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A former Google exec just won funding from Silicon Valley giant Greycroft for a digital payments startup to rival Venmo

Business Insider | Jul 4, 2019, 03.49PM IST

bernardo hernandez

Verse

Bernardo Hernandez, CEO of Verse.

  • Spanish peer-to-peer (P2P) payments app Verse aims to be Europe's answer to Venmo and has just secured $8 million of seed funding.
  • Verse bagged funding from Silicon Valley private equity firm and Venmo investor Greycroft, while former Venmo COO Michael Vaughan will join the company's board.
  • The company also received investment from former NBA commissioner David Stern, and recently secured an e-money license from the Bank of Lithuania to operate across the European Economic Area (EEA).
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Spanish peer-to-peer (P2P) app Verse has secured $8 million in seed funding from Venmo's investors as the company looks to break into the lucrative social payments market.

Verse is run by former head of consumer marketing for Google in San Francisco, Bernardo Hernandez, and operates as a payments wallet through which customers can send and receive money from other users.

The commission free P2P company has now received $8 million in funding from Silicon Valley private equity firm Greycroft - a series A investor in Venmo - to help grow Verse's expansion plans. Expon Capital, Alan Patricof - Greycroft's founder - and former NBA Commissioner David Stern also invested in the seed round.

Verse already has 500,000 users, predominantly in Spain and Italy, and recently obtained a new license from the Bank of Lithuania which allows the company to operate throughout the European Economic Area (EEA).

P2P is a huge space with banks and corporate giants like Paypal leading the way but companies like Venmo in the US have been a big hit with millennials looking to swap funds quickly and cheaply. Hernandez experienced Google Wallet first hand in California and decided the product had the potential to be a game changer in the payments space.

"In addition to their strong growth, Verse has now opened all of Europe as a new frontier for mobile-enabled financial freedom," said Ian Sigalow, co-founder and partner at Greycroft, in comments distributed to Business Insider. "The team has created a product that adapts to the habits of young generations and is redefining consumer's financial behavior."

The company's growth will be guided by former Venmo COO Michael Vaughan, who also works as an investor for health care and fintech VC fund Oak HC/FT, as a member of the board of directors.

"Our cost of customer acquisition is very low, and we're growing organically," Verse's CEO Bernardo Hernandez told Business Insider in an interview. "We will use this funding to build out our product and get the best talent we can to focus on growth."

Verse existed before Hernandez took over 18 months ago with the company raising some around $28.8 million in Series A and B investment before management changed hands. Greycroft invested in the previous funding rounds for the company, which counts millennials as the bulk of its user base.

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