NICK MOL­NAR Af­ter pay

The Aussie co-founder launched his biz to give shop­pers more time to pay.

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Ase­rial en­tre­pre­neur, Nick Mol­nar was run­ning an on­line jew­ellery busi­ness through eBay while study­ing at univer­sity when he be­came the ar­chi­tect be­hind the Aus­tralian launch of the Amer­i­can on­line jew­eller Ice.com. It quickly grew to be­come the largest on­line-only jew­ellery and watch re­tailer in the coun­try – be­fore he’d even fin­ished his stud­ies.

But there was more than jew­ellery in his fu­ture. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, while still run­ning the busi­ness, he be­gan work­ing at the ven­ture cap­i­tal fund MH Carnegie & Co. This is when he iden­ti­fied a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity.

“My [Ice.com] part­ner com­pany in the United States of­fered the ‘buy now, pay later’ con­cept, which cus­tomers and re­tail­ers loved,” he says. “Then I met An­thony [Eisen, After­pay co-founder] and we iden­ti­fied this gap in the Aus­tralian pay­ments mar­ket.”

To­day, After­pay – which launched in 2015 – al­lows cus­tomers to do just that – be de­liv­ered what you want to­day, and pay for it over four in­stal­ments. You may recog­nise the logo from many e-tail check­outs.

“This was about putting the cus­tomer first and mak­ing it a true win-win propo­si­tion for both cus­tomers and re­tail­ers,” the now27-year-old says.

The pair self-funded ini­tially, be­fore they lever­aged $8 mil­lion in first-round fund­ing. “We have now raised $70 mil­lion of eq­uity, $200 mil­lion of debt from NAB and listed on the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change (ASX APT),” he shares. The busi­ness, which is still head­quar­tered in Aus­tralia, has a mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion value of an eye-wa­ter­ing $917 mil­lion – quite the feat for a com­pany that started out with just 1000 cus­tomers and fewer than 10 re­tail­ers us­ing the sys­tem.

From here, they have plans to ex­pand into New Zealand and part­ner with more ma­jor re­tail­ers: they al­ready count Myer, Sephora, Of­fice­works, The Athlete’s Foot, and Big W on their books.

“We process an­nual sales of over $1.2 bil­lion through the After­pay plat­form, as well as pro­cess­ing ap­prox­i­mately 20 per cent of to­tal on­line re­tail sales and 5 per cent of to­tal on­line fash­ion sales,” Nick says. It’s been an epi­cally suc­cess­ful ride so far, though “ev­ery­thing takes a lot longer, and is far harder than you an­tic­i­pate,” he con­cedes.

“Keep at it, and stay fo­cused on your cus­tomers,” Nick adds, by way of ad­vice to newer start-ups. “Lis­ten to them, as they bring cash into your busi­ness.” >

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