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Alphabet leads investment in UK Payments startup Currencycloud

[LONDON] Alphabet Inc.'s venture capital unit led a US$25 million investment in the UK payments startup Currencycloud, which lets users to electronically send money internationally via mobile apps.

The funding will be used for international expansion in the US and elsewhere, as the company attempts to take advantage of the growing use of mobile phones to send money, according to a company statement Thursday.

Similar to competitors such as San Francisco-based Stripe, Currencycloud provides the technical infrastructure that powers cross-border payments for banks and apps. 

Created in 2012, Currencycloud's customers include the foreign exchange firm Travelex Ltd, e-commerce company Klarna AB and the lender Standard Bank Group.

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"Currencycloud is the leader in providing cross-border payment services in this manner, a real need as companies globalise," Tom Hulme, a general partner at GV, the Alphabet venture capital arm formerly known as Google Ventures, said in a statement.

GV has backed companies including Uber Technologies Inc, Slack Technologies Inc, 23andMe Inc and many other emerging technologies companies. The cash infusion brings Currencycloud's total investment to US$61 million.

Enthusiasm for finance-focused startups fell last year. The area known as fintech received US$12.3 billion globally from venture capitalists in 2016, down 13 per cent from 2015, according to the research firm CB Insights.