A co-founder of Funding Circle, one of Britain’s fintech pioneers, has raised tens of millions of dollars from blue-chip investors to create a payments start-up that he hopes will will disrupt industry giants Visa and MasterCard.
Sky News has learned that Samir Desai has secured backing from Silicon Valley heavyweights including Accel Partners, one of Facebook’s early backers, to fund the development and launch of Super Payments.
Little is known about the business model of Mr. Desai’s latest venture, but a source said on Wednesday it would aim to take market share from the biggest names in the payments industry.
Local Globe and Union Square Ventures, two other big names in venture capital, have also agreed to become shareholders of Super Payments, according to the source.
The funding was raised by Mr. Desai at a pre-money valuation of $60 million, a substantial figure for a pre-money venture that has yet to launch, they added.
Mr Desai, who started Funding Circle in 2010, announced last fall that he would step down as the company’s chief executive at the end of 2021.
He remains a non-executive director of its board of directors.
The entrepreneur is one of the most prominent figures on the European fintech scene and is credited with helping to fuel the development of a peer-to-peer lending model that has nonetheless faced significant challenges in recent years.
Mr Desai continues to hold a 4.5% stake in the London-listed company, which went public in 2018, and has no plans to reduce his stake, according to a source.
His stake was worth around £13million in Wednesday morning trading.
Super Payments will not compete with Funding Circle in any way, and Mr. Desai’s involvement in the new venture has been approved by the London-listed company’s board.
A Funding Circle spokesperson said: “The Board has discussed and supports Samir’s desire to explore a new business venture, while continuing as a long-term, committed shareholder and valued Board member. Administration of Funding Circle.”
The timing of key milestones for Mr. Desai’s new company was unclear on Wednesday.
Globally, the payments industry has been one of the hottest targets for investment by venture capital and private equity firms in recent years, fueling tens of billions of dollars in corporate deals. .
Mr. Desai declined to comment further on the superpayments.