Blockchain-based cross border business payments startup Align Commerce has rebranded as Veem and raised $24 million in a Series B funding round led by the new venture arm of National Australia Bank.
GV (formerly Google Ventures), SBI Investment and existing backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and Silicon Valley Bank also joined the round, which brings Veems total funding to more than $40 million.
Veem is targeting the $6 trillion SMB cross-border payments market. The firm claims that these firms currently pay $50 billion in fees because they have to use antiquated wire systems that are not only expensive by difficult to use.
Its answer is a “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.
The platform converts funds into bitcoin and pays recipients in their national currency, eliminating the need for correspondent banking intermediaries in the chain. This means "simple, frictionless, and inexpensive" payments that require only an email address.
The company already operates in 60 countries and says that the new funding will enable it to expand into more markets and enable payments in additional currencies.
Marwan Forzley, CEO, Veem, says: "At Veem, we understand even ‘mum and dad’ businesses must embrace globalisation to compete with incumbents, grow their businesses and innovate.
"Unfortunately, the current international payments experience is fundamentally broken, stifling SMBs’ globalization efforts. Veem’s platform creates an experience that is as simple and frictionless as the current process is cumbersome and frustrating."
The deal is the third investment for NAB's $50 million innovation fund, following agreements with Sydney startup Data Republic and health tech Medipass Solution.
Melissa Widner, general partner, NAB Ventures, says: "Veem goes beyond the domain of foreign exchange-focused organizations and remittance companies by approaching global payments from a non-traditional point of view.
"This unique perspective has allowed for Veem's growth and rapid expansion into global markets, and we expect their team and technology to continue to challenge the global payments status quo."