British start-up escrow payments provider Trustshare has raised £2.3 million ($3 million U.S.) of seed funding to develop new products and expand into the U.S.
Trustshare provides non-transactional marketplaces, B2B, online classified and trade directories with the ability to offer their customers secure escrow payments. It now wants to produce a system that minimises fraud for high-value online purchases at a time when ecommerce fraud is growing.
The funding round is being led by Nauta Capital. Trustshare previously raised angel investment from Alex Chesterman, founder of Zoopla and Cazoo and CarWow’s CEO James Hind.
The investment will be used to accelerate core product features, hire talent across key business functions and open its first U.S. office. Later this year the company plans to launch alternative payment methods including credit checkout for consumers.
The company’s new digital escrow platform is easier to integrate because – unlike many existing third-party escrow providers – Trustshare’s white label platform enables brands and online marketplaces that consumers already have high trust ratings for to launch their own branded escrow system using just five lines of code.
Once live, buyers are able to checkout using a dedicated account for each transaction on the marketplace by generating a dedicated IBAN per transaction. Customers can deposit funds using cards or by bank transfer.
The seller can clearly see when the funds arrive, and can then deliver the service or product. Once this has been done and the buyer is happy, they release funds to the seller. Trustshare can be used for offline sales or transactions that occur via email or messaging apps. QR codes or payment links can be used to make a payment. Marketplaces can take a share of the transaction, adding a new revenue source for their business.
Trustshare hope their new system will offer online marketplaces a new solution for escrow systems which can be difficult for businesses to offer to customers because they operate within a regulated industry, are complex and can be difficult for businesses to build and operate their own versions.
“Escrow is viewed as this slow, archaic payment method used in M&A and traditional property purchases, but its core premise of offering a trust layer between buyer and seller is of ever-increasing value in a world moving remote,” said Nick Fulton, CEO and co-founder of Trustshare.
“Our 5 lines of code branded escrow checkout is taking many marketplaces, brands that consumers know and trust, transactional. We plan to launch new products including instant pay-throughs, baskets and projects to make payments as quick and easy as sending an email.”
One example of how the system is easy to use and to attract users is that sellers only have to “onboard” with KYC/AML controls after buyers have completed checkout, whilst funds are safeguarded in the dedicated escrow account. This means payments can be rolled out immediately across all listings, so users don’t have to make verification checks before completing a transaction.
Trustshare operates payments in over 180 countries and 30 global currencies and is currently focusing on non-transactional B2B marketplaces, online classified, and trade directories.