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Investing in Code: Building a Platform for Seamless Global Micropayments

M13 leads a $6.5M seed round to a Solana-based payments platform by a seasoned team of Kik alumni, with participation from Union Square Ventures.

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By
Latif Peracha
Latif Peracha
By M13 Team
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February 6, 2024
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3 min

When I first met Code founder and CEO Ted Livingston, in addition to his hearty laugh, the thing I was most impressed by was his ability to keep his same core team of nine together for a decade across multiple companies. It is a testament to Ted's leadership and vision as well as to the power of enduring relationships.

Ted has often been early. As a college student at Waterloo, he was part of the early days of BlackBerry (then known as Research in Motion). He went on to found Kik, the first chat app to reach over 100 million users. The messaging app had 40 million monthly active users at its peak and many consider it to be the predecessor to WeChat.

Since selling Kik in 2019, Ted and team have been working on their next act, in a space that’s been discussed for decades: micropayments.

Code is a new global payments platform that allows creators to earn money on anything they put online. The experience for both sender and receiver is seamless and instant, and Code allows people to charge as little as 5¢ per transaction. The system leverages self-custodial blockchain technology and is built on Solana.

Existing payments apps are fragmented by use case (e.g., Venmo focuses on P2P, Stripe focuses on internet B2C, Square focuses on in-person B2C) and geography (e.g., Stripe in the US vs. Adyen in Europe). They are also subject to regulatory complexity that limits global functionality and leads to high fees.

We believe that Code has the opportunity to build a payments network that reaps the benefits of crypto—global by default, low fees, self custody, modular developer experience–while maintaining the benefits of traditional payment channels, such as privacy between parties and ease of use. We also think it has the team to execute.

For people that say crypto has not reached product-market fit, it’s worth noting that stablecoin volumes are outpacing Mastercard and Paypal, with a market cap of more than $135B. But it is true that there is not a magical product experience. We believe Code can provide that experience in payments.

Code has built its own L2 on top of Solana to ensure performance and security even when the network is most congested. This should give developers and their end users the most consistent, seamless experienceM13 has been actively investing in crypto and in the Solana ecosystem for several years, and our latest investment in Code fits squarely in our thesis.

Code is live today; download it at getcode.com. The team has also released a developer platform and will soon be launching a new blogging tool to empower anyone anywhere to get paid for their writing.

On the note of enduring relationships, it is always a great sign when your previous investors sign up for your next act. In this case, we’re thrilled to partner with Fred Wilson and Union Square Ventures as well as angel investors Balaji Srinivasan, Roham Gharegozlou, Anatoly Yakovenko, Raj Gokal, Mert Mumtaz, and more.

When I first met Code founder and CEO Ted Livingston, in addition to his hearty laugh, the thing I was most impressed by was his ability to keep his same core team of nine together for a decade across multiple companies. It is a testament to Ted's leadership and vision as well as to the power of enduring relationships.

Ted has often been early. As a college student at Waterloo, he was part of the early days of BlackBerry (then known as Research in Motion). He went on to found Kik, the first chat app to reach over 100 million users. The messaging app had 40 million monthly active users at its peak and many consider it to be the predecessor to WeChat.

Since selling Kik in 2019, Ted and team have been working on their next act, in a space that’s been discussed for decades: micropayments.

Code is a new global payments platform that allows creators to earn money on anything they put online. The experience for both sender and receiver is seamless and instant, and Code allows people to charge as little as 5¢ per transaction. The system leverages self-custodial blockchain technology and is built on Solana.

Existing payments apps are fragmented by use case (e.g., Venmo focuses on P2P, Stripe focuses on internet B2C, Square focuses on in-person B2C) and geography (e.g., Stripe in the US vs. Adyen in Europe). They are also subject to regulatory complexity that limits global functionality and leads to high fees.

We believe that Code has the opportunity to build a payments network that reaps the benefits of crypto—global by default, low fees, self custody, modular developer experience–while maintaining the benefits of traditional payment channels, such as privacy between parties and ease of use. We also think it has the team to execute.

For people that say crypto has not reached product-market fit, it’s worth noting that stablecoin volumes are outpacing Mastercard and Paypal, with a market cap of more than $135B. But it is true that there is not a magical product experience. We believe Code can provide that experience in payments.

Code has built its own L2 on top of Solana to ensure performance and security even when the network is most congested. This should give developers and their end users the most consistent, seamless experienceM13 has been actively investing in crypto and in the Solana ecosystem for several years, and our latest investment in Code fits squarely in our thesis.

Code is live today; download it at getcode.com. The team has also released a developer platform and will soon be launching a new blogging tool to empower anyone anywhere to get paid for their writing.

On the note of enduring relationships, it is always a great sign when your previous investors sign up for your next act. In this case, we’re thrilled to partner with Fred Wilson and Union Square Ventures as well as angel investors Balaji Srinivasan, Roham Gharegozlou, Anatoly Yakovenko, Raj Gokal, Mert Mumtaz, and more.

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