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Forward Raises $16 Million to Grow Payment Facilitation Platform

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Forward plans to help more software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies add payments as a product after raising $16 million in seed financing.

The company will use the new financing to meet the growing demand for this offering and to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to the risk functions of payments, Forward said in a Thursday (May 30) press release.

“Most software companies get the technical part right, but fail to achieve their business goals,” Brandon Lloyd, founder and CEO of Forward, said in the release. “We believe many software companies who have ‘integrated payments’ should be generating greater revenue from these products, and Forward is here to help them do that.”

Forward’s payment facilitation (PayFac) software and services platform helps these companies integrate and monetize payments, increasing their revenue by two to three times, according to the release.

The company’s seed round was led by Commerce Ventures, Elefund and Fiserv, per the release. In addition to providing financing and technology, Fiserv is using Forward’s capabilities as it provides services to independent software vendors (ISVs).

“With our expansion into the managed PayFac space, we are making it even easier for our clients to access payment services and go to market faster,” Jon Halpern, senior vice president and head of ISV at Fiserv, said in the release. “Fiserv and Forward are moving the industry into the future with a collective commitment to power the ISV experience.”

Many different entities see an opportunity to embed payments and payment services into the workflow as a complement to their core business, according to “How to PayFac,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Visa collaboration.

For example, the report said, appointment software for spas and salons or a food delivery aggregator may enable customers to make payments within the workflow associated with booking an appointment or placing an order.

PayFacs help merchants, marketplaces and software platforms to create new levels of engagement with users, monetize engagement in new ways that add value, and unlock new business models that reach new customers, according to “The PayFac Economy and the Embedded Payments Revolution,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Carat from Fiserv collaboration.