Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia backs cross-border payments startup Tazapay

The rise in open banking and payment services like India’s UPI and Singapore’s PayNow means lower costs for businesses, as well as new payment options for hundreds of millions of customers in emerging markets who don’t own credit cards. Tazapay was created to combine both card and real-time payment methods as a full-stack service for merchants who sell across borders, so they only need to use one payment platform.

The Singapore-based fintech, which enables cross-border payments in more than 170 markets, announced today that it has raised $16.9 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia. Other participants included EscapeVelocity, PayPal Alumni Fund and angel investor Gokul Rajaram. Existing investors Foundamental, January Capital, RTP Global and Saison Capital also returned for the round.

Rahul Shinghal, Tazapay’s CEO and co-founder, told TechCrunch he has spent most of his career working in payments. He began as a product manager for the e-commerce vertical at Indian bank ICICI, before moving onto position at NETS, PayPal and Stripe. “Throughout the past 25 years of my career, I have seen how complex cross-border payments can be, including having to juggle keeping costs low and settlement times short while navigating regulations across multiple jurisdictions and the provision of multiple currencies,” he said.

Tazapay was created to solve those problems. Its API covers over 170 markets for card payments, and 85 markets for local payments collection, which means its customers can accept payments in different countries without having to set up local entities. Shinghal said the service supports a wide range of customers, including B2B operations, e-commerce platforms selling directly to consumers and B2B2C.

Some of the startup’s customers include B2B marketplace IndiaMART, which claims more than 7.4 million sellers and 165 million buyers on its platform; live-learning platform BrightCHAMPS; used trucks marketplace WTX; travel platform Rezlive; and employee engagement SaaS platform Advantage Club. It is also partnered with Standard Chartered, the British multinational bank, to offer digital escrow services.

The funding will be used to scale Tazapay’s business in Asia and expand in regions like the Middle East and Europe. The startup plans to apply for payment licenses and add more local payment methods to serve its verticals, which include cross-border e-commerce, edtech, SaaS and travel.

In a statement about the funding, Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia vice president Aakash Kapoor said, “Buyers increasingly prefer to use local real-time payments over traditional networks and businesses are keen to expand globally without going through the hassle of a local set-up. The Tazapay team has unique insights and experience to leverage this tailwind, and Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia is excited to partner with them as they double down on the opportunity.”

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