Antler Australia

Antler Investor Memo Series: Blockchain payments gateway Syrax is rewriting the rules for merchants using crypto

- May 12, 2023 3 MIN READ
Sanjeev Rao and Babak Rafat
Syrax cofounders Sanjeev Rao and Babak Rafat

Early stage investment company Antler Australia recently backed a new cohort of startups as part of its ongoing program to build great local tech companies.

Startup Daily is sharing the details of each venture in the “Antler Investor Memos” series, which is designed to give you a quick,  sharp understanding of the startups and people involved, with many seeking follow up capital following Antler’s initial pre-seed investment.

Company: Syrax  

Formation date: 2022

Stage of business: Pre-Seed

Founders: Sanjeev Rao and Babak Rafat 

Current investors: Antler

Currently raising: Yes

The business

Despite recent turbulence, the rise of cryptocurrency as a viable payment method continues as blockchain becomes an increasingly robust alternative to legacy systems. Over one quarter of Australians now own or have owned cryptocurrency, according to the Independent Reserve Cryptocurrency Index.

All while,  payments growth is expected to continue at a compound annual growth rate of 21.5% by 2026.

A decentralised cryptocurrency payment solution, Syrax, is a multi-chain crypto payment gateway for secure transactions on the blockchain, allowing users and merchants to send and receive payments directly. In doing so, it ensures there is non-custodial ownership by a third party which means individuals’ assets are protected.

As it stands today, it is often complicated for individuals to make secure cryptocurrency payments directly to merchants ​as centralised providers require ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) information, while merchants often have reservations about holding cryptocurrencies due to liquidity concerns. 

Syrax provides an agnostic cryptocurrency payment experience with complete interoperability for an individual to pair their wallet and cryptocurrencies of choice.

The user checkout experience is fast and frictionless and merchants can receive stable coins or Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to help alleviate any concerns about the stability of the payments received. For merchants accepting cryptocurrency payments, the payment time per transaction is instant minimising cash flow concerns, while issues with chargebacks caused by fraudulent activity are removed.


Antler investment thesis

“Syrax’s decentralised and non-custodial payments solution is a compelling offering within the ever-evolving cryptocurrency landscape. The interoperability of the product allows merchants a seamless conversion pathway at the point of checkout, removing the friction of traditional lengthy KYC processes,” said Cath Rogers, Partner at Antler Australia.

“Our conviction in the founding team stems from Sanjeev and Babak’s extensive experience within the payments and e-commerce industries, coupled with impressive pilot projects secured within months of our initial investment.”



Since securing Antler’s initial investment late last year, Syrax has secured two pilot projects with e-commerce and marketplace partners, with several other discussions for national partnerships underway.

Syrax has engaged a number of large financial institutions in high-level discussions to integrate their CBDCs. This will form a significant part of various pilot programs defining how they will interact with customers and other cryptocurrencies. 


Latest funding

Pre-Seed from Antler


Use of funds

With Antler’s Pre-Seed funding, Syrax has doubled down on its engineering capabilities to develop its MVP and service its pilot projects. Alongside strengthening its direct sales pipeline and go-to-market strategy.  

Syrax is continuing to refine its product features ahead of upcoming pilot projects. From here, the focus will shift to the development of new payment functions and business tools.


The founders say

“Our vision for Syrax is to be a world-leading decentralised cryptocurrency payment provider. We believe that ease of use and non-custodial payments are the first steps toward user confidence. Being a non-custodial third party provider keeps the power of ownership with the user,” said Sanjeev Rao, co-founder of Syrax. 

“Syrax is a wallet and crypto agnostic for a good reason. We know some users want to use decentralised cryptocurrencies only. We know some Merchants will only ever use a CBDC or stablecoin. In doing so, Syrax has to be adaptable to differentiate our use case so users can ultimately decide how they make payments.

“And with that, we see Syrax as a complete payment solution for any form of cryptocurrency payment.

“With extensive experience within the retail, e-commerce and payments industries, we have purpose-built Syrax to be globally scalable from day one with a unique advantage in the payment landscape.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to have Antler’s guidance, support and investment.”


What’s next?

Antler, a global early-stage VC, is revealing all its latest investments made in ambitious Australian founders and startups. With over 100 investments in early-stage companies, Syrax is one of its most recent portfolio companies.


  • StartupDaily is the official media partner of Antler in Australia.