It follows an earlier angel investment
Railsbank, a relatively new fintech startup co-founded by CEO Nigel Verdon, who previously founded money exchange and payments platform Currencycloud, has raised $1.2 million in a funding round led by seed investment firm Firestartr.
The company, yet to see its full launch and over a year in the making, offers what it describes as an open banking and compliance platform aimed at other companies, including other fintechs, that have global banking requirements that need to be accessed programatically via an ApI.
Other backers in this round include Kima Ventures and a number of notable angel investors such as peter Jackson (CEO Worldpay U.K.), Tim Levene (Betfair, Augmentum Capital) and phillip Riese (former Chairman of Zopa).
It follows an earlier angel investment in September last year, including from the former head of Google Wallet in Europe who, I’m told, wanted something akin to Railsbank when he was running Google Wallet. That’s because the unnamed bank Google Wallet ran on top of could not easily deliver on the promise of pan-European banking via an ApI.
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“The problem with accessing global or regional wholesale transaction banking services from traditional suppliers (e.g. HSBC, Citi, BAML, Deutsche etc.) is that it takes 3-9 months to open each bank account, up to 9 months to technically connect (as each ApI is bespoke to the customer) and customers have to sink vast Capex expenditure to make this happen, before a single transaction is done. That is if the bank will even bank you!” Verdon tells me.
The main issues behind this holdup and expense is legacy technology that most incumbent banks run on, and the thorny issue of compliance. The latter means that friction isn’t just caused by technology alone but the need to comply with the law and cumbersome systems in place to ensure global banking does so. “Neither are changing anytime soon,” teases Verdon.
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It is here — at the intersection of technology and compliance, and by using technology to scale compliance — that Verdon and Railsbank’s other founder Clive Mitchell, who is also a fintech veteran, see an opportunity. The resulting banking and compliance platform connects together a global network of partner banks for companies who want ApI access to global banking. “Access to global transaction banking with 5 lines of code,” akin to something like Stripe for banking, is the Railsbank mantra.
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