Reech Corporations Group has agreed a major seed investment in Finland-based social finance sharing app Bankify to fund an initial commercial roll-out in selected markets.
The app, which has been successfully soft-launched in Finland, will initially target customers in Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands. The aim is to be able to rapidly extend coverage to UK, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy amongst Asian markets such as Australia, Philippines and Vietnam, which are seen as highly receptive to new app based financial propositions
Bankify was founded in July 2016 by Antti Tarakkamäki and Tero Lappalainen, a pair of serial tech entrepreneurs who believed that a generation which grew up on game consoles and smartphones needed something radically different from what is in offer from traditional financial services providers - something which will resonate with Millennials’ social lifestyle, ideals, tastes and interests, all of which are very different from those of previous generations. Hence the idea of Bankify which is built around the social sharing economy, aiming to take the pain out of the working, playing and spending together.
The app offers users the opportunity to club together virtually to share finances in a group or community - which could be anything from a night out clubbing, a back-packing trip round the world, or something more mundane like paying for rent and utility bills in a shared household or sharing sports club expenses. Bankify’s main target demographic is the 15-39 year age groups who are comfortable operating in the digitally enabled world, are happy sharing personal data freely and increasingly expect to be able to manage their whole life, finances included, on their smart phone.
Bankify believes this adds up to a total addressable market of some 1 billion consumers worldwide and there is no such dominant player in the field, yet.
Bankify has collaborated not only with accelerators like Accenture Accelerator and U.S based INV Fintech, but recently also established a partnership with another Finnish based fintech operator Enfuce Financial Services, itself a young tech start up, which has provided the infrastructural open cloud based architecture backbone which stands behind the app and enables it to integrate seamlessly into the global financial services infrastructure.
Rather than becoming a fully fledged financial operator in its own right, Bankify aims to work with existing financial services providers such as banks, credit card companies and payment networks, taking advantage of new technology and legislative developments such as API (Applications Programming Interface) and Open Banking (for instance PSD2; the EU’s 2nd Payments Services Directive) to provide a highly intuitive and user friendly interface to access a range of financial applications.
Following this investment which is being made via Luxembourg-based Odysseus Investments, Reech’s financial services and technology venture capital arm, Reech will become the largest external investor in the company while Christophe Reech, founder and principal of Reech Corporations Group will join the Bankify Board as a non-executive director, bringing with him three decades of experience as a practitioner and entrepreneur within the financial services sector.
This is the third significant investment by Odysseus Investments as it seeks to build a portfolio of innovative financial services businesses which are bringing fresh thinking and technology-based solutions to an industry where established players and business models are failing to live up to the expectations of today’s consumers.
Other investments include Moola (www.moo.la), a UK-based wealth management business using advanced robotic technology to provide a low cost and user-friendly way for savers to access high performing investment products, and Grid Finance (www.gridfinance.ie), and Irish-based provider of wealth management and credit services to Small and Medium-sized enterprises.
Bankify founders, Tero Lappalainen and Antti Tarakkamäki said that ’’We are delighted to welcome Reech Corporations Group to Bankify as our strategic equity partner. Their track record, network and experience will add significant value to Bankify alongside the equity investment itself. Bankify is powering the development of the next generation in fintech services internationally for our users and partners. Our partnership with Reech will allow us to bring our business to the next level by investing in our product development and market penetration globally.”
Hansjoerg Borutta, Managing Director of Odysseus Investments commented: ”Tero and Antti have created something truly innovative here, an app which is designed for and by people who have grown up with smart phones, social media and computer games and want something different in functionality and spirit from what traditional providers are coming up with. They have already proven the concept works and are ready to hit the market. We are truly excited to be on board.”