Visa Broad­ens Its In­vest­ments

Many of Visa’s re­cent in­vest­ments have fo­cused on mer­chant ac­quir­ing tech­nol­ogy. Its in­vest­ment in Mar­qeta opens new paths.


Visa’s re­cent lead­ing of a $25 mil­lion in­vest­ment round in Mar­qeta is an un­usual move for the card net­work, which has most re­cently fo­cused its in­vest­ments in mer­chant ac­quir­ing tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies.

While a lot of the at­ten­tion for open de­vel­op­ment has gone to di­rect mer­chant ac­quir­ing, Mar­qeta sees other links in the pay­ment chain that can ben­e­fit from fast and min­i­mal­ist de­ploy­ment.

Mar­qeta in­stead has its eyes on ecom­merce, al­ter­na­tive lend­ing and ‘gig econ­omy’ com­pa­nies.

“The suc­cess of a mod­ern com­pany lives and dies on the user ex­pe­ri­ence, whether it’s a com­mer­cial space or the con­sumer space,” said Ja­son Gard­ner, CEO of Mar­qeta, an Oak­land, Calif.based com­pany that sells tech­nol­ogy to power card is­suance and tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment via a sand­box, or open space for ex­ter­nal de­vel­op­ers.

Visa didn’t re­turn a re­quest for com­ment by dead­line. It has re­cently in­vested in Stripe, which makes it eas­ier for re­tail­ers to build pay­ment ac­cep­tance pages into their web­sites.

The card net­work has also made a re­cent in­vest­ment in Klarna, which just re­ceived a bank­ing li­cense in Swe­den, and has opened its own tech­nol­ogy to third party de­vel­op­ers.

Mar­qeta is an is­suer pro­ces­sor, pro­vid­ing an API that pow­ers the de­vel­op­ment and de­ploy­ment of pay­ment cards, vir­tual cards and mo­bile autho­riza­tion prod­ucts.

The com­pany con­tends it is de­moc­ra­tiz­ing ac­cess to pay­ments tech­nol­ogy for new is­suers and fin­tech com­pa­nies.

Its “Just-in-time’ (JIT) fund­ing fea­ture en­ables com­pa­nies to au­tho­rize their own card trans­ac­tions by ac­cess­ing a sand­box to build autho­riza­tion in a few min­utes, then use Mar­qeta’s card con­trols and con­fig­u­ra­tions to build a funded card pro­gram in a few days.

This model is de­signed to shave time and steps from more tra­di­tional pro­cess­ing and is­suance given the pace the emerg­ing elec­tronic pay­ments mar­ket re­quires for trans­ac­tion types such as payables, al­ter­na­tive lend­ing, dis­burse­ments, e-com­merce, on-de­mand ser­vices and P-to-p pay­ments.

“If they don’t have an open plat­form to build on, a com­pany has to make changes more of­ten,” Gard­ner said.

The Visa in­vest­ment will go to­ward dis­tri­bu­tion.

“Visa is a rail­road that con­nects ev­ery mer­chant in the world,” Gard­ner said.

“The suc­cess of a mod­ern com­pany lives and dies on the user ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Ja­son Gard­ner, CEO of Mar­qeta.

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