Nordigen introduces free European open banking API

Latvian fintech startup Nordigen is switching to a freemium model thanks to a free open banking API. Open banking was supposed to democratize access to banking information, but the company believes banking aggregation APIs from Tink or Plaid are too expensive. Instead, Nordigen thinks it can provide a free API to access account information and paid services for analytics and insights services.

Open banking is a broad term and means different things, from account aggregation to verifying account ownership and payment initiation. The most basic layer of open banking is the ability to view data from third-party financial institutions. For instance, some banks let you connect to other bank accounts so that you can view all your bank accounts from a single interface.

There are two ways to connect to a bank. Some banks provide an application programming interface (API), which means that you can send requests to the bank’s servers and receive data in return.

While all financial institutions should have an open API due to the European PSD2 directive, many banks are still dragging their feet. That’s why open banking API companies usually rely on screen scraping. They mimic web browser interactions, which means that it’s slow, it requires a ton of server resources and it can break.

“If you’re wondering how we’d be able to afford it, our free banking data API was designed purely with PSD2 in mind, meaning it’s lightweight in strong contrast to that of incumbents. So it wouldn’t significantly increase our costs to scale free users,” Nordigen co-founder and CEO Rolands Mesters told me.

So you don’t get total coverage with Nordigen’s API. The startup currently supports 300 European banks, which covers 60 to 90% of the population in each country. But it’s hard to complain when it’s a free product anyway.

Some Nordigen customers will probably want more information. Nordigen provides financial data analytics. It can be particularly useful if you’re a lending company trying to calculate a credit score, if you’re a financial company with minimum income requirements and more.

For those additional services, you’ll have to pay. Nordigen currently has 50 clients and expects to attract more customers with its new freemium strategy.

Startups – TechCrunch

UKRSIBBANK, part of BNP Paribas Group, announces a strategic partnership with financial wellbeing startup Dreams, to enhance the digital user experience of its 2 million customers in Ukraine – Global Banking And Finance Review

UKRSIBBANK, part of BNP Paribas Group, announces a strategic partnership with financial wellbeing startup Dreams, to enhance the digital user experience of its 2 million customers in Ukraine  Global Banking And Finance Review
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

London-based Weavr raises €3.3M to bring embedded banking to the services sector

weavr

With an aim to bring the bank to their customers, rather than send its customers to their bank, London-based Weavr, an online platform for creating, integrating, deploying, and running digital payment flows, has raised $ 4M (approx €3.3M) in its Seed round of funding.

The investors in this round include venture capital firms focused on the fintech and digital industries including Anthemis, QED Investors, and Seedcamp. Yann Ranchere, partner at Anthemis, and Yusuf Ozdalga, partner at QED Investors have both joined the Weavr board.

With this funding, the company has also announced the launch of its first suite of embedded banking tools designed specifically for the services sector.

About Weavr

Founded in late 2018 by Adrian Mizzi and Alex Mifsud, Weavr provides an open publicly-accessible cloud-based platform that connects payment networks and financial providers, and tools for innovators to define, deploy and consume digital payment flows.

It is an embedded banking provider that enables businesses to integrate financial services into their products. It claims that business of all sizes and industries, use its solution to issue and accept payments and to move money around the world.

According to the company, the platform relies on a proprietary technology stack to simplify and speed up the process of building, deploying and running complex payment solutions. The stack has been developed in collaboration with partners from the global card schemes, programme managers, card issuers, and startup accelerators.

Alex Mifsud, co-founder, and CEO of Weavr says, “The need for simple and accessible embedded banking products could not be more urgent. As the world starts to look beyond the Covid19 crisis and the possibilities stemming from lasting changes in consumer and business behaviour, embedded banking offers extraordinary potential for the future of work, the move away from cash, and the integration of financial services into all manner of digital businesses.”

Market overview

The digital transformation of services industries such as education, employment, and logistics have boosted after the Covid19 pandemic, according to the company, and services sold and delivered over digital channels are expected to hit $ 2.1T (approx €1761B) in 2020 globally – to grow at 17% CAGR over the next 3 years.

The company believes that innovators in the services sector are driving a radical new trend: embedding financial services into their digital applications. It predicts that financial services will increasingly be embedded into the process of buying and consuming other services.

As per Weavr, “Innovators face a formidable barrier of complexity and burden of compliance when looking to integrate financial services into their offerings. Weavr’s new embedded banking tools are specifically designed for such innovators, who want to be able to build, integrate, and run embedded banking solutions without specialist knowledge in financial services.

Earlier in February, the company had raised £500K (approx €560K) in funding. The round’s investors included Anthemis, Force Over Mass, and UFP Fintech. Financial services industry veterans Alan Morgan, former Head of McKinsey’s Financial Services Practice in EMEA, and Craig Dewar, co-founder of Global Processing Services, also supported the round as angel investors.

Image credit: Weavr

Startups – Silicon Canals

Mobile banking app Current raises $131M Series C, tops 2 million members

U.S. challenger bank Current, which has doubled its member base in less than six months, announced this morning it raised $ 131 million in Series C funding, led by Tiger Global Management. The additional financing brings Current to over $ 180 million in total funding to date, and gives the company a valuation of $ 750 million.

The round also brought in new investors Sapphire Ventures and Avenir. Existing investors returned for the Series C, as well, including Foundation Capital, Wellington Management Company and QED.

Current began as a teen debit card controlled by parents, but expanded to offer personal checking accounts last year, using the same underlying banking technology. The service today competes with a range of mobile banking apps, offering features like free overdrafts, no minimum balance requirements, faster direct deposits, instant spending notifications, banking insights, check deposits using your phone’s camera and other now-standard baseline features for challenger banks.

In August 2020, Current debuted a points rewards program in an effort to better differentiate its service from the competition, which as of this month now includes Google Pay.

When Current raised its Series B last fall, it had over 500,000 accounts on its service. Today, it touts over 2 million members. Revenue has also grown, increasing by 500% year-over-year, the company noted today.

“We have seen a demonstrated need for access to affordable banking with a best-in-class mobile solution that Current is uniquely suited to provide,” said Current founder and CEO Stuart Sopp, in a statement about the fundraise. “We are committed to building products specifically to improve the financial outcomes of the millions of hard-working Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, and whose needs are not being properly served by traditional banks. With this new round of funding we will continue to expand on our mission, growth and innovation to find more ways to get members their money faster, help them spend it smarter and help close the financial inequality gap,” he added.

The additional funds will be used to further develop and expand Current’s mobile banking offerings, the company says.

Startups – TechCrunch

[Varo Money in Wired] Making banking better for billions with next-gen technology

By partnering with Temenos, Varo, which launched in 2017, has been able to quickly develop and launch a range of products and bring them to market in record time. Crucially, it has offered innovative digital banking services to the 180 million Americans previously underserved by the traditional system.

Read more here.

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Sweden-based Juni raises €2 million to improve banking for e-commerce and online marketing entrepreneurs

Today Juni, the online banking platform for e-commerce and online marketing professionals, announces €2 million in seed financing led by early-stage venture capital firm Cherry Ventures. The new capital will go towards product development and talent acquisition. The round was supported by a group of notable angels with extensive experience building global fintech and e-commerce…

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Juni, the banking platform for e-commerce and online marketing companies, raises €2M seed

Juni, a Swedish pre-launch startup that’s building a banking app and platform for e-commerce and online marketing entrepreneurs, has raised just over €2.1 million in seed funding.

Leading the round is Berlin-based Cherry Ventures — the first deal, I believe, from newly recruited partner Sophia Bendz, who herself is based in Sweden. Various angel investors have also backed Juni, including NA-KD founder and CEO Jarno Vanahatapio and iZettle’s former chief strategy and communications officer Johan Bendz.

Founded by Samir El-Sabini and Anders Orsedal and set to launch fully in early 2021, Juni wants to act as a ‘financial companion” for digital businesses in the e-commerce and online marketing space. Features offered include a debit card with cashback on advertising spend, along with cash flow management, invoice and bank statement matching, and liquidity management. The Juni dashboard also provides a centralized overview of all your bank accounts, networks and payment services.

El-Sabini tells me that eventually the company may go the full route of applying for a bank license in 5-7 years, but for the foreseeable future is utilising the infrastructure of Banking-as-a-Service provider Railsbank, along with other fintechs, to plug those gaps. Besides, most of the value-add is the functionality built on top of core banking and it’s here in relation to e-commerce and online marketing companies that Juni thinks it’s spotted a big opportunity.

“We are helping e-commerce and marketing entrepreneurs understand their business financial health, giving them the right tools (credit plus cash-back) to improve it and grow, while at the same time automating their workload (fetching invoices and matching them to transactions). We aim to be the financial companion for all companies in our space”.

“We all know e-commerce is a rapid moving industry (10 years growth in three months time this year!) making the need for singular platforms to support such e-commerce businesses all the more necessary,” says Cherry Ventures’ Bendz.

“E-commerce professionals are trying to keep up with the acceleration of the market and cannot afford to be bogged down triaging various softwares and systems with respect to their finances”.

Although the official product launch isn’t set until early next year, it’s already possible to sign up for the waitlist with the open beta promised soon.

Meanwhile, the business model is straight forward enough. Initially, Juni will make money on interchange fees (minus the cashback it offers) and by charging a subscription in the best SaaS tradition. Credit is also an obvious revenue stream, too.

Startups – TechCrunch