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London mints new tech unicorn as Paddle valued at £1.1bn

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London payments business founded by a teenager has become the UK’s latest tech unicorn after being valued at £1.1 billion in a £162 million equity and debt funding round.

Paddle was founded in 2012 by CEO Christian Owens when he was 18. The company provides integrated payments, tax and compliance services to software businesses and has been used by over 3,000 firms.

Owens, who launched his first internet company aged 14, was listed a member of the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2016 and has been awarded a Thiel Fellowship, a two-year entrepreneurship programme set up by serial investor Peter Thiel.

The new investment, led by US private equity business KKR, will be used to scale the business to deliver products at lower cost.

The company recently announced plans to build a payments system to rival Apple’s following a ruling by a US judge in September that Apple must allow app developers to use external payments systems.

Owens said: “The opportunity in software is enormous, with tens of thousands of incredibly innovative businesses bringing great products to market every year.

“We have big plans for 2022 and beyond and we’re delighted to have the backing of so many fantastic investors.”

Paddle, which has offices in London and New York, has more than doubled its revenue growth since November 2020.

There were 84 unicorns – private tech startups worth over $1 billion – created in Europe in 2021. 23 of them were started in the UK, according to data from i5 invest.

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