Philip Fayer of Nuvei – Triumphantly surpassing Mike Katchen, behold the new reigning monarch of fintech – with the coveted unicorn status

philip fayer of nuvei
Philip Fayer

Philip Fayer- The new monarch of Fintech

The company became Canada’s first fintech unicorn after receiving funding the previous week. Nuvei, a payments processor based in Montreal, successfully raised US $270 million at a valuation of US $2 billion. In 2003, when he was 24 years old, Philip Fayer founded the company that is now known as Nuvei.

While Philip was on break from his studies at Concordia University, he established the company. Only three years later, in 2006, Goldman Sachs became the first external investor by investing $60 million for a 30% stake. This occurred only three years after the initial investment. Unfortunately, he was never seen in Concordia again after leaving.

Payment processors make it possible for businesses to accept credit and debit card transactions, whether they are conducted online or offline. In case the name rings a bell, the company was formerly known as Pivotal Payments up until the year 2018. Philip launched Nuvei because he already owned another company but, due to a lack of capital and credit, he was unable to acquire payment processing services for his other company.

The company was able to be acquisitive thanks to the financing provided by Goldman, completing seven acquisitions by the year 2010. By that time, the business had expanded to the point where it had approximately 300 employees across North America and annual revenues of $150 million.

The company grew to become the most successful private and non-bank payment processor in all of Canada. Nuvei has continued to expand through strategic acquisitions, the most notable of which occurred earlier this year when the company paid $889 million to acquire SafeCharge, which is based in the United Kingdom.

In 2017, Novacap led the charge of a private equity group that purchased Nuvei and assumed control of the company. They have been a major player in the private equity industry for a very long time and are backed by the Caisse, among other investors.

This transaction was completed at an estimated value of $424 million in US dollars. As a result, the most recent valuation is close to five times what it was less than three years ago. (Although the calculations for the ROI are more complicated.)

Philip’s statement that “there was no master plan” is a source of disappointment. Before he started Nuvei, he was the founder of another company known as Paysystems Corp., which experienced rapid expansion in its early years but ultimately failed as a result of a regulatory shift and went out of business.

Nuvei currently has 800 employees spread across 14 offices and processes approximately 34 billion dollars’ worth of transactions each and every year. According to my estimations, Philip Fayer is somewhere around 41 years old and he’s loaded. Lester Fernandes, a more experienced co-founder and CFO figure, was also involved in the company.

He had previously worked as a banker for BMO Capital Markets, where he made quite a bit of money, and he now manages his own family office. Other important players include David Nault, who initially worked as a senior business development guy and later established the fintech venture capital firm Luge Capital. Also interesting is the fact that Goldman swooped in long before the locals did, even though the locals left in 2017.

Philip also has an interesting life story, as he was born in Montreal, spent his childhood living in Belgium and Israel, witnessed the passing of his father when he was 16 years old, and attended military school in the United States. He has experience in both flying and driving racecars. A writer with some skill could probably make something interesting out of all of that.

Coveo, a search technology company based in Quebec City, also became a unicorn in the month of November. The only two companies in Canada that currently meet the criteria to be called unicorns are Coveo and Nuvei. A unicorn is defined as a private technology-related startup company with a valuation of more than one billion dollars. To sum everything up, I’d like to tell Toronto to go ahead and eat its heart out.

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