Sila, a Startup Founded by Shamir Karkal to Rethink ACH, Raises $7.7 Million

Blockchain-based payments company Sila announced today it has pulled in $7.7 million in Seed funding. The round was led by Madrona Venture Group and Oregon Venture Fund with contributions from Mucker Capital, 99 Tartans, Taavet Hinrikus, and Jerry Neumann.

Sila was co-founded in 2018 by Shamir Karkal, one of the entrepreneurs who co-founded Simple in 2009 and was responsible for integrating the challenger bank’s system into BBVA after it was acquired by the mega bank in 2014 for $117 million. Karkal now serves as Sila CEO.

The company will use today’s funds to accelerate growth, introduce new product features, and acquire more customers. As part of today’s deal, Madrona Venture’s Hope Cochran and Oregon Venture’s Rick Holt will join Sila’s board of directors.

The Portland, Oregon-based company has a single API that offers what it’s termed Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Overall, Sila helps companies authenticate consumers via a partnership with Alloy, connect with consumer bank accounts via a partnership with Plaid, and move money. All three of these capabilities come together to enable companies to create their own in-app, white-labeled digital wallet. Sila’s customers range from startups to established businesses working in finance, insurance, real estate, and blockchain.

To power the funds transfers, Sila is using SILA, its own ERC token that is pegged to the U.S. penny. Since the money is held in Evolve Bank and Trust, a traditional bank, all funds are FDIC insured.

“The global financial system is broken,” said Karkal. “(It) doesn’t serve consumers, small businesses, or the innovators trying to reach them. It is too expensive, inefficient, tightly regulated, and difficult to integrate into fintech applications.” Sila is addressing these challenges in multiple ways, one of which is its price point. The company’s pricing ranges from $0 per month plus fees for startups, to just under $10k per month plus fees for enterprises.

As for what’s next, Sila is currently working on adding support for card payments, business ID verification, and international payments. The company, however, has yet to disclose timing on these projects.