Visa Backs B2B Payments Startup Currencycloud in $80M Funding Round

The UK-based company focuses on "embedded finance": providing payments solutions to companies rather than front-end users.

UK-based business-to-business payments startup Currencycloud has raked in $80 million in funding from a number of strategic investors, including Visa Inc., BNP Paribas SA, SBI Group, Siam Commercial Bank, and the International Finance Corp. The results of the fundraising round were reported by Reuters on Sunday, January 26.

According to CNBC, Mike Laven, Currencycloud’s chief executive officer, said that the company has also partnered with Visa to provide its clients with access to Currencycloud’s products.

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“Currencycloud is re-imagining how money flows around the global economy and embedding it into platforms of the future,” Laven said in an official announcement.

“Transfer of value is fast becoming the newest layer in the modern technology stack, and Currencycloud is positioned to provide the infrastructure to make this happen. With these new strategic investors, we are well placed to be the go-to provider for the next wave of Fintech innovation.”

The fundraising round also included cash from some of the company’s existing investors, including GV (formerly known as ‘Google Ventures’), Notion Capital, and Sapphire Ventures. The company has reportedly raised more than $140 million from investors and has processed over $50 billion in payments since it was founded in 2012.

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Laven told Reuters that the latest round of funding would be used to grow the company’s suite of products and to “dramatically increase our footprint in North America.” Currencycloud also currently operates in Europe and is seeking to expand into Asia.

Indeed, Laven explained to CNBC that while Currencycloud is not yet profitable, “our emphasis right now is not on profitability, our emphasis is on the strength of our offering and an expansion into other markets. The company is planning on opening an office in Singapore before the end of this year.

”My brand is invisible.”

Unlike payments apps that focus on consumers, Laven told CNBC that Currencycloud operates in a segment that he calls “embedded finance.”

“We’re probably the most important business that you’ve never heard of,” he said. “But that’s conscientious on our part,’ he said. “We do not have a strategy where we compete with our customers.” Instead, Laven clarified to TechCrunch, “My brand is invisible. We think we’re still the only one that has that kind of solution.”

Mike Laven, Currencycloud’s chief executive officer.

Indeed, the company, which is headquartered in London, sells payment software for companies that are seeking to process transactions internationally; Currencycloud offers 85 APIs that cover everything from foreign exchange to inbound money collection and multi-currency digital wallet services. Laven told TechCrunch that as of the end of 2019, roughly 350 companies were using the APIs.

According to CNBC, while the company may not be as well known as peers like Monzo and Revolut (which are more consumer-focused), Currencycloud “provides some of the crucial ‘plumbing’ in the background for such apps to operate.”

Indeed, Currencycloud works with Monzo and Revolut, along with Starling and a number of other “challenger banks” based in the United Kingdom. Challenger banks are relatively small, new retail banks in the United Kingdom that compete with the country’s more established banks.

Visa’s decision to fund Currencycloud comes shortly after Visa acquired Plaid, a company that provides APIs to link fintech apps to individual bank accounts, for $5.3 billion. The acuistion, along with the investment in Currencycloud, seem to be part of a burgeoning trend of investments into these “embedded finance” companies. Last year, Stripe raised $250 million in funding; similarly, Checkout.com pulled in $230 million.

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