By Mor Assia, iAngels founding partner
This week, marked another win for Israeli technology. PayU, subsidiary of Naspers (JSE:NPN), also known as PayPal of the developing world, announced that it had acquired Zooz. This will be iAngels’ 6th portfolio acquisition since the firm was founded in 2014. Zooz, which operates in the payments space, has a unique technology allowing merchants to decide how transactions should be routed. Zooz analytics solution provides its merchant customers with visibility to follow transaction processes and data across consumer purchasing channels.
PayU will integrate Zooz into a broad offering of payment solutions and services, catering primarily to the e-commerce industry.
iAngels invested in Zooz in early 2016. This like recent acquisitions namely VisuaLead by Alibaba and BriefCam by Canon, showcases another strong multinational stepping into Israel for the first time to acquire both the technology and team. Historically, multinationals making acquisitions in Israel have tended to form a presence and develop a bigger appetite for further acquisitions, which benefits the Israeli ecosystem and contributes significantly to its growth.
We invested in Zooz for its team, business acumen and rapid customer acquisition, including significant customers such as Gett, Payoneer, Zara, Wix and Burberry. Zooz was positioned as a growing leader in its category and the unique relationship with PayU as a dominant distributor supported and propelled Zooz to new heights.
Oren Levy, Zooz’s CEO, and Ronen Mordecki, his partner of 8 years, co-founded Zooz out of a rich background in Marketing, Fintech and Engineering. They wanted to cater to a blue ocean of merchants needing to navigate transaction failure due to lack of cross border acquirer relationships and resulting consumer churn.
It was only natural that when PayU were considering a strategic investment into Zooz, for the process to end with an acquisition. PayU wanted the technology for itself and decided to adopt an open platform approach for the solution, which has been solving a true pain point for many of its customers. PayU were well positioned to see first hand the whole process and its benefits.
I believe the platform and transparent approach is the right path, as this has been a central conversation of the payments industry, highlighting the limitations of the traditional banking system which operates on old legacy contracts between banks. There are multiple intermediaries taking up pieces of the pie along the way at the expense of the consumer.
Blockchain is also trying to circumnavigate the banking system altogether and cut off all intermediaries in the most transparent and bold way, in order to process cross border transactions and open up the world to collaboration and new business. Interim solutions before blockchain payments become mainstream, which could still take years, involve the traditional banking system but in a smart way, supported by technology and data rather than politics.
Consolidation of vendors and banks to form larger alliances may relieve some of the frustration on the consumer side, at the same time as enabling them to compete and stay relevant. Solutions such as Zooz can be instrumental in this approach, in understanding how transactions are processed and by having the data and analytics to make smart financial decisions. With the payments industry going through a major transformation, it is exciting to see Israeli startups collaborating with international teams to present continuous groundbreaking innovation in this space.
We congratulate the team for completing this acquisition process, and look forward to their successful onboarding and integration into the PayU organization.
For further coverage of the exit: