The Brave New World of Banking
The monopolies that banks have long held over their customers’ data, have started to break down, a process that has been speeding up with the launch of PSD2 and Open Banking. In the long-term, this will fundamentally change how we bank and use our financial identities. We will increasingly be transacting and banking outside the perimeter of the currently defined Bank.
In a sector where trust is front and centre, there is an enormous opportunity for a company to become the Europe-wide API provider for access to banking data, giving consumers an easy, compliant and secure way to transact with companies such as online retailers, lenders, price comparison websites, social networks, insurers and others.
We have followed TrueLayer since they raised their seed round from Connect Ventures in 2017. They are already building a leading position in the UK, and it is clear from the companies they are partnering with, such as Monzo, Starling Bank, ClearScore, Plum, BitBond, Emma, and our own portfolio companies, Zopa and MarketInvoice, that their product and understanding of the challenge is first-class. This is not just because they enable all data across complex Bank APIs to be immediately viewed and shared, and (soon!) for payments to be initiated, but also because, as a fully regulated company, they are an important trust layer between banks and third parties – and ultimately the consumer. They already cover banks serving an impressive 98% of the UK population.
But what made the company really stand out, when I first met the founding team, was the dynamic between Co-Founders Francesco Simoneschi, CEO, and Luca Martinetti, CTO. A recipe for a successful team would be too reductive, but if there was such a thing, these guys would come pretty close. They are single-minded in their vision of building the infrastructure layer to power the future of banking. They also clearly like working together – TrueLayer is Luca and Francesco’s third start-up, having already built and exited two companies together: DomainsBot, acquired by Sedo in 2008, and staq, acquired by Upsight in 2013. Thanks to their backgrounds, they have highly relevant domain expertise in API (Luca was previously with Plaid in the US) and analytics. Not only that, they also have a knack for attracting top talent, including COO Shefali Roy from Stripe, who adds deep understanding not only of regulation and compliance but also the more holistic notion of trust to the mix.
We are entering a brave new world of banking, and complexity requires clarity. TrueLayer delivers on that, and I am incredibly excited to be working with them as they expand into Europe enable more companies and consumers to seize the opportunities in their data.