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国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务投融资

PayPal领投,跨境支付服务提供商PPRO获5000万美元战略融资

国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务投融资

PayPal领投,跨境支付服务提供商PPRO获5000万美元战略融资

近日PayPal领投了伦敦创企PPRO的5000万美元融资,后者专注于为商家提供跨境支付,他们提供的服务能接受客户使用自己国家里最受欢迎的支付方式。目前,PPRO接受140种支付方式,接下来它计划为更多的国家提供服务,并涵盖更多的支付方式。

PayPal在进行了一系列收购后进行了这笔投资,它似乎在寻求新的方式在成熟市场和成熟商业线中寻求增长。从五月中旬至今,它已经以22亿美元收购了iZettle来寻找移动POS领域的机遇,以1.2亿美元的价格收购了人工智能欺诈和风险管理公司Simility,以4亿美元收购了零工经济支付公司Hyperwallet,另外它还收购了基于人工智能的客户管理创企Jetlore。

本轮融资的参投方还包括新投资人Citi Ventures,以及现有投资人HPE Growth Capital。PPRO并没有公布交易后的估值,但首席执行官Simon Black在一次采访中表示,相比上次融资,现在的估值已经搞了很多,并称对公司而言“这其实只是一次小投资”。

有趣的是,PPRO只有在2006年获得过一次1060万美元的融资,如今它已经实现了盈利,员工数量达200人,公司的竞争对手包括Adyen等,后者最近以80亿美元的估值上市——这样我们可以想象一下这家公司的估值以及它面临的机遇。

PPRO的发音为“pea-pro”,它正在解决一个有趣且复杂的问题。随着电子商务的全球化,这个领域就如同一株植物一样,在不同的市场,它的发展会因为当地的条件而形成差异。以支付方式为例,某些国家彼此之间的标准支付方式截然不同。

例如信用卡和借记卡在美国和英国是非常标准的支付方式,但在日本大多数人会选择货到付款的线上购物,或者干脆就在便利店里买东西。在荷兰有一种名为iDEAL的系统,它会通过你的银行账户直接服务。其他支付方式也数不胜数。

这正是PPRO这类公司起作用的地方,本质上它就是创造了一个界面,商家可以选择不同的方式接受付款

PayPal无疑想要让自己的平台成为任何交易的默认选择,这也是它对PPRO进行战略投资的部分计划——不论其2000万商家在哪里做生意,PayPal能够接受任何付款方式。

As payments companies continue to look to the long tail of global markets to expand their businesses, a startup that helps them do business in disparate economies is getting a strategic investment from one of payment world leaders.

PayPal is leading a $50 million investment into PPRO, a London-based business that is focused on cross-border payments for merchants, specifically by offering the merchants a seamless way of accepting payments from customers using whatever the most popular payment form happens to be in a particular country. To date, the PPRO platform covers some 140 payment methods, and the plan will be to add more countries, and more payments, into the mix.

The deal comes at the tail end of a wave of acquisitions from PayPal  as it looks for new ways of expanding its business as growth tails off in its more established markets and established business lines. Between mid-May and now, it has acquired iZettle for $2.2 billion to expand its mobile point-of-sale opportunities; AI-based CRM specialist Jetlore; AI-based fraud and risk management firm Simility for $120 million; and gig economy payment facilitator Hyperwallet for $400 million.

This PPRO investment also includes participation from new investor Citi Ventures and previous backer HPE Growth Capital. PPRO is not disclosing its valuation but Simon Black, its CEO, said in an interview that it’s definitely up on its previous funding and described it as a “minority investment” in the company.

Interestingly, PPRO has raised only around $10.6 million since its founding in 2006; it is already profitable; it has around 200 employees; and it competes with the likes of Adyen, which recently went public at a valuation of over $8 billion — to give you an idea of the opportunity and value of the company.

The challenge PPRO — pronounced “pea-pro” — is addressing is an interesting and complicated one. While the growth in e-commerce has been a global phenomenon, like a plant, it has grown differently and adapted to each market depending on local conditions. In the case of payments, that has meant a disparate range of payment methods that are standard in some countries, but not others.

While credit cards or debit cards, for example, are very standard in the US and UK, in Japan, a lot of people pay for items purchased online by cash on delivery, or at convenience stores. In the Netherlands, there is a system called iDEAL that routes payments directly through your bank account. And so on.

For a merchant that is based in one country but interested in selling to people in another, this can pose a problem, if it doesn’t accept whatever the local payment method happens to be.

That’s where a company like PPRO comes in. It essentially creates an interface for the merchant to be able to select acceptance using a variety of methods, with the idea being that PPRO will provide access to whatever happens to be the most common methods in a particular geography. It’s a kind of service that would be too timely, and not the core competency, for a merchant to resolve by itself, and if anything continues to become more complex as e-commerce continues to become more ubiquitous.

“There has been a real change in the last three to five years,” Black said of the rise in transactions, which have been fuelled by smartphones and a much bigger population of people doing more of their buying and transacting through them. “Alternative payments are here to say, and the growth seems to be going a lot faster.” In fact, PPRO estimates that these days, credit cards account for less than 20 percent of all online transactions globally.

PayPal has an obvious agenda in hoping that its platform becomes to default for any transaction, and that is a big part of its strategic interest in PPRO, to provide PayPal as an option in the mix of payment acceptance methods wherever its nearly 20 million merchants happen to be doing business.

The other is to make sure that within PayPal itself, that users can integrate whatever their preferred payment method is into their PayPal wallets. (So in the UK I can link up my debit card, but in the Netherlands a resident there can link up its iDEAL account to top up their PayPal wallet.)

“A merchant’s choice of payments partner is increasingly being driven by the ever-expanding range of locally relevant payment methods available,” said Arnold Goldberg, vice president of merchant product and technology, PayPal, in a statement. “PayPal is pleased to support PPRO as the company continues to grow.”

The two have already kicked off a commercial deal to integrate a “wide range of payment options for our merchants,” he added, as part of the new PayPal Checkout with Smart Payment Button, which also integrates Braintree. “This is yet another way we are positioning ourselves to be the one-stop solution for global digital commerce.”

The other side of PPRO’s business is in issuing physical or virtual Visa and MasterCard prepaid cards to consumers under the VIABUY brand as well as a white-label offering. It’s this part that might have particularly interested Citi, which has a giant credit card business — although it’s one that PayPal can also potentially tap down the line as it expands in more markets outside of its home base in the US and stronghold in Europe.

“Technology is revolutionizing how consumers and businesses make and accept payments, and PPRO is on the leading edge of meeting those needs,” said Luis Valdich, Managing Director, Citi Ventures. “Citi Ventures is delighted to invest in PPRO, which enables businesses to collect funds from alternative payments schemes globally and more and more consumers to join the digital economy.”


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