Financial Technology and Services




    Realized, Acquired by Ant Financial in 2019


    London, UK



International payment platform offering FX and hedging solutions to SMBs, marketplaces, banks, asset/wealth managers and individuals globally.

Investment Theme

Rapid growth in cross border commerce.

Partnering for Rapid Growth in Cross-Border Commerce Leading to a Successful Acquisition

“WorldFirst was new to the US when we first started working with FTV Capital and we had an optimistic growth plan for the business – 5X in 5 years. I appreciated Brad’s considerable knowledge of working with businesses like ours and Kyle’s extensive knowledge of the payments landscape. Ultimately, I am pleased we were able to deliver on our growth plan and we exceeded our own expectations.”


“Set up for success to achieve triple-digit growth”
Quin describes the partnership with FTV’s Brad Bernstein & Kyle Griswold, from initial investment in 2013 through to the Ant Group acquisition in 2019.

The $700 million acquisition of UK’s WorldFirst by Alibaba’s Ant Financial in 2019 marked the largest overseas deal by the Chinese financial services giant.

WorldFirst’s international payment platform deliversforeign exchange, international payments and collections, and bank accounts around the world for SMBs and individuals globally. With a superior technology platform that streamlines the entire transaction and servicing process, WorldFirst enables the secure transfer of money internationally with market-leading rates, service and speed.

WorldFirst has transferred over $100 billion, delivering more than 250,000 business and individuals worldwide fast & secure money transfers (as of January 2021).

With its best-in-class technology platform and consistent market growth, WorldFirst garnered the attention of Ant Group — best known for its Alipay service, which is China’s dominant mobile payment app with over a billion registered users.

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With a focus on the highly complementary capabilities and international footprints of Alipay and WorldFirst, Brad Bernstein, FTV’s managing partner, remarks upon the challenges dealing with a Chinese strategic buyer when China-US tensions were high combined with the macro environment backdrop of rising competition and price pressure in the foreign exchange market:

“Ant Group is a firm that is famous for their organic growth and their expansion, but it’s also known to be a Goliath in Asia. To get them to acquire a leading fintech company in the UK with significant operations in the US took the best of our firm’s 22-year experience, combined with the remarkable work of CEO Jonathan Quin who highlighted the synergies that could be derived from this deal.”

FTV and WorldFirst collaborated to successfully thread that needle, constructing a win-win solution that allowed Ant Group’s strategic buyout of WorldFirst and achieving a 5x return on a pound-to-pound evaluation.

FTV Value Add

C-level Talent Recruitment

FTV helped WorldFirst strengthen the C-level team with the addition of a new CFO, CTO and strategic business expansion hires, including a new Head of Asia and Head of the US.

Geographic Expansion

FTV supported the company’s rapid expansion into Asia and the Americas from its UK headquarters.


Collaborated with the CFO to establish new financial systems, strengthen the finance team & improve internal reporting.

Product / Technology Strategy

FTV supported a significant ramp in technology resources and personnel to scale WorldFirst’s platform and advised on product extensions and positioning.

Strategic Introductions

Drawing upon the strength of our Global Partner Network, FTV’s dedicated business development team made 90+ strategic introductions to banks, payroll and eCommerce businesses which led to a number of key commercial contracts.

Successful Exit

FTV introduced advisors and prospective buyer/investors and closely collaborated with the CEO on complex acquisition negotiations.