Fintech & e-commerce

Thunes Banks $60M Growth Round To Bolster Cross-Border Payment Network

Illustration of putting a $100 bill puzzle together.

Singapore-based fintech company Thunes, which is developing a cross-border payment network, raised $60 million in growth funding, led by Insight Partners, to continue connecting payment players in more than 100 countries.

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Thunes, which means “pocket money” in French, was started in 2016 as part of DT One, a global network for mobile top-up solutions and innovative mobile rewards for emerging economies. Two years ago, Thunes was spun out and launched with $10 million in Series A funding, Peter De Caluwe, CEO of Thunes, told Crunchbase News.

Typically, when people wire each other money, it moves between third parties on its way to the recipient. Along the way, each player charges fees — the more banks in the middle, the more fees, he said.

Both the sender and the receiver pay fees on that money, in some cases two or three times the original transfer. In addition, not everyone has traditional bank accounts, but may use digital wallets, which banks need to be able to communicate with.

Thunes wants to bring transparency to cross-border payments by telling users how much it will cost upfront, be able to move the money instantly, and confirm it arrived — something many can’t do currently, De Caluwe said. The company also wants to do that more economically: It typically charges from a couple of cents up to $5, and there are no other fees or receiving fees.

“There are billions of users that are not part of the banking system,” he added. “We are building the network and rails between thousands of players for this addressable market, which is valued at $50 trillion.”

The new round gives Thunes a total of $130 million raised since 2016, which includes $120 million raised in just the past six months, according to Crunchbase data.

De Caluwe intends to put the new investment to work on the company’s network infrastructure, which he said can be costly as it enters new countries. Thunes currently has 500 direct networks, and he expects to grow that to a couple thousand in the next year. As the company expands into other countries, it will also hire people on the ground.

When Thunes announced its $60 million Series B round last September, it had 75 employees. Since then the company grew to 150 as revenue and volume doubled. De Caluwe now expects to be a workforce of 300 by the end of the year.

“We believe that what we are doing is going to create a lot of value over time, and if we are the first ones we will become unique and offer other players the use of our network and rails,” he added. “We want to step on the gas and build more rails so more people can use us.”

Meanwhile, Nikhil Sachdev, managing director of Insight, said he is seeing strong growth in the transition to electronic transactions. While there are multiple ways to play in the global digital payment space, it’s a big market he considers still underpenetrated, providing tailwinds to companies like Thunes.

“The cross-border payments ecosystem is an attractive market, and Thunes enables companies to make payments without building out their own infrastructure,” Sachdev said in an interview. “It is a huge undertaking, and Thunes does the hard work of entering a corridor and packaging the offering to its client base.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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