Neobanks, other financial startups and the basic concept of “finance anywhere” are seeing huge gains at the moment, and today one of the key companies building the infrastructure that powers services like these is announcing a major growth round of funding to double down on the opportunity.
Rapyd — which provides a range of financial services like payments, mobile wallets, money transfers, card issuing, fraud protection and more, all by way of an API for third parties to integrate quickly into their own services — has raised $300 million, a Series E that TechCrunch understands from reliable sources values the company at $8.75 billion.
The company has been on a fast pace of growth in the last year, spurred in no small part by the global shift to carrying out life and business online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rapyd’s total payment volume is on target to pass $20 billion this year, a four-fold increase on 2020’s volume of $5 billion. The company has some 12,000 small and medium-sized businesses using its services, with another 650 large enterprise clients.
Target Global — the European VC that has been making some big bets on fintech and commerce lately — is leading this round, with new backers Fidelity Ventures, Altimeter Capital, Whale Rock Capital, BlackRock and Dragoneer, and previous backers General Catalyst, Latitude, Durable Capital Partners, Tal Capital, Avid Ventures and Spark Capital also participating. Past strategic investors in the startup have included the payments behemoth Stripe.
Rapyd’s CEO and co-founder Arik Shtilman said in an interview that the plan will be to use part of the investment for acquisitions, and part for R&D.
Rapyd has been starting the M&A march in earnest already this year, acquiring payments and card issuing company Valitor in July for $100 million to expand deeper into Europe, and starting an investment arm called Rapyd Ventures. Acquisitions will likely be to continue getting deeper into its current markets.
On the R&D front, the company already has some 900 different services that cover 100 countries within its API. I’ve likened Rapyd’s approach in the past to being akin to a “Swiss Army knife” of services, and Shtilman says that these roughly fall into several distinct categories.
“At the end of the day there are five things on planet earth for financial services, whether you are a bank or a mom-and-pop shop: payment collection, money dispersing, funds storage, card issuing and foreign exchange. From these you can build endless capabilities,” he said. One priority now, he added, will be to focus on expanding its technology related to identity management and fraud to complement what it already does.
“Know your customer [KYC] and compliance tools will help us bring on more customers even faster,” Shtilman said.
The timing of this latest round is a big deal for Rapyd. For starters, it’s coming just seven months after Rapyd announced another $300 million round, its Series D (that round actually closed in November, I’ve found out). Notably, that last round was at a $2.5 billion valuation, and while the company is not disclosing its funding, Shtilman told me that revenues have grown 3.5 times since then. A source very close to the company told me that the valuation was, simply, the multiple of those two figures: $8.75 billion.
Secondly, it’s important in the context of the wider market and where Rapyd fits into it.
We’re currently seeing a huge profusion of companies tapping into the potential of so-called embedded finance — financial services that are built and operated by one party and integrated by APIs into another party’s service — to build new products, ranging from neobanks around the world, to e-commerce companies building checkout services, or companies only tangentially in the business of commerce who are now launching products to improve customer engagement or make their first moves into the space.
In other words, not only is this round a sign of Rapyd’s own growth, but a signal to the market of how it is positioning itself and faring in what is shaping up to be an interesting and competitive field.
Rapyd — which is now based in Silicon Valley but has its R&D and CEO based in Tel Aviv — was one of the earlier players in this space, and Shtilman likes to recall how, when he first started the company, he was met with a lot of skepticism from others in the financial services community, not just because the idea sounded too hard to execute but because they saw financial infrastructure as essentially the crown jewels of most financial services companies.
“When we started in 2016 everyone thought we were crazy because the concept was too big and too wide,” he said. “Then, like mushrooms after the rain, everyone saw it. Everyone understands now that the future of fintech is fintech infrastructure. Like cloud computing.”
Indeed, it’s taken a little while, but these days most acknowledge that the basics of these services are, yes, super hard to build, but essentially work the same for everyone, so they can be built once, and then packaged and turned into something you can tap by way of cloud services, and thus turned into commodities that you can spend your resources, time and strategy to personalize.
Meanwhile, the crown jewels are, in fact, your customers. And therefore, building transactional services that either complement what you already do as a business, or augment it in an interesting and useful enough way, is how you end up deepening your engagement with them, and commitment from them.
The fact that this is something that might apply to just about any business online today means that the opportunities are vast as well, one reason investors are so keen to be in this market. (And that goes for more than just Rapyd, as it’s big enough not to be a winner-takes-all market.)
“Rapyd has built a borderless embedded fintech infrastructure critical to all digital businesses that operate globally. Their platform incorporates payments, compliance, FX, fraud management, escrow, virtual account and card issuing, and more. But now, as the world sees growing traction across global eCommerce, Gig Economy, Fintech Solutions and Technology platforms, Rapyd must take the next step,” said Mike Lobanov, general partner at Target Global, in a statement. “There is currently an unprecedented need for a single partner serving as a bridge between a vast array of local payment services and merchants, providing them access to the flexible, fast-to-integrate, and scalable solutions they need to thrive. Having led Rapyd’s Series A in 2018, we are confident that Rapyd can be such a partner, and are now renewing our bet in this round.”