Thursday 9 March 2017 5:39 am

Google parent Alphabet's venture arm GV backs London fintech startup Currencycloud in £20m funding round

Top London fintech startup Currencycloud has attracted Google as an investor in a fresh £20m funding round in a stamp of approval for the sector after Brexit.

GV, Alphabet's high-profile venture arm formerly known as Google Ventures, which has backed the likes of Uber and Slack in the past, joins existing investors for the series D round: Japanes internet giant Rakuten via its dedicated fintech fund, Sapphire Ventures, Notion Capital, and Anthemis.

“We believe in empowering developers by making it easier for them to add scalable services to their products, ideally with simple APIs. Currencycloud is the leader in providing cross-border payment services in this manner, a real need as companies globalise," said GV general partner Tom Hulme.

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It's a significant post-Brexit investment into UK fintech and brings total funding for the firm to £44m. The fresh cash more than doubles the valuation it was given in its previous round of funding in 2015, founder and chief executive Mike Laven told City A.M., however that amount was not disclosed.

Currencycloud builds money transfer products and apps, with a focus on developer APIs, for other fintechs and established companies and is used by the likes of Travelex, Standard Bank, Klarna, Revolut and Azimo. It's the "pipes" for cross border payments like Stripe is for payments (used by Twitter and Deliveroo), or Twilio for voice, video and text calling (used by WhatsApp ad Uber).

It comes after figures revealed VC investment in UK fintech plunged by a third last year, falling back under $1bn, largely as a result of Brexit, but it still ranked third behind the US which was overtaken by China for the top spot.

Read more: UK fintech VC investment plunged by a third last year

But Laven said it does not for now see any impact from Brexit on its own business and would only consider the need to be regulated elsewhere in Europe if needed.

"There's little change in terms of fintech, the world has moved on," he said, adding that the round was over-subscribed. "We could have added more," he continued. "No one pushed back on me on Brexit. On the other hand, what I’ve always maintained is that London has all the advantages as a fintech capital, and we use those, and that’s not going to go away.”

The cash will go on global expansion, allowing it to provide a 24/7 service across Europe, the US and Asia, where it is already experiencing significant growth with little marketing as yet, said Laven, accounting for a third of all new business at present. That includes hiring staff at its headquarters in London this year.