Fintech startup Sila just raised $7.7 million to help developers add banking and payment capabilities to their products. Madrona Venture Group and Oregon Venture Fund led the large seed round.

The Portland, Ore.-based startup offers an API that aims to make it easier to enable white-label ACH payment processing, money transfers, digital wallets, and more, all in a compliant manner. The idea is to replace the need to integrate with legacy financial institutions and speed up the time it takes for companies to implement payment features in an app or software product.

The startup is led by CEO Shamir Karkal, who previously co-founded Simple, an online bank company acquired by BBVA for $117 million in 2014.

(Sila Image)

Karkal told GeekWire that Sila’s developer-friendly technology, approval process, and modern stack helps differentiate it against competitors.

“We have the fastest ACH processing times, support more use cases in regulated industries, and our customer success team is laser focused on providing a remarkable and pleasant experience that is far from the standard in the category,” he added.

Sila’s API also includes a built-in stablecoin called SILA, an ERC-20 token pegged 100:1 to the U.S. Dollar, with insured funds held by an FDIC member bank.

Sila charges between $4,999/month and $9,999/month; it also offers a $0/month product.

The company’s partners include Plaid, Evolve Bank & Trust, and Alloy.

Madrona Managing Director Hope Cochran, a former CFO at King Digital and Clearwire, said building a fintech startup can be difficult due to the existing regulatory frameworks.

“We believe that Sila can significantly change the way fintech companies are built and can become the de facto platform in the space,” Cochran wrote in a blog post. Seattle-based Madrona has made an effort in recent years to make the Pacific Northwest a fintech hub.

Karkal said the COVID-19 crisis is not affecting the company as much as others.

“Fortunately we are well funded and well equipped to weather the pre/during/post- pandemic era,” he said. “Our customers don’t over-index in hospitality, travel, or brick-and-mortar retail so we haven’t seen an adverse impact.”

Karkal co-founded the company with Angela Angelovska-Wilson, an attorney and former exec at Digital Asset; Isaac Hines, a finance vet who previously worked at NuScale Power; and Alexander Lipton, a former Merrill Lynch and Bank of America managing director.

Sila employs 14 people. Other seed investors include Mucker Capital; 99 Tartans; Taavet Hinrikus, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise; and Jerry Neumann of Neu Venture Capital.


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