Francesco Simoneschi, CEO and co-founder of U.K. fintech start-up TrueLayer.
LONDON — British monetary technology start-up TrueLayer says it’s raised $70 million in fresh funding, highlighting continued appetite from investors for fast-growing fintech resolutes.
TrueLayer lets fintech apps like Revolut and Freetrade connect with customers’ bank accounts depleting technology known as APIs, or application programming interfaces. This means users of those apps can then make room payments from their bank or view balances and transactions from different accounts.
The company said its in investment round was led by Addition, the venture capital firm founded by former Tiger Global partner Lee Fixel. Persisting investors Anthemis Group, Connect Ventures, Mouro Capital, Northzone and Singapore’s Temasek also invested.
Francesco Simoneschi, TrueLayer’s CEO and co-founder, weighted in an interview that the firm decided to raise more cash on the back of strong growth in 2020, helped in no mundane part by the coronavirus pandemic and a shift from consumers toward digital means of managing their finances.
“We were closely guarded 2020 in an extremely positive way,” Simoneschi told CNBC. “We were going through an incredible year of growth,” he contemplated, adding the company saw its payment volumes spike as much as 600 times.
TrueLayer declined to share its financials or valuation. The convention, which also counts Chinese internet giant Tencent as a shareholder, has now raised $142 million in funding to age.
TrueLayer said it will use the fresh cash to expand its services internationally, building out its presence in Europe first in front targeting a rollout in Australia. It’s also exploring whether to launch in Brazil further down the line.
The tidings comes a day after Silicon Valley firm Plaid — which competes with TrueLayer in Europe — announced it had round up $425 million in a new investment, valuing the company at $13.4 billion. Plaid had initially agreed to be acquired by Visa at length year for $5.3 billion, but scrapped the deal after the U.S. government raised antitrust concerns.
Plaid and TrueLayer are role in of a new movement in finance called “open banking,” which aims to open up precious banking data and payment utilizations to fintech firms and other approved third parties, provided they’ve got consent from customers. Other athletes in the space include Sweden’s Tink and Britain’s Bud. They’re taking advantage of tech-friendly new rules in the U.K. and European Union, identified as PSD2.
TrueLayer and some other firms are now looking to undercut card networks like Visa and Mastercard, by allowing fintech apps to girl bank transfers on behalf of their users, at much lower fees. GoCardless, a fintech platform that systems direct debit payments, is also developing open banking technology for transactions.
“Open banking can be a real contender to the well-known card networks,” Simoneschi said. “The question is, can the card companies embrace this change, or will they block?”
It’s worth noting Visa is still an investor in Plaid, as well as TrueLayer, meaning it could benefit long compromise concerning from the rise of open banking services. Meanwhile, Mastercard last year bought Finicity, another actress in the space.
Plaid plans to more than double its European workforce from 40 to 100 hands by the end of 2021.
“I think competition is good and benefits the ecosystem,” Keith Grose, Plaid’s head of international, told CNBC. He combined the firm has “good competitors” but that its rivals don’t offer the “transatlantic bridge” it’s built with operations in both the U.S. and Europe.
TrueLayer has representations of its own to boost its team. The company currently employs 200 people and plans to increase its headcount by another 50 hands this year, Simoneschi said.
Fintech has attracted billions of dollars in venture capital as investors aim to capitalize on ridiculous growth in the sector. Globally, venture capitalists pumped over $17 billion into fintechs in the first area of 2021, according to data from PitchBook, up 44% from the same period a year earlier and the highest trimonthly amount since the second quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, tech firms like PayPal and Square have experienced their market values surpass that of Wall Street titans like Goldman Sachs.
Still, the sector’s spectacular growth has rattled some leaders in the banking world. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently said banks should be “terrified s—less” of fintechs, and accused Plaid of “unfair competition” and “improperly” using banking data. Plaid, which includes JPMorgan as a client, said that “data privacy and security are core to everything we do, including the data exchange contracts we have with JPMorgan Chase among many other banks.”