34-Year-Old CEO Beats Self-doubt To Build A $1 Billion Start-Up


When it comes to unicorns, payments start-up Stax may be one of the rarest of the rare. Suneera Madhani is the founder and CEO of Stax, one of America’s top 10 fastest-growing fintech companies, doing integrated payments and payment processing for small businesses, large businesses, and SaaS companies, processing over 23 billion dollars in payments. 

Suneera Madhani’s fintech company, Stax, has processed over $23 billion in payments for 22,000 businesses. With a growth rate of more than 500% year over year, Stax has tripled its valuation, leading the company into unicorn territory. But Madhani’s beginnings with Stax weren’t always this gleaming. The first-generation Pakistani American found herself with an “aha!” moment while she was fresh out of college working at a fintech company that was still operating in an old-school manner. The fintech industry welcomed a new unicorn yesterday after the Orlando, Florida-based payments company Stax announced a $245 million series D round, valuing the business at more than $1 billion.

Madhani never wanted to run her own business. But, when the corporate world left her feeling unfulfilled, she started her own payment processing company, Stax. Madhani and her brother, company president Sal Rehmetullah, started Stax in 2014 as a payment platform for businesses that operate through flat-rate monthly subscriptions rather than percentages of sales. Today, the company employs 300 people and has processed more than $23 billion in transactions for thousands of businesses over the past eight years. But it rarely launched in the first place — and now, Madhani wants to encourage other women to leap. 

Madhani’s parents are Pakistani immigrants. Her father owned cafes, restaurants, and convenience stores, which used credit card payment processing. Based on his frustrations and those of her customers when she worked for another payment processing company, she and her brother, Sal Rehmetullah, launched Fattmerchant in 2014. The company was later renamed Stax. Driving Stax’s growth is undoubtedly the overall growth of the payment processing industry, which is projected to grow from $90.4 billion in 2021 to $569.2 billion in 2030, according to P&S Intelligence. But perhaps more importantly, Stax disrupted the industry with flat-fee pricing, providing customer insights and ease of use to small businesses. 

This past March, Stax raised $245 million for its all-in-one payment platform from Greater Sum Ventures (GSV), HarbourVest Partners, and Blue Star Innovation Partners, all of which have long invested in the payments industry and will serve as strategic partners to Stax. It also achieved unicorn status, being a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion.

Credits: Forbes 

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