10 payments start-ups to watch

By Alex Hamilton | 2 July 2019

Funding for payments companies reached a high of $12bn in 2018, according to statistics from Accenture, while fintechs in the sector accounted for 24% of all venture capital funding in the US. From machine learning for fraud detection to credit card issuance and college tuition conversion, there are a wide range of companies to keep an eye on as we head into the tail end of 2019.

bobsguide has compiled a list of the ten firms that are making the biggest waves in the industry.

Bolt

San Francisco-based Bolt claims that it can cut ecommerce checkout times in half, and has grown to a 75-strong firm since its 2018 launch. The firm has raised $20m in three rounds from sources including Founders Fund and Oaks Capital.

Plaid

According to Plaid, one in four US citizens with a bank account use its platform in one form or another, via its partnerships with a number of major banks.

Plaid connects payments apps to personal finance apps and bank accounts, tracking funds and acting as an authenticator. The firm’s corporate customers include Square, Goldman Sachs and Coinbase.

With $310m in funding from Spark Capital and a valuation of more than $2.65bn, Plaid has even gone acquisitive, buying investment aggregator Quovo for $200m in January.

Flywire

Flywire claims to use an international partner network to send payments internationally which can settle in two days. The firm charges between 2% and 3% to help expedite transactions in foreign countries to recipient.

It claims that its platform is able to completely mitigate problems with currency routing. Flywire has received funding from companies including Bain Capital, Spark Capital and others to the tune of $142m.

Veem

Veem aims to do for business-to-business payments what Venmo did for consumer payments. It uses a multi-rail system to enable businesses to send payments around the world. Payees can use SWIFT, third-party payment processing or blockchain technology.

Veem has raised $70m over seven rounds, including support from Silicon Valley bank and NAB Ventures.

Marqeta

Card issuing platform Marqeta allows businesses to issue physical, virtual or tokenized cards to their employees, and also plans to power digital banks.

It claims that clients like delivery companies can be given control of employee cards to track payments and potentially freeze unexpected transactions.

The firm has received $376.3m in funding across seven rounds, including backing from Visa, Iconiq and 83 North.

“When today’s innovators are in need of modern payment solutions, they aren’t turning to banks as their primary issuers anymore and want a platform built for their needs,” said CEO Jason Gardiner, in a recent press statement.

Brex

Brex offers a credit card for corporates, specifically other startups, designed to place credit limits based on the cash the business can generate and not the company founder’s personal credit history.

The company hit a $1.1bn valuation in 22 months and is now valued at $2.6bn. It has received more than $315m in funding from DST Global and Greenoaks Capital among others.

Forter

Israel-based machine learning platform Forter uses multiple data points, including location, browsing history and device operating system to detect potentially fraudulent credit card transactions.

The company claims to offer fully-automated fraud prevention, based on a database of more than 175 million identities.

Founded in 2013, the firm hit 100 customers in 2018, and claims to process more than $100bn in transactions annually.

Gusto

Cloud-based Gusto helps small and medium-sized companies with their payroll processing, benefit servicing and human resources. The firm claims its software can automatically handle all paperwork necessary to comply with tax, labor and immigration laws.

Gusto works with 40,000 small employers across all 50 US states and has raised a total of $316m in funding across eight rounds.

Remitly

Transferring more than $4bn a year, Remitly enables residents in the UK, US, Canada and Australia to send money to relatives and friends in developing countries. Those without bank accounts can pick up their cash at 200,000 physical locations.

Founder Matt Oppenheimer claims the idea came to him while working for Barclays in Kenya. The firm has raised $200m from Silicon Valley Bank, PayU, and Bezos Expeditions.

Circle

Claiming to be the future of cryptocurrency, Circle has started offering payments services, and has partnered with Coinbase to launch a US dollar-backed stablecoin to facilitate this.

With eight million customers across 100 countries, and its stable coin among the 20 most-valuable in the world, Circle has received around $250m in funding from IDG Capital, Goldman Sachs and others.

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