Where will you be five years from now?
You can plan it, but you can never predict it.
The same is true of what Actor Christopher Walken said,
And it couldn’t be more accurate. Guillaume Pousaz wanted to become an investment banker, but life turned him in a direction he didn’t expect.
Early Beginning of Guillaume Pousaz
In August 1981, Guillaume Pousaz was born in Geneva, Switzerland.
Located at the southern tip of expansive Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), Geneva is one of the world's most beautiful cities. The city is surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains and has views of the dramatic Mont Blanc.
A global hub for diplomacy and banking, it is the European headquarters of the United Nations and the Red Cross. There is a strong French influence in every aspect of life, from the language to the gastronomy to the bohemian districts like Carouge.
Guillaume became fascinated by street art, technology, and numbers as he grew up in Switzerland—and began programming at age eight.
Through this combination of creativity and logic, he built the preferred payment partner for international digital businesses.
It is rare for children to dream of becoming payment processors. Certainly not Guillaume Pousaz.
After his father's death from pancreatic cancer, Guillaume Pousaz quit his studies at Lausanne University and moved to California.
In addition to studying mathematics at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne, Pousaz also enrolled a bachelor's degree in economics at HEC Lausanne.
Guillaume Pousaz's original plan was to become an investment banker. Still, after dropping out of Lausanne University in 2005 from his home country of Switzerland, Pousaz moved to California to pursue surfing.
Due to cash shortages, Pousaz took a job at a finance company.
Guillaume Pousaz’s First Ventures
In Los Angeles, he worked for International Payment Consultants, a company with offices near the beach.
It was just the beginning of his career in the payments sector.
In 2007, Guillaume Pousaz founded his first startup, NetMerchant, after quickly realizing that e-commerce would revolutionize consumer behavior. Together with the head of sales of IPC, NetMerchant allowed American companies to conduct business in foreign currencies like those of Europe. The company operated till 2009.
Pousaz purchased Mauritius-based SMS Pay for $300,000 over three years in 2009.
In the same year, Guillaume Pousaz founded Opus Payments in Singapore, allowing businesses in Hong Kong to accept payments from customers worldwide.
The company turned profitable in 2011 after signing an agreement with the Chinese online retailer Dealextreme. A UK registration was obtained for Opus Payments in 2012 under the name Checkout.com.
The goal of the business' founding was to help customers and merchants with the issue of processing online payments. Since its founding, the company has experienced tremendous growth.
It employs about 1,700 people in 19 offices across all continents and offers services to companies like Netflix, Pizza Hut, Adidas, and Sony.
It raised $1 billion from huge investors like Franklin Resources and Tiger Global Management in January 2022, raising the startup's valuation to almost $40 billion.
In terms of market value, Checkout.com has surpassed Swiss giants Logitech, Swisscom, and SwissLife in the financial technology (fintech) industry. Pousaz therefore owns $23 billion and controls two-thirds of the capital.
Today, Checkout.com handles invoices totaling billions of dollars in more than 150 different currencies each year. The company's most impressive achievement is the development of a platform that executes three levels of operations in a single step under Pousaz's leadership.
The competition manages each part of the transaction separately, whereas Checkout.com handles everything all at one go. Because of this, its services are quicker, more dependable, and have a bigger profit margin.
Apart from retailers, the company's clients include leading fintech such as Klarna from Sweden and Revolut from the UK. It also serves cryptocurrency trading platforms like Coinbase (United States) and Crypto.com (Singapore).
In 2013, the company earned another significant development when it joined Visa and Mastercard. After that, it became a global leader as a result of partnerships with WeChat and Alipay, two of the biggest Chinese payment companies.
As the company aspired to be listed on the stock market, it had distanced itself from the pornographic and gambling clients it had encountered in its early years.
Checkout.com raised $230 million in capital in 2019. This was the largest Series A fundraising round ever for a European fintech business at the time.
Checkout.com raised an additional US$450 million in January 2021 at a US$15 billion value. In light of this, Forbes estimated Pousaz's net worth at $9 billion.
Pousaz is the CEO and owner of about two-thirds of Checkout.com.
Investments of Guillaume Pousaz
Investments made by the company include Ziina, Wayflyer, and blockchain-based Snickerdoodle Labs.
Aside from working at Checkout.com, Pousaz has started a family wealth management company in Switzerland that invests in fintech. The office is named Zinal Growth after the Sierre-Zinal mountain race, a 31km past five peaks over 4,000 meters that Pousaz has often run in.
In supporting the Zurich-based start-up Yokoy, which specializes in corporate expense management, Zinal Growth has demonstrated its business flair. The Swiss start-up support program VentureLab awarded this firm Start-up of the Year 2022 based on its strong growth.
The current focus of his philanthropic activities is on increasing access to and outcomes from education. In addition to investing in startups, he mentors with the Endeavor network.
Guillaume Pousaz’s Net Worth
Checkout.com was valued at US$40 billion in January 2022, giving Pousaz an estimated net worth of US$20 billion.
His estimated net worth of £19.259 billion ranked him 5th on the Sunday Times Rich List 2022 of the wealthiest people in the UK.
With a $23 billion stake in Checkout.com, Pousaz is wealthier than Telegram founder Pavel Durov, worth an estimated $17.2 billion, and U.S.-based German entrepreneur Andreas von Bechtolsheim, whose $12.6 billion fortune stems from an early $100,000 investment in Google.
Guillaume Pousaz’s Recognition
Apart from his impressive net worth, the Dubai-based Swiss billionaire entrepreneur and CEO and founder of payment platform Checkout.com are honored as well with many awards and recognition for his remarkable business efforts:
- Sunday Times Rich List 2022 ranked him 5th of the wealthiest people in the UK
- Retail & E-CommerceTech Founder of the Year finalist by UK Tech Founder Awards and BMW i
- 100 Richest People by Forbes
- Europe’s Richest Tech Billionaire by Forbes
Personal Life of Guillaume Pousaz
Guillaume Pousaz is a private person and shares rare personal information.
But a few things we know for sure, it is evident that he is a surfer at heart and spends personal time with his wife and three children in Dubai.
Key Takeaway: Guillaume Pousaz
We never know what may lead us five or ten years later in life.
But you have a choice on where you want to be later on in life when you get up and start building the future you want.
The efforts you make today become the future you built for tomorrow.
Guillaume Pousaz founded Checkout.com in 2012 to provide businesses with better payment experiences.
Imitate and listen to Guillaume on how he built the Future of Commerce Payments.
Where will you be ten years from now?