Azupay raises $10 million for ‘instant BPAY’ tech putting merchants “back in control”

Azupay John Murphy

Azupay chief executive John Murphy. Source: supplied.

There’s yet another payments fintech on the scene in Australia, with ‘instant BPAY’ startup Azupay securing $10 million for its product helping small businesses secure payments faster.

The funding comes from investment manager Ellerston Capital, and will largely be used to build out new product lines, as well as in a customer acquisition push.

Founded in 2019, Azupay is built on the New Payments Platform (NPP) infrastructure, and is intended to replace legacy systems like direct debit and BPAY.

Speaking to SmartCompany, co-founder Danny Savic compares the platform to PayID, which allows for real-time peer-to-peer payments.

“We’ve spun that around,” he says.

“We’ve made it into a business proposition.”

Consumers can use an ID to pay for bill or invoices, or at an online checkout. For merchants, that means payments land in their accounts instantly.

The same concept also applies to B2B payments and even payroll. Azupay has recently announced an integration with Xero, becoming the first instant-payments option on its app store.

It’s designed to put the merchant “back in control”, Savic says. There’s no waiting for invoices to be paid, or for funds to clear.

“In this kind of climate, with COVID, you need some security of what’s going on, and getting control of your cash flow is key.”

A global phenomenon

It’s early days yet, and Savic doesn’t offer any clues as to the startup’s revenues or growth trajectory.

But he does say the platform is attracting interest from both large and small businesses.

“Growth is on the rise — things are looking good,” he says.

Azupay chief executive John Murphy tells SmartCompany his immediate focus is on leveraging the NPP to bring new technologies to the Aussie market, he says.

Increasingly, more and more countries around the world are looking to establish and build out real-time payments capabilities.

“It’s clearly a global trend,” he says.

“There is certainly an opportunity over time for the company to explore offshore.”

The COVID effect

While fintech has been one of Australia’s most buzzy startup sectors for some years, the focus now appears to be well and truly on payments, whether that’s the buy-now, pay-later boom, cross-border payments innovation or ‘Afterpay for refunds’.

Murphy stresses that Azupay doesn’t play in the BNPL space, but he does believe we’re in the midst of a sea change in the way everyday consumers consider payments.

“I think it’s one of these generational moments,” he says.

It’s not only real-time payments, he says. It’s about the data that can be shared in real-time too.

“The whole landscape is changing for the better for both consumers and businesses.”

Your average consumer is interested in the shopping experience, he adds. They’re not interested in the payment itself, or what goes on behind the scenes.

“It’s got to be seamless, transparent, simple, easy,” he says.

More and more, tech is able to facilitate that.

Savic points to the huge infrastructure change that’s come about with the NPP.

“That’s a once-in-a-generation move,” he says.

But at the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a role here.

Azupay uses QR codes as a method of initiating payments, for example. It’s the pandemic that has got Aussies more used to using that technology.

The mass shift to online shopping has also opened many Aussies up to alternative forms of payments.

“I think people are much more confident now using all things digital,” Murphy says.

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