Euronet Services Inc was established in 1996 when its predecessor company, Bank 24, began preparations for an IPO to raise capital for the expansion of its ATM (automatic telling machine) operations.
Originally focused on installing and operating ATMs in Central Europe for local banks and international debit and credit card insurers like Visa and American Express, Euronet rapidly maximised the potential of its business through innovation, installing ATMs in popular footfall locations rather than sticking to the limitations of traditional bank locations. Its strategy was to build first-mover advantage, capitalising on Central Europe's transition from a cash to a plastic-based economy. By becoming the dominant network, Euronet would not only capture majority market share but also be well positioned to provide additional ATM services as the market became more sophisticated. Although the intention had been to finance the roll out of Euronet's operations in Poland and Hungary, the opportunity to implement networks in Eastern Germany accelerated the company's expansion plans. In 1997, Euronet raised $71.5m in an IPO on Nasdaq (EEFT) and, in the following year, a further $81m in an international offering of high-yield debt. By 2001, the company had expanded its geographic presence from Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia and Romania) through Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and Asia Pacific, including the acquisition in 1998 of ARKSYS, a US banking software company, enhancing its access to its bank company base.