Pushpay to expand payment app

By Fiona Rotherham

Company plans to list on ASX and move beyond religious sector.
Co-founder Chris Heaslip never intended to limit the company to the faith sector.
Co-founder Chris Heaslip never intended to limit the company to the faith sector.

Pushpay Holdings is planning an ASX listing by the end of the year and is expanding its mobile payment app beyond the religious sector to payments for utilities such as water and insurance.

At the company's annual meeting in Auckland yesterday, chief executive Chris Heaslip said Pushpay had opportunities to grow in the US faith-sector, where it has captured around 1.5 per cent of the market.

When Heaslip and co-founder Eliot Crowther set up the company, they wanted to make payments easier in the faith sector but didn't want to limit themselves to that industry.

"We still care about that, but we always thought the Pushpay payments solution was wider than one vertical and would work in other verticals," Heaslip said.

The company looked at expanding into the non-profit sector, but found attracting people to make donations challenging.

Pushpay's pilot trials for its mobile bill payments with Watercare and AMP have shown a 20 per cent increase in bills paid on time once consumers were sent text messages.

The short-term focus remains on the US faith sector, where the company is now the leading payment solutions provider.

Heaslip said the company can also grow revenue by on-selling new features developed for the platform to boost annualised committed monthly revenue (ACMR). Heaslip said the company is on target to be monthly cashflow-positive next year and to reach $100 million in ACMR by February 2018, six months earlier than forecast. It widened its annual loss to $19.4m in May as it continues to scale the business for growth.

The company this week issued its best ever quarterly operational results, increasing ACMR by 40 per cent over the quarter to US$27.2m ($37.7m). Merchant numbers rose nearly 20 per cent to 4491.

When one shareholder questioned the ASX listing, corporate development head Peter Huljich said the benefits included added credibility and some Australian and US fund managers are not mandated to invest in New Zealand.

"Australian and US fund managers are more actively investing and understand opportunities in the tech space and in finding a fair valuation for the company, it's important to attract a number of these investors," Huljich said.

Pushpay has engaged an unnamed middle-market investment bank in San Francisco to raise at least US$30m from US investors in a capital-raising it hopes to conclude by the end of this year to fund growth.

Shareholders yesterday voted to more than double the remuneration available annually to pay non-executive directors, from $300,000 to $643,000 (US$450,000) and for any remuneration to be paid either in part or wholly to those directors by issuing shares, at the board's discretion.

Notes to the resolution said the increase would bring Pushpay's director remuneration more closely into line with current market rates, particularly the US. Group chairman Bruce Gordon will get an increase of $15,000 per annum to $60,000 while non-executive directors' base fee would rise by a similar amount to $45,000.

Pushpay's shares closed up 1c yesterday at $2.42.

- BusinessDesk

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