NICK MOLNAR After pay
The Aussie co-founder launched his biz to give shoppers more time to pay.
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.” >