Venture

Visa, GV And More Invest $80M In This Crossborder Payments Startup

Currencycloud helps money get from point A to point B, even if there’s a flight, time difference and currency change in between. In other words, the London startup is trying to make it easier for merchants to process cross-border payments so businesses can sell beyond their immediate geographic reach. 

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The startup, founded in 2012, has just raised $80 million from a group of new investors, including Visa, International Finance Corp. (a member of the World Bank Group), BNP Paribas, SBI Group, and Siam Commercial Bank. Existing investors GV, Sapphire Ventures, Notion Capital, Accomplice and Anthemis also participated in the round. The latest Series E round brings Currencycloud’s total funding to date over $140 million, per a release

Now that we know Currencycloud has new cash and a goal that could help businesses and people globally, let’s do two things: learn a bit more about the technology and address the rather hungry payments behemoth in the room, Visa.

The Tech

On its website, Currencycloud has a pitch for potential companies turned customers: “With Currencycloud, you don’t need to build your own payment infrastructure or engage in lengthy banking negotiations to make international payments.” 

This means businesses can skip talking with banks about bank fees (which one blog said is the most pricey part of the cross-border payment process), exchange rates, unknown taxes and more. 

And it looks like there’s business in this infrastructure-as-a-service aim. So far Currencycloud claims it has processed more than $50 billion to over 180 countries. It has also nabbed customers such as Monzo, Starling, Revolut and, more recently, Visa.  

That brings me to my next section, where we look at Visa’s role in this whole story. 

And Visa

Visa, which has had quite the investment appetite lately, is both a customer of and an investor in Currencycloud. And if you look at the startup’s website, there’s a hint to why: Beyond just serving businesses, Currencycloud also has an eye on helping fintech companies. 

On the website, Currencycloud says it helps the next generation of fintech companies quickly and easily build cross-border payments into platforms, “while maintaining complete control of the user experience.”

“Our suite of modular APIs integrates with your existing ecosystem to provide your fintech with total transparency of payments and FX, access to our global payment network with full-scale compliance support, and end-to-end automation of the payment process,” it says.

While Visa is not new to payments, its latest investments all trend toward a full-fledged suite of fintech services. Most recently, the company acquired Plaid for $5.3 billion for its technology that helps payment processing startups like Venmo, Acorns and Expensify. Days later, Visa invested in Very Good Security (subtle, I know) for tech that hides and anonymizes sensitive data. And most recently, it invested in Flutterwave, which provides payment services for global merchants, per its Crunchbase profile.

Bottom line–as dozens of fintech startups hack everything from a credit card for women, to cash loans for startups, Visa is currently more focused on those working on the plumbing within financial services. Today’s Currencycloud investment, which will add Colleen Ostrowski, SVP and treasurer of Visa Inc., to the board, is no different.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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