The company, which now asserts virtually 60 corporate clients who offer various financial services powered by solarisBank, has closed EUR5 6.6 million in Series B funding in a round that includes a number of new strategies of fiscal investors.
Notably, they include Spanish banking giant BBVA — which only yesterday upped its investment in the U.K. challenger bank Atom — Visa, Lakestar, and ABN AMRO’s Digital Impact Fund( DIF ). In addition, previous investors Arvato Financial Solutions, and SBI Group have increased their commitment, while I understand the Series B includes a small amount of secondary fund as a number of existing shareholders exit.
I’ve also learned that solarisBank’s Series B maintains Finleap as the leading shareholder, holding about 30 per cent. BBVA is now the second largest investor with all other investors below 10 per cent( incidentally, the co-founders of solarisBank, Finleap not included, are minority shareholders ).
Founded in March 2016, solarisBank offers a Banking-as-a-Platform and holds a full banking license, entailing it provides both the technology and the banking rails needed to offer various banking and financial products, including the required regulatory mandate. In this sense, it’s a B2B2C play, letting other fintech startups and companies, or any corporate was intended to get into financial services, access the tools to do so, and, arguably, at a much lower cost and risk profile than running it alone and building from scratch.
Others in the BaaS space include the U.K.’s Railsbank( which, if I understand correctly, is actually a customer of solarisBank and doesn’t have its own banking license ), and to a lesser extent something liker challenger bank Starling which, aside from its own consumer current account, is building quite a obligating payments product, which is used by other fintech startups including Railsbank.
To that end, solarisBank says it is active in seven countries, and expects to increase its customer base to over 100 corporate clients by the end of the year. The range of products the solarisBank platform can power is quite far-reaching, having been designed as a series of modules. They broadly fall into three categories.
“Digital banking& cards, ” which clients can use as a backbone to build retail or SME banking offerings( Penta is one such as instance ). “We have also gained interest from traditional banks to build a new digital subsidiary with us or retail or online companies, which would like to offer their clients an own bank account or pay card, ” solarisBank CEO Dr. Roland Folz tells me. That has echoes of Amazon’s reported plans to offer a branded bank account.
Another is “Payments and E-Money, ” which enables companies to offer gift cards, vouchers, P2P payments or cross-border payments via solarisBank’s fully digital Payment APIs. As two examples, fashioncheque is offering a gift card that can be used to purchase style at various retailers.
Lastly, “Lending& Deposits” lets companies incorporate customer loans or SME loans directly into their own offerings. This is being used by online platforms, such as marketplaces for used autoes as well as comparing portals, to introduce a credit product under their own brand( e.g. solarisBank’s recent partnership with smava ).
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