Payments

Online payment platform Highnote emerges from stealth with $54 million in funding

The startup says its branded card experiences and flexible payment options “levels the playing field” for smaller merchants.
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Highnote

· less than 3 min read

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What makes online shopping easier? Faster checkouts? Payment flexibility? (Or maybe just a bigger paycheck.)

While buy now, pay later options and co-branded cards are commonplace for big retailers, it’s been slow-going for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

A new startup wants to help speed things up.

Highnote emerged out of stealth this week with $54 million in funding; Oak HC/FT led the Series A round, after co-leading a seed round with Costanoa Ventures.

  • Other investors include Bill Ready, president of commerce and payments at Google (and former COO of PayPal).

Check it out: Highnote’s pitch is that its platform “levels the playing field” for smaller merchants, according to cofounder John Macllwaine.

“These [businesses] are trying to rebuild their brand, sell products, and differentiate themselves, but are not necessarily experts in banking and regulatory and payments,” he told Retail Brew. “It’s really about providing those capabilities in an open, modern platform so that they can move really fast and get on with growing a business.”

  • Highnote noted it cuts the timeline to launch a card to weeks, versus the typical four to eight months.
  • The startup, which is both the card issuer and processor, said it “shares in the revenue of the card programs...set up.”

The big picture: As the pandemic pushed consumers online, SMEs need to meet shoppers where they are. A Salesforce survey found that 71% of the small and medium-sized businesses it polled said their customers now expect them to offer digital transactions.—JS

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