iBanFirst Blog

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The CEO's Letter

14 November 2018

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iBanFirst raised €10 million just two years ago. We have now concluded our latest B series funding round, amounting to €15 million. This is clear evidence of our credibility and robustness, which is only confirmed by some particularly promising growth indicators: 

  • iBanFirst now boasts 2,500 clients.
  • Between them, they carried out 40,000 transactions through our interface in 2018 (compared to 13,000 in 2016).
  • In total, 100,000 transactions have been registered since iBanFirst’s creation.
  • Over €2 billion transited through the interface in 2018 (compared to €450 million in 2016).
  • In total, a volume of nearly €5 billion has passed through since 2013.

We’ve come a long way since we created our fintech five years ago. And we want to go even further.

This round of funding gives us the opportunity to rethink the services we offer, to reflect on who we are today and what we want to be tomorrow. This is all against the backdrop of some revolutionary changes taking place with regard to the conventional banking model.

 

From a product standpoint…

But let’s just back up a bit. What services does iBanFirst currently offer?

We have built our reputation on FX payment and transfer solutions targeting companies with an international presence. Our product encompasses all of the following qualities:

  • Fast - we offer free, instantaneous bank transfers between iBanFirst accounts, as well as precise tracking capabilities.
  • Transparent - our clients can see the exchange rates and interbank rates applied to their transactions in real time.
  • Highly competitive - iBanFirst clients are also subject to 0% commission on currency conversions and there are no hidden fees.
  • Practical and safe - we are the only 100% online service offering customised IBANs, registered in the client’s name.
  • Flexible - our platform benefits from an intuitive, user-friendly design, making for a smoother user experience.
  • International - our users can make and receive payments in 25 different currencies, with more to follow soon.

Our clients include Bensimon, Guard Industrie, Mobile Club and more. They generally report very high levels of satisfaction with what we offer them, and understandably so. We help them save up to 70% on the costs of their international payments.

We have built our range of services by availing of the opportunities opened up by the European Payment Services Directives, PSD1 and PSD2. By removing the bank monopoly on financial and payment services, freeing up their client data and allowing other businesses to create payment platforms, this legislation delivered a tremendous blow to the inflexible banking sector of before.

These directives, which seek to modernise a system dating back to the mid-1800s and bring it into the age of Uber, planted the seeds of growth that have given rise to the fintech landscape. Going forward, more and more clients will turn to alternative services, which are both cheaper and easier to use. A single interface allows you to consult all of your bank accounts, carry out all of your transactions, using a single platform. Over time, traditional banks may see their role reduced to that of a mere safety deposit box, though the full effects of this transformation are only just starting to make themselves felt.

… to a platform logic

iBanFirst’s future will very much belong to this new dynamic. Today, we are operating under a product-based logic. We intend to fully embrace tomorrow’s platform-based logic.

The idea is that, in time, our clients will be able to use the iBanFirst interface for all of their banking needs. To check their accounts, carry out FX operations, invest cash assets, finance their receivables when the rates are at their most favourable. This could save businesses considerable amounts of time and money.

This strategy can be broken down into four distinct lines of development:

  • We intend to build on the success of our existing products to offer more services and direct our clients towards new services, using our platform.
  • By offering a broader range of solutions, we can acquire new clients, just as we always have done.
  • We will capitalise on the data at our disposal to find out more about our users and their expectations, and thus optimise the client relationship, continually improving the quality of our service.
  • Based on these strengths, we will continue to conquer new markets, allowing us to showcase our services internationally. If we are to do this, we must expand our solutions into new regions. We have already launched pilots in France, Belgium, The Netherlands and several eastern European countries, and we are preparing to make our debut in Germany and Italy.

What makes iBanFirst’s development potential so great is that the European Payment Service Directives are the first of their kind globally. We will continue to explore their full potential, making iBanFirst the foremost business platform with an international presence.

 

Our latest funding round

TOur second funding round, involving our founding investor Xavier Niel, alongside venture capital funds Serena (the lead on this operation) and Breega, must be viewed in line with this development strategy. The new funding will allow us to grow into this new platform-centred logic, while continuing to invest massively in research and development to ensure that we remain at the forefront of innovation.

 

Compelling reasons to trust in us

Accredited by the National Bank of Belgium, we are SWIFT members and SEPA certified.

iBanFirst is also the first financial service aggregator to simultaneously hold AISP [1] and PISP [2] accreditations. This authorises banks to aggregate external bank accounts.

Our expertise has not gone unnoticed, with several awards and accolades coming our way:

  • iBanFirst was awarded the “emerging star” of the #FinTech100 classification published by KPMG and H2.
  • We were also voted the 2018 “Fintech Scale-Up of the Year” award in Belgium.
  • iBanFirst was also featured by Deloitte in its list of the 50 fastest-growing tech companies, the “Technology Fast 50”.

 

A team effort

You can’t set up a banking structure overnight. None of this would have been possible without our clients, our investors and all those who have placed their trust in us.

Nor would any of it have been possible without our teams, who skilfully combine the financial, technological and regulatory worlds, who share the same vision of the banking revolution underway; who work hard because they believe in what they do. Two years ago, iBanFirst employed 15 people, and there are 90 of us today. 90 stars all contributing their own individual talents to the shining success we now share.

To all of them, I would like to say a big thank you, bravo… And let’s keep it going.

This is just the beginning.

Pierre-Antoine Dusoulier
CEO and Founder of iBanFirst

[1] Account Information Service Provider (PSD 2).
[2] Payment Initiation Service Provider (PSD 2).

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