Verse grabs $20.5M to take its p2p payments play beyond Europe

By Natasha Lomas for Techcrunch

Social payments app Verse has closed a $20.5 million Series B round of funding from its existing investors. The round is led by Spark Capital, with eVentures and Greycroft Partners also participating. It raised its Series A in October last year, when it took in $8.3M.

At the time it was gunning to be the Venmo of Europe. The new funding will be put towards pushing beyond that, with its first launches planned outside Europe — likely in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, says co-founder Alex Lopera.

Currently the app is live in 27 countries. Verse will be adding two more European countries (Switzerland and Norway) with this funding too.

“Consolidate the markets where Verse already has a presence, launch in non-European markets and build an amazing engineering team in the payments industry” is Lopera’s concise summary for spending the Series B funds.

Last fall the app had amassed around 550,000 users, across Android and iOS, after soft launching in February 2016.

Lopera won’t provide an update on user numbers at this point, as he says the team is coming to the end of a two-year process of obtaining a payments-related license for Verse — so wants to wait until it’s passed that regulatory hurdle before making new figures public. He will only say it has “a lot” of users, and that it’s “been growing 30 per cent month-over-month”.

One element he says has helped boost usage is the recent launch of a feed within the app (he describes it as “very similar to Venmo”) which lets users see what their friends are up to based on their Verse transactions.

“It’s a fun and easy way to keep organized and stay connected,” he says. “There’s a World and Friends feed so you’re able to see on the feed the users that are implied on a transaction and the transaction comment but not the amount.”

Another social addition that’s helping to drive growth is an Events feature that lets people share expenses for an upcoming event right off the bat — such as for planning a BBQ or doing a whip round to buy a birthday gift.

Who are Verse users? Lopera confirms the commission-free p2p payments app is “predominantly” being used by millennials. While its best markets currently are in southern Europe; namely Spain, Italy and Portugal, according to Lopera. He also lists France and the UK as other markets where it’s getting traction.

Commenting on the Series B in a statement, Alex Finkelstein, general partner at Spark Capital, said: “They have surpassed my expectations including product execution and growth-related milestones. This is a young, product-focused team that is obsessed with creating the type of consumer product experience that makes sense for their generation that older banking institutions struggle to provide.”

Other social payments competitors playing in Europe include the likes of Lydia, Circle, and N26 with its MoneyBeam offering.