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Boston’s Newest Unicorn: Flywire Raises $120M In Goldman Sachs-Led Series E

Flywire, a Boston-based vertical payments startup, has raised $120 million in a Series E round that takes its valuation to “over $1 billion.”

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Goldman Sachs (which has been ramping up its startup investment as of late) led the round, which also included participation from Tiger Management and Adage Capital Management along with existing backer Temasek Holdings, which used its pro rata, according to Flywire.

The new financing takes Flywire’s total venture raised since its 2011 inception to $263.2 million, according to Crunchbase data.

Flywire also announced it has acquired Simplee, a developer of payments software for the health care industry that had raised $36.4 million in venture capital funding.

In a phone conversation with Flywire CEO Mike Massaro, I learned more about what the company does and how much it’s grown. He was refreshingly transparent.

So, let’s get into the details.

More than software

Fundamentally, Flywire is a payments company but it has also built software to help process payments. (Which makes it both a SaaS operator and a transactions platform.) Its focus is on the education, health care and travel industry verticals.

“All three are fraught with a lack of digitization, and are inherently complex with legacy systems involved,” Massaro told Crunchbase News. “We think these areas have been underserved.”

Flywire CEO Mike Massaro

To date Flywire says it has processed over $12 billion in total payments volume for over 2,000 clients around the world. Seven of the eight Ivy League schools use it to collect cross-border payments, for example. As do hundreds of hospitals, including the top four hospital systems in the United States. People going on exotic trips such as African safaris can use it during their travel.

“We don’t just deliver the software that helps around payments,” Massaro said. “We actually move the money.” In fact, it claims to “move billions of dollars across 200+ countries and 150 currencies.”

Flywire has two revenue streams. It makes SaaS revenue off the software it’s using to help clients such as Harvard, MIT or Massachusetts General Hospital. But the majority of its revenue is transaction-based.

Speaking of which, Flywire is a unicorn with “well over $100 million in revenue,” according to Massaro. Despite being around for nine years, it’s still seeing nearly 40 percent revenue growth year over year, he said.

It also has 530 employees, which is 10 times the 50 it had just five years ago.

Massaro expects Flywire to return to profitability this year, and said the company has been “very capital efficient.”

“Prior to this round, we had $45 miillion in cash on the balance sheet, and now we have about $75 million to $80 million,” he told me. “And we don’t expect to burn a lot this year.”

Acquisition

In acquiring Simplee, Flywire picked up a competitor, sort of. Flywire has historically focused on the provider side, helping digitize their back offices. Simplee is focused more on the patient experience.

“We both help providers engage their patients digitally,” Massaro said. “They can help explain the cost of patients’ medical care, and how much they owe insurance, in addition to helping them digitize payments.”

With the buy, Flywire also expanded its geographical footprint, as Simplee has offices in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv. In addition to its Boston headquarters, Flywire has 10 offices, including locations in Europe and Asia.

Last year, the company expanded into Latin America and plans to continue that expansion geographically. It also plans to double down on all its verticals.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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