The US-based investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has led a US$ 25 million strategic funding round for Veem, a blockchain-based global payments platform. The funding round also received participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures), Silicon Valley Bank, Extol Capital, Trend Forward Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Pantera Capital, among others investors. Marwan Forzley, CEO and Founder of Veem said:
“We’re thrilled to have Goldman Sachs lead our investment round. This funding will help us expand our footprint, increase our distribution and form new strategic partnerships.”
This funding follows a $US 26 million Series B round concluded in March 2017, which allowed for a rebrand from Align Commerce, and the continued development of the services. Veem was founded in 2014 to transform the global payments space. It says that around the world, small business owners are forced to deal with a slow, outdated, and expensive wire transfer system to send and receive international payments. Adding that SWIFT, a 40-year-old technology, consistently slaps small businesses with fees, loses payments, and lacks the transparency necessary to ensure reliability and security. Veem leverages blockchain technology and provides a multi-rail payments platform particularly focused on small businesses, to offer faster, secure and cheaper ways to transfer money. The company claims to have a customer base of 80,000 small businesses on its payments network, and can now send money to and from 96 countries.
Earlier this year, the study from Juniper Research concluded that the cross-border business-to-business (B2B) money transfer market is ripe for disruption, as new technologies and legislative changes redefine traditional banking practices across the globe. It said that cross-border B2B transactions will exceed $218 trillion by 2022, up from $150 trillion this year. Juniper identified payment facilitators Visa and Mastercard as beacons in this space. Visa has partnered with fintech start-up ‘Billtrust' to provide virtual cards for B2B transactions, as well as offering its own ‘Visa B2B Connect' service which utilizes Chain Core, an enterprise blockchain solution. Likewise, Mastercard is working with Optal, to offer virtual accounts to businesses.
Goldman Sachs has been active in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. Back in August, it led a $32 million Series B funding round for Axoni, an enterprise-focused blockchain startup. Goldman Sachs had recently been rumored to have abandoned unconfirmed plans to start its own cryptocurrency trading desk, reports that Goldman Sachs’ CFO denied in early September:
"When we talked about exploring digital assets [...] it was going to be exploration that would be evolving over time. Maybe someone who was thinking about our activities here got very excited that we would be making markets as principal and physical Bitcoin, and as they got into it they realized part of the evolution, but it’s not here yet."