The future’s Brite for instant payments: Why we’re backing the next generation platform to pay and get paid
In a digital world, consumers and businesses should expect payments to be fast, affordable, effortless and secure. Moving money shouldn’t be costly or complicated — but still, so often, it is.
Next-generation payment platforms have made huge strides in improving user checkout experiences over the past few years and allowing merchants to get going with payments. But behind the scenes, much of the infrastructure by which transactions are actually transmitted, processed and settled remains archaic. Neither cards nor traditional account-to-account rails, were designed natively for today’s digital age. For merchants, that results in higher costs, higher rates of fraud, and multiple days to settle transactions which constrains working capital.
Change is afoot. In recent years, governments have been implementing upgraded payment standards and launching modern, account-to-account schemes that can provide foundations for real-time bank payments. Around the world, more than 70 countries have now launched their own domestic networks. In Europe, ‘open banking’ has been an active move by regulators to widen accessibility and use of these schemes within a broader set of payment contexts, not least checkout. The path has already been laid down by successful private forerunners like iDEAL which achieved immense market penetration with some 70% of all consumer online spend in the Netherlands.
But the emergence of new schemes and regulatory support alone are not enough for consumers and merchants to realise the benefits of instant payments. Ultimately, merchants need a payment partner who can bring it all together, building on these foundations and delivering modern, seamless, and end-to-end payment solutions for their customers. That’s where Brite, Dawn’s latest investment, comes in.
Brite is a Swedish payments platform that enables merchants to realise the full benefits of instant payments. The backbone of the proposition is their Instant Payments Network (IPN), a proprietary infrastructure platform that facilitates 24/7/365 real-time settlement through open banking rails, real-time payment schemes, and with a Swedish regulatory license that allows Brite to take full receipt of funds and settle them in a merchant’s currency of choice. The offering is already available in 25 countries across Europe with connections to more than 3,800 banks touching more than 350 million end consumers.
Supporting pay-ins, pay-outs with collection accounts and FX services, Brite is a truly end-to-end solution for merchants eliminating operational and regulatory hassles like settlements and reconciliation. It enables next-generation digital payment experiences for consumers. And for merchants, payments made with Brite — which are authenticated and authorised by the customer’s bank — have numerous advantages, including lower transaction fees vs. card networks, instant settlement, lower decline rates, and significant reductions in fraud, associated chargebacks and operational costs. With a European-wide footprint, it’s a compelling proposition for merchants of all shapes and sizes.
Our conviction in the opportunity for Brite is rooted in our previous experiences in the space. We are proud to have been long-term investors in Tink, a pioneering business that did much to drive forward Europe’s emerging open banking market. It was an amazing journey, and we were delighted to see Daniel and Fredrik, Tink’s co-founders, find a fantastic new home as the business was acquired by Visa for $2.0bn last year.
We learnt a huge amount from Tink’s team as the market evolved around them — not least, that we remain in the early innings of the opportunity for players in this space. As time has progressed and the landscape has matured, the highest potential and nearest-term use cases for open banking rails have come into much clearer focus. Payments stand at the forefront. At the same time, the technological challenges for open banking companies have evolved. Five years ago, the biggest barrier to adoption for merchants was breadth of robust connectivity; today, it is depth of functionality and the capacity to deliver complete payment solutions.
When we met Brite’s CEO, Lena Hackeloer, we couldn’t stop talking about the challenges and opportunities for companies enabling real-time payments on open banking rails. And we were struck by the clarity of her foresight and strategic vision to put in place strong foundations for a category-leading platform in this evolving market. This shouldn’t have been a surprise. With experiences as CEO of payment solutions startup Qliro and Director of Marketing at Klarna with responsibility for SOFORT, Lena knows this market inside and out. She built Brite with a clear plan to provide a complete payment solution for merchants — and the determination to build deep proprietary technical and regulatory infrastructure that would embed strong long-term cost advantages in the business’s operations.
And the results are extremely impressive — not least considering the relative capital constraints with which the business had been built to date. In Brite we found a platform whose depth to support merchants was already greater than competitors that had raised multiples more capital, and an efficient infrastructure that was capable of delivering high margins across a much broader set of customer verticals and geographies. With an efficient platform for growth, Brite has more than doubled both transaction volumes and revenues over the previous year and is already operating at a profit — a rare feat for a company at this stage.
Of course, Lena hasn’t done this alone. Fantastic leadership has been key to this rapid growth and success. Today, Brite has a 90-strong team of top talent with key team members from companies like Klarna, Trustly, and Tink who together bring decades of high-level experience in the European payments market.
With strong foundations, now is the time for the company to double down on all the opportunities in front of it, to expand further across Europe and deepen its support for merchants across a broad range of sectors. To that end, we are delighted to be leading Brite’s $60m investment round joined by Headline and existing investor Incore. Josh and Dan will both be joining Brite’s board — and aside from their delight in yet another reason to visit Stockholm after fantastic experiences working with iZettle and Tink — they are looking forward to diving back into the open banking market and doing all they can to support the company on its path to category leadership. The future certainly looks Brite for instant payments, and for European merchants.