While a part of the fintech world remains abuzz with crypo-talk, a startup that’s built a business around the more traditional world of payments has raised a significant round of funding as it vies to take on the likes of PayPal, Stripe, Adyen and Dwolla.
YapStone, which provides payment services to marketplace-style businesses — customers vary from the likes of HomeAway to faith-based non-profits like ParishPay — today confirmed that it raised $71 million, a first close of a Series C that will ultimately total $100 million, according to a Form D filed with the SEC (which in fact seemed to indicate that this first close actually happened in December, although it’s only choosing to publicise it now).
YapStone will use the funding to expand geographically and to work on new technologies, CEO and co-founder Tom Villante said in a statement.
The money being announced today values the company at around $471 million, according to PitchBook, meaning that the total valuation when the Series C closes could be around $500 million. We have asked the company to confirm the figures and will update when we hear back.
This Series C comes with a series of impressive investors that includes strategic as well as financial backing. It was led by Premji Invest, the venture arm of the Premji family office (the family behind Wipro, whose chairman, Azim Premji, has been called the Tsar of Indian IT). Others in the round include MasterCard and previous investors Accel and Meritech Capital Partners. It brings the total raised by YapStone to nearly $187 million.
YapStone may not get as much attention as a number of other payment providers — the biggest payment company you’ve never heard of, is how one observer described it — but it has been making a dent in the market, currently processing over $18 billion in payments annually.
To be clear, the company is still small, relatively speaking: compare its payment volume to PayPal’s for 2017 — $451 billion — and you can see it has a way to go before it will catch up. But it’s growing quickly, currently at over 35 percent annually for the last 10 years, according to Villante.
While the market for payments services is very crowded indeed, YapStone (the name is based on an ancient currency from the island of Yap, the company says) has differentiated itself by creating payment flows and options specific to the marketplaces that it targets.
This includes, for example, giving those in the property business the option of itemising the different kinds of payments that are made, from late fees to deposits to monthly rent.
There is also a higher risk element usually associated with marketplace payments — one reason why some payments companies are wary to provide these services to certain kinds of marketplaces — and YapStone also says that its systems are more robust and built taking that risk into account.
The other notable detail that YapStone highlights is that by providing more than just simple payments, and helping to corral data in ways that are more useful for bookkeeping and accounting for the businesses that use it, the company is also potentially reducing some operational costs for its customers, while at the same time providing a service that they need to have in their online businesses.
That could have been one reason why Premji Invest — with its DNA in outsourcing — was interested, too.
“Premji invests in private companies with all the right ingredients to become thriving public companies,” says Sandesh Patnam, lead U.S. partner at Premji Invest, in a statement. “YapStone’s comprehensive approach to payments makes this investment very exciting to us and we look forward to significant acceleration in the coming years.”