Coming Out of Stealth

Sophia Goldberg

April 26, 2023

Commerce has changed but payments haven’t kept up.

In the US, we’ve been held back by entrenched card rails — which are hugely valuable but insufficient to support commerce today. While I was at Adyen, I saw merchants of all sizes building hacks to make payments fit their needs. Payments should be a tool for commerce, not a hurdle. We need payment rails that fit modern use cases.

I am excited to officially announce Ansa to the world. At the beginning of 2022, JT and I met and started discussing what we wanted payments to look like in the future. We had both been exploring problem areas that we came across during our times at Adyen and Affirm, and connected over a desire to enable payments that simply make sense. We shared a similar vision so we set out to build a platform better suited to serve the payments needs of merchants. Today, we are ready to share Ansa with you all: an API-first wallet-as-a-service platform.

We’re also announcing our first round of funding of $5.4M led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from Box Group, Cambrian Ventures, Wischoff Ventures, The Fintech Fund, and Susa Ventures.

HULT Merchants

Innovation in commerce and business models has outpaced payment rails, and both merchants and consumers pay the price. Ansa especially improves payments for a segment of companies that we call HULT merchants: habitual use, low transaction-value.

This segment consists of verticals such as coffee, quick serve, transportation, micromobility, and business models such as marketplaces, tipping on creator platforms, and micro-transactions. The unifying thread between these merchants is low-dollar transactions where the fixed fees of payments represent a larger percentage of the transactions. This negatively impacts unit economics at best and makes some transactions loss-making at worst.

The financial impact of offering your customers a wallet can be huge. A wallet can generate payments cost savings, drive retention, increase revenue, leverage cash flow, and help you understand your customers better. Starbucks is famous for leveraging a wallet to provide a great experience for their customers while driving better unit economics.

Why it’s hard today

Globally, wallets have grown as a key payment method, and while the term “wallet” can mean many things, we mean: customer balances embedded in a merchant or platform’s ecosystem.

Building a customer balances platform may seem simple, but there is a surprising amount of complexity involved in launching and maintaining a scalable and compliant solution on your own. From regulatory compliance to fraud monitoring and maintaining a performant ledger, multiple teams will need to align resources, roadmaps, and strategies.

At scale, building and maintaining a closed-loop program becomes difficult due to complex edge cases. The final 20% of ensuring project success and meeting evolving business needs can consume 80% of the time and resources. To build a powerful, revenue-generating closed loop wallet, you need ongoing investment in the technology and compliance. Partnering with Ansa future proofs your efforts.

A closed-loop wallet may not be your core product, but it can be a core value add. Only a few of the largest enterprises have been able to invest in solving this for themselves. We’re breaking down that barrier: you can integrate Ansa in sprints instead of building for quarters. While your team may struggle to maintain the system due to limited resources, we’re continually iterating.

The Ansa platform

Ansa lowers the bar for merchants to offer a digital wallet. We let merchants own the customer experience and decide how best to drive usage, we handle the rest. You don’t need to worry about the regulatory, accounting, reconciliation, ledger, and funds flow complexities.

We have developed a headless, white-label, closed-loop payments platform that allows any merchant to integrate user balances. This can be in the form of a customer prepaid wallet (similar to Starbucks) or for a merchant to fund with refunds or reward dollars. For example, if a customer wants to re-book a flight, they can cancel and an OTA app can immediately refund the amount to a wallet instead of back to their card. A refund to their card will take a few days, but by utilizing a wallet, you both retain the customer and save on payment costs for the subsequent trip.

The Ansa platform was designed with quick integrations in mind and minimal ongoing work for your teams. We connect to your existing acquirers and PSPs so you can utilize your existing payment partner and negotiated acquiring rates for customers to fund a balance.

We’re excited to support merchants to create delightful, native payment experiences. Your most loyal customers shouldn’t cost you the most. Have a use case we can help with? We’d love to hear from you.

Inspired by our mission? We’re hiring for roles in San Francisco, learn more here!

External Article

Introducing Ansa and announcing $5.4M of funding

Read Article Here

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