Gr4vy, (pronounced “gravy”) is a cloud-native payments company with a “payment orchestration platform (POP)” that merges a cloud platform with payments infrastructure. It’s also announcing a Series A funding round of $11.1 million, led by Nyca Partners (a VC with a bench of partners who are ex-Visa ), with participation from Activant Capital (a fintech investor), Global Founders Capital and Firestartr, bringing its total funding to $12.2 million.
So what is Gr4vy tackling here?
Over a video call, John Lunn, founder and CEO of Gr4vy outlined how it works.
He told me that having worked in the payments space since the mid 1990s (Lunn is a veteran of PayPal) he saw the same problem over and over again: Every retailer in the world is building the same piece of software.
He said retailers often start with one payment processor, grow and expand, but basically end up building what is now known as an “orchestration” platform. Essentially it’s like an internal router to route your payments wherever they need to go in the world. But the problem is that it all gradually becomes much more complex to maintain.
He said: “I looked at the problem. I realized we need to create a piece of software that the retailer can run that will mean that payments get out of the way and it all can be managed and orchestrated the way the retailer wants to do it… I thought there are two ways to do this: You can either get an endpoint SaaS to connect to this, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like that’s actually not the solution here. We needed to give you something that allows do it yourself and fits into your infrastructure. So what we built with Gr4vy is essentially a cloud, where we spin you up an instance of Gr4vy on the cloud, wherever, whatever cloud you need it to be on, whether it’s, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or even in your own data center. That essentially gives you a platform to manage and control how your payments flow, both on the front end and the back end.”
Thus Gr4vy is quite a new idea: It combines cloud and payment orchestration on one platform.
It says this gives a lot of flexibility for managing a payments stack as a company scales and removes a lot of the risks caused by a single point of failure or shared infrastructure. It also means it can be deployed across geographies, putting “Edges” closer to customers. This, says Gr4vy, means fewer abandoned shopping carts, lost payments and stronger compliance with local regulations. The platform also offers centralized reporting, monitoring and management.
Lunn added: “We are the only payment orchestration platform built natively in the cloud… Retailers can expand and control their payment stack from anywhere. Gr4vy is also payment service provider agnostic. Retailers can mix and match providers, payment methods and route their transactions without being locked into a single ecosystem.”
So, Gr4vy, acts as a conduit between retailers’ shopping carts and payment providers. By offering instances — says the startup — it can give retailers individualized infrastructure in the cloud.
The launch of Gr4vy comes at a key time for online retailers as the world moves from part online shopping to almost 100% online because of the pandemic.
Gr4vy says its benefits include flexibility, customized workflows, a PCI1 Certified Gr4vy vault, a universal API, an easy modern checkout, no-code admin and centralized transaction reports.
Hans Morris, managing partner of Nyca Partners, said in a statement: “Very few people in the world have as much experience and insight in international payments as John and his team. And their vision of what is needed for merchants is spot-on: a cloud-native tool to let businesses orchestrate and optimize their payments using their intuitive interfaces (no engineering!), robust security and simple, seamless implementation. Much easier than managing today’s menu of complex, multiple payment platforms.”
“As investors focused on the future of commerce infrastructure, we’re eager to continue working with John and the Gr4vy team as they simplify payments orchestration for merchants and marketplaces of all sizes,” added Steve Sarracino, founder and partner at Activant Capital.
Ebanx appoints João Del Valle CEO
João Del Valle, co-founder of Ebanx, is the new CEO of the company. After more than three years as COO, preceded by almost seven as CTO, he takes over the executive leadership of the fintech, which has been led by co-founder Alphonse Voigt for the past nine years, since its founding in Curitiba, Brazil.
With the change, Voigt will now be the head of the Board of Directors, as Executive Chairman, and Wagner Ruiz, also a co-founder, becomes Chief Risk Officer, leaving the CFO position to the newly hired Alexandre Dinkelmann, former executive in the Brazilian BTG Pactual and TOTVS.
As Chief Operations Officer (COO), Del Valle led important projects for the fintech’s expansion, such as the ensemble of the global commercial team, the launch of 50 new integrations and payment methods within the company’s B2B solutions portfolio only in 2020, and the Push LatAm, an initiative that is taking EBANX operations to new Latin American countries, including in Central America and the Caribbean. “EBANX has a unique story and it will be a privilege to lead this next chapter. Our vision of being the best payment provider in Latin America is growing stronger, and always fueling the urge to innovate. The path we want for EBANX is very clear for the three of us, co-founders: focus on the mission of providing access in Latin America, through technology, speed, consistency and quality of execution,” said Del Valle.
Voigt has been EBANX’s CEO since the creation of the company which, during his tenure, exceeded the market value of USD 1 billion, becoming the first unicorn in the southern region of Brazil. Now, as Executive Chairman, he will lead the company’s strategic expansion. “The big dream got even bigger and from now on I take on this new position, helping to envision the next decade of EBANX. And João, our new CEO, is an example of dedication, focus and result orientation. He has a unique capacity to keep the company growing exponentially while projecting our future,” said Voigt.
Alexandre Dinkelmann, who takes on the position of Chief Financial Officer, will continue the work of Wagner Ruiz, who will now be focused on the company’s risk management, strategic partnerships and regulatory operation, essential pillars in the growth of EBANX. “Alexandre’s arrival brings us even more robustness, capacity and talent to maintain the pace of growth and adapt our financial sector to the new moment that EBANX will experience,” said Ruiz. Dickelmann brings in his experience as CFO at TOTVS and Even Incorporadora, as well as a stint at BTG Pactual and his role as a co-founder of the Onyo platform.
The new EBANX leadership has the mission of consolidating the company as the payments leader in Latin America, and to continue to expand the operations that have already given access to more than 70 million Latin American consumers to some of the largest global brands, such as Uber, Spotify, AliExpress and SHEIN. “These changes arrive in line with our goals for the next decade. Our success depends on the success of customers in the region and this is our focus. We remain even stronger and more structured to establish the leadership of Latin America in the global market and the leadership of EBANX in the world of payments and technology,” concluded Del Valle.
Tipalti expands ERP integrations
Tipalti, the leading global payables automation platform, has announced that it can now integrate with any Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Notable ERP integrations include Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, QuickBooks Desktop, Xero, Sage 50, Sage 100, Sage X3, Sage 300, SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign and Acumatica, opening up scalable, global and modern AP automation capabilities to a much larger number of high-velocity businesses.
Tipalti offers a highly configurable integration that automatically syncs invoices and invoice payment data between a company’s ERP system and the Tipalti platform, with minimal IT effort. Tipalti’s world-class integration capabilities, advanced technology, and intuitive interface smartly and efficiently manage the lifecycle of vendor bills and payments.
“Integrating Tipalti’s AP solution with ERP systems let’s organizations achieve better automation by validating invoices against supplier information, ensuring that general ledger coding, including department, class and location syncs with the ERP system for faster payment reconciliation and financial close,” said Kevin Permenter, Research Manager, Enterprise Applications at IDC.
“This new ERP integration capability from Tipalti exposes their modern AP automation capabilities to a much larger segment of fast-growing mid-market businesses.”
“An ERP system is one of a company’s most valuable business investments and payables departments need to have an integrated philosophy that encompasses the entire end-to-end process,” said Roby Baruch, Chief Product Officer at Tipalti. “We’re excited to be open for integration with any ERP system, making scalable, modern payables capabilities accessible to every company.”
Tipalti previously had offered ERP integrations with Oracle NetSuite, QuickBooks Online, and Sage Intacct.
Former LSE chief Rolet preps fintech Spac – Bloomberg
Former London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet is planning to get in on the fintech Spac frenzy by launching his own $300 million blank cheque company, according to Bloomberg.
The US-listed special purpose acquisition company that would target investments in fintech and quantum computing firms could be unveiled within days, say Bloomberg, citing sources.
In recent months, Spac deals have become the go-to method for fintech players in America looking to go public, with MoneyLion, eToro, Payoneer and SoFi among those to have gone down the route. In the first three months of 2021 alone, 143 Spacs raised c$43bn in the US, according to data from Refinitiv.
In February, Rolet – who left the LSE in 2017 – signalled his support for the still-controversial strategy, calling on his former employer to get in on the boom in a paper urging the UK to revisit its Spac rules.
“The UK needs to promptly consider the Spac revolution,” wrote Rolet. “Whilst there are significant differences between our markets and those in the US, the appetite for permanent listed capital on the part of ambitious UK and European entrepreneurs and innovators is no less than that of their American counterparts: ask the management teams at Spotify or Markit.
“Spacs represent a financial instrument that should not be overlooked and where agility could realise considerable benefits to credible British and European entrepreneurs and dealmakers.”
The former LSE chief is also already on the board of another blank-check company, Golden Falcon Acquisition Corp, led by ex-Barclays banker Makram Azar, which raised $345 million in December, says Bloomberg.
BNPL Fintech Clearpay Research Reveals UK Millennials, Gen Z More Financial Savvy than Older Consumers
Research from Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service provider, Clearpay, reveals that Gen Z and Millennials may have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, however, they’re the most financially savvy generation in the United Kingdom. Around 68% of Gen Z and 61% of Millennials are now budgeting and saving in a more responsible manner when compared to the older generations (the research study found).
The Accenture report noted that in addition to filling up their piggybanks, younger consumers are generally more careful with debt. Although as many Millennials carry credit cards as Gen X did at around the same age, their outstanding balances are a significant 10% lower, on average. These findings have been released after research from The Bank of England which shows that consumer credit growth declined by nearly 10% annually – the largest drop since records were kept back in 1994.
When it comes to investing in their plans for the foreseeable future, younger consumers tend to be the leaders in using the latest remote banking and investment apps, with almost 3x as many young investors (59%) using online or all-digital apps to invest their funds, when compared to older people (19%). Millennials and Gen Z are more than 80% likely to engage with contactless payment options, more than 30% likely to perform transactions with mobile payment apps and more than 50% likely to use BNPL services.
Damian Kassabgi, EVP for Public Policy at Clearpay, stated:
“There are often misperceptions that young people are bad at saving and investing their money. However our research has shown that they are actually more cautious than many of their older counterparts and more committed to responsible spending. The pandemic has prompted a surge in customers looking to spread out the costs of products without being subjected to extortionate interest rates and payment terms. Young people have seen the value of flexible payments and therefore it’s not surprising they are leading the charge in the payments revolution and becoming more spending savvy as a result.”
As the United Kingdom tries to recover from COVID-related, nationwide lockdowns, it appears that Gen Z have been impacted the most due to the pandemic, with around 11% becoming unemployed during these difficult times vs. only 4% of Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers losing their jobs.
Since last year, when the Coronavirus began to spread globally, Gen Z have been furloughed at twice the rate of older workers – as social distancing requirements and lockdown measures proved more likely to impact employment across the hospitality and retail trade sectors.
Wealth has also declined by 10% over the past 10 years for younger consumers, meanwhile, for age groups above 55, wealth has actually increased by around 30%. The drop has been attributed to property ownership declining by about 23% and student debt increasing 4x during the last decade.
These findings suggest that owning a home is now a lot more difficult for younger UK residents, as housing expenses have surged 6x as fast as people’s earnings. During the past 2 decades, the prices of homes in the country have increased around 3x while median income has actually increased by 30%. That’s why 44% fewer Millennials now own a home when compared to Baby Boomers at the same age. Gen Z are around 50% more likely to rent a home compared to the Gen X age group.
Damian Kassabgi remarked:
“During the pandemic, we have seen an 134% increase in customers opting to use our service, with 95% of customers choosing to pay via their debit instead of credit options. Over the last 12 months we have seen a definite shift towards more flexible payment options that help customers to budget and save towards their future.”
Unlike other BNPL firms, Clearpay claims it supports responsible spending habits and its inbuilt protections are designed to ensure consumers don’t get into the revolving debt trap. Clearpay confirms that it doesn’t charge any interest, with late fees being capped and they automatically “pause an account if a single payment is late.”
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