveted $1 billion “unicorn” valuation.

“The whole digitization and automation of finance processes has been going on for a while,” Jeppe Rindom, CEO and co-founder of Pleo, told CNBC in an exclusive interview.

Pleo makes about 70% of its revenue from interchange fees taken from a merchant’s bank account every time a customer uses their card. The other main chunk of the company’s sales comes from paid subscriptions.

The coronavirus pandemic has been an “accelerator” for Pleo, Rindom said, adding that the working-from-home trend offset a decline in international business travel. The company’s customer base more than doubled over the course of 2020 to 17,000, he said.

Following the investment, Bain Capital Ventures’ Keri Gohman will join Pleo’s board. Gohman previously held executive positions at accounting software provider Xero and U.S. bank Capital One.

Pleo is also a rare example of a billion-dollar tech company emerging in Denmark. Pleo’s founders were early employees at Tradeshift, a $1.1 billion fintech that was originally based in Copenhagen but relocated to San Francisco.

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Source: CBBC

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