Irish start-up Wayflyer raises €7.8m in seed funding

Founded by Aidan Corbett and Jack Pierse last year, Wayflyer employs 40 people

Wayflyer co-founders Jack Pierse and Aidan Corbett. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Wayflyer co-founders Jack Pierse and Aidan Corbett. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

 

Wayflyer, an Irish start-up that provides revenue-based financing and marketing analytics for online businesses has raised $10.2 million (€7.8 million) in seed funding.

The seed funding round was led by QED Investors, which has previously backed well-known companies such as ClearScore and CreditKarma.

Among the other participants were Middlegame Ventures, an investment firm with close connections to Ireland, and the European VC Speedinvest, whose portfolio includes Curve, Bitpanda, and Wefox.

Founded by Aidan Corbett and Jack Pierse in September 2019, Wayflyer employs 40 people between Dublin, London, New York and Sydney.

The company provides ecommerce stores with affordable, non-dilutive, unsecured capital to secure advertising and inventory ahead of selling items. It also offers detailed analytics to help clients improve their sales performance.

Wayflyer was spun out of another company founded by Mr Corbett known as Conjura, which provides analytics for larger online businesses. Mr Pierce, Wayflyer’s other co-founder and its chief financial officer, is a former venture capitalist who also spent time working at PwC and Highway1, the San Francisco-based hardware accelerator established by PCH International founder Liam Casey.

The company issued its first advance in March and since then has helped over 100 businesses with over $25 million advanced and no defaults. Wayflyer intends to use the new financing to expand its customer base and to be able to provide funds for up to 1,000 more ecommerce stores.

Among the Irish companies to receive funding advances through Wayflyer are Gym + Coffee, Ambr Eyewear and the ebike sharing scheme, Moby.

“Ecommerce stores typically have a difficult working capital profile that banks don’t like because they have to put down inventory payments and pay for advertising ahead of being able to make sales. What we do is use data to capture the value in a different and provide the short-term funding that they require,” said Mr Corbett.

Middlegame general partner Patrick Pinschmidt said he was excited to see the investment firm partnering with Wayflyer.

“The company is at the forefront of innovative open banking technology solutions that bridge big data analytics with customised financial products to help clients grow faster and more economically. This is particularly true in the SME sector, which has been underserved by traditional financial providers, and offers significant growth potential for new entrants such as Wayflyer with a differentiated value proposition,” he said.

Middlegame, which has been actively targeting Irish start-ups over the last year or so, recently established an office in the Republic, where it part-runs the NadiFin accelerator. In June it revealed a €10 million investment from Enterprise Ireland to create a pool of funding of up to €20 million for Irish fintech companies.