This month, I announced that Ixaris had entered a definitive agreement to be acquired by Nium, one of the world’s fastest growing fintech companies. As Ixaris’ CEO, I am honoured to continue to accelerate Ixaris’ growth trajectory by balancing operational diligence and strategic transformation while steering us across this historic finish line… and on to our greatest chapter yet.
Having previously worked in both London and Malta, overall, professionals in Malta tend to be somewhat humbler than our counterparts in the UK, Europe and beyond. This humility has certainly shaped Ixaris’ own culture (almost always in a positive direction, I might add). But today, bolstered by Ixaris’ recent and historic acquisition, I am ready to shout louder about how far Ixaris has come, and how far we’re ready to go.
16 years ago, I joined Ixaris as a junior developer and employee number six. Back in 2003, this little tech startup based on the tiny island of Malta issued Europe’s first virtual card. Ixaris would go on to achieve global success in the somewhat niche travel payments sector, so you would be forgiven for not having heard of Ixaris or its products before. But, if you use an app like Revolut, you have very likely used a virtual card.
Virtual cards are the online-only equivalent of the plastic Visa or Mastercard card in your wallet. This ubiquitous piece of payment technology is now so commonplace as to be somewhat unremarkable — but remarkably, it started right here in Malta.
The timing of this innovation was remarkable too. In 2003, YouTube and Facebook didn’t exist yet (in fact, the term social media wasn’t coined until 2004). The iPhone didn’t arrive until 2007, nor did Netflix streaming. And yet, under the leadership of Alex Mifsud, there was Ixaris in Malta, forever changing how the world would pay. (And here, I must acknowledge and thank the current and past employees and brilliant leaders who have been part of Ixaris’ story over the past 18 years.)
The day Ixaris issued Europe’s first virtual card cemented the company’s place in the history books of the global industry that we now call fintech(financial technology), in which Ixaris leads the travel paytech(payment technology) sector.
Today, Ixaris continues to make waves as one of Malta (and the world’s) great tech success stories. Nium’s acquisition of Ixaris also marked a historic milestone for the technology industry in Malta, as one of the first such deals to bring together a Malta-based tech firm with a heavy-hitter like Nium. And, as part of the Nium family, Ixaris is set to make history again in a very big way in the coming weeks (but that’s all I can say… for now!)
Headquartered in Singapore with offices across Asia, Europe and the US, Nium is one of the world’s fastest-growing B2B payment platforms. And when I say fast, I mean fast. Nium serves more than 130 million customers in 100+ countries, processes an estimated $8 billion in transactions, and is doubling its growth year over year under the leadership of CEO Prajit Nanu and his team.
As part of this acquisition, all of Ixaris’ 86 employees in London and Malta will join the Nium family. Today, Ixaris is also announcing a major recruitment drive to further grow our Malta-based team across engineering, operations and product teams. This will help us drive Ixaris into becoming a truly global player, as next month we launch our solution in the US and more regions after that.
I hope more tech companies in Malta will achieve the same global success and scale that Ixaris has modelled. To help pave the way, through our current expansion, Ixaris is also championing the mentorship and nurturing of local tech talent. As our story proves: the scope of our ambitions needn’t be limited by the size of our island!
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