5 minutes with… Adyen CEO Pieter van der Does

Adyen is the only unicorn in the Netherlands. They’re an online payments company who handle money for Facebook, Netflix and Spotify. They expect to process $45 billion this year. 

They’re now valued at $2.3 billion following investment from Iconiq Capital, a secretive fund that counts Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey as clients.

CEO and Co-founder Pieter van der Does is speaking at Web Summit, so I thought I’d ask him about the deal…

How significant is the Iconiq Capital funding to Adyen? 

For us, the Iconiq Capital funding is not about the money. We’ve been profitable since 2011 and made $185 million in revenue in 2014 – a figure that we expect to double this year.

What is interesting to us is the connections that come with the investment. Iconiq includes some of the most influential figures in Silicon Valley.

We now have investors represented worldwide, which is in line with our global expansion plans.

Would you have accepted the same funding from a different fund?

We were not actively seeking additional funding, but had been in communication with Iconiq for some time and the investment made a lot of sense to us strategically.

Mark Zuckerberg is a client of Iconiq Capital.

When will the payments business bypass banks?

For merchants, Adyen has already removed the need for banks for e-commerce. Our system connects directly to any key payment method, including Visa and MasterCard.

For point of sale, instead of a hard-coded machine supplied by and in a closed loop with a specific bank, Adyen offers internet technology that enables an instantaneous international reach across all sales channels.

So instead of hundreds of systems globally, businesses just need one with Adyen.

Can you see a time when physical cash is no longer used? If so, when? 

The reality is that most of the world still pays with cash and that is likely to be the case for years to come.

Cash payments aren’t only limited to the point of sale. In places like Brazil and parts of Asia they are even common for online purchases.

The online invoice is paid in cash in supermarkets, newsagents, or post offices. This is part of the reason why businesses that don’t support cash payments in global markets may have difficulties in reaching the critical mass of local consumers.

What’s the greatest Dutch contribution to the modern society? 

Paintings, design, and water management.
Piet Mondrian’s Composition with red, yellow and blue.

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