The pandemic has hastened a shift of most commerce becoming e-commerce in the last year, and that has brought a new focus on startups that are helping to enable that process. In the latest development, PPRO, a London-based startup that has built a platform to make it easier for marketplaces, payment providers, and other e-commerce players to enable localized payments — that is, make and take payments in whatever form local customers prefer to use, which extend well beyond basic payment cards — has closed a round of $180 million, funding that catapults PPRO’s valuation to over $1 billion.
PPRO (pronounced “P-pro”, as in payments professionals) plans to use the funding to continue expanding in newer markets. In an interview, Simon Black, PPRO’s CEO, said that two particular focus areas in the coming year would be more activity in Asian countries like Singapore, Indonesia, and Latin America. The company acquired a local player all page back in 2019. In both cases, the opportunity comes in the form of high growth stemming from more transactions moving online and the chaos that is the fragmented payments market.
The capital comes from a group of investors that includes Eurazeo Growth, Sprints Capital, and Wellington Management. It comes on the heels of a $50 million round the company raised last August from Sprints, along with Citi and HPE Growth, and a further $50 million it picked up in 2018, led by strategic investor PayPal. PayPal, alongside Citi, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, Mollie, and Worldpay, is among PPRO’s 100 large global customers.
The company uses APIs for various functions, including localized gateway, processing, and merchant acquirer services. The flood of activity coming from consumers and businesses buying more online — a by-product of the pandemic leading to many companies shutting down physical operations for the moment — has seen the company double transaction volumes between Q4 2020 and the same quarter in 2019.