UK fintech Atoa secures $2.2M as it kills Visa and Mastercard fees for businesses Atoa is reducing a merchant’s cost of accepting payments by up to 70% and ensures instant payment rather than the standard 1-2 days for debit cards.
London, UK | November 24, 2022 06:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
There are more than 4 million small businesses in the UK which have no viable alternative to debit card payments and are reliant on Mastercard or Visa payment rails. Challenging this status quo, UK fintech Atoa Payments is announcing a $2.2M pre-seed funding round to reduce by 70% the payment fees and offer a new approach to making payments.
The funding round was led by Leo Capital and Passion Capital and also included well regarded angel investors such as Matt Robinson (co-founder of GoCardless and Nested) alongside Moon Capital Ventures. Anil Stocker, Co-Founder & CEO of MarketFinance also serves as a company advisor.
Mastercard and Visa payment rails have an effective duopoly in the market which enables them to get away with net margins as high as 51% at the expense of small merchants and their customers. On top of this, card machine providers charge small businesses up to 1.75%. Atoa is building a truly viable alternative for small businesses to accept payments at a fraction of those costs and to improve their cash flow meaningfully at the same time.
Using Atoa is seamless. Businesses simply download the Atoa app and securely connect their merchant bank account. Set up takes less than 5 minutes, after which the merchant can accept payments via SMS, Pay-by Link or by displaying a QR code on their Atoa App or physical QR stand next to their till. At the same time, their customers do not need to download a separate app to pay which removes a substantial point of friction inhibiting merchant options until now.
Any customer with a UK mobile banking app on their phone can securely pay a merchant who is using Atoa. Without requiring a separate consumer app, the customer simply scans the merchant’s QR code or clicks on the link sent by the merchant, selects their bank and then is redirected to their existing mobile bank app to approve the payment, meaning that the merchant receives the funds instantly.
Sid Narayanan, Co-Founder of Atoa Payments said, “We are grateful to have the support and partnership of such strong investors validating our plans to break the card payment duopoly in the UK and to improve cash flows and economics for the country’s small merchants. At a time of record inflation and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the UK’s small and medium merchants are struggling to contain their costs, provide great service to the customers, and maintain profit margins. Atoa is here to empower merchants and to improve their cash flow and bottom line.”
Atoa Instant Bank Pay allows small merchants to receive payments at a flat fee which is up to 70% cheaper than card machines provided by SumUp, Zettle or Square. The merchants then receive funds in their bank accounts instantly instead of having to wait 1-2 days as is the usual case with card machines and debit cards. Using Atoa involves no contracts (pay as you go), no hardware fees and no chargeback fraud risk (all payments are approved via bank app and have Strong Customer Authentication).
By contrast, small retailers today are locked into contracts and typically have far from transparent fees to pay including authorisation fees, hardware fees, PCI compliance fees and more which all eat into their margins. Hardware fees can be as high as £29/month.
Robert Dighero, Partner at Passion Capital, said “Atoa has come to the UK market at the right time to leverage open banking and bring to small and medium sized merchants a truly viable alternative to payment cards and card machines that can be deployed in-store within minutes. We’re delighted to work with the Atoa team after their first fintech success and look forward to partnering with them as they achieve even greater heights with Atoa.
Shwetank Verma, Partner at Leo Capital, said “Leveling the playing field for independent, small and medium sized merchants is an obvious opportunity which benefits everyone, not least of which consumers. We have seen this business model succeed in India and SEA and we’re looking forward to working with the Atoa team to help them build another successful business in a massively growing market.”
Since going live in June, the company has experienced more than 100% month on month growth in terms of both Total Payment Volume (TPV) and number of merchant customers. Over time, the founders’ ambitions are to become a mainstream small business friendly payment method replacing payment cards.
About Atoa Payments
Atoa was co-founded by Sid Narayanan, Cian O’Dowd and Arun Rajkumar, who all previously founded Singapore based fintech, KlearCard, which was acquired last year by Validus. Their first successful enterprise has motivated them to seek even greater heights and to have greater impact and to focus on one of the largest merchant retailer markets in the world, the UK. After securing their pre-seed funding round, the co-founders relocated to the UK and have achieved outstanding traction since summer 2022.
About Passion Capital
Passion Capital (passioncapital.com, @passioncapital) was established in 2011 to bring founder-friendly operationally-minded venture investing to the UK and Europe. Founded by former entrepreneurs instead of traditional asset fund managers, Passion was one of the first operator-led dedicated early-stage venture funds in Europe. Additionally, it was the first in the world to publish and use a plain English language term sheet and not to charge its portfolio companies any of its own legal or other fees, the first in Europe to publish fund infographics and to host joint office hours (for pitching sessions), and the first to manage a coworking office space.
Over the last decade the team has invested in some of the strongest European founding teams including those from GoCardless, Monzo Bank, Lendable, Marshmallow, Tide Banking, Digital Shadows, Smarkets, Tray.io, urban, Spotahome, Butternut Box, Nested, PolyAI, Causal, Fertifa, Screenloop, Sequence, True Circle and many more.
About Leo Capital
Leo Capital is a Singapore based early stage venture fund, built by serial entrepreneurs with global experience. Leo Capital backs companies powering a software-enabled world and supports their founders on the journey from great founder to great CEO. We are excited about partnering with founders building the iconic companies of tomorrow. Please see http://www.leo.capital/ for more details.
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