June 23, 2015 / 8:09 AM / 4 years ago

UK payments business Currency Cloud raises $18 million for U.S. push

LONDON (Reuters) - A British international payments company aiming to shake up the way companies move money around the world has raised $18 million in a third round of fundraising for its U.S. expansion plan.

Currency Cloud’s latest fundraising doubles the amount raised previously and was led by technology investor Sapphire Ventures and also include Japan’s Rakuten FinTech Fund, the company said on Tuesday. Existing investors, including Atlas Ventures and Notion Capital, have also increased their investments.

Currency Cloud, launched in 2012, processes about $10 billion (£6.3 million) annually and that should rise to $1 billion a month by the end of the year, said Chief Executive Mike Laven.

UK online and mobile payments firms are attracting significant investment - Transferwise raised $58 million in January and Azimo last week raised $20 million - and while they make it easier for retail customers to pay in other currencies, Currency Cloud provides technology for businesses to do so. It said it stands behind about 125 platforms and the average payment on its system is between $15,000 and $20,000.

The company says its platform is based on new technology that is more efficient and less error-prone than traditional ways of trading foreign exchange.

Payments between accounts has been transformed in the digital banking age, but handling fees and unattractive foreign exchange rates or commission charges can add to costs.

“The existing system that goes through banks is expensive, it’s cumbersome, it’s full of friction and is complex, and there’s a lack of transparency. We think it’s worse for businesses than it is for individuals,” Laven told Reuters.

The company said the extra funds will drive expansion in the United States, and meeting the cost of extra technology and state-by-state reporting and compliance requirements that come with that.

It expects to have a dozen staff working in New York by the end of the year from five now and about 100 people in London, up from about 70 currently.

Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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