Theo Wethered


02nd September 2021

Providing trust for high-value online transactions: why we invested in trustshare

This week we are thrilled to announce that Nauta Capital has led trustshare’s £2.3m Seed round to help the team in scaling their team and product.

Why are we so excited about what the team is building? trustshare’s product allows online marketplaces of any kind to facilitate high-value transactions between parties that don’t know or trust each other, using escrow payments that are extremely easy to deploy with just 5 lines of code, a space we believe is in need of a market-leading product.

So, what is escrow? With escrow payments money is held by a trusted third party that verifies both buyers and sellers and the money is paid out only once the job or purchase has been completed and both buyer and seller are checked and verified, giving complete peace of mind and protection for everyone. It’s a method of payment commonly used in law, banking and M&A transactions for extremely high-value transactions, but in reality, the need is much greater for consumers and small businesses where trust is lower and pursuing legal options or arbitration to reverse fraudulent transactions is much less feasible.

Below we overview some of the reasons why we’re excited and why we think Trustshare’s product is one to watch:

Clear market demand: their early customers include B2B marketplaces, classified ad sites, and online tradesperson directories, but the product is also applicable to property transactions, auction houses and a wide range of other markets. All of these segments are plagued by a common problem: they want to monetise their business with a transactional business model but are currently not able to do so. Instead, trustshare aligns the interests of everyone involved: the marketplaces become transactional and monetise areas of their business that were previously unmonetised while providing a better service for their customers, meanwhile, the buyers and sellers can transact with greater trust and lower friction. The prevalence of that problem has hence lead to trustshare rapidly acquiring a range of early clients and partners including Fensa, SafePay, racemarket, Regionally, WatchCollecting, and BookaBuilder.

Fast-moving team: the team has moved extremely quickly in building, launching and selling their product within just months of starting the company. Their customers love that about them and this is a key characteristic for startups to stay ahead of the competition.

Ambitious long-term vision:  escrow is not yet a common household name, however, there is a very clear market need for a supplier that can deliver trusted payments for high-value transactions. The value of transactions that could be applicable is estimated to be >$500bn in the UK alone, and >$3trn in the US, but Nick, Joe and the team don’t want to stop there. they want to build trustshare into the go-to provider for high-value transactions of any kind

Market timing and trends: trustshare is well-positioned to benefit from several powerful market trends.

  • Unless you’ve been under a rock for the 2 years you’ll know how much time and money is being invested into marketplaces, (particularly B2B), many of which are growing extremely quickly but often lack a reliable and secure mechanism to handle large transactions that suit all parties or can make affordable international transfers.
  • Beyond this, Open Banking is becoming ever more prevalent and could significantly reduce the cost of transactions, however, it leaves an opportunity for a provider like trustshare to facilitate trust between the transacting parties.
  • Finally, PSD2 stipulated that marketplace businesses like their customer base are no longer able to hold client funds without being regulated to do so and will need a provider like trustshare to allow them to achieve the same ends

Working with the team on the investment has been a pleasure and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve!