Blockchain payments startup Align Commerce has closed a $12.5 million funfing round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).
Align is building an electronic “multi-rail” payments platform that combines blockchain, with traditional bank wire and treasury management routers to cut the costs of cross border payments for small and medium-sized businesses.
Marwan Forzley, a former general manager at Western Union and now CEO of Align Commerce, says the business is aiming at the annual $50 billion in wire and foreign exchange fees levied by the banking industry on small businesses for processing overseas payment transactions.
“For far too long the cost and complications of existing payment systems have hindered startups and SMBs from fully capitalising on global trade,” he says. “The Align Commerce platform cuts through time-consuming red tape and excessive fees that have unnecessarily burdened users. Existing systems have seen little innovation in the face of game-changing new technologies, and the entire experience is overdue for a radically different approach.”
The Align platform converts funds into bitcoin and pays recipients in their national currency, eliminating the need for correspondent banking intermediaries in the chain.
The company has been up and running since January, although it has yet to disclose the volume of payments processed thus far, citing the new funding as proof of traction.
Alongside KPCB, the all-star cast of investors includes new participation from SVB Ventures and Recruit Venture Partners, alongside existing stakeholders including Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group and FS Venture Capital.