Byron Bay fintech Zepto out to level the payments playing field globally after $25m raise

Byron Bay fintech Zepto out to level the payments playing field globally after $25m raise

Tom Hordern of Decade Partners (left), with Zepto CEO Chris Jewell (centre) and AirTree Ventures partner James Cameron (right).

Instant payment platform Zepto has raised $25 million in Series A funding led by AirTree Ventures and Decade Partners, as it sets its sights on new international markets.

Starting with the launch of its payment solutions for businesses in New Zealand before further expanding to the US, the Byron-Bay fintech will also support the expansion of several of its Australian merchant customers into the untapped New Zealand market.  

The investment comes after a period of explosive growth that has seen Zepto deliver 10-times year-on-year revenue growth each year since 2018. Each month, the business now facilitates more than $4 billion in payment volume.

“Innovation across the real-time payments and open finance landscape is enabling merchants globally to create a new paradigm when it comes to customer experience,” CEO of Zepto Chris Jewell said.

“We at Zepto remain committed to delivering our merchants market-leading API tools to access and compose seamless payment experiences. From our roots as a bootstrapped Byron Bay upstart, Zepto has grown to become a market leader in the payments industry.

“We intend to use this capital to grow our team and technology in a meaningful, empowering way as we meet the demands of an ever-evolving domestic market, as well as accelerate Zepto’s expansion into international markets.”

Formerly known as Split Payments until August 2021, Zepto was founded in 2018 by skydiving entrepreneurs Matt Cheers, Trevor Wistaff, Ian Lennie and Adrian Kennedy when the friends grew frustrated with the business’ payment system.

After initially launching from a garage, the business has scaled up considerably since then and now includes customers such as Binance Australia, Superhero, Novatti Group (ASX: NOV), Nimble, Powerpay, Till Payments, Bluestone, Rentbetter, Biz Pay and Get Blys.

In 2021, CCO Carolyn Breeze received the Fintech Leader of the Year at the 2021 Women in Finance Awards and Trevor Wistaff, Fintech CTO of the Year at the 2021 Fintech Awards.

As the payments landscape continues to pivot from legacy methods like credit cards and traditional direct debit towards data-rich, real-time payments directly between bank accounts, the capital funding represents a tactical investment backing the next generation of payments innovation.

“The global payments landscape is in the middle of its biggest upheaval in decades, as open banking and real-time, bank-to-bank payments are transforming how we pay and get paid,” partner at AirTree Ventures James Cameron said.

“With open banking and the NPP, Australia has found itself at the centre of this disruption – and Zepto is the leading innovator in this space.

"With companies like Afterpay, Athena and Airwallex, Australia has shown that we punch well above our weight in fintech innovation globally, and we believe Chris and the Zepto team are part of the next generation of fintech pioneers.”

Looking to increase staff numbers substantially from 100 team members currently, the Series A funding will also be used to drive domestic growth and enhance the company's payment infrastructure - which includes investment in building additional functionalities on top of the PayTo payment platform.

In late 2021, Zepto became both the first non-bank fintech approved to connect directly to the New Payments Platform (NPP) as a ‘connected institution’, and the first non-bank payments provider Accredited Data Recipient (ADR) under the ACCC’s Consumer Data Right (CDR).

“Financial infrastructure businesses are the backbone of the fintech revolution. Zepto has scaled to facilitate more than A$50 billion p.a. in transactions on a run-rate basis in just a few years – securing its position as one of the fastest-growing players in this space,” Decade Partners co-founder Tom Hordern said.

“Merchants are choosing Zepto because it’s fast, secure and most importantly developer first and led.

“These attributes are key to Zepto’s success, and Decade Partners believe this can be traced back to Zepto’s exceptional team and culture.”

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