Embedded finance continues to be the engine driving the growth of fintech, with one group of companies building core banking, payments and other financial technology, and a much bigger group tapping that technology through APIs to build customer-facing businesses. Today, one of the bigger players on the core technology side -- Global Processing Services -- is announcing $100 million in funding, a sign not just of how popular embedded finance remains as a business, but also GPS's traction in the space.
Singapore investor Temasek and U.S. firm MissionOG are the two investors in this latest tranche of funding, which is coming in the form of an extension of a $300 million investment that GPS announced back in October 2021, closing out the full round at $400 million. Advent International and Viking Global Investors co-led that previous round, which gave them a controlling stake in GPS. Other investors in the company include Visa. As with the earlier part of the round, GPS -- which is based in London, England -- is not disclosing its valuation today.
“This is not something on which we wish to be drawn, but what we can say is that we continue to aspire to be one of the largest paytech companies in the world, mirroring the success of providers on the acquiring side of payments, such as Adyen, Stripe and Checkout.com, and Marqeta on the issuing side," said a spokesperson in response to the valuation question. "We believe we have built a special platform. This injection of capital by the world’s leading experts in payments and next generation technology will enable us to bring financial empowerment and enable more of our fintech clients around the world on their journey to unicorn status.”
The funding will be used to continue growing GPS's business -- which includes a range of fintech services such as payments, direct debits and standing orders; virtual cards; mobile wallets; fraud prevention; expense management; cryptocurrency management; BNPL and more (these are sold under the GPS Apex brand).
Specifically, the company wants to expand further in Europe and Asia Pacific, as well as in more emerging markets across the Middle East and Africa; and it wants to bring on new products. (Notably, there are no loan products in the mix right now, so that could be one area it explores; insurance could be another, and so could solutions tailored for specific verticals.)
The reason for the investment and investor attention is that GPS, and the space it's active in, have both seen a big surge of activity. On one hand, neobanking services among consumers and businesses have been rising in popularity (and credibility); on the other, we've seen an ever-expanding range of non-fintech businesses (such as telcos and retailers) that are tapping the concept of embedded finance to add new features and revenue streams into their own platforms.
More generally, consumers and businesses made a big shift to carrying out all of their financial activities online as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world, and even as/if that abates, it looks like they will not completely go back to their analogue ways. That has had a knock-on effect on venture funding for the whole fintech industry. It was just yesterday that another big player in fintech, the payments startup Checkout, raised a whopping $1 billion at a $40 billion valuation.
GPS itself focuses mainly on those working more directly in fintech, with its customers including Revolut, Starling, Curve, Zilch and Paidy. It said its services are being used today in 48 countries and that last year it processed more than 1.3 billion transactions, with 190 million cards now issued to date.
“GPS is an innovative technology company, and we believe their unique position at the heart of the global payments ecosystem ideally positions them to power the next generation of financial services," said Gene Lockhart, the general partner at MissionOG, in a statement. "With the deep network and experience MissionOG brings to the table, we look forward to being a trusted and valued partner of Joanne and the entire team.” Notably, Lockhart is taking on a role as chair at GPS with this investment.
“The upsizing of this latest round of investment is an important step forward for the company and a strong endorsement of our strategy," added Joanne Dewar, GPS's CEO. "We are a company that has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by our commitment to innovation and the delivery of a single scalable technology platform. The expertise that our new partners bring to GPS will be invaluable as we enter our next phase of geographic expansion and technology innovation.”
Updated with response on valuation from company and to note that GPS is based in London, not the Isle of Man.