SUBSCRIPTION POV #18
By Morten Suhr Hansen
November was a busy trading month for many. This goes for the market of subscription systems – so-called ‘subscription billing systems’ – namely for the leading, Danish solutions, Reepay and Upodi. Both are relatively new startups and ownership changed hands when two, large actors opened their checkbooks and acquired a Danish subscription solution each.
Reepay was the first of two and is now a constellation of German Billwerk and American PSG. Reepay was founded in 2015 by Robert Mygind and Ole Borup and has since launch marked itself as a very ambitious technology company, working to help Danish and Scandinavian subscription businesses with both payments and subscription administration.
Among Reepay’s customers are well-known companies like Matas, DBA, Winefamily and Reshopper. Reepay has a unique solution, where they offer both a payment gateway and subscription administration with the opportunity to choose one or both of these solutions. Evidently, that was too interesting of an opportunity for the German software company Billwerk who, together with their American owner, the PSG fund, bought Reepay earlier in November.
Billwerk is already one of Europe’s leading subscription billing systems, so with the purchase of Reepay the company adds customers in new markets and new competencies in the payment solution area.
With the acquisition of Upodi, Visma is strengthening their position
No more than 24 hours would pass, before Reepay was no longer alone with such news. A day later, Norwegian software giant Visma introduced an acquisition of Danish Upodi, founded in 2017 by Rasmus Foged and others.
Upodi is a more ‘classic’ subscription solution, offering its customers billing, charging and subscription administration without being tied to a single payment form. In spite of just four years in the field, Upodi already has an impressive customer portfolio with companies like Goodiebox, Lunar and Zenegy.
Visma is actually a very exciting story in the subscription world. Visma works to become Europe’s leading supplier of business-critical software. Here in Denmark, we know them for the acquisition of the accounting software e-conomic and, in total, Visma now creates an annual revenue of almost $2 billion dollars and more than 14.000 employees. Since almost all of their software is sold on a subscription plan, there is a really strong synergy with a company like Upodi.
Investors are falling in love with subscriptions
How come that these two solutions are sold within the same 24 hours? There are definitely multiple answers to this, but it is safe to say that the investment markets have a very large interest in everything subscription. This goes for companies that sell products on a subscription plan, but indeed also companies that sell services to other subscription companies.
At the same time, the European market for professional solutions catering to subscription businesses is still rather fragmented when compared to the American market. This also means that large, American subscription billing systems have had some success with entering the European market in the last five years and many Scandinavian companies have chosen American solutions like Zuora, Aria, Chargebee, Stripe, and Recurly. European companies have simply been too small and too local to compete on landing the larger clients.
In other words, the larger European players on this market have recognized that there is need for consolidation and growth in order to compete with American competitors. This is one of the reasons for the acquisitions of Reepay and Upodi.
The strengthened competition is good news for European subscription businesses
So is this a consolidation that we should be worrying about? And with we, I mean subscription businesses who are potential customers of these subscription billing systems. No, I actually don’t think so. Quite the contrary!
I do not hold anything against American solutions. They are working well and are competitive for many customers. However, we often help our customers in Scandinavia with choosing the best solution for their business, and in this regard, we can only welcome more strong players to the field. It is definitely in our and in our customers’ interest that we have strong European alternatives in the market.
At the same time, I believe that we as Danes can be happy and proud that these strong solutions already in the market now have even better opportunities for strengthening themselves and also, get the opportunity to enter new markets.
A big congratulations to owners, investors and employees at both Reepay and Upodi.