Sitting in Silicon Valley, it’s easy to assume that the wave of payments adoption triggered by the advent of formidable modern vendors like Stripe, Adyen, and others has hit every developer and online business. The reality is, however, more complicated and the needs of the next set of customers along the demand curve can vary significantly from the early adopters from the past few years. No one knows this better than Joshua Silver who, fresh off running his healthcare payments business for more than a decade, decided to reset by consulting with companies across industries, helping navigate them through the byzantine maze of vendors and software offerings to stitch together a payments strategy.
It was here, embedded with customers in the trenches, with a deep and growing understanding of what on-the-ground customers needed, that Joshua hatched the idea and approach that would eventually become Rainforest: a purpose-built, world-class technology platform with a high-touch customer engagement model to help platforms successfully adopt. Building for this specific segment of customers from the ground up allows them to offer the right blend of functionality and flexibility, in a way that’s hard to compete with for incumbents that have bolted on this offering. Additionally, this set of customers has different expectations and needs, where a DIY service model can fall short both in getting them to adopt and in successfully onboarding their merchants’ payment volume.
Taking the plunge, Joshua assembled a team of payments experts, both from his past startup (I always pay attention when former colleagues follow someone) and from his time consulting, and Rainforest was born. They are based in Atlanta, which shouldn’t be surprising given how much of the industry is there; on my recent trip down for Rainforest’s launch party, I was reminiscing about my frequent trips to the FirstData office back when I was building CardSpring, and it’s encouraging to see continued innovation in the region. And although it’s early, the technology platform, market positioning, and more white-glove, customer-centric approach appears to be paying off already; word is spreading and we’ve been fortunate to onboard a number of larger platforms much faster than we were expecting.
Given all that, I’m thrilled to announce that Accel is leading Rainforest’s $8.5 million seed financing, alongside our friends from Infinity Ventures, Box Group, and a number of fintech funds and executives including Itai Damti, CEO of Unit, and Daniel Simon, CEO of Coast, both portfolio founders that I work very closely with. Joshua has more to say about the round. Rainforest continues a long tradition of Accel backing leading fintech investments, and notably not just in Silicon Valley, such as Braintree, Galileo, Pismo, Truebill, Venmo, in addition to Unit and Coast. And in Rainforest, we see the same potential to unlock the next wave of payments adoption.