Bucharest-based fintech startup FintechOS has announced €51m in new financing as it looks to rapidly expand its operations — and take its low-code approach to transforming banks and insurers to global heights.
The Series B round, which followed a $14m Series A round in December 2019, will be used to add 120 staff — increasing the company size by about 40% — and to establish new offices in the US, Dubai and Singapore.
The money will also be used to cement FintechOS’s position within Europe, where it is among the leading fintech providers helping legacy lenders compete in an age of challenger banks.
Eastern Europe rising
FintechOS, founded in Bucharest in 2017, is considered one of the rising stars of the eastern Europe fintech scene.
Its main selling point is its ability to assist legacy banks and insurers in accelerating their digital transformation, enabling them to build end-to-end digital products in weeks rather than months.
“This is what will help us achieve or use better financial services, because if you look at where the market is, it’s still 95% with the incumbents,” Teodor Blidarus, FintechOS’ cofounder and chief executive, tells Sifted.
It does this through open source and ready-to-deploy apps that organisations can plug into their own systems with little effort, offering access to highly personalised financial journeys and products for customers.
The company is currently working with 40 major clients, including the likes of Erste Group, Vienna Insurance Group and Société Générale; and has offices in Bucharest, London and Amsterdam. It’s also been growing by an average of 200% a year since 2017.
The funding round was led by Draper Esprit, whose previous investments include Polish-Finnish space startup ICEYE, fintech giant Revolut and UiPath — the Romanian RPA giant set to IPO later this year at a valuation of $28bn.
“Every investment we make is based on backing a team and empowering it. This is a company we believe will be category redefining,” Vinoth Jayakumar, a partner at Draper Esprit, tells Sifted.
“For us, this will be one of the great investments that we will make.”
“We don’t make many investments in a year, about 12 to 15, so to pull the trigger on FintechOS is a big deal for us and we think about this as a very long term partnership. For us this will be one of the great investments that we will make.”
Others taking part in the round included existing investors Earlybird Digital East, Gapminder Ventures, LAUNCHub Ventures, and OTB Ventures — some of the key VC firms focused on eastern Europe.
There’s plenty of money to be made in aiding existing financial powerhouses. While challenger banks like Revolut, N26 and Monzo may be growing fast, most of us still rely heavily on incumbent lenders for everything from our current accounts, to savings, investments, mortgages and consumer loans.
At the same time, many incumbents are held back by legacy systems and infrastructure that can be difficult and costly to rip out and replace.
“It’s up to us to understand how we can help banks and insurance companies…become better suppliers for the consumers of today.”
FintechOS has found success in offering solutions that require little coding or engineering knowledge to implement, making them easier to plug in to existing systems, use and maintain.
“It’s up to us to understand how we can help banks and insurance companies that have been around for the last 140, 200 years…how we can help them become better suppliers for the consumers of today,” says Blidarus.
The transformation of legacy lenders and insurers is more essential than ever, thanks in part to the global pandemic.
“There are smarter people than myself who are measuring this,” he adds. “They’re contemplating a rapid growth of more than 70 to 80% in terms of new initiatives.”
“I think the really important thing is how we can mix and match the new reality with old habits. No code low code, the whole cloud movement — it’s giving a lot of people easier access to technology and helping technology make an impact in their business.”
Europe, then the world
Blidarus says their primary objective for the next 12 months is to establish FintechOS as a tier one player in Europe. After that, he’s not sure where they’ll focus more.
“There is an opportunity in the US, because there are more than 5k regional banks that are waiting to be onboarded on this end-to-end type of transformation, but [the] Asia Pacific is such a vibrant ecosystem where you see new business models emerging in terms of blending, payments, insurance, micro-insurance and so on.”
“If we really want to design this new category of fast-moving vertical financial services solutions,” he adds, “we need to be able to advocate more of a global stance.”
An infusion of €51m in cash should help with that.