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As mobile payments boom, Braintree raises $35 million to take on PayPal

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hotel tonight ios screenshot
hotel tonight ios screenshot

Braintree is a digital payments platform that powers some of the world's fastest growing startups, including Fab, AirBnB, HotelTonight and Angry Birds. Today the company announced that it has raised $35 million in fresh funding from New Enterprise Associates as it looks to take on industry giant PayPal. Mobile retail and travel spending grew 80 percent in 2011 and is expected to more than double this year. "We are building the new generation of mobile payments, the company Paypal should have built, but didn't," said Braintree's outspoken CEO Bill Ready. "We've all heard the horror stories about people who got screwed by PayPal. We want to make sure people come to us before that happens, not after."

For fast growing startups, Braintree focuses on making it simple to build functionality like one-click checkout directly into a mobile app and supports 130 currencies across the globe. It recently removed the 2-3 day waiting period it had in place for small merchants, a move to compete with Paypal by offering same day approval. "HotelTonight was able to rapidly expand internationally because of the unparalleled suite of tools Braintree offers," Jared Simon, COO and Co-Founder of HotelTonight, told The Verge by email. "It's great that Braintree is making this solution available instantly to all other startups looking to scale with one payment provider."

"The company Paypal should have built, but didn't."

The company, based in Chicago, was founded in 2007 and bootstrapped to profitability before taking its first investment last year, a $34 million series A round of financing from Accel. It has grown to handle $5 billion in transactions each year, with $1 billion of that coming from mobile payments. In terms of pricing, Braintree and PayPal have roughly equivalent offerings. "We compete by offering a full suite of services, from tiny startups without much revenue to companies like Fab doing hundreds of millions in sales across the world each year," says Ready. This allows companies to avoid having to graduate to partner's like Cybersource, owned by Visa. "We know tech, which is why the world's biggest developer platforms, like Github and Heroku, use us to power their payments," says Ready. "You look at the APIs offered by folks like Cybersource and Paypal, it makes you want to cry."