iBanFirst Raises €15 Million, Looks into Payment Initiation Feature
The FinTech iBanFirst just announced a €15 million funding round led by Serena, along with Breega Capital and existing investor Xavier Niel.
SMEs-oriented offers: allowing companies to manage international payments, hold currency accounts and access exchange rates in real time to save money on each transaction.
Three goals for this funding round:
- R&D: an account aggregation feature has just been introduced, with plans to add cash investment and payment initiation features. A test phase is underway; these services could be operational by September 2019.
- Recruitment: from 18 to 50 sales representatives in France
- International development: first aiming for The Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic; then Italy, Germany and Southeast Asia.
Key figures: 2,500 clients, €5 billion in payment volume (including €2 billion since January 2018), 100,000 transactions (including 40,000 since January 2018), 90 employees.
Comments – Making the most of PSD2-entailed opportunities
iBanFirst intends to take advantage of PSD2-derived opportunities and filed for three statuses required to meet this goal (Payment Institution, account aggregation and payment initiation). If able to initiate payments, they may speed up their money transfer processes: companies currently have to transfer money to their iBanFirst account prior to making cross-border transactions. Later, they may then initiate this payment from the company’s bank account.
This FinTech also aims for international reach and for addressing key corporate payment corridors: Eastern European regions are among their priorities, as well as all non-Euro EU countries where they can operate through passporting. Yet another opportunity, the Asian market: they already have an office in Singapore to target a pivotal corridor for all Asian companies doing business in Europe.
Unlike other neo-banking players, iBanFirst does not aim to assist their customers through an all-encompassing banking relation. They openly focus on managing cross-border cash flows. To this respect, they mostly aim for companies transferring from €5 million to €50 million each year. Considering this strategic choice, they directly challenge banks, which accounts for their decision to remain independent (they claim they have been contacted several times by industry players interested in buying them).