GV, formerly Google Ventures, the search giant’s venture capital arm announced its first investment in a European fintech company today.
GV participated in a $25m investment round in Currencycloud, a UK startup providing cross-border payment services for online businesses.
Timeline for Fintech
The startup, which launched in 2012, poses direct competition to banks by offering businesses the opportunity to send money internationally in a simpler and cheaper way.
Currencycloud has already facilitated more than $25bn worth of payments across its network.
Mike Laven, Currencycloud’s chief executive officer, said the company will use the recent injection of funding to enter the Asian market and to expand in the US, where it currently employs 12 people in New York.
“We just opened up in the U.S. and that requires a lot more development,” said Laven. “We are also seeing tremendous interest from Asia broadly.”
Currencycloud also attracted money from existing investors, including Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten’s fintech fund, Silicon Valley-based Sapphire Ventures, London-based Notion Capital and Anthemis.
So far, the startup has raised a total of £44m ($53m) from investors over the past five years. In its last cash call in June 2015, Currencycloud raised $18m (£11.37m).
Over 200 companies use Currencycloud’s technology.
Its clients include Swedish payments business Klarna, one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups Standard Bank Group foreign exchange company Travelex and London-based money transfer service Transferwise.
GV recently became increasingly interested in the fintech sector. Traditionally, the company focused on companies in the science and health sector.
“Life science and health remain our most active areas of investment. They will continue to be a focus for us in 2016 and beyond,” wrote GV’s founder Bill Maris in a blog post in December 2015.
The State of Technology This Week
Tom Hulme, GV’s London-based partner indicated a clear shift in the company’s investment portfolio.
“A core area of investment for us is fintech, reflected in deals like Stripe in November last year, and Align Commerce which was renamed Veem, announced this week,” Hulme said.
GV has invested roughly $500m in high-growth tech companies globally since its launch in 2009.
UK-based fintech companies raised $783m from venture capitalists last year, down 33.7 percent from 2015, according to a report by trade group Innovate Finance.