Armed with fresh funding, fintech firm Veem looks to expand Ottawa operations

Marwan Forzley
Veem co-founder and CEO Marwan Forzley says the California-based fintech firm is primed to expand its Canadian headquarters in Kanata. Photo courtesy Veem

A Silicon Valley-based fintech company plans to bolster its already significant presence in the National Capital Region after landing more than US$30 million in new venture capital.

Veem ​– a global payments platform targeted at small and medium-sized businesses that allows customers to send and receive money transfers via blockchain technology ​– recently closed a $31-million financing round led by Truist Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of U.S. commercial banking powerhouse Truist Financial Corp.

Veem co-founder and CEO Marwan Forzley says the six-year-old firm plans to use the fresh equity to expand into new markets and boost its R&D efforts. More than 225,000 customers now use the platform, which is currently available in 110 countries.

Forzley, who grew up in Ottawa, says the expansion push will mean additional hiring at Veem’s Canadian headquarters in Kanata, where much of its product development occurs and the majority of the company’s employees work.

“We’re absolutely going to increase the size of the (Ottawa) team,” says the University of Ottawa computer science graduate, who’s also a past recipient of OBJ’s Forty Under 40 Award. “We do like that market and we’re going to continue to invest in it and grow it.”

$100M in VC financing

Founded in 2014 under the name Align Commerce, Veem has now raised more than US$100 million in VC financing. The company won’t disclose its total employee count or annual revenues, but Forzley says the number of accounts on its platform has been doubling every year and is on pace to do so again in 2020.

Veem’s technology aims to simplify the traditional process for transferring money across international borders, which involves a series of transactions – with the associated fees and currency conversions – across banks’ global networks. 

Veem converts a sender’s money into cryptocurrency as an intermediate step between the recipient’s final payout, removing a host of transactions and conversions from the standard process. Instead of asking senders and receivers to exchange banking information, Veem requires just a recipient’s name and email address.

“Our role is to remove friction from the process,” Forzley explains. 

Truist Ventures head Vanessa Vreeland says Veem is “solving a critical pain point” for SMEs.

“Their proprietary multi-rail technology enables connections between businesses and their vendors, suppliers and contractors through a service that is easy to use and more cost-effective than legacy cross-border B2B payment options – capabilities that our clients need,” she said in a statement.

The pandemic has fuelled an “explosion” of global e-commerce transactions that require money to be moved at lightning speed from one part of the world to another, Forzley says, and customers are clamouring for solutions that make that process more efficient.

“Technology has no concept of boundaries and countries,” he says. “Because of that, you’re going to see more and more drive towards globalization and global transactions driven by technology.