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Google and Goldman Backs Startup That Uses Bitcoin for Cross-Border Settlement

A cross-border payments platform, Veem that uses Bitcoin to transfer funds among businesses excluding the intermediary banks, has managed to raise  $25, as reported by Forbes.

According to Forbes, the funding round led by banking giant Goldman Sachs with GV (previously known as Google Ventures), Pantera Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Silicon Valley Bank, and Trend Forward Capital also participated. The investment acquired is primarily aimed at accelerating firm’s exponential growth.

Founded by Marwan Forzely, the system does not require either counterparty to directly hold bitcoin and uses an algorithm to route transactions automatically among the most efficient payment rails. Veem might aid in deploying the increasing levels of automation that will include built-in KYC/AML compliance.

Notably, Forzely previously developed and sold a service to Western Union, that allowed the transfer provider to connect to customer bank accounts directly. Now he works on a program that cuts out the role of intermediary banks in payment process altogether.

The San Francisco-based service has grown exponentially from its 590 customers in the first round of venture capital in May 2015 to more than 80,000 now. Reacting to the new funding round Forzley stated:

“What’s important about this round is the acknowledgement of the size of the opportunity, the size of the market, the size of the pain point that we’re solving for. And it’s an endorsement of the growth that we’re experiencing.”

Forzley mentions that Veem’s revenue has quadrupled in the last year, though he declined to specify the valuation. He adds that a big portion of the revenue has been from integration with online accounting services such as Netsuite, QuickBooks, and Xero.

The latest inflow follows a  $24 million Series B round in March 2017, taking the total to $69.3 million. The lead investor of the round, Goldman Sachs, participated through its Principal Strategic Investment Group, which has been active in the blockchain industry. As part of the investment, Goldman Sachs managing director Rana Yared will join Veem as a nonvoting board observer.

Already invested in Digital Asset Holdings, Circle, and Axon, the Principal Strategic Investment Group eagerly invests in blockchain companies that can boost service for its clients

GV, Karim Faris, a GV general partner who also sits on Veem’s board of directors believes that Veem could become the first bitcoin startup to go public. Furthermore, he specifies that GV is not a strategic investor but it sees Veem as a way to build an independent company and deliver a financial return or an eventual IPO.


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