Astra secures $10m in Series A funding
By Edlyn Cardoza
Astra, a leading provider of instant card-to-card funding as a service in the U.S., announced a $10 million Series A funding round led by FPV Ventures, with participation from Slow Ventures and Allegis Capital, as well as a $30 million line of credit through CoVenture to support the company’s rapid expansion in the payments industry.
“Time to money is one of the most vital metrics for fintechs, financial institutions, and marketplaces. How quickly a user is able to complete the onboarding process, fund their account, and begin spending money are critical aspects that will likely impact a user’s activity level,” said Gil Akos, CEO and co-founder of Astra. “Astra has earned a reputation for offering one of the simplest and most effective instant funding and payment automation solutions on the market to speed up these processes. With this new capital, we are excited to not only grow our portfolio of solutions but to bring faster money movement capabilities to a larger customer base.”
In 2021 alone, the ACH network, which processes financial transactions nationally, transferred a total of $72.62 trillion, according to Nacha. Since its inception in 2012, ACH transactions have continuously grown year-over-year in the majority of existing payment categories – including peer-to-peer (P2P), business-to-business (B2B), and direct deposit – and transaction volume is only expected to rise. However, with an accelerated increase in dollar amounts and the number of financial accounts in use, complexity and friction often overwhelm FinTech businesses.
Astra offers a platform that allows developers to seamlessly add faster settlement and financial automation to their existing products via a lightweight API integration. In as little as a week of implementation time, developers can enable accelerated and risk-mitigated transfers without taking into account compliance specifications, capital commitments, or operational costs. While many payment platforms provide an incomplete solution – that is, only allowing access to payment networks without added fraud prevention – Astra’s all-in-one solution has risk mitigation and anti-fraud measures built-in, powering a level of financial functionality that was previously unattainable.
“There’s a big shift in the market where profitable growth for fintechs really matters. Astra is the case study for amazing, profitable growth that enables others to easily move money without having to build a large in-house payment infrastructure. That’s why we backed them and are excited to be on the journey with them,” said Pegah Ebrahimi, co-founder and managing director of FPV Ventures and a former global CIO at Morgan Stanley.
This Series A funding will support the expansion of Astra’s team, with a particular focus on engineering and compliance resources, to further enable faster payments from any source to any destination. Additionally, Astra aims to extend their payment solutions to sizeable enterprises as they grow its customer base in investing, lending, and business-to-business industry verticals and expand its embedded payment capabilities with other FinTech infrastructure providers.
“Account funding for customers can be a startup’s worst nightmare – they are rife with fraud, slow settlement times, fees, and gatekeepers,” said Will Reeves, CEO and co-founder of Fold. “Yet, they are critical to onboarding those new customers. Astra makes it exponentially easier with instant funding and accelerated ACH payments.”
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