Fintech firm Marqeta has hired its first UK employee as it prepares to launch in Europe

Jason Gardner marqeta

  • Marqeta, an American card-issuing fintech firm is preparing to launch in Europe.
  • It has hired its first employee in the continent, based in London, and is preparing to open a formal office.
  • “[We] have always seen ourselves a global issuer-processor and Europe is obviously an enormous market,” CEO Jason Gardner said.

SAN FRANCISCO — Californian fintech firm Marqeta has hired its first London employee as it gears up to launch in Europe in 2018.

The Oakland firm, founded in 2010, provides underlying payment card technology that helps power some big startups including fintech firms like Square and Kabbage and on-demand startups like Instacart and Doordash.

It has raised $ 76 million in venture capital over the years, most recently a $ 25 million strategic investment in 2017 led by Visa, and is now eyeing up a European expansion, CEO Jason Gardner told Business Insider in an interview.

“The use-cases we see here in the US and Canada are very similar to the use-cases we see in Europe,” he said. “Since our inception [we] have always seen ourselves as a global issuer-processor and Europe is obviously an enormous market.”

The 180-employee company has hired Ian Johnson, formerly the European commercial director at payments processing firm Wex, to be Marqeta’s Head of European Growth, and there are plans in the works to open a formal office in London and hire further staff later this year. The company has also appointed a head of international strategy, Renata Caine (who also previously worked at Wex), who will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gardner frames Marqeta as a provider of modern payment card solutions for companies built in the last few years — as well as “companies that haven’t been built yet.” Its tech lets firms issue physical and virtual cards for an array of uses, from physical cards for gig economy workers that can be activated on demand and used to purchase customers’ food orders, to virtual cards for making business payments.

The chief exec declined to provide revenue figures for Marqeta, though he said the company is seeing “enormous growth,” and is not currently profitable.

The United Kingdom will be an “primary focus” for Marqeta in Europe, he said, because of the prevalence of payment cards, along with other countries with particularly high usage.

“Launching in Europe is no small feat, especially for a company [that is] very heavily regulated,” he said. “Almost every single country has different rules and regulations on how you handle their citizens’ data … a lot of this is about being incredibly precise about how we launch and making sure that as we’re making these investments and growth initiatives we’re being very mindful about the plans.”

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