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Fundbox Hires First CFO as Fintech Startup Eyes Future IPO

By Nina Trentmann 

Financial technology startup Fundbox Inc. hired a former investment banker to be its first finance chief as the seven-year old company prepares for a potential initial public offering.

Marten Abrahamsen joined Fundbox in early January from The Chernin Group LLC, a Los-Angeles-based investment firm, where he was a partner since 2018. Before The Chernin Group, Mr. Abrahamsen was responsible for Coatue Management LLC's investments in Grab Holdings Inc. and Jet.com Inc., an online retailer now owned by Walmart Inc., among others, and worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

San Francisco-based Fundbox helps businesses improve their cash flow by providing them with extra working capital based on their transactions. Through Fundbox, sellers receive outstanding payments faster, and buyers get access to a line of credit that enables them to settle their obligations on time.

The company uses data analytics such as machine learning to determine the creditworthiness of a business and the risks associated with its transactions, and through a banking partner grants access to short-term funds of up to $100,000.

It targets companies in the construction, business-to-business retail and consumer electronics industries, and already has served around 200,000 of those businesses.

Fundbox since its inception in 2013 raised more than $300 million in equity financing from a group of investors led by Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst, Spark Capital and Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.

Mr. Abrahamsen's tasks will revolve around budgeting, corporate development and strategy. He will work on reducing the company's costs and improving its margins, he said in an interview.

Based in San Francisco, Mr. Abrahamsen also will be responsible for managing Fundbox's forecasting, planning and analysis tools, as well as preparing for a potential IPO.

"We are in a very healthy financial position, and there is no rush for us to go public," he said. The company's management has started thinking about an IPO as one of the next steps for Fundbox, however, Mr. Abrahamsen said.

The company declined to provide insights into its finances.

Fundbox is one of several startups that have recently hired a CFO with experience in investment banking or capital markets, recruiters said.

"We went for this type of CFO because of his capital markets and investment expertise," a Fundbox spokesman said. "We wanted someone who knows what it takes for an IPO."

Fundbox competes with various players in the payments and credit space, including PayPal Holdings Inc., Square Inc. and Stripe Inc., said Moshe Katri, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. Visa Inc., another payments company, on Monday was nearing a deal to acquire financial-technology firm Plaid Inc., according to The Wall Street Journal.

Founded in Israel, Fundbox currently has around 255 employees and offices in Tel Aviv, Dallas and San Francisco, including 14 in its finance function, according to the company spokesman.

Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2020 10:14 ET (15:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.