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'Send now, pay later' startup Pomelo lands $35M Series A from secretive Vy Capital, Founders Fund | TechCrunch

Pomelo, a startup that combines international money transfer with credit, has raised $35 million in a Series A round led by Dubai venture firm Vy Capital, TechCrunch has exclusively learned. Additionally, the company is announcing a $75 million expansion of its warehouse facility.

Founders Fund and A* Capital also participated in the financing, along with early investor Afore Capital, and others.

The deal brings total funds raised to date to $55 million in equity capital and $125 million for its warehouse facility. TechCrunch covered Pomelo’s Founders Fund-led $20 million seed funding in 2022.

New backer Vy Capital is an under-the-radar investment firm that has grown to over $5 billion in assets and made headlines for backing Elon Musk in his purchase of Twitter.

Pomelo’s new round was among Keith Rabois’ last deals before recently leaving Founders Fund for Khosla Ventures, and he continues to sit on its board.

“Both Keith Rabois and Kevin Hartz went super pro rata on this round,” Pomelo founder and CEO Eric Velasquez Frenkiel said in an interview with TechCrunch, describing the Series A round as “preemptive.” He declined to reveal valuation, saying only it was an “up round.”

Hartz serves as the co-founder and general partner at A*. Previously, he also co-founded Eventbrite and Xoom, an online money transfer service that went public in 2013 and was acquired by PayPal for $1.1 billion in 2015.

In a written statement, Rabois said that “Pomelo stands out through a fundamentally different approach to remittance transfer by using credit as its foundation.”

Remittance product on credit card rails

Pomelo launched in the Philippines in 2022, allowing people in the United States to send money to the country while at the same time building their credit. In other words, Pomelo has built a remittance product on credit card rails.

Specifically, the startup has struck up an agreement with Mastercard to create what it describes as a product category called “Send Now, Pay Later” (SNPL), which it claims is “faster and with no transfer fees” as compared to traditional cross-border money movement.

Image Credits: Pomelo

Pomelo works by allowing a user to set up an account that comes with credit cards. The creator of the account can set limits, pause cards and view spending habits.

Senders can give cash, in the form of credit, to family members — which the startup thinks will help with instant access to funds, fraud and chargeback protection and, for potential immigrants that may use this to send money back home, a way to boost one’s credit score with more transaction history.  In the event that someone cannot pay, Pomelo charges a late fee, “so there is no interest on the product,” Frenkiel said. The company makes money mostly through interchange revenue, and foreign exchange is a smaller component.

Since its 2022 launch, Pomelo has added new payment options including most recently, the ability for users to send funds to GCash, a popular e-wallet (similar to Venmo in the U.S.) in the Philippines, in addition to cards. (According to a recent article by STL Partners, 67% of Filipinos use GCash.)

This ability is particularly important in a country like the Philippines where proof of ability to pay can be required before medical treatment, Frenkiel said. He relates the story of customer Danette Flores, a nurse who sends money to two family members in the Philippines with Pomelo. 

“My mom had suffered a heart attack, and she needed to be transferred to the ICU, but the hospital required proof of payment for that. My brother used his Pomelo Card to get her admitted,” Flores said.

Pomelo offers customers two options: either an unsecured credit line or a secured credit line based on its underwriting criteria at this time. The non-revolving credit line for unsecured customers gives them the ability to transfer up to $1,000 a month. On the secured side, a customer can put in a security deposit. In other words, Pomelo can hold funds in the app that effectively can be used to open a credit line.

The startup’s new capital will go toward product and market expansion. Pomelo’s next target country is Mexico.

“Mexico is certainly the largest corridor for the United States — something close to $40 billion is sent over to Mexico every year,” Frenkiel said.

Presently, Pomelo has 55 employees in the U.S. and Philippines.

As Christine Hall recently reported, cross-border fintech is hot right now. The cross-border payments market is forecasted to reach over $250 trillion by 2027, according to the Bank of England. And experts say fintechs are giving banks a run for their money (pun intended) here, especially in the business-to-business sector where artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain come into play — all emerging technologies fintechs love.

But there are other startups focused on the consumer market, including Alza, a startup aimed at helping meet the various banking needs of Latin or Central Americans who have moved to the U.S. With Alza, users get an FDIC-insured checking account and debit card. They also get the ability to send cross-border remittances to more than 20 countries in Latin or Central America embedded in its app via three methods, depending on the recipient country: bank transfer, cash pickup or transfer to a debit card. That company quietly raised $6.6 million in a round led by New York-based Thrive Capital in late 2021.

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SoftBank-backed TabaPay is buying the assets of a16z-backed Synapse, after it filed for bankruptcy | TechCrunch

After a tumultuous year, banking-as-a-service (BaaS) startup Synapse has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its assets will be acquired by TabaPay, according to the two companies.

The deal is pending bankruptcy court approval.

Founded in 2017, Mountain View-based TabaPay is an instant money movement platform that Softbank backed in a 2022 round of an undisclosed sum.  It is not clear how much venture capital it has raised.

San Francisco-based Synapse, which operated a platform enabling banks and fintech companies to develop financial services, was founded in 2014 by Bryan Keltner and India-born CEO Sankaet Pathak. 

In 2019, TechCrunch reported on the company’s $33 million Series B raise led by Andreessen Horowitz after rebranding from SynapseFi. That was the company’s last known fundraise. In total, it brought in just over $50 million in venture capital. Other backers include Trinity Ventures and Core Innovation Capital.

In announcing the acquisition, TabaPay pointed out that Synapse made Deloitte’s 2023 Fast, posting 650%+ growth over a five-year period. However, it had two large-scale layoffs in the past year, blaming slowing growth.

Last October, Synapse laid off 86 people, or about 40% of the company. This was after the startup had previously  let go of 18% of its workforce last June. At the time, Synapse said “the current macroeconomic conditions” had begun to impact its clients and platforms, affecting its anticipated growth.

Besides having to lay off staff, Synapse also ran into difficulties last year after having served as an intermediary between banking partner Evolve Bank & Trust and business banking startup Mercury. When Evolve and Mercury decided to end their respective relationships with Synapse and work directly with each other, Evolve and Synapse were reportedly at odds with each other as the relationship was winding down. 

In particular, the entities were reportedly blaming each other “over who was responsible for a “deficit” of over $13 million in “for benefit of” accounts holding customer funds at Evolve, among myriad other issues” going back at least three years. Neither company ever addressed the allegations.

In a Medium post, Pathak said he was “excited” about the acquisition, writing: “Leveraging TabaPay, customers will join a thriving ecosystem of 15 bank partners, 16 network connections, 2,500+ existing clients, and domain expertise of the collective team.”

Rodney Robinson, the co-founder and CEO of TabaPay, said in a written statement that Synapse’s assets would be a “great and natural fit” to its existing services. to grow its offerings “in tandem with providing continuity to Synapse clients and banks.” 

Banking-as-a-service woes

The banking-as-a-service space as a whole has faced turbulence in recent times. Several players in the industry have announced layoffs over the past year. Most recently, Synctera cut about 15% of its staff. Treasury Prime slashed half its 100-person staff in February, a year after it announced a $40 million Series C raise. Figure Technologies, which includes Figure Pay, laid off 90 people — or about 20% of its workforce — last July.

Meanwhile, Piermont Bank recently reportedly cut ties with startup Unit, Fintech Business Weekly reported.

BaaS refers to various types of business models such as offering bank-like services to other players in the industry; or providing the charter and bank services but not doing the underwriting; or offering banking components, which is more of a fintech that isn’t a bank but provides some bank-like services without a charter.

Players in BaaS have faced challenges, especially regulatory crackdowns in 2023. For instance, those providing BaaS to fintech partners accounted for more than 13% of severe enforcement actions from federal bank regulators last year, S&P Global Market Intelligence reports. 

Rohit Mittal, co-founder and CEO of Stilt, which offers financial products and resources for immigrants, knows a little something about this. His company was acquired by JG Wentworth in late 2022. 

Mittal noted in a post on X that despite banking-as-a-software being around for a decade, it is still an industry devoid of multiple billion-dollar businesses, writing, “Investors have burned $1B+ and created less value than that. The whole vertical is still very small in terms of value created through exits.”

He provided examples, including Synapse and Solid’s lawsuits with investor FTV Capital made public last October, in which FTV demanded its money be returned.

With regard to Solid, co-founder and CEO Arjun Thyagarajan told TechCrunch via email earlier this month that “the case has been settled, and as a result, FTV is no longer involved in the business.”

There has been other M&A activity, too. Last June, FIS, the fintech giant that runs a wide range of payment, banking and investment services, announced it had acquired Bond, a startup that specialized in embedded finance.

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Fintech startup Ramp sees 32% bump in valuation, Mercury expands into consumer banking | TechCrunch

Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech! This week, we’re looking at Ramp’s big raise and valuation jump, Mercury’s move into personal banking, Klarna’s new credit card, global funding rounds and more!

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important fintech stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday at 7:00 a.m. PT, subscribe here

The big story

Ramp, a spend management startup rivaling the likes of Brex, Navan and Airbase, told TechCrunch exclusively last week that it had raised $150 million at a post-money $7.65 billion valuation. Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund co-led the round, which represented a 31.9% bump in valuation from its August 2023 raise. It’s an impressive feat in a challenging market full of down rounds. Also, notably, Ramp is one of the few larger fintechs that hasn’t had to lay off staff. What’s driving all the investor interest in Ramp? CEO Eric Glyman believes it’s the company’s continued growth and emphasis on AI.

Analysis of the week

Business banking startup Mercury is expanding into consumer banking. The seven-year-old company today serves more than 100,000 businesses, many of which are startups, via its B2B practice. CEO and co-founder Immad Akhund tells TechCrunch that Mercury hopes to convert many of its business clients into customers, rather than go after the masses. Onyx Private, with a similar offering, recently did a reverse move, pivoting from B2C to B2B. Industry experts I talked to emphasize business and personal banking are “two different beasts,” but also, Mercury is not starting completely from scratch.

You can listen to the Equity crew discuss this week’s fintech news here:

Dollars and cents

Berlin-based embedded fintech startup finmid has raised $24.7 million in a Series A round at a $107 million post-money valuation to further build out its product and enter new markets.

Since 2015, Pula, an insurtech based in Kenya, has been keen on enhancing the access to agricultural insurance by small-holder farmers across emerging markets. So far, the insurtech has supported 15.4 million farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America to get insured, and it is eyeing more following a $20 million Series B funding round.

Midas, a fintech startup that allows people in Turkey to invest in U.S. and Turkish equities, says it has raised $45 million in a funding round led by Portage of Canada.

Rumor has it that HR/fintech startup Rippling is raising $200 million, with another $670 million worth of shares being sold by existing stockholders.

What else we’re writing

Klarna has launched its credit card in the United States, the Swedish fintech giant told TechCrunch in an exclusive interview. With the Klarna credit card, the company is now competing with the likes of Apple and more recently, Robinhood, as well as rival BNPL player Affirm in offering a credit card in the United States.

More stories for you:

Google Wallet appears in India, with local integrations, but Pay will stay

India scrambles to curb PhonePe and Google’s dominance in mobile payments

Jio Financial, BlackRock to tap India’s wealth management market

Inside LemFi’s play to be fintech to the Global South diaspora

High-interest headlines

Pipe launches embedded capital-as-a-service for small business

Kamina raises $3.2M in Ecuador’s largest pre-seed round

Finix launches tool to onboard merchants for payment acceptance

This fintech wants to finance the middle class. SRM Ventures “lent” R$40M to the idea

Forage and Uber Eats partner on SNAP EBT grocery delivery (TC previously covered Forage here.)

Public acquires Stocktwits trading accounts

Bolt co-founder pulled strings on unusual stock buyback, suit alleges

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Notable Capital's Hans Tung on the state of VC and the upside to down rounds | TechCrunch

To some investors, “down round” is a dirty phrase, but not to Notable Capital’s Hans Tung. Hans is a managing partner at Notable Capital, formerly GGV Capital, a venture firm focusing on investments in the U.S., Latin America, Israel, and Europe.

Hans, whose portfolio includes the likes of Airbnb, StockX and Slack, sat down with TechCrunch’s Equity podcast to discuss the overall state of venture and why he still believes down rounds can make a lot of sense. Per Hans, “An IPO is actually just a milestone, not the end game. An IPO is the beginning of public investors being along for the ride. So when you think in longer-term valuations, up or down temporarily doesn’t matter as much as generating a big outcome at the end.” It’s worth noting that by September 2023, nearly 11% of the year’s VC deals were down rounds, according to PitchBook data.

Hans also let us know why he’s still bullish on fintech, and what sectors in the fintech space have him especially psyched.

Of course, we dug into recent changes at his own firm, which evolved from 24-year-old cross-border firm GGV Capital and rebranded its U.S. and Asia operations to Notable Capital and Granite Asia, respectively. GGV’s transformation is the latest in a string of changes we’ve seen in the world of venture capital, including personnel changes at Founders Fund, Benchmark and Thrive Capital.

Hit play to hear what Hans has to say on these topics and more! Equity will be back on Monday. See you then!

Equity is TechCrunch’s flagship podcast and posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.

You also can follow Equity on X and Threads, at @EquityPod.

For the full interview transcript, for those who prefer reading over listening, check out our full archive of episodes over at Simplecast.

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How PayJoy built $300M in revenue by letting the underserved use their smartphones as collateral for loans | TechCrunch

Lerato Motloung is a mother of two who works in a supermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa. After her phone was stolen, Motloung had to go without a mobile phone for nine months because she could not afford a new one. Then, in February 2024, she saw a sign about PayJoy, a startup that offers lending to the underserved in emerging markets. She was soon able to buy her first smartphone.

Motloung is one of millions of customers that San Francisco–based PayJoy has helped since its 2015 inception. (She was its 10 millionth customer.) The company’s mission is to “provide a fair and responsible entry point for individuals in emerging markets to enter the modern financial system, build credit, achieve economic freedom, and access digital connectivity.”

Image Credits: PayJoy

PayJoy became a public benefit corporation last year and is an example of a company attempting to do good while also generating meaningful revenue and running a profitable business. And, unlike other startups offering loans to the underserved, it’s doing so in a way that’s not predatory, it says.

“We meet customers where they are — even with no bank account or formal credit history, we create access to financial services and carve a path into the financial system,” said co-founder and CEO Doug Ricket.

PayJoy is applying a buy now, pay-as-you-go model to the estimated 3 billion adults globally who don’t have credit by allowing them to purchase smartphones and pay weekly for a 3- to 12-month period. The phones themselves are used as collateral for the loan.

While the loans are interest free, with no late or hidden fees, the company does mark up the price it charges for the phones by a “multiple,” Ricket said. But it shares the full price upfront before customers sign a contract.

“Users will never pay more than the disclosed amount and can return their phone and walk away debt-free at any time,” he says.

If a customer does miss a payment, their device is locked and is unusable outside of contacting PayJoy or emergency services. To unlock the device, the user needs to make a single weekly payment and the device will then be unlocked for 7 days.

Adds Ricket: “Even upon serious delinquency, PayJoy does not repossess the device and does not communicate individual loan performance to retail partners. PayJoy does report loan performance to credit bureaus including both positive and negative history, so their credit report will be affected accordingly.”

By the fourth quarter of 2023, PayJoy had achieved an annualized run rate of more than $300 million, Ricket told TechCrunch exclusively. That’s up from $10 million in 2020, when it first introduced lending. And the company was “net income profitable” in 2023. It also managed to raise significant capital during a challenging fundraising environment. Last September, PayJoy announced that it had secured $150 million in Series C equity funding and $210 million in debt financing. Warburg Pincus led its equity raise, which included participation from Invus, Citi Ventures and prior lead investors Union Square Ventures and Greylock.

PayJoy has come a long way since TechCrunch first profiled it in December 2015 when it had secured $4.3 million in equity and debt about 10 months after its inception.

Image Credits: PayJoy

Today, the company operates in seven countries across regions such as Latin America, India, Africa and most recently, the Philippines — providing over $2 billion of credit to date. In October of 2023, the company launched PayJoy Card in Mexico, providing customers who have successfully repaid their smartphone loans with a revolving line of credit. Ricket says that PayJoy can “enable cheaper credit and … reduce default rates” by using data science and machine learning to underwrite its loans to assess a customer’s creditworthiness. He says 47% of its customers are women, 40% are new to credit and 37% are first-time smartphone users.

Ricket was inspired to start PayJoy after serving in the Peace Corps following his graduation from MIT. He then spent two years as a volunteer teacher in West Africa, where he became interested in technology in the context of international development. After the Peace Corps, he landed at Google, where he helped create the world’s first complete digital map.

Ricket then moved back to West Africa where he worked for D.Light Design in the pay-as-you-go solar industry. All of that experience has been combined in PayJoy.

The company is on track to achieve over 35% revenue growth this year, with strong momentum in Brazil and new product offerings in development, according to Ricket. Presently, the company has 1,400 employees. It has raised more than $400 million in debt and equity over its lifetime.

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Equities platform Midas raises $45M Series A as fintech retains its sparkle in Turkey | TechCrunch

Midas, a fintech startup that allows people in Turkey to invest in U.S. and Turkish equities, says it has raised $45 million in a funding round led by Portage Ventures of Canada.

The startup is aimed at Turkey’s retail investor market and claims to have more than 2 million users. Its pitch is that it charges significantly lower transaction and commission fees for Turkish customers who want to invest in U.S. or Turkish stocks. It also offers financial content, real-time stock market data and news, and company profiles — all to educate what many consider to be somewhat of an emerging market.

“If you came to Turkey three years ago, there were only 1.5 million investors. That’s in a country of 80 million,” Egem Eraslan, CEO and founder of Midas, told TechCrunch. “Capital markets penetration rates were very, very low. Mobile banking in Turkey is very good and widespread, but there was a lack of investment in equities products because of a lack of infrastructure.”

According to Eraslan, Midas managed to change that dynamic by building its own infrastructure and providing a decent user experience. “We were extremely capital-efficient. We built much of the initial infrastructure product and licensing with less than $500,000, and that allowed us to launch, get traction, raise capital and break that deadlock. We might be the only new broker in the world that launched self-clearing, self-custody, and self-execution.”

Midas is not dissimilar to U.S.-based Robinhood, which has become a giant in the space by providing retail investors an easy avenue to investing in the financial markets. But Eraslan explains that his company has had take a different tack in Turkey.

“We had to launch multiple products with our own self-clearing, custody, and with the entire value chain. If you’re Robinhood, you don’t have to do self-custody or self-clearing.”

Midas now plans to use the new funding to roll out three new products: cryptocurrency trading, mutual funds, and savings accounts. The company has plans to expand beyond Turkey, and aims to target countries in the MENA region.

International Finance Corporation, Spark Capital, Earlybird Digital East Fund, and Revo Capital also participated in the round. The company last raised an $11 million seed round in 2022. Arriving within three years of its founding, Midas’ latest fundraise is one of the largest by a Turkish fintech in recent years, close behind embedded finance startup Param, which raised $50 million in 2022.

Cem Sertoglu, managing partner of Earlybird Digital East Fund, of the startup’s early investors said, “Having timed the explosion in demand in the Turkish investment market perfectly as the first digital-native investment platform, Midas has been executing flawlessly. Winning the domestic market in the world’s 11th-largest economy will already be a success for Midas, but its ambitions lie further than that.”

In a statement, Paul Desmarais III, co-Founder of Portage, and CEO and chairman of Sagard, said: “Midas is leading a wave of transformation within Turkey’s financial landscape. Globally, Portage invests in transformational financial technology and Midas is poised to lead that initiative in a region of early adopters.”

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Tesla's newsy week, and is fintech having a moment? | TechCrunch

It’s been more than a minute since Tesla went public, but the EV company was inescapable on TechCrunch this week. From layoffs to pricing changes and more, it was a week dyed deeply in Tesla colors so we had to chat through the latest.

But that was just one element of what we got into on Equity this week. We also dug into Mary Ann’s reporting about Ramp’s latest round — and up valuation — that fit neatly next to Rippling’s own impending fundraise. If you are handling money, it’s a good time to be a startup.

The team also dug into Cherub, which wants to connect investors and founders, Maven Ventures’ consumer investing push, and touched on what Mercury is up to. All told, we were fortunate to have Kirsten Korosec along with us this week given the sheer volume, and diversity of transportation news to chew through, especially as it relates to Tesla.

Equity is back tomorrow with a special interview between Mary Ann and Notable Capital’s Hans Tung, so stay tuned! Until then, hit play and let’s have some fun.

Equity is TechCrunch’s flagship podcast and posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.

You also can follow Equity on X and Threads, at @EquityPod.

For the full interview transcript, for those who prefer reading over listening, read on, or check out our full archive of episodes over at Simplecast.

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Fintech CRED secures in-principle approval for payment aggregator license | TechCrunch

CRED has received the in-principle approval for payment aggregator license in a boost to the Indian fintech startup that could help it better serve its customers and launch new products and experiment with ideas faster.

The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, valued at $6.4 billion, received the in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India for the payment aggregator license this week, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

CRED didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The RBI has granted in-principle approval for payment aggregator licenses to several companies, including Reliance Payment and Pine Labs, over the past year. Typically, the central bank takes nine months to a year to issue full approval following the in-principle approval.

Payment aggregators are essential in facilitating online transactions by acting as intermediaries between merchants and customers. The RBI’s approval enables fintech firms to expand their offerings and compete more effectively in the market.

Without a license, fintech startups must rely on third-party payment processors to handle transactions, and these players may not prioritize such mandates. Obtaining a license allows fintech companies to process payments directly, reduce costs, gain greater control over payment flow, and onboard merchants directly. Additionally, payment aggregators with licenses can settle funds directly with merchants.

This is a developing story. More to follow.

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Orbex's new funding may accelerate its Prime microlauncher into orbit | TechCrunch

UK-based small launch developer Orbex got another boost from Scotland’s national bank and other investors as it gears up for its first orbital launch, though that mission still does not have a set date.

Founded in 2015, Orbex is one of a handful of firms racing to develop the next generation of European launch vehicles. These companies are looking to fill the massive gap left by the retirement of the Ariane 5 and major delays to the Ariane 6 and Vega C rockets; the absence of these vehicles means there is essentially zero native launch capacity coming out of Europe.

But the absence also means opportunity for Orbex. The company is developing what’s sometimes called a microlauncher: a two-stage vehicle called Prime that stands just 19 meters tall, designed to carry payloads up to 180 kilograms. The closest comparison is Rocket Lab’s Electron, which is a meter shorter but can carry up to 300 kilograms.

To Orbex, this small stature is a benefit, not a drawback, and Orbex CEO Philip Chambers told TechCrunch via email that the company is seeing “positive market conditions” for its product.

“We are seeing an exponential growth of satellites being launched into LEO and demand for launch is far exceeding supply – at the present time it’s not possible to launch a single kilogram from Europe and there is pent-up demand for sovereign launch capabilities,” he said. “We will offer freedom of action to European customers to be in control of their own launches and launch European Payloads from European soil.”

Prime will be launched from a new spaceport in Sutherland, northern Scotland, which is being constructed with the help of funding from UK’s national space agency. The aim is eventually to incorporate a patented recovery technology which the company calls REFLIGHT. This is an interstage structure that sits between the rocket stages; after the booster detaches, four ‘petals’ will fold out and, along with a parachute, create enough drag to enable a soft ocean splashdown.

A larger vehicle could eventually be in the plans as well, though Chambers was clear that Prime was the company’s first priority. However, he said that many of that rocket’s core technologies could scale to support larger payloads.

“The laws of physics dictate that if you want to compete on cost per kg you need to do this with larger vehicles, therefore, I think that it makes sense for Orbex to consider this.”

The company is kicking off its Series D with £16.7 million ($20.7 million) in fresh funding, with additional contributions from Octopus Ventures, BGF, Heartcore, EIFO and others. The new capital comes after Orbex closed a £40.4 million ($50 million) Series C in October 2022. While a spokesperson confirmed the new funding will “help Orbex ramp up the development of Prime … to ensure full readiness and scalability for its launch period,” a firm launch window has yet to be announced.

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Ramp raises another $150 million co-led by Khosla and Founders Fund at a $7.65B valuation | TechCrunch

Spend management startup Ramp has raised another $150 million at a post-money valuation of $7.65 billion, the company confirmed to TechCrunch today.

New investor Khosla Ventures and existing backer Founders Fund co-led the raise, which also included participation from new backers Sequoia Capital, Greylock and 8VC. Other existing investors Thrive Capital, General Catalyst, Sands Capital, D1 Capital, Lux Capital, Iconiq Capital, Definition Capital, Contrary Capital also put money into the latest round.

The raise is characterized as an extension of Ramp’s Series D, in which the fintech company raised $300 million at a 28% lower valuation of $5.8 billion. The latest capital infusion brings it back closer to the $8.1 billion valuation it had achieved in March of 2022.

With this raise, Ramp has secured $1.2 billion in equity financing and $700 million in committed debt funding since its 2019 inception.

In March 2023, co-founder and CEO Eric Glyman told TechCrunch that the company saw its revenue grow by 4x in 2022 — led by its fastest-growing segment of bill pay — but was not yet profitable. The company had crossed $100 million in annualized revenue before its third birthday in March 2022, and said last summer that it had passed $300 million in annualized revenue.

While the company declined to reveal updated revenue figures, Glyman told TechCrunch today that in the first quarter of this year, Ramp’s total purchase volume and revenue growth increased “faster quarter over quarter than it did over the same period in 2023, on a much larger base.”

Notably, Keith Rabois led the investment for new backer Khosla, having recently moved to the firm from Founders Fund. Apparently, there were no hard feelings on the part of Founders Fund, which still participated in the financing, even without Rabois. 

The relationship with Founders Fund “runs so deep,” Glyman said, as the company was its first institutional investor since its “very early days.” While they work with the whole team there, Glyman pointed to partners Napoleon Ta and Delian Asparouhov as being the “most involved” since Rabois’ departure. (It’s worth noting that Rabois originally represented Founders Fund and has sat on Ramp’s board since 2019.) 

Glyman said he believes that Ramp’s continued emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) also helped attract Khosla’s interest. (Khosla is an early investor in OpenAI).

“They were so ahead of the curve in investing with OpenAI and in what’s happening in the AI world that of course, so we were thrilled,” he added.

Ramp counts over 25,000 companies across a variety of industries as customers. Interestingly, venture-backed startups represent a “minority” of its customer base, which a includes farms, shops, hospitals and nonprofits.

Glyman told TechCrunch that the new funding will be used to “triple down” on innovation including using AI capabilities “to automate cumbersome processes, provide deeper insights into spending, enhance decision-making capabilities, and more.” Last November, Ramp announced a new integration with Microsoft Copilot as part of its efforts to incorporate AI into its offering.

“I think there’s this this shift in AI investment from primarily being on these large infrastructure models to the application layer,” Glyman said.

Ramp will also use the money towards acquisitions. In January, the company announced it had acquired AI-powered startup Venue as it expanded its procurement offering. Generally, in the past few years, Ramp has been on what might look like a buying spree. In August of 2021, Ramp purchased Buyer, a “negotiation-as-a-service” platform that claimed to save its clients money on big-ticket purchases such as annual software contracts. Then last year, Ramp acquired, (not to be confused with OpenAI competitor Cohere). was a startup that built an AI-powered customer support tool.

Presently, Ramp has about 730 full-time employees, up from 495 a year ago.

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