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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

SMB card platform draws attention, funding

Payments executives John Macllwaine and Kin Kee, who served as general manager and director of architecture, respectively, at Braintree, a PayPal brand, unveiled Highnote, a new card platform designed for small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

MacIlwaine will serve as chief executive officer and Kee as chief technology officer at the card issuing and payment processing platform, which came out of stealth mode on Sept. 28, 2021, after raising $54 million. Costanoa Ventures, XYZ, SVB Capital, and WestCap venture capital firms and angel investors Bill Ready and Renaud Laplanche, participated in seed and Series A funding rounds, Highnote representatives stated.

MacIlwaine and Kee, who opened Highnote's San Francisco headquarters in 2020 with a core team of 40 specialists, are seeking to fill additional openings in engineering, operations and marketing, they stated. The co-founders described their workplace environment as "empowered, inclusive and remote-friendly."

Embedded payments, compliance

As an issuing and payment processing platform, Highnote positions itself as an agile resource that can help SMBs deliver embedded payments and finance options to their customers. The Highnote platform will level a global commerce playing field dominated by Amazon, Shopify and Apple while enabling SMBs to fully participate in the digital commerce ecosystem, company representatives stated.

Highnote's modern features will enable SMBs to launch payment card products and financial services in record time, according to the company's website. In addition, the platform's built-in compliance and fraud prevention capabilities will further protect SMBs from emerging threats, the company stated.

Christopher Bulin, founder and CEO at Proven PCI, pointed out that numerous small and midsize businesses mistakenly believe they are not at risk for security breaches, but in fact are frequently targeted by threat actors. "It's great that Highnote platform is Level 1 PCI compliant," he said. "However, small and midsize business owners who use PCI compliant platforms still need to reference the PCI security standards for validation; achieving and maintaining compliance are more complex than just checking a box."

Simplicity, flexibility

Highnote is designed to be flexible and simple but markedly different than "one-size-fits-all" solutions typically offered to small and midsize merchants, company representatives stated. The platform's user-friendly design and APIs will enable developers to easily customize and scale their payments experiences while making changes on the fly, they added.

Meaghan Wood, payments technology executive, commended Highnote for democratizing scalability. "While Silicon Valley is frothing at the mouth to seed slick fintech ventures, rarely do those bets come with PayPal executive heavy weight connections," she said. "Highnote is onto something as they look to provide solutions to the oftentimes overlooked SMB and middle market B2B segments."

Greg Sands, managing director of Costanoa Ventures, praised Highnote's unique approach to card issuance and embedded finance. "We genuinely believe they have the power to change how any company doing commerce envisions what's possible for their customer experience," he said in a statement.

For additional information about high note, visit www.highnoteplatform.com. end of article

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