Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey’s ‘secret billionaire fund’ just backed a huge European startup

Iconiq Capital — a Silicon Valley fund backed by an incredible line-up of billionaire investors like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey — has just invested an unknown sum in Dutch payments company Adyen.

The investment has brought Adyen’s valuation up to $US2.3 billion (£1.5 billion).

Iconiq is a venture capital firm like no other. A December 2014 Forbes article by Brian Solomon described it as “‘Zuck & Friends’ secret billionaire fund.” As well as Zuckerberg and Dorsey, clients include Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early employee Sean Parker, COO Sheryl Sandberg, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, and a number of other billionaire investors that don’t work in tech.

The fund is headed by Divesh Makan, a former Goldman Sachs broker, and it invested in customer service startup Intercom at the end of August. Other investments include GoFundMe, Flipkart and Jessica Alba’s Honest Co.

When Business Insider spoke to Adyen in July, CCO Roeland Prins said that the company wasn’t planning on raising any more funding in the near future. In December, the payment processing platform, which counts Facebook, AirBnB, and Spotify as clients, announced it had raised $US250 million (£161 million) at a $US1.5 billion (£970 million) valuation.

Adyen combines all the pieces of the payments puzzle — payment gateway, risk assessment, and acquiring technology — into one platform that lets companies take any number of payment methods worldwide: credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, and even bitcoin.

Adyen currently processes $US35 billion (£22.5 billion) in payments annually for its merchants, about 2-3 million payments a day, and is on track to more than double its revenues this year to over $US300 million (£198 million).

Sheryl Sandberg - Sun Valley
As is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Getty / Scott Olson

But when Iconiq comes calling, you’re not going to say no.

“When we did our round last November we were already talking to Iconiq — we’ve been speaking to them for a few years,” Prins told Business Insider. “Things didn’t come together, but you continue to talk and stay connected. And over the past nine months they kept showing interest. We weren’t looking for extra funding, but we realised it would fill a bit of a gap. We’ve had the best investors so far, but look at the geographical spread of those.”

“We’ve got Europe and London really well covered through Index Ventures and we had Temasek in Asia join us last year, as well as General Lending who are on the East Coast. We never really had strong connections in the Valley. From that point of view the connection is really worthwhile to us.”

“If Iconiq really wants to invest in you, it’s really hard to say no,” he added. “Were we really actively looking out for funding? No. But then hey, if it’s Iconiq and everything they can bring, that’s really attractive. A key reason for us to do this round is not about the money, but more about the relationship and the network that Iconiq has in Silicon Valley. For us it’s a very important region where we have a lot of our existing customers, and there’s a lot of growth opportunity there too.”

Since its last round at the end of last year, Adyen has started to work with Netflix, Survey Monkey, Eventbrite and DropBox in the US, and EasyJet and BlaBlaCar in Europe.

The company plans to use the somewhat unexpected windfall to keep chasing licenses in new markets so it can do more local card processing in countries like Brazil, Australia and Hong Kong and Singapore. It is also opening up offices in Australia and Shanghai.

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