COVID-19 Public Startups Venture

Uplift Receives New Credit Line As It Looks To Expand 

Uplift has secured a new $68 million credit line as the company looks for travel to pick back up in the new year and to possibly expand into new sectors.

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The new line of credit was provided by Atalaya Capital Management. Menlo Park, California-based Uplift is a buy now, pay later platform for travel that now has raised a total of about $695 million in equity and debt since being founded in 2014.

“Travel already is springing back,” said CEO Brian Barth, adding the company chose a credit line because it is capital efficient and equity funding would have been more expensive. “People are looking toward summer and fall and booking travel.”

Moving past travel

Even with travel picking up and Uplift expecting to exceed $1 billion in transaction volume over the next 18 months in flexible payments for leisure travel purchases, Barth said the company plans to possibly move beyond travel this year.

The company has received requests from merchants in other verticals to integrate their payment platform with their e-commerce infrastructure, he added.

“We’ve had a lot of inbound interest from merchants when it comes to that,” he said.

Looking at the market and exits

Despite competition in the industry from companies like Affirm, Klarna and Afterpay, Uplift has continued to grow, Barth said. Before the downturn in travel in 2020, the company was realizing 3 times revenue growth year to year and expects something similar in 2021.

Earlier this week, Affirm said in a filing it aims to raise up to $934.8 million in an initial public offering after briefly pausing the process in December. Barth said he was happy to see the company nearing the public market. At its size, he added, the company could have been public earlier.

Uplift also could look at the public markets, Barth said. The growth of the buy now, pay later option in the U.S., as well as the different methods to go public, such as a direct listing or SPAC, make such an exit possible, he said.

“We’ll definitely have the number to be public,” Barth said.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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