Checkout.com’s new president is bullish on US expansion, says Stripe comparison ‘welcome’


Checkout.com, Stripe’s competitor, announced last month that Celine Dufetel was named its new president.

Prior to her promotion, she served as CFO and COO of a London-based fintech startup for 18 months. In his expanded role, which still includes serving as the company’s COO, Dufetel oversees all functional and go-to-market teams, including finance and marketing. In announcing the New York-based executive’s appointment, the company told me the move shows Checkout.com is “staking its claim in America.”

Dufetel certainly has an impressive background in the world of financial services. Prior to joining Checkout, she spent three years at T. Rowe Price was COO and CFO. And before that she was working Neuberger Berman and served as a partner at McKinsey & Company. So was Dufetel. In the year Barron’s 100 Most Influential Women in American Finance in 2021, and Fortune 40 Under 40 in 2020.

Checkout.com is building a full-stack payments company — in the words of TC Roman Dillett, it acts as a gateway, acquisition, risk engine and payment processor. It allows you to process payments directly on your site or app, but also relies on hosted payment pages, creating payment links, etc. It supports card payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Alipay, Bank Transfer, SEPA Direct Debit and lets you make payments too.

In December, the company made headlines when it lowered its intrinsic value to $11 billion, a sharp decline from the $40 billion valuation the company reached less than a year ago. At the time, CEO and CEO Guillaume Pauzaz told TC that the move was aimed at taking “advantage of the current conditions to update the company’s tax assessment.” Recently, Checkout.com introduced a new product that allows its customers to create payment cards for their customers.

TechCrunch has arrived We caught up with Dufetel to learn more about her plans as Checkout.com’s new president, including her thoughts on what’s in store for the company this year, the future of payments in general, and why she sees so much opportunity in the US. We also asked her how she felt about the comparisons to Stripe…and her answer might surprise you.

The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Congratulations on your new role! What’s in store for Checkout.com in 2023?

Thank you, 2023 is an exciting time to expand my career at Checkout.com as it is a pivotal year for us – we are growing our business efforts, especially in the US, APAC and EMEA. The US is the second largest ecommerce market in the world and there is vast, untapped growth opportunity.

The US payments landscape is currently dominated by legacy and new-age incumbents, and we know that competition ultimately results in better outcomes for consumers. We already have a strong pipeline of brands across the sectors and verticals we serve globally and will seek our support in the US as well. For example, we recently announced a partnership with GE Healthcare to help power the company’s rapid eCommerce expansion.

How will Checkout.com fare in 2022? Can you share revenue/growth metrics (YoI)?

As a privately held company, Checkout.com does not disclose group financials, but we are an agile and well-funded business in a prime position to take advantage of opportunities in a rapidly expanding and accessible market. We have launched five products in recent months and plan a strong pipeline as we continue to innovate to better serve our customers.

How many employees do you have? Did you quit your job last year?

Since 2012, we have grown to over 1,900 employees in 21 global offices. As in other sectors, we had to adjust our pace of growth to reflect the current macroeconomic environment and in September of last year we made the difficult decision to reduce Checkout.com’s workforce by five percent (around 100). This decision is not an easy one, but it is a strategic change in our workforce that has allowed us to stay or grow in our priority areas by reducing headcount in some areas where we have less investment. This allows us to focus on strategic priorities related to our mission, which is to enable businesses and their communities to thrive in the digital economy by providing innovative products and services when they need them most.

What do you think about the comparison with Stripe?

We welcome them. Stripe has built an impressive business and we believe strong competition will deliver better results for merchants everywhere, which is our goal. But when you compare us to Stripe, one important difference is that Stripe’s roots are in serving small businesses — ours is in the mid-market and global enterprise segment. Our target customers have grown in sophistication and often have a global presence. Because the performance and global reach of their payments is so important, those merchants require a different level of sophistication. The service, engagement and partnership we can provide is critical – because with thousands of merchants, not millions, we can provide that white-glove service and flexible solutions to meet their needs.

Marketers want clarity and engagement to help them solve their most complex problems, and we deliver that. Where other technology stacks are a black box, we empower those more mature marketers with transparency and infrastructure customization to drive performance. A close partnership with our merchants to jointly develop solutions is very important to us. We provide a real strategic advantage to digitally minded brands and I’m proud to say we have one of the highest adoption rates in the industry.

How has the global recession affected your business?

It’s no secret that the current macroeconomic climate is tough for many companies, some of which are our dealers. That said, we remain focused and intentional about hitting our long-term goals and adding new merchants to our growing customer list. Our diverse customer base – which spans a healthy range of global markets and industries – helps diversify our revenue streams to reduce the impact of volatility in specific regions or markets.

Not sure if you’re working with any crypto/web3 companies, but if so, has the FTX controversy made you rethink some of those relationships?

Since our inception, we believe in serving innovators starting in fintech and more recently in 2019, innovators in the crypto/web3 space. We certainly understand the severity of the current situation unlike other past events, but we are committed to supporting our merchants with the best payment solutions possible.

These events highlight the need for a clear regulatory framework. That’s what we’ve been advocating to better support innovators, deploy this technology securely to businesses and consumers worldwide, and build trust in the ecosystem as a whole.

What do you see for the payments industry as a whole in 2023?

In today’s more uncertain economic climate than ever, the influence that CFOs and chief executives pay have on top-line growth and profitability is shrinking. More and more business leaders recognize the impact of high-performing payment systems in increasing acceptance rates, reducing costly fraud cases, and reducing operational costs. Especially with the US digital payment infrastructure lagging behind other regions, there is room for companies to streamline their payment processes to drive better business results.



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