Better Together: How Stax’s Acquisition of CardX Is Driving Incredible Growth

Since being acquired by Stax in 2021, CardX is enjoying incredible growth — and bringing a heightened experience to its customers.
Written by Jenny Lyons-Cunha
September 30, 2022Updated: October 3, 2022

Seven hundred and fifty-eight percent.

It’s a number that’s difficult to wrap one’s mind around — and the rate at which Chicago fintech company CardX has grown its direct sales since being acquired by Stax, an all-in-one payment technology provider. 

“Our expansion has been explosive since the acquisition,” CardX CEO and founder Jonathan Razi told Built In Chicago. “We have entered a rapid period of hiring that’s not slowing down.”

But CardX’s impressive direct sales metric isn’t the only staggeric number in this story: Stax’s acquisition of CardX was its third in a string of additions that have hastened Stax’s breakneck 996 percent growth rate over the past three years. 

 

What CardX Does

The Chicagoland fintech company provides solutions that empower businesses to accept credit cards at 0 percent cost. Driven by the goal of making payments more fair for all, CardX offers surcharge services that help customers automate compliance via built-in disclosures, process a broad range of card types and achieve seamless reconciliation and cash application. 

 

The proof is in the numbers: Stax’s acquisition of CardX has brought exponential growth to both parties. But the acquisition is about more than just the bottom line — it’s helping both companies provide a richer experience to their customers. 

CardX is bringing its surcharging services to the table, which will ultimately help Stax’s merchant customers assuage compliance concerns and operational snafus that typically come with surcharging. On its part, Stax is providing CardX with a boost in distribution.

 

Surcharging 101

Also known as a checkout fee, a surcharge is an additional fee that is added to the cost of a product or service beyond its quoted price. In 2017, CardX contributed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court case “Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman” — a case concerning the disclosures required when surcharging customers. The case was ultimately passed to the Second Circuit, where it was determined that banning surcharging completely was regulating free speech. “Passing on the credit card fee is the best tool a merchant has for informing the customer of the transaction cost and giving the customer the incentive to reduce the cost,” Razi said at the time. 

 

“Because of our strong flywheel, we’re able to bring something to Stax that is ahead of the market in delivering customer needs,” said Razi. “We saw the opportunity to connect with a partner that could level up our distribution.” 

As in all great unions, both companies share a mutual admiration and anticipation for a bright future together. 

“We were thrilled to partner with a company that valued disruption,” said Stax Merger and Acquisitions Manager Jonathan Field. 

CardX’s Razi responded, “And we knew that their strong sales culture and our product would make for a great marriage.” 

 

Person making an online purchase with a smartphone
Shutterstock

 

Describe the circumstances that led up to the company’s acquisition?

Jonathan Razi, CardX: We had reached an inflection point in the business where we could ultimately control our own destiny — we had strong product market fit and the business was operating at a profit. We were seeing more demand than ever before and had proven surcharging at scale. 

Historically, we were boot-strapped to private equity investment. We went to market for a growth equity fundraise and received great bids, but were especially attracted to Stax’s vision and the private equity offer from Greater Sum Ventures 

Jonathan Field, Stax: We saw the value and inevitability of surcharging and wanted to offer Stax customers with a seamless solution. We were excited about the opportunity to build out a more full payment experience — and allow merchants to control more within a single platform. 

We were also excited by the prospect of being able to partner with the team who started surcharging and pushed it forward at the Supreme Court level — and ultimately acquired that team and their expertise. 

 

Why do you consider the two companies to be a perfect match?

Jonathan Razi, CardX: CardX has been the strongest in product and regulatory strategy: working with states at the legal level, law makers, courts and attorneys general. 

Our sales department was a smaller team with less structure. We saw the opportunity for a partner that has built a great direct strategy through sales and demand generation. 

Jonathan Field, Stax: We knew there was an opportunity to uplevel a product-led company in CardX to the next level.

 

How will this merger drive greater value for CardX’s customers?

Jonathan Razi, CardX: Stax is an end-to-end payment provider. Bringing CardX, a function specialist, under the umbrella of Stax, a full-stack provider, affords us a greater level of control in terms of customer experience. It also gives us the ability and net new innovation without being constrained by legacy vendors. 

 

People working on a project together
Shutterstock

 

Specifically, how is the company expanding both its employee and customer bases?

Jonathan Razi, CardX: Our expansion has been explosive. We have been able to build an entire inbound marketing engine. 

 

How do you think this acquisition opens up greater opportunities for both existing employees and future new hires?

Jonathan Razi, CardX: This acquisition allows team members to specialize in specific areas as well as opportunities that only exist in a larger organization, like data analytics or partner marketing. Our subject matter experts now have the opportunity to influence a larger organization and be the true experts in a billion dollar company. 

 

What excites you the most about this latest phase in CardX’s growth journey?

Jonathan Razi, CardX: We are already a company that is bigger, better and faster less than a year into the acquisition. We are hoping to manage CardX to the point that it is ten times bigger than it is today. 

On a personal note, I’m thrilled with how much I’m learning — building and selling a company is the best learning experience. Merger integration is learning about how you bring together the best of both companies. 

Jonathan Field, Stax: We can’t wait to bring the power of surcharging to all Stax Payments users and absorb their innovation. We are bringing the best of CardX to the Stax platform. 

 

 

Jobs at CardX

Chicago startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Offices in Chicago Tech
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Chicago Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Women in Chicago Tech