Paytrix co-founders Aran Brown and Eddie Harrison. (Paytrix)

Why We Co-Led Paytrix’s Series A

The UK-based fintech is working to solve one of payments’ biggest problems.

4 min read April 3, 2023
Founder Stories Spotlight Fintech Early

The first time we met Paytrix co-founder and CEO Aran Brown in person, we were struck not only by the sharp suit he wore for the pitch (three piece, naturally, but no tie), but more importantly by the audacity and clarity of the vision he shared with his co-founder and CPO, Eddie Harrison.  Don’t let the untucked shirts in the picture above fool you; these guys are bringing their A game on every level, including sartorially. 

On a white board, Aran broke down what happens behind the scenes in a single cross-border transaction on a platform like Airbnb, using the example of a consumer paying in Brazilian real to a homeowner receiving those funds in Japanese yen. He outlined which parts of the value chain were most inefficient and specified which parts of the process Paytrix would address at different stages of its product development lifecycle. He was very clearly seeing the whole chessboard, and plotting his moves many turns ahead.

Since we first invested in the London-based firm in its early 2022 seed round, we’ve been impressed by the team’s ability to recruit other distinguished payments and fintech leaders and execute on the timelines they’ve outlined. Paytrix has garnered strong impressions from customers, prospects, and industry experts alike. And that’s why we are proud to have announced last week that we co-led Paytrix’s $18.3 million Series A with our friends at Motive Partners and Unusual Ventures.

Addressing a major pain point in payments

The same problem has persisted with cross-border payments for decades. Global businesses are relying on a patchwork of layered connections to access global coverage for facilitating international payments. There is no category of fintech that has more layers of intermediaries than cross-border payments, and that’s why many well-known companies in this space often resort to leveraging their competitors’ payment rails. 

Orchestrating the payment flows from payment acceptance, FX, settlement, and payouts in a fully automated fashion is quite difficult to accomplish, which is especially true for Paytrix’s initial target customers, marketplaces. Their inherent business model complexity requires taking in money from different payment methods and countries and then paying out to sellers via a different set of payment methods, with many different touchpoints on the funds. 

It takes bold leadership to tackle solving this problem, which others have previously just hacked. While the partnerships approach may be quicker, we believe this strategy creates inefficiencies, hurts unit economics and ultimately fails to build lasting enterprise value.

Gaining the trust of regulators

We were also impressed by the way Aran and Eddie complemented their bold approach with pragmatism and persistent focus on execution. This is crucial for gaining the trust of regulators and ensuring adherence to compliance and licensing standards. As such, Paytrix was able to acquire its UK Payments Institution license and is going through the arduous process of obtaining others across the globe. 

Throughout, the team has been disciplined, focusing on starting with servicing payouts (the most underserved part of the ecosystem), before expanding to payment acceptance and collections.

Others in the industry have acknowledged the value of Paytrix’s service. Aran and Eddie came with a strong recommendation from Mike Massaro, the CEO of another cross-border payments company we backed, Flywire. Mike told us that he wished a platform like this existed during his company’s early days, so he and his team wouldn’t have experienced the headache of building this infrastructure themselves. Mike’s feedback echoes the sentiment we heard from other global platforms.

We saw Aran and Eddie’s focus and drive when we invested at the seed, saw it evolve in their more recent pitch, and are now excited to continue partnering with them at the A as they disrupt the international payments stack. At BCV, our ideal case is to get involved with founders right out of the gates, and then support them through every stage of the journey, either as the sole lead investor or in partnership with great firms like Unusual and Motive. With this founding team, we know we’ll be doing it in style.  

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