Investing in Integrated Finance
The last decade has seen significant growth of the fintech industry with the emergence of personal finance management apps (e.g. Plum), neobanks (e.g. Revolut), lending platforms (e.g. SoFi), P2P (e.g. Venmo) & B2B payments (e.g. Stripe) providers, remittance companies (e.g. Wise), wealth management & brokerage apps (e.g. Robinhood), and many other fintechs. In Q1 2021 alone, nearly $23 billion was invested globally into fintech companies across 614 deals, with 57 of these being $100M+ rounds per CB Insights.
With fintech’s global growth, the need for infrastructure providers also grew, and the underlying banking infrastructure began unbundling. We’ve seen the rise of open-banking, followed by banking-as-a-service (BaaS) and more recently embedded finance. As every company starts becoming a fintech company, the increasing need to more easily access the necessary infrastructure has created new players in verticals such as core banking, payments, card issuing, lending and remittance in the last decade. These vertically-focused service providers were able to offer novel banking products to businesses through API connections, resulting in the modern fintech stack.
All of this, however, has naturally led to an increasingly complex infrastructure landscape, not only for fintechs but also for banks and legacy financial institutions (FIs). Today, fintechs need to work with several banks & BaaS providers to launch their products, while FIs look to digitally transform their operations with BaaS & banking partnerships. The average fintech or FI needs at least 3 to 4 integrations to run their operations, and potentially many more to grow. Usually, they try to build and manage these integrations utilizing internal resources, but there are several issues with that approach:
- Time-to-market: Integrating into the first few service providers and/or banks to launch an initial product can typically take several months, which greatly slows time-to-market.
- Managing multiple APIs is time-consuming & costly: A fintech or FI’s main focus should be on their core product. But integrations divert vital development resources away from product development, creating additional costs and inefficiencies. Additionally, the need to internally build the necessary infrastructure & processes to connect & efficiently run various third-party API services creates an even greater workload on the development team.
- Infrastructure management is an ongoing process: The integration process does not end with the few initial integrations. BaaS providers do major updates and API documentations change, necessitating fintechs to manage these integrations accordingly. Fintechs also want to be integrated with more providers as they grow to create redundancies in their operations, to comply with different regulations, to enhance their product offerings with greater capabilities or to expand to new markets. This means that they need to constantly manage their existing integrations and add new ones.
Integrated Finance enables you to programmatically access multiple financial service vendors via a single API, removing costly upfront integrations and significantly reducing the often hidden ongoing costs of maintaining those integrations.
By integrating into different BaaS vendors and banks such as Railsbank, Barclays, Clearbank and Currency Cloud, Integrated Finance can accelerate time-to-market for fintechs, connect them to multiple financial service providers across different geographies, and create the necessary workflows to automate operations between all parties.
And when we spoke to customers, it was crystal clear that this was an important value proposition. They were delighted to save costs and to shift their development team’s focus to their core products. They were also excited about growing their operations with new integrations.
It is no surprise that Alistair, Daniel, Koray & Canay, the co-founders of Integrated Finance, understand the needs of their customers well — they walked in their shoes only a short time ago. Prior to Integrated Finance, the team co-founded a “digital banking, virtual IBAN and deliverable FX platform targeting the UK and European SME and e-commerce space” (more here), and faced the exact problems that they’ve set out to solve today. That is why they have the domain expertise to build out a SaaS fintech infrastructure platform with operations across the UK and Turkey.
We are pleased to announce our participation in their £2M seed round led by Octopus Ventures, and are thrilled to be part of this journey!