A new fintech start-up, TrueLayer has launched the private beta of its bank API platform that will connect applications with banks and financial services institutions. The platform gives developers an easy way to access the bank data they need to build new apps and services. Financial providers and other regulated businesses will also be able to use the platform to drive their technology innovation.
TrueLayer aggregates and normalises financial data into a single platform for developers, so that all they’ll need is to ask for consent from users to connect a customer’s bank information and transactions into their apps. In short, it gives developers everything they need to quickly and securely create new financial products, including payment apps, online lenders, robot advisors, personal finance management and other new services.
Under new rules set out by the European payment services directive (PSD2) and guidelines set out by the CMA in the UK, banks and financial institutions will, for the first time, be required to allow third parties to access customer data. Tied to this, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires businesses to gain informed consent from consumers in order to use their personal data. The burden of connecting to each bank and of building the same consensual access components in every app will slow down new fintech startups, hindering much-needed customer-facing innovation.
“Consumer choice is shifting from banks to banking. Our vision is to create cloud infrastructure that will allow banks to connect with applications and make their services available to innovative startups that are keen to re-invent the customer experience. Ultimately, it’s also vital that the traditional banks open up their systems and become more agile – or they risk getting left behind – so the platform we offer is win-win,” Francesco Simoneschi, CEO and co-founder of TrueLayer, explained.
“We want to enable a new ecosystem of financial services to flourish by bridging the divide between banks and developers. To date, financial innovation has been hindered by the industry’s reliance on legacy architecture and by the banks’ closed-door approach to technology and data. Although new regulations like PSD2 in Europe will help create a solution to this challenge, they don’t go far enough to drive real change. What is needed is true, open access, and the consistency that’s required to help developers benefit en masse. This is what TrueLayer brings to the market.”
TrueLayer removes barriers by delivering a universal API. Developers can access data from every financial institution in a simple format from a single, secure gateway. Fintech start-ups building the next generation of applications and financial services will be able to manage user consent and offer fine grained-permissions so that customers can be specific when allowing access to their banking and financial data. The API supports bank account verification, know your customer (KYC) processes, and account aggregation and also provides transactional data which can be used for credit scoring and risk management.
Simoneschi is a serial entrepreneur, who is also a partner of San Francisco-based VC firm, Mission Market. Francesco previously co-founded Staq which was acquired by Upsight, and DomainsBot, which is part of the German group Sedo Holding Gmbh.
In 2016, TrueLayer closed a $1.3 million funding round, led by Connect Ventures. Other venture capitalists and angel investors that contributed to the round included Graph Ventures, Tony Jamous and Eric Nadalin (co-founders of Nexmo, a leading cloud communication platform), and a number of others with banking and enterprise software background.
“Technology is transforming banking – but so far we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of what’s possible. Fintech developers need the right tools in order to innovate and that’s what TrueLayer provides,” Pietro Bezza, managing partner at Connect Ventures, said. “Francesco and team are simply a dream fit for our investment thesis: mission-driven and determined to solve hard problems at scale, obsessed by product and user experience, with strong domain insights. The vision to build the leading go-to banking API platform is highly compelling for the developer community and the banks themselves. We see great potential for TrueLayer both as an investment and for effecting change where it’s so desperately needed.”
The service is currently available in the UK and the company has plans to cover other main countries in Europe later this year. The private beta already counts a number of high calibre Fintech companies, and is open to developers and businesses interested in signing up to the beta trial.