Cross-border fintech continues to be an area of interest for venture capitalists. Latest deal sees GGV Capital – the US-Chinese firm that supports Xiaomi, Airbnb, Square, and Others: Leading $ 10 Million Investment in Singapore-based Thunes.
Other investors in the Series A round will not be disclosed at this time.
Thunes, which is slang for money in French and is pronounced “melodies”, is not your typical start. Their service is a b2b game that provides payment solutions for businesses and services that deal with consumers and need new features, greater interoperability and flexibility for users. Earn money based on a fee per transaction and, in the case of cross-border, a small markup on exchange rates using mid-market rates as a reference.
The company was founded in February this year when TransferTo, a company that provided services such as cross-border mobile device top-ups, was split in two. Thunes is the b2b game that uses TransferTo’s underlying technology, while DT One was created to cover the mobile recharge and rewards consumer business.
The investment, then, is a first external raise for Thunes, which had previously been funded by TransferTo, which is a profitable business, according to Thunes CEO Peter De Caluwe, who led payments company Ogone to an acquisition of 360 million euros in 2013.
De Caluwe, who is also the CEO of DT One, told TechCrunch that Thunes reached $ 3 billion in payment volumes in the last 12 months. His goal for this year is double $ 6 billion and already, he said, he is “on track to get there.” (Steve Vickers, who previously managed Xiaomi in Southeast Asia and has worked with Grab, is the CEO of Thunes.)
Thunes works with clients around the world in North America, Central America, Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia, but is looking particularly in Southeast Asia and the Asian continent in general to grow with this new capital. It is not a consumer-oriented brand, but its most important customers are Western Union and PayPal. and Mpesa, where it has worked to connect the two payment interfaces in Africa, and India company Paytm and Grab, which helps drivers.
In the case of Grab, the $ 14 billion company backed by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, De Caluwe said Thunes helps pay for “millions” of drivers per day. Grab uses Thunes’s real-time payment system to help drivers, many of whom need a daily paycheck, to convert their earnings to money in Grab’s wallet, bank account, or withdrawal locations. of cash.
It’s hard to define exactly what Thunes’s role is, but De Caluwe more or less calls him “the emerging markets fast.” That means it enables interoperability between different wallets, banks in different countries, and new payment systems, too. It also provides a feature, like the instant payment option used by Grab, to allow this mesh of financial endpoints to work efficiently, as at this time the proliferation of mobile wallets can feel trapped in the “regular” banking infrastructure.
De Caluwe said Thunes will work to add more destinations, support for more countries, more partners and more features. So growth across the board with this money. He is also looking to increase his team from the current roster of 60 to around 110 by the end of this year.
Singapore is the headquarters, but Thunes also has staff located in the London and Nairobi offices, with some employees in the United States (they share an office in Miami with DT One) and others in remote locations in India and Indonesia. An office is opening in Dubai covering the important and lucrative Middle East region.
The company is also looking to raise additional capital to support continued growth. De Caluwe, who spent time working at Telenor and Naspers’ payments company, said Series A + and Series B are scheduled for the end of this year or early next year. Thunes’ CEO sees massive potential as he believes the company “doesn’t have much competition.”
That was echoed by GGV Managing Partner Jenny Lee .
“In China and the United States, the currency is homogeneous and payment systems have been established,” Lee told TechCrunch in an interview. “But in Southeast Asia at the moment, a large number of the population has just accessed the Internet and there are not many established players.”
GGV has just opened its first Singapore office, Lee herself is from Singapore, and the company intends to make fintech a major focus of its deals in the region. To date, Thunes is just their second investment in Southeast Asia, so there is sure to be more to come.