Pushpay hits $1b valuation as shares surge to new high

Pushpay co-founder and chief executive Chris Heaslip
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PPH Push Pay Holdings Limited
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Pushpay shares jumped 9% in mid-afternoon trading to hit a new all-time high of $1 billion – the official valuation level for a startup to be defined as a “unicorn” in Silicon Valley speak (we’ll discount that it’s New Zealand currency on the NZX).

The surge means the companies cofounders, Chris Heaslip and Eliot Crowther, are now worth around $120 million each – or more than double their wealth when they debuted on the NBR Rich List in June.

The mobile payment company first listed in 2014 on the NZAX at $1 a share (or 25c, adjusted for a 4:1 split on February 8, 2016).

There was no immediately obvious catalyst for today’s jump; the US headquarters, New Zealand-registered company made no NZX filings or other announcements today.

But it does follow a flurry of positive news, including Pushpay's entry into the NZX50 and its half-year earnings, which saw its loss widen to $US12.5 million in the six months ended September 30, from $US11.3 million a year earlier. Revenue more than doubled to $US29.7 million from $US12.1 million (yes, there are some pretty glass-half-full or even magical valuation multiples in play at this point in the unicorn's life).

The company also reaffirmed its plan to list in the US, accelerating its timetable from 36 months to within 15 months (it will remain on the ASX and NZX too).

And it reiterated its guidance to reach cashflow breakeven on a monthly basis by December next year.

Venture capitalist and early Pushpay backer Aaron Bhatnagar – who may or may not have constantly been hitting refresh on his keyboard early this afternoon – says, “Naturally, I’m delighted to have been a part of the Pushpay journey all the way back to before its August 2014 IPO. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what 2018 has in store for this company, with more ferocious growth likely to continue, and even a US listing is possible.”

So far, PushPay's revenue has been heavily concentrated in the US, where it has gained a presence in around 4.5% of medium to large churches. That is, those of a sufficient size that they're likely to invest in its software.

Founder and chief executive Chris Heaslip says the faith sector is a potential $US2.2 billion market.

Pushpay wants to expand into non-profits and faith-based education in the medium term. Mr Heaslip says these market add up to a $US3.3 billion opportunity.

Some have asked why institutions couldn't just turn to a tool like Paypal. Mr Heaslip says his company's software is more nuanced, with presentation appropriate to a faith environment. He also argues that Pushpay is a lot wider in scope than the likes of PayPal, given it can also organise institution's offline payments, such as cheques, and help with customer relationship management and tax-time reconciliation. 

Related video: NBR View's Susan Wood sits down for an in-depth Newsmakers interview with Pushpay chief executive and chief executive Chris Heaslip (May, 2017).

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10 Comments & Questions

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Excellent achievement for a Kiwi start up

Hopefully the company can push on to another level with client uptake and USA listing etc

A real credit to NZ and hopefully another good example that will encourage more angel and early stage investment in NZ technology and start ups etc

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The NZX needs to wake up and restructure the NZAX and NXT to transition to the Main Board ASAP!

The NZX needs to change its environment to attract investors to back New Zealand Technology companies to invigorate IPOs and investor confidence.

Can the NZX learn from the Xero departure disaster?
Is Pushpay next to leave NZX hell for the pearly gates of ASX heaven?

Can the NZX save great Technology companies that are languishing on the NZAX like GeoOp?

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See the article above for Pushpay's listing plan.

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I sat next to the Crowthers for many years at Matua Community Baptist Church. They were/are lovely people who had very little worldly wealth to speak of - now look at them.
I like happy endings.

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Revenues of $34m, net loss of $25m, 96 people earning $100k+ and marketcap of US$682m.

21 people earning $200k+ and 9 people earning $300k+

Turnover was $900k today, market cap increased ~$83m

Comparing to PayPal:
$10b revenue, $1.4b net profit, market cap $91.8b

I guess fundamentals are out the window.

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Don’t understand the comparison. NP $1.4b and Market Cap 65 times this. Yield 1.5%. Hardly an example of market fundamentals.

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I agree James.

Anonymous - please explain in further detail?

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Wonderful for all involved. Chris H and Eliot C are lovely guys.

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Long time holder of Xero, even by my risk appetite standards I feel both scary dipping my toes here. Other than US listing I am not able to justify investing in this business model. No disrespect to founders, may be not my cuppa.

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Chris and team are a better bet in 2018 for investors then Rod and team at Xero. Many in Silicon Valley feel like Xero might have topped out. I feel like Chris is a better leader, never one to make a statement that is not fact based, and incredibly respectful of everyone (including his competitors).

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