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金融科技创企TrueLayer获750万美元融资,进军欧洲市场

国际资讯投融资

金融科技创企TrueLayer获750万美元融资,进军欧洲市场

伦敦金融初创企业TrueLayer建立了一个开发平台,为金融科技公司和其他利益相关公司(如零售商)提供了更加便利的银行应用程序接口访问服务,并借助开放银行业务和欧盟支付服务指令修正案(PSD2)获得了750万美元B轮融资。

该轮融资由欧洲风投机构Northzone领投。继去年6月的300万美元A轮融资之后,本次融资资金将被用于TrueLayer在欧洲扩大市场,第一步首先从德国和法国开始。

本轮融资还将用于投资壮大TrueLayer的团队,开发新产品,帮助企业和消费者充分利用开放银行业务和PSD2法案。该公司的联合创始人Francesco Simoneschi表示,尽管迄今为止它们仍未被充分利用,但其机会是巨大的。

“我认为,2018年的第一季度我们主要考虑的是工作和教育企业如何利用开放银行服务,以及如何在上面建立自己的业务。”他说。“这对我们来说是一种入境需求,虽然无声无息,却威力无穷。为了更好的适应这样的环境,我们的开发者社区数量增长了500%,平均每个月有数百家公司向我们询问如何开始使用TrueLayer以及使用我们提供的服务。我们的公司原来只有两个人,而且是在车库中开始的,如今成长为最大的企业。”

自1月份在英国推出开放式银行系统试行以来,TrueLayer与多家金融科技公司建立了合作关系,并进行了整合,其中包括英国“挑战者银行”Monzo和Starling Bank,还有Zopa、ClearScore、Canopy、Plum、BitBond、Emma、Anorak和CreditLadder等类似的公司。

尽管“大爆炸式的创业失败”在媒体报道里反复出现,尽管一些现有的银行没有与其建立合作关系或尚未满足最低的法定要求(在某些情况下,这是无可否认的事实),这种情况还是不可避免地发生了。但是,Simoneschi认为,实际情况是完全不同的。

“一定要记住,指数增长在一开始往往看起来是呈次线性的。”他说,“基于我们对市场的理解,合同的签订,概念验证(PoCs)和超前的谈话,我可以向你保证,在未来12个月内,你会看到大量的主流银行和零售商、金融机构、全球平台、市场、加密货币交易所,钱包和金融科技应用对开放银行业务进行试验并发布。”

为此,TrueLayer提供了一个单独的平台/应用程序编程接口,可以连接到16家银行及信用卡。使用官方的开放银行API来访问私人API,以及屏幕抓取。这些取决于开发人员的数据需求和对不同类型官方和非官方访问的需求。除了帐户验证之外,该平台还支持KYC流程和帐户汇总、信用评分和风险评估等事务数据。

除了偏向开发人员的“通用”API之外,TrueLayer还开发了许多其他增值服务,这些服务的功能更加丰富,并且不需要利来用其他金融技术不断地重复发明。这些特性包括数据清理、增强安全性和事务分类。

不过,Simoneschi表示,开放银行业务的优点还有很多尚未体现出来,尤其是在支付领域。

“我们的数据访问(AISP)和支付访问(PISP)服务获得了英国金融市场行为管理局(FCA)的授权。市场对支付访问的需求在过去几个月里急剧上升,我们正在采取相应措施,将在今年秋天晚些时候向公众发布支付API。”他告诉我。

这就意味着,在线零售商等公司将能够使用TrueLayer,这样客户的银行账户可以直接与其相连来进行支付,省去了使用传统的借记卡和信用卡的手续费。立法者希望此举有助于打破Visa和MasterCard双雄鼎立的局面。

在这一点上,Northzone的合伙人Jeppe Zink表示,银行等金融机构的“围墙花园”正在被拆除,发生在银行的主界面之外的银行交易将越来越多。“要使这一功能发挥作用,需要数千家银行以一种安全、兼容的方式交付交易数据。”他表示:“这是一项艰巨的任务,而TrueLayer打算成为其中的核心力量”。

TrueLayer, the London startup that’s built a developer platform to make it easy for fintech and other adjacent companies, such as retailers, to access bank APIs — and ride the Open Banking and PSD2 gravy train — has picked up further $7.5 million in funding.

Leading the round is venture capital fund Northzone. It follows a $3 million Series A in June last year, and will be used for European expansion, starting with Germany and France.

The new capital will also be invested in growing the TrueLayer  team and to develop new products to help companies and consumers make the most of Open Banking and PSD2, where co-founder Francesco Simoneschi tells me the opportunities are huge, even if they remain largely untapped, thus far.

“I think the first quarters of 2018 have been about working and educating companies on Open Banking  and how to build propositions on top of it,” he says. “This has seen a silent yet massive stream of inbound demand for us. To put things in context, we grew 500 percent in terms of the developer community averaging hundreds of companies a month asking how to start using TrueLayer and the services that we enable — from two people in a garage to the largest enterprise”.

Since Open Banking was tentatively launched in the U.K. January, TrueLayer has secured partnerships and integrations with a number of fintech companies including challenger banks Monzo and Starling Bank, along with the likes of Zopa, ClearScore, Canopy, Plum, BitBond, Emma, Anorak, and CreditLadder.

This has happened in despite of a press narrative around a “failed Big Bang kind of uptake” and incumbent banks not cooperating or meeting their minimum statutory requirements in time (which is undeniably true, in some instances). The reality on the ground, however, is quite different, argues Simoneschi.

“Remember that exponential growth often looks sub-linear at the very beginnings,” he says. “Based on the view of the market that we have, contracts signed, POCs and advanced conversations, I can assure you that you will see a wealth of high street banks and retailers, financial institutions, global platforms, marketplaces, loyalty and rewards propositions, crypto exchanges, wallets and fintech applications experimenting and launching Open Banking-based propositions in the next 12 months”.

To that end, TrueLayer offers a single platform/API to connect to 16 major and not so major banks and credit cards in the U.K., using a mixture of official Open Banking APIs, access to private APIs, and, at a push, screen scraping — depending on a developer’s data needs and stomach for the different kinds of official and unofficial access available. As well as account verification, the platform supports KYC processes, and transactional data for things like account aggregation, credit scoring, and risk assessment.

In addition to its developer-friendly ‘universal’ API, TrueLayer is also developing a number of other value-add services that do even more heavy-lifting and negate the need for other fintechs to keep re-inventing the wheel. These include features such as data cleansing, enhanced security and transaction categorisation.

However, Simoneschi says there is a lot more Open Banking goodness to come yet, especially in the payments space.

“We got FCA authorization for both access to data (AISP) and access to payments (PISP). The demand for the latter has been going through the roof in the last few months and we are taking steps to release a Payment API to the general public later this fall,” he tells me.

This means that companies, such as online retailers, will be able to use TrueLayer to connect directly to customers’ bank accounts as a means of taking payment, therefore bypassing traditional debit and credit card charges, which legislators hope will help to break the duopoly of Visa and MasterCard.

On that note, Jeppe Zink, Partner at Northzone, says that the “walled gardens” of financial institutions, such as banks, are being knocked down, and that banking transactions will increasingly take place away from a bank’s main interface. “To enable this to function, you need thousands of banks to deliver transaction data in a single, secure and compliant way,” he says. “This is a massive undertaking which TrueLayer intends to be the centrepiece of”.

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