Meet Trustshare, a London-based startup that is working on escrow infrastructure for online classified, B2B marketplaces, trade directories and more. It’s a white-label platform that can be integrated with online marketplaces in just a few lines of code.
If you’ve ever tried to sell something expensive on the web, you know that it’s hard to know for sure that you’re not getting scammed. For instance, that person that is trying to buy your old phone from you — should you send the phone first or ask the buyer to send the money first?
If a marketplace relies on Trustshare for payments, buyers first have to checkout and leave money into a dedicated transaction-based account. Trustshare can also handle identity verification steps, such as KYC and AML checks (Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering). The seller can check the status of the funds. Once the buyer has received the product, they can release funds to the seller.
Behind the scenes, Trustshare generates a dedicated IBAN per transaction. Customers can deposit money using bank transfers or cards. In the U.K. and Europe, Trustshare takes advantage of open banking regulation so that users can connect to their bank account from the checkout flow.
If you don’t want to tweak your site’s code, you can also use Trustshare for offline sales and transactions that happen over email or messaging apps. The company lets you generate QR codes or payment links to initiate a payment.
The startup has raised an angel round from several business angels, such as Cazoo and Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman and Carwow founder James Hind. After that, Trustshare raised a $3.2 million seed round (£2.3 million) led by Nauta Capital.
Many companies could leverage Trustshare to launch their own marketplace as escrow payment is one of the biggest pain points. For instance, you can imagine luxury brands launching their own marketplaces of handbags and watches, new car marketplaces focused on one type of cars in particular, etc.
“Our 5 lines of code branded escrow checkout is taking many marketplaces, brands that consumers know and trust, transactional. Really, this is just the start. Our borderless escrow infrastructure is incredibly powerful, and we plan to launch new products including instant pay-throughs, baskets and projects to make payments as quick and easy as sending an email,” co-founder and CEO Nick Fulton said in a statement.
Trustshare is built on top of existing payment infrastructure. That’s why it supports 180 countries and 30 currencies already. The company’s initial clients include Watchcollecting, Bookabuilder and U.K. trade body FENSA’s Deposit Protection service.