Outliers #010

Payments; the economy's veins and arteries.

Seamus Crawford goes deep on the evolution of payment systems. While Visa and Mastercard have a strong hold on the developed world, we are seeing so much more innovation in developing regions.

Plus, an hour in Africa in numbers and the more you earn, the less you work.

And of course, if you're enjoying this weekly read - please share our publication with anyone who might be interested: outliers.ten13.vc


The most interesting global Seed to Series A deals from outside the US this week:

  1. Ox Security - US$34m - Tel Aviv, Israel - Software
    Working in the software supply chain security, Ox Security has developed its own security standard, “PBOM”. Click the link for a detailed explanation by TechCrunch, a fascinating story.
  2. OneKey - US$20m - Hong Kong - Crypto
    Backed by Ribbit Capital and Coinbase Ventures, OneKey is developing crypto hardware wallets.
  3. Juno - US$18m - Singapore - Crypto
    Juno provides checking accounts to users for their crypto assets.
  4. iiDENTIFii - US$15m - Cape Town, South Africa - Security
    The company is building biometric authentication services for customers and employees of Africa’s largest institutions.
  5. Klaus - US$12m - Talinn, Estonia - SaaS Klaus is a customer service platform that automatically analyses customer interactions and provides feedback by plugging into existing software like Zendesk.

A VC's Insight

Evolution of payments and mobile money

Seamus Crawford looks into the innovation in payments as cash quickly becomes a relic of the past.

After the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, one of the world’s longest reigning monarchs, I found it incredible to learn that her face appeared on the cash of 33 different global currencies.

It also made me reflect on how infrequently I now use cash. Whenever I grab my morning brew, I tap my phone on the small, white, square-shaped magnetic card reader of my local coffee stall. The process of a seemingly simple transaction like this has evolved beyond all measure, even in my lifetime.

Transactions are and will continue to be, at the core of every economy, both developed and developing. Payments, in particular, are a subject that we at TEN13 love geeking out on. If you start going down the payments rabbit hole, however, your head can start to spin pretty quickly.

Innovation is moving so fast, especially with recent developments in blockchain, the digital asset space, and instant payment infrastructures. As we have discussed in recent weeks, however, these incredible technological advances are no longer just limited to the wealthiest nations, with smartphone and internet penetration reaching all-time highs across many emerging economies.

Source: CityGlobe Tour

In the consumer-to-business (C2B) payments space, cash continues to be displaced at a rapid pace. C2B payments currently amount to roughly $40T globally. Around the time of the GFC, ~75% of C2B payments were transacted via physical cash or cheque - that share now only represents ~40%. Digital payments could easily increase to account for ~70% in the next decade.

In recent years, one of the key tools and catalysts that has helped drive this innovation and access for consumers has been the rise of digital/mobile wallets.

Mobile wallets are essentially digital applications enabling consumers to securely store financial information and funds, as well as execute online and offline transactions, all usually via a mobile phone. Mobile wallets are broadly categorised across three areas:

The global number of mobile wallet users is estimated to increase by almost 75%, from 2.8B in 2020 to 4.8B in 2025 (nearly 60% of the forecast global population). Furthermore, the value of digital wallet transactions is anticipated to jump from $7.5T in 2022 to over $12T in 2026.

South East Asia is anticipated to be the fastest growing region for mobile wallet use, with over 300% growth in wallet users by 2025, to 440M.

The distribution of mobile wallets is now truly global. Following the thesis that ‘every company will be a fintech’, non-banks have been leading the charge (e.g. Apple, Google, Block, Grab, Alibaba, Shopee etc).

Mobile wallets have acted as an important catalyst for financial inclusion, offering a more frictionless consumer onboarding experience. Importantly, mobile wallets don’t require a traditional bank account to get started, opening up access to a much wider set of consumers, particularly the unbanked and underbanked. Although difficult to make money from in isolation, sustainable ecosystems and business models can be built around mobile wallets; payments as a wedge can act as an initial gateway to other products such as savings, credit, investing, and insurance.

With mobile wallets as a powerful onramp for potentially billions more customers into the financial ecosystem, a number of other developments in the payments space are providing both consumers and merchants with ever more options.

Across Asia, for example, the majority of mobile wallets are built directly on instant payments infrastructure, enabling transactions to be settled within 60 seconds. For instance, India’s real-time, mobile-enabled system, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), coupled with offerings such as Paytm and Mobikwik, are expected to drive mobile wallet growth volumes to $430B by 2027 (according to BlueWeave Consulting).

With so much innovation happening in the space, even behemoths like Visa and Mastercard (which process over 15% of global GDP - think about that for a second…) are now taking notice and having to plan where they are going to sit in the payment stack over the next 10-20 years.

As well as integrating into the Samsung Pay app in India, Visa and Mastercard have launched Bharat QR, an Indian QR code-based payment method for consumers.

The payments space is clearly a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to leverage exciting new technological innovations. This hopefully results in a more frictionless and accessible ecosystem for both consumers and businesses globally. We are pumped about the future ahead and can’t wait to meet more talented founders in the space.


Diverting our attention from Twitter to a thought leader to follow on LinkedIn, Axel Peyriere is a founder and investor in African startups. This is just one of many posts every week from Axel highlighting the African investment opportunity. Below are some basic stats on just how quickly Africa is growing. I feel like I come back to the point every week, but sometimes people think emerging markets are all about future outcomes when in fact so much is being built right now. India already has 100+ unicorns, and Africa has scores of Zebras already ($100m+ companies).

Macro lens

Despite earning less than workers in more developed economies, unfortunately, workers in poorer countries are also working far longer hours. For instance, someone in China or India works 50% more than another worker in Germany or Norway. While GDPpc does not correlate to income but they are closely correlated.

This can be explained by a few factors. With lower wages, workers are forced to work longer hours, take fewer holidays or take on multiple jobs. Moreover, richer countries tend to have more tech-enabled workforces leading to productivity increases (and therefore income increases). From the end of WW2 until 2011, US farm crop yield expanded 16x despite fewer US citizens working in agriculture than ever as explained by Our World in Data.

What’s interesting to me is understanding some of the secondary effects of a developing economy. If it's assumed that as a country gets richer the fewer hours its employees spend on the job, people have more time to spend on leisure and other. This is how the consumer economy can flourish and a compounding cycle is created. When people have time on weekends or evenings and disposable income, the number of times a dollar flows through the economy booms with obvious benefits.

Your authors this week

Seamus Crawford - A lengthy career on both sides of the table, working in early stage startups in the UK and investments in Hong Kong. Too humble to tell you he has rowed across the Atlantic; an achievement admired by the team.

Alex Barrat - New to the VC world, joining the TEN13 deal team, Alex spent his early career at VC-funded scale up Stake. As one of the first ten hires, he left the team of 130 almost 5 years later. All pitches welcome. Submit your deck here.