September 2021, Jeeves After participating in Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 cohort, began offering corporate credit cards as its main product (mainly focused on Latin America).
When it launches in 2021, Jeeves describes itself as the first “multi-national, cross-currency” expense management platform – serving businesses in North America, the UK and Europe. The company has raised a total of $265 million in equity funding at a valuation of $2.1 billion.
In 2022, the startup appears to have hit a big stride. Heading into 2023, the company has an annualized run rate of more than $40 million, up 250% year-over-year, CEO and founder Dileep Thazhmon said. Today, it announced further expansion, now offering prepaid cards and cross-border payments for businesses.
Jeeves describes itself as “a financial operating system built for global corporations”. The fully remote New York-based company is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), CRV and Tencent, and recently raised an additional $25 million from an undisclosed sovereign wealth fund in the Middle East.
Notably, the 182-employee startup still has more than three years to grow, Thazhmon said.
“We were lucky to raise capital at the right time. We also focused on reducing burn — I think we’ve cut costs by almost 50% in the past five months,” he added. “Contributing to profits is the focus this year. We want to be active in all the countries where we operate and in all the products we have.”
Beyond Credit Expansion
Jeeves’ story runs counter to many others in the fintech space, where funding has plummeted and growth stories are harder to come by.
Thazhmon said the startup’s expansion helped round out its offering as an “all-in-one platform” that combines accounts payable, invoicing and expense management with credit and prepaid cards for companies operating across borders. That, he hopes, will only help it grow further.
“By launching prepaid cards and cross-border payments, our customers can go beyond employee expenses and use Jeeves to pay for all company-related expenses, including supplier payments and invoices,” said Thazhmon.
As part of the new service, Jeeves claims, customers will be able to transfer funds in and out of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico within 24 hours — a process that has historically taken up to seven days. Most importantly, customers will be able to pay for operations in more than 150 countries in their local currency using multilingual invoice scanning technology.
The company hopes to expand beyond credit as customers ask if they can also choose to send money in the form of preloaded cards or customer deposits to fund their operations in other countries.
“We look a bit like Global Bill.com, where one component is expense management and the other is accounts payable, so it’s much more robust than a credit-based corporate card,” Thzhmon said.
In May, Jeeves also completed full local issuance in all 22 countries where it operates, and can pay in local currencies.
“This is a very big differentiator because it means we are the only expense management company that can issue local cards in Latin America, North America and Europe,” Thzhmon told TechCrunch. “It takes time to build railroads in other countries. If you look at expense management platforms in the U.S., they can’t join a company based in Mexico. If you look at expense management providers in Mexico, they can’t join a company based in the U.S. Jeeves can do both.”
Building “One Country One Country”
Jeeves was founded in 2020 on the premise that start-ups have traditionally had to rely on local and country-specific financial infrastructure. For example, a business with employees in Mexico and Colombia needed multiple providers for its treasury functions in each country—one corporate card for Mexico, one for Colombia, and another provider for cross-border payments.
The company said it provides underwriting, credit and payment channels in local currencies for “any business expenditure that crosses borders and currencies.” Its current customers include Kavak, dLocal and Rappi in 22 countries in North America, Latin America, the UK and Europe. Nearly 60 percent of Jeeves’ revenue comes from Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.
The company is an official Mastercard member in these three countries and claims to be the only expense management provider with a local Bank Identification Number (BIN) in all 22 countries on three continents where it operates. Jeeves said it could join companies based in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Europe.
“We’re basically building country by country in each region. That’s why it’s such a huge achievement,” Tazmon said. “It took about 18 months to get this done.”
To support its continued growth, Jeeves recently made several high-profile hires, including Alex Melikian, formerly of Payoneer, as chief financial officer; Daniel Adams, formerly of Marqeta, as chief compliance officer; and Lowell Isaacs, formerly of Capital One, as its vice president of credit risk and underwriting.
“Our long-term goal is to go public,” Tazmon told TechCrunch. “Given that we’ve been with YC less than 3 years and officially launched two years ago, our next phase involves expanding our leadership team and recruiting leaders with public company experience, including understanding what it takes to turn a young fast-growing startup into a scalable public company.”
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