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Exclusive: Swap Taps $3.3M Seed Round To Create Better Infrastructure For Fintechs

Brazil-based Swap raised a $3.3 million seed round to help financial institutions create their own internal financial technology businesses faster and more effectively.

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“We are like AWS [Amazon Web Services] for payments, helping companies improve connection, experience and embed finance into their business so they can stop outsourcing those functions,” Swap`s co-founder and Chief Product Officer Ury Rappaport, told Crunchbase News.

ONEVC led the seed round, with participation from GFC, SOMA Capital, Brad Flora, ABSeed, Flourish Ventures, Rhombuz, Canary, Hustle Fund and Patrick Sigrist.

The company plans to use the funding mainly to help finalize the product infrastructure and runway so Swap can focus on onboarding new clients, Douglas Storf, co-founder and CEO, said in an interview.

What you should know

Rappaport and Storf were executives working at Brazilian taxi service, 99, to create a new payments area. They faced a lot of challenges getting it done, such as finding suppliers that could help solve the money-in-money-out problems, Storf said. Some suppliers were offering old technology that was later adapted for fintech, while others had what Storf said was “ an unfair business model where the supplier would eat up most of the value generated from the money flow.”

When Storf and Rappaport looked around, they found they were not the only ones facing supplier issues, so they decided to build the ideal supplier themselves.

Today, 2-year-old Swap is on a mission to develop a basic infrastructure for fintechs to make creating a payments space less time-consuming and expensive, Storf said

The Swap co-founders estimate it can take up to two years to launch a card or an app. The company’s end goal is to take that down to months or even weeks.

“To launch your own card or app, you would have to go through a long cycle of engaging with the credit card company, and that is very expensive,” Storf said. “We can come in and cut the time by renting our license to you or use connections we already have.”

What the investor is saying

ONEVC’s co-founder and general partner Bruno Yoshimura wrote a Medium blog post about why the investment in Swap was important to the firm, but he also supplied a quote for me.

He told me via email that one of the areas the firm considers when making an investment is: Why is it important now?

“In Brazil, the Central Bank has been implementing regulations favorable for fintechs to foster competition,” Yoshimura said. “Open Banking and PIX (instant payments system) are coming this year, leveling the playfield for new fintechs to grow and accelerating, even more, their rise.”

ONEVC anticipates that growth of the entire basic infrastructure for fintechs will enable many Latin American technology companies to become fintech companies, or at least have significant fintech components.

“We are not betting on a specific fintech player, but on the growth of an entire category that has strong tailwinds, so…investing in a finance infrastructure API is a great way to tie your success to the success of the ecosystem as a whole,” Yoshimura added.

Next steps for Swap

Swap has doubled its client base in the past four months and is signing up more than two new clients per month, something Storf said has been more prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year.

“A lot of our potential clients are starting new revenue streams since being impacted and are looking for new ways to explore the existing base,” he said. “Creating a fintech inside the company is a good way to leverage the ecosystem.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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