PromisePay locks in more than $2 million in funding from the likes of 99design’s Mark Harbottle and Westpac’s Reinventure

Broede Carmody /

Secure payments platform PromisePay has closed a $2.59 million funding round in order to roll out new features and snap up new employees.

The round was led by US venture capital firm Cultivation Capital, with participation from 99designs co-founder Mark Harbottle, rampersand and Westpac-backed VC fund Reinventure.

The startup, which has offices in Melbourne and the US, provides marketplace operators with a payment solution as well as fraud management.

PromisePay co-founder and chief executive, Simon Lee, told StartupSmart security is a “massive issue” for online marketplaces.

He says the capital injection – which was signed off a few months ago – only serves to reinforce this idea.

“We have some pretty large contracts that we’re in the process of executing, so really it’s about just getting the money to those marketplaces we want to go live with and also prepare for a Series A,” Lee says.

“We’ve got a place in San Francisco at the moment and we’ve got a couple of guys there. Obviously in Melbourne as well we’ve been lucky with Mark Harbottle from 99Designs being an early customer and investor… it’s a really good testament to Aussie startups backing other Aussie startups and allowing them to have a go.”

The raise has allowed the company to expand from six to fifteen employees over the past three months. Lee says he hopes to grow the team to around 30 in the next year.

“We’ve got a team of 15 now, so we’ve got four payments guys from some of the big four banks already,” he says.

“We’ll also always keep our development in Melbourne because of the R&D tax grant – that’s been a big help. We’ve got six developers now, but we’ll probably hire one or two more over the next year.”

Lee says it is promising to see a major bank like Westpac pay attention to fintech startups through its independent venture capital firm. PromisePay hopes to close a Series A round mid next year.

“It’s really good to have someone like Reinventure [Westpac’s VC arm] backing you, because it means when you go to talk to some very significant marketplaces at least we can say we’re backed by Reinventure,” Lee says.

“It gives us some weight. It’s not about this round, it’s about the big round we’ll do next year.”

Mark Harbottle said in a statement he participated in the funding round because over time he has come to know “the team and product intimately”.

“I love investing in great teams with great products that solve problems that we have in our own businesses, so when the opportunity to get more involved in PromisePay came up, it definitely ticked all the boxes for me,” he said.

Do you know more on this story or have a tip of your own? Raising capital or launching a startup? Let us know. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior reporter at SmartCompany. Previously, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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