The race for leadership in easy e-commerce in Europe is on. Stripe, the U.S. startup that has developed a simple payments API for developers to use in apps and on the web, is preparing to make its first steps into European waters with a beta launch. And the news comes as Rocket Internet-backed rival/clone Paymill, which also offers developers an API for simple payments (at comparable pricing), has announced a further round of funding, $5 million, from new investor Blumberg Capital, as it redoubles its effort in the region.
The $5 million is a follow-on from a Series A-round of $13 million Holzbrinck and Sunstone in January, on top of seed funding from Rocket Internet, the international e-commerce incubator led by the Samwer brothers.
TechCrunch understands that Stripe, which so far is active in the U.S. and Canada and has raised $38 million for more growth, is gearing up for a limited UK beta of its service. It could be coming as soon as March 1, when co-founder Patrick Collison will be speaking at the London Web Summit.
Stripe actually began to send out invites to a limited beta in the UK earlier today, as reported by TNW, but in an update to that post, Collison noted that the emails were sent out in error. Those emails indicate that initially developers will be able to accept payments via Visa and Mastercard (in the U.S., the list also includes American Express, Discover and JCB).
The move into Europe comes at a time when local rival Paymill is looking to raise its profile in the region, as well as eye up moves to entirely new markets.
Mark Henkel, CEO of Paymill, says that the new, $5 million injection came after the Series A was oversubscribed. Although Paymill has no plans to move into the U.S., it believes that have the expertise of a “bullish” investor based in a market with more advanced payments will prove invaluable to Paymill. (And, given Rocket’s track record for attracting repeat investments from the same VCs, it will be interesting to see whether Blumberg gets more active in further Samwer ventures.)
“We are not interested in going into the U.S.,” Henkel told TechCrunch in an interview. “To conquer a market that is mature is not the best thing to do if you’re a young company. We work on the ground where we are good, which is Europe.”
That being said, Henkel does not rule out Asia and Latin America, two areas where Rocket has already established extensive operations for a number of its e-commerce properties.
In general, the idea behind this is for Rocket to leverage those startups and their customers against one another: eg, customers for one product, such as food delivery, to become mobile payment customers; or for two e-commerce operations to combine their logistics operations. “Of course there are connections,” Henkel said of the relationship between Rocket startups. “And, the ceo of Lazada is one of my best friends. But I want to own a market and be stable there before moving to another.”
For now, Paymill is active in 34 countries — across Europe and peripheral markets like Turkey and Israel. While Stripe says that it has thousands of sites and apps using its APIs, Paymill has not revealed user numbers, and it will be a test of the company to see if it can hold its own against a high-profile juggernaut from the U.S.
At this early stage in the game, however, the sentiment is still friendly competition that will only help to grow awareness: “I like the solution from these Stripe guys,” Henkel. “I think they are brilliant, and I don’t want to go and fight in a country where there are so many solutions.”
Paymill receives additional funding from US-based Blumberg Capital
Munich, 14th of January 2013 – Paymill, the innovative payment service provider, secured an additional funding of Blumberg Capital, bringing the total capital raised between Blumberg, Sunstone and Holzbrinck well over 10M Euros. Paymill facilitates an easy implementation of online credit card payment and other payment procedures in their customers’ online shop platforms, by operating already in 34 countries.
Mark Henkel, CEO of Paymill: “The strong investment support from Holtzbrinck Ventures, Sunstone Capital emphasized our strong position as a technology leader in the European online payment market. With the latest investment of Blumberg Capital we want to make another step forward and continue our mission in optimizing our technical platform and our customer service. It’s our goal that everyone globally can accept online payments fast and easily.”
Paymill is the very first provider who launched this easy and user-friendly technical solution in Europe. With the investment of Blumberg, Paymill brings on a partner with global reach, and expertise in financial services, strengthening its position for further rapid growth and development of user-friendly features.
At the same time, the online service provider is actively touring big cities all over Europe. In March, they will be hitting Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, and London. “Focusing on the pan-European market is one of our key assets,” said Mark Henkel, “but at the same time, we also concentrate on an intense dialogue with our customers to constantly improve our product.”
The very simple API, the fast onboarding process and the transparent price, in combination with comprehensive customer support set Paymill apart from other popular payment providers. “This is an exceptional team going aggressively after an underserved market globally, and we are excited to be part of the team,” said Jon Soberg, Managing Director at Blumberg Capital. Integration of the service is substantially facilitated for merchants by simple copying and pasting of a few lines of code into the source code of their websites. The service includes providing of payment methods and secure payment processing in the background.
About Blumberg Capital
Blumberg Capital (www.blumbergcapital.com) is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in innovative and disruptive companies that are changing the service economy. Blumberg Capital has approximately $250 million USD under management. Blumberg has special expertise in financial services and has made several investments in the space, including Credorax, Addepar, Lenddo, and Kreditech.
Paymill GmbH was founded in Munich, Germany, in June 2012 by Mark Fabian Henkel. The management team is complemented by Dr. Stefan Sambol, Jörg Sutara and Kilian Thalhammer. The company currently employs 25 staff, mostly with a technical background. Paymill is active in 34 countries across Europe and other regions. For more information got to www.paymill.com