Software July 28, 2021
Democratizing Card Issuing: Our Investment in Lithic
Over the last decade, there has been tremendous growth in the card acquiring ecosystem with rise of generational companies like Stripe, Adyen, and Square that make it easy for businesses to accept card payments. However, card issuing has not yet seen a similar renaissance, as the vast majority of the market continues to be dominated by big banks. As big believers of embedded finance, we expect that by the end of the next decade, it will be hard to imagine a business that doesn’t offer some financial service alongside its core product, just the way it is hard to imagine a business without a website today. Companies of all types and levels of maturity including retailers, telcos, software companies, car manufacturers, insurance providers, and logistics companies are launching embedded financial products as they look to drive stickiness in their offering and capture a greater share of economics. And customers have shown great receptivity to embedded financial products from non-banks: offering the right product at the right time in the customer journey dramatically increases conversion of that product.
Cards are increasingly a preferred form of payment due to convenience, security, real time payouts, and cost savings. But launching a card program has historically been a long, painful process. Some modern platforms have amassed leadership in the enterprise segment, but while modern merchant acquirers disrupted the resource intensive model for the long-tail of companies taking payments, but no one has built a developer first platform to do the same with issuing.
While building their own issuing infrastructure to support their consumer business of Privacy.com, Lithic cofounders Bo, Jason, and David realized how difficult it is for even the most technically sophisticated companies to launch a card program. They decided to productize the issuing infrastructure they had built and expose it via a simple, intuitive API. The result was Lithic: the easiest and most flexible way for any company to create configurable cards and approve transactions in real-time. No longer does it take months or even years to stand up a card program – with Lithic, developers around the world can issue virtual or physical cards in minutes without worrying about the complexity of the underlying infrastructure.
By dramatically lowering the cost and scale barriers to entry, Lithic is poised to massively broaden the scope of what is possible with card issuing.
Stripes Leads Lithic’s $60M Series C Financing
We are excited to invest in Lithic because we believe its best-in-class technology and developer-friendly approach will enable businesses of all shapes and sizes to harness the benefits of physical and virtual cards. We believe modern card issuing is in its early phases of adoption and Lithic is well-positioned to power many new use cases yet to emerge. Some businesses may issue cards to make process improvements to their payments-related workflows. Others may try to deepen their relationship with existing customers while unlocking new payments-based business model innovation and additional revenue opportunities for themselves. By dramatically lowering the cost and scale barriers to entry, Lithic is poised to massively broaden the scope of what is possible with card issuing.
Since officially launching its issuing platform in early 2020, Lithic has acquired all its customers organically and built a massive pipeline without any outbound sales efforts. Every customer we spoke with underscored the product’s ease of use and customizability and were planning to significantly increase usage over time.
We’ve known founder & CEO Bo Jiang since 2017 and have been consistently impressed with his domain expertise, thoughtful leadership style, and ambitious vision. We are thrilled to welcome Bo and the rest of the Lithic team to the Stripes family and help Lithic on its mission to unlock the power of embedded payments.