For a couple of giants like Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) and salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), $75 million is pocket change. But that doesn't mean they aren't thoughtful about where they invest, so if they shelled that sum out for a stake in the U.K. start-up GoCardless, assume smart folks gave it some thought. GoCardless, a fintech start-up that lets its clients collect recurring payments from online customers via automated direct debit, will use this capital infusion to help fund its U.S. and international expansion.
In this segment from MarketFoolery, host Mac Greer and senior analysts Ron Gross and Jason Moser talk about where the company fits in the ongoing "war on cash" narrative, how big its opportunity could be, and why the big guys would want a piece of that action.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Feb. 19, 2019.
Mac Greer: Let's turn to the war on cash. Jason Moser, I know this is one of your favorite topics. Alphabet and Salesforce are investing $75 million in a U.K. online payments start-up, GoCardless. Jason, this investment will help GoCardless expand to the U.S. What's going on here?
Jason Moser: First and foremost, this is a drop in the bucket for Alphabet and Salesforce. This is just a rounding error for them. It makes a lot of sense for them to try to invest a little bit in the space to participate because clearly, we've seen this move toward a cashless society, not only on the consumer side but on the commercial side as well. That's what GoCardless does.
GoCardless is working in a specific niche. They're working with businesses and recurring payments. If you're a business with a recurring payment, perhaps it's a subscription or some type of bill that you're paying. They're working with those businesses to get more a part of that market. From the consumer side, for an analogy, let's just liken it to, you have your mortgage payment direct debited from your checking account every month. I'd love to be able to put my mortgage on my credit card every month because it'd be free points.
Ron Gross: Yeah, that'd be great.
Moser: But, we can't do that. So, next logical thing is to have your bank go ahead and withdraw that money on behalf of the mortgage company. Essentially, GoCardless is working in that realm. And it's a very lucrative market. When you look at business-to-business opportunity, Mastercard was recently quoted on their call calling that opportunity, the dollars that flow through that business-to-business network on a global basis -- I'm going to give you a guess, Mac. How big do you think that number is? Wild guess.
Greer: It's in the billions.
Greer: It's in the multiple billions.
Moser: $125 trillion.
Greer: Oh, my gosh!
Moser: Now, I'm talking about the money that flows through all of those networks. When you look domestically, you're looking at about a $25 trillion dollar network. That's why they're trying to play into that market. Even just capturing a small slice of it is meaningful for a company like GoCardless. So, working on those recurring payments as a direct debit vs. making a car payment, there are puts and takes for either way you do it. But, I think in a lot of cases with businesses that are looking to have a recurring, predictable payment taken out from their account, this is just an easy way to do it.