Square rival SumUp buys customer loyalty startup Fivestars in US push

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London-based global payments service provider, SumUp has announced it’s buying Fivestars, a major US commerce network.

The deal, reported to be worth $317 million in a mix of cash and stock, looks to fortify SumUp’s position as it looks to expand onto new markets.

The company will provide “essential payments and marketing automation services” to small businesses in the US, as well as elsewhere around the world.

This is SumUp’s first acquisition on US soil, but it currently supports more than three million merchants globally, operating in 34 markets across Europe, the US, Brazil, and Chile. 

Fivestars, on the other hand, has more than 70 million consumer members, as well as 12,000 small businesses within its network. It drives more than $3 billion in sales, and more than 100 million transactions a year.

The company will remain in its San Franciso headquarters, while the CEO and co-founder, Victor Ho, will continue to spearhead the company’s operations. SumUp says the acquisition will result in “expanded technology offerings” for American SMBs, helping them save money on payments and make money on smart automated marketing.

Powering post-Covid recovery

“Our global community of merchants has battled through lockdowns and volatility and we're confident that this acquisition will further energize the U.S.'s recovering small business economy,” explained Marc-Alexander Christ, SumUp Co-founder. “Now is the time to make sure our presence is as strong in the U.S. as it is in Europe and, by acquiring Fivestars, SumUp will deliver for U.S.-based merchants as it has in other international markets.”

Before teaming up with SumUp, Fivestars raised $115 million through seed rounds, with the likes of Lightspeed Venture Partners and Menlo Ventures playing a major role. SumUp, on the other hand, raised $1.4 billion in equity and debt financing, earning backing from Goldman Sachs, Temasek, or Bain Capital. 

The company has more than 2,800 employees, spread across three continents. 

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.