Reech Corporations Group has agreed a major seed investment in Finland-based social finance sharing app Bankify to fund an initial commercial rollout in selected markets (announced on 30 October). The app, which has been successfully soft-launched in Finland, will initially target customers in Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands. The aim is to be able to rapidly extend coverage to UK, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy amongst Asian markets such as Australia, Philippines and Vietnam, which are seen as highly receptive to new app based financial propositions.
Reech Corporations Group is an entrepreneurial group of businesses, which is active internationally in real estate and real estate finance, wholesale and retail financial services and financial technology.
Bankify was founded in July 2016 by Antti Tarakkamäki and Tero Lappalainen, a pair of serial tech entrepreneurs who believed that a generation which grew up on game consoles and smartphones needed something radically different from what is in offer from traditional financial services providers – something which will resonate with Millennials’ social lifestyle, ideals, tastes and interests, all of which are very different from those of previous generations. Hence the idea of Bankify which is built around the social sharing economy, aiming to take the pain out of the working, playing and spending together.
Bankify is founded with a mission to make finance FUN, so that everyone wants to be a banker in their social group. The ‘Banker’ application links sociality and finance together conveniently. With the ‘Banker’ application our users are already earning money and having fun while sharing expenses with others. The application is free to use and the “Banker user” benefits from the service and can recommend it further to their social groups.
The app offers users the opportunity to club together virtually to share finances in a group or community – which could be anything from a night out clubbing, a back-packing trip round the world, or something more mundane like paying for rent and utility bills in a shared household or sharing sports club expenses. Bankify’s main target demographic is the 15-39 year age groups who are comfortable operating in the digitally enabled world, are happy sharing personal data freely and increasingly expect to be able to manage their whole life, finances included, on their smart phone.
Bankify believes this adds up to a total addressable market of some 1 billion consumers worldwide and there is no such dominant player in the field, yet.
The Finnish fintech start-up has collaborated not only with accelerators like Accenture Accelerator and U.S-based INV Fintech, but recently also established a partnership with another Finnish- based fintech operator named Enfuce Financial Services; itself a young tech start up, which has provided the infrastructural open cloud based architecture backbone which stands behind the app and enables it to integrate seamlessly into the global financial services infrastructure.
Rather than becoming a fully-fledged financial operator in its own right, Bankify aims to work with existing financial services providers such as banks, credit card companies and payment networks, taking advantage of new technology and legislative developments such as API (Applications Programming Interface) and Open Banking (for instance PSD2; the EU’s 2nd Payments Services Directive) to provide a highly intuitive and user friendly interface to access a range of financial applications.
Following this investment, Reech will become the largest external investor in the company while Christophe Reech, founder and principal of Reech Corporations Group, will join the Bankify Board as a non-executive director, bringing with him three decades of experience as a practitioner and entrepreneur within the financial services sector.
Bankify founders, Tero Lappalainen and Antti Tarakkamäki said: ”We are delighted to welcome Reech Corporations Group to Bankify as our strategic equity partner. Their track record, network and experience will add significant value to Bankify alongside the equity investment itself. Bankify is powering the development of the next generation in fintech services internationally for our users and partners. Our partnership with Reech will allow us to bring our business to the next level by investing in our product development and market penetration globally.”