One of the biggest trends in the world of financial technology has been an ongoing push towards consolidation, where larger fish are snapping up smaller fish (including a proliferation of interesting startups) to get improved economies of scale in a business model where every transaction brings incremental returns. But today, a startup that has built the concept of consolidation into its basic DNA has raised another round of funding to continue doubling down on its business.
Rapyd -- a London-based startup that has built an API that lets customers tap into a range of financial services spanning payments, checkout, funds collection, fund disbursements, compliance as a service, foreign exchange, card issuing and soon logistics across a wide range of geographies -- has picked up an additional $20 million. Rapyd's valuation with the funding is now at $1.2 billion (up from just under $1 billion in October).
The $20 million comes from new investment firm Durable Capital Partners.
Notably, it was only in October that Rapyd announced a $100 million raise. CEO and co-founder and Arik Shtilman said that Rapyd has now raised $180 million in total, with previous investors in the startup including Oak HC/FT Tiger Global, Coatue, General Catalyst, Target Global, Stripe and Entrée Capital. (Stripe, itself a fast-growing fintech upstart, remains only a financial investor in the company, Shtilman confirmed.)
Durable is the firm founded by Henry Ellenbogen, formerly a star investor at T. Rowe Price, in what Rapyd said was the firm's first investment. (Note: Durable was also announced earlier as an investor in Convoy's $400 million round, some clear signs that it's open for business now.)
With Rapyd only recently raising a round, Shtilman said that the reason for the -- err -- rapid follow up was because the company is gearing up to make some acquisitions, as it too moves in on the consolidation trend by adding in more tools into its "Swiss Army Knife" of services.
"We've started to look at two acquisitions that were bigger than what we originally planned, with prices more in the range of $100 million," he said. Up to now, Rapyd has largely built its technology from the ground up, but this will be about "getting at new business very quickly," he added. Both deals are in progress now and are likely to close in February / March. One is of a card issuing platform (a la Marqeta), and the other is of a company based in Asia Pacific that is a significant player in payments in the region.
The focus on Asia Pacific both for testing out new services and acquisitions is in part because this, along with Latin America, have shaped up to be important geographies for the company. In the last three months, Rapyd has signed on 20 additional large-scale companies, Shtilman said, with several of them based out of, or serving, customers out of the two regions.
In fact, Rapyd doesn't talk much about actual customers, but they include e-commerce merchants, gig-economy platforms -- including Uber -- financial institutions, and technology providers. The basic pitch is that financial services are complex, and providing one like payments often means having to offer others. Building these from scratch if this is not your core competency can be time-consuming and costly, and so that is where a company like Rapyd steps in with its API.
This is what attracted its newest investor, too. “Durable Capital Partners LP has a vision to identify and invest in promising early stage growth companies and invest in teams that have bold ideas but can also execute at a world-class level and build much larger companies," said Ellenbogen in a statement. "I believe the Fintech-as-a-Service category has tremendous potential as companies seek to embed financial services as an integral part of the next generation technology stack. I believe Rapyd is very well positioned to drive this trend and I believe Arik’s track record in scaling cloud-based businesses will deliver success in this sector.”
When we last talked with Rapyd in October, we asked Shtilman about whether the company would ever move into logistics as part of its range of tools. After all, when you think about the complexities of procuring, storing and moving goods, it's clear that logistics is one of the cornerstones you need to get right in an online business.
He said that this was on the company's roadmap, and now Rapyd is in a pilot in Indonesia -- an interesting test bed, considering that the country's is spread across thousands of islands -- where it has integrated a logistics service and given access to a single merchant as stage one of its closed beta. It's also in discussions with other companies about how it can incorporate their services into the Rapyd platform to provide further "logistics as a service" to customers. He also confirmed the Durable has been a help here, by making an introduction to Convoy as part of that wider strategy.