Consolidation is taking place in the payments world: Nexi, the Italian fintech that took over Danish Nets and then Italy’s SIA to create a $12.5 billion European payments giant, has made another acquisition, this time to delve deeper into financial services for small and medium-sized businesses in the region. It has fully acquired Orderbird, a startup from Germany that provides point-of-sale products and related services to restaurants and other hospitality businesses, with 14,000 active customers.
The terms of the deal are not being disclosed – Nexi notes a “total cash out of approx. €100 million including previous share purchases” – but sources have confirmed to us that the cash deal values Orderbird in the range of €130 million – 140 million ($140 million – $150 million).The previous share purchases hint at an existing relationship between the two: Nets already had a stake in Orderbird as a result of an acquisition of payment company Concardis, and it increased that stake to 40% in a secondary transaction in September 2021. At the time, the deal valued Orderbird at €100 million, making today’s price a bump.
In addition to payment company Nets/Concardis, Digital+ Partners and Metro Group, among others, were Orderbird’s other investors, which raised approximately $55 million in total.
Orderbird will continue to operate as its own brand and become a central part of Nexi’s push into the SMB segment. Current management, including CEO Mark Schoen and CSO/founder Jakob Schreyer (pictured below), will remain on board post-transaction.
To our knowledge, Orderbird has been reviewing other acquisition offers, including one from another point-of-sale company, as well as investment options. One of those investment options would have been for Toast, the American restaurant giant, to take a stake in the company. Ironically, it has now become part of a company that will realistically represent an even bigger rival to Toast in Europe (and possibly elsewhere).
Given the state of public markets at the moment, and the trickle-down effect for later-stage companies finding it challenging to close rounds, the valuation Orderbird saw in those potential deals was considered fair first, then not bad at all, until finally lucky. Warm is the new hot, it seems.
Ultimately, Orderbird chose an exit rather than an investment, as a more certain path for the kind of scaling it wanted to do.
“Making neighborhood businesses more successful is what Orderbird is all about. One of the reasons our customers are successful is because they are always digitally up to date with us and can use the same technologies as their larger competitors,” Schoen said in a statement. “By joining forces with the Nets / Nexi Group, a recognized European PayTech leader, allows us to take this mission to the next level, jointly strengthening our business presence in Europe and continuing to provide our customers with the best and most relevant solutions they need today and tomorrow.”
“I want a great future for the company,” Schreyer told me in a phone interview. “What Clover did for First Data, we want to do for Nexi. We want to be at the center of its SME strategy.” That likely includes deeper steps in offering more banking and credit services to its customers, in addition to point-of-sale solutions.
The deal marks a new chapter for businesses in this space after a dramatic period of Covid-19 and its ups and downs. Lockdowns messed up the hospitality industry: some went into a sort of hibernation, others turned around and worked to deliver their services during the pandemic (e.g., with major shifts to home-cooked food deliveries and away from in-person dining), and still others closed the store completely. All of that had a huge knock-on effect for companies like Orderbird, who were also adapting to those “new normal” cases.
Schreyer said Orderbird went from being an awkward and ill-fitting partner to “hero” depending on the state of each individual company and what was shifting in the broader market. In spite of all that, the ARR grew 35% overall during the period and even became profitable – not because business prospered, but because Orderbird itself transitioned to the right format and all the money-guzzling efforts it was making to grow stopped. – Covid.
It will be interesting to see Orderbird flying on the wind current of a new much bigger owner.
“Together with Orderbird, we underline our commitment to the integrated software market, while improving our offering to hospitality customers.” said Robert Hoffmann, CEO of Nets Merchant Services and Concardis, in a statement. “Our goal is to help European businesses take advantage of the rapid digitalization of payments, through solutions such as Orderbird’s hospitality-focused SaaS platform, which improves the customer experience and enables merchants to run their businesses more efficiently. We are proud to fully welcome Orderbird to the Nexi family as it continues to meet evolving customer preferences in restaurants and beyond across Europe.”