A team of Google executives, many of whom have worked together for years, left the company earlier this year to launch a startup. Financial technology firm Arbo Works has raised a fundraising round led by Sequoia Capital India, the two players said Thursday.
Arbo Works, led by Caesar Sengupta, said Thursday that 120 angel investors, many of them from Google, participated in the roundtable. âThis group includes CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, founders of successful startups, senior executives of technology and financial institutions, and seasoned AI and ML practitioners,â he said.
The startup is not disclosing the size of the tower, but two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that it was an eight-figure investment.
Sengupta, who previously ran Google’s Next Billion Users program and is pictured above, told TechCrunch in an interview that the funds have given Arbo Works a run for several years. “It’s a very important round,” he said.
Arbo Works has eight co-founders, all of whom previously worked at Google. In fact, on their website, Arbo Works listed 21 teammates, 20 of whom have worked at Google before (and many have worked on the company’s payment product).
âWe all enjoyed working together. It sounds strange to say this, but I would continue to work with them anywhere, even if he sells bananas, âhe said with a laugh. âEven though Google is a big company, a big part of this group has formed around Sundar (Pihai, the company’s general manager), working on Chrome OS. The group stayed together; in fact, many moved to Asia when I came here, âhe said.
So what is Arbo, which has its headquarters in Singapore and the United States, working on? Sengupta is still hesitant to share. But it did offer some context around the opportunity the startup sees. Sengupta, who worked and launched the Tez peer-to-peer payment app in India, said the startup has identified an open space in the world of consumer finance.
âWe believe that the general world of finance itself can be greatly improved. With payments we see some of that reinventing itself, but when you think about your money, the consumer experience has a lot to develop. It is a new space in consumer credit. We want to bring great consumer experiences with deep technology, âhe said.
âWe’re starting with the US market because the space we’re targeting is more open there,â he said. âBut we are building a global product. We will be bringing it to India quite soon.
Shailendra Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia India, said Arbo Works chose a “huge unresolved problem in the global fintech space.”
He added: âCaesar and his team are exceptionally accomplished having built several cutting edge products that are used by billions of internet users around the world. It’s rare for a team with such accomplishments to join forces to get started. Similar to many other mainstream fintech companies we’ve backed, this one also requires a more user-centric approach, a smoother user experience, and a more transparent and scalable platform than there probably is. today. Team Sequoia India and I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of this journey and join forces with the dozens of ultra-talented Arbonauts who come together to pursue a very inspiring mission.
I asked Sengupta why he couldn’t create what Arbo Works is trying to create in Google.
âBig business is a different kind of beast,â he said. âWe are product manufacturers. I want to build products rather than dealing with complex issues of partners, external regulators, political issues. Google is such an iconic company now that it can’t take a step without six outside people having six different opinions.
“We left [Google] on a very very friendly note. Sundar is more than a mentor or a bossâ¦ he’s a brother to me and always will be. I owe him a large part of my life, âhe said. Has Pichai invested in Arbo Works? Sengupta declined to comment, but said many Google executives have backed the startup.
Arbo Works begins to hire more people and seeks to recruit those who are focused on creating a long-term product and share similar sensibilities. “We want people who want to work with amazing people and build something that at 70 can look back and say they played a role in building it.”