Visa, the payments giant, has made its first investment in Moov Financial, which provides a platform that lets companies embed payments into their software.
Moov just raised $45 million in a Series B round led by Commerce Ventures that also saw participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, and Sorenson Ventures. Dan Rosen, founder and partner of Commerce Ventures, will join Angela Strange, a general partner at Andreessen, and Matt Harris, a BCV partner, on Moov’s board.
Moov has collected $77.5 million in total, according to Wade Arnold, Moov’s cofounder and CEO. This includes a $5.5 million seed round in August 2020 and a $27 million Series A in December 2020.
Arnold has big plans for the fintech he founded in 2018. (He sold bank technology startup Banno to Jack Henry & Associates in 2014.) Moov provides an open-sourced platform that helps companies add banking and payment functionality to apps. It currently employs 72 people and has 15 open engineering positions. Moov plans to add people. “As a startup in the current economic environment, it’s exciting to be a company with cash to hire and take advantage of the layoffs that are happening,” Arnold told Fortune in an interview.
Two years ago, the competition for talent was much fiercer, he said. A company in 2021 might have had 20 openings for engineers but just filled two or three. “It’s night and day between two years ago and today,” Arnold said.
The B round represents Visa’s first investment in Moov. The startup came to Visa’s attention after winning the firm’s Visa Everywhere Initiative in 2021. The competition features startups vying to create new opportunities for electronic payments, Arnold said. Moov placed first against a field that included several other fintechs such as Bitwage, Solo Funds, Alinea, and Republic.
“They’ve been incredible partners from the beginning,” Arnold said.
Commerce Ventures, the VC that has funded Bill.com, Marqeta, and MX, invested in all of Moov’s rounds. “Dan has been really helpful to Moov in the last two years. Dollar for dollar, he’s the most useful investor over the last couple years,” Arnold said.
Moov spent three months raising the B round, in an environment Arnold called “very difficult.” Last year inflation, the war in Ukraine, and recession fears caused the broad market to contract. This resulted in the valuations of public fintechs, like PayPal, Block, and Fidelity National Information Services, or FIS, to drop by about 30% to 50%.
Due to the downturn, venture capitalists have pulled back on the number of deals they are doing this year, Arnold said. They’re also doing more diligence to find confidence in their investments, he said.
Venture capitalists often use “public comps,” or public comparables, for valuations of private companies. But when those comps plunge, it’s harder for VCs to predict a company’s trajectory, Arnold said.
“It’s a difficult time to fundraise. Nobody knows what the future is…It’s easier for most VCs to do nothing,” he said.
But not all is gloomy for fintechs. Online payment giant Stripe, an oft-mentioned IPO candidate, may finally go public. Cofounders Patrick and John Collison told employees in a Jan. 26 email that the company will either publicly list itself within a year or allow employees to privately sell shares, according to The Information. Stripe is expected to use a direct listing to tap the public markets, the story said. The company raised $600 million in a Series H round in March 2021 that valued Stripe at about $95 billion.
Stripe would be the most valuable fintech ever to IPO, Arnold said. “Their growth and valuation are unprecedented in the industry,” he said.
A Stripe listing, if it traded above $100 billion, is the signal that investors need to keep funding companies, Arnold said. “It would be a vote of confidence in emerging fintech companies. It [would] be a great example of a modern fintech leapfrogging the incumbents by both product and valuation,” he said.
When asked if Moov might ever go public, Arnold said, “We have great aspirations to build a market-changing company…It would be a privilege to do that for our employees and investors.”
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