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ING Ventures, a €300 million global active financial institution has recently announced an investment of €7.5 million in an Amsterdam-based fintech company Cobase.
The Dutch startup is launching a multi-banking platform today that provides a centralised solution for companies in the corporate market to access their bank accounts and other financial products and services with many different banks and financial institutions.
According to Benoît Legrand, Chief Innovation Officer at ING, “A significant portion of ING’s investment strategy consists of starting partnerships with fintechs and investing in them. When making investments like these, we look at companies that offer a distinctive customer experience. Cobase is a perfect choice, with its multi-banking platform that makes it much easier and more efficient to manage multiple bank accounts.”
Cobase offers a total solution for corporate customers with multiple bank accounts. Using the Cobase multi-banking platform, these customers can access all their accounts at the various financial institutions with whom they do business.
Jorge Schafraad, CEO and founder of Cobase, was quoted in the press release saying, “Our goal is to make it easier and more efficient to work with multiple banks. Companies in our target group often hold many accounts with many different banks. Using Cobase, the customer can manage all those accounts via a single platform. End users only need to use one portal, and the customer’s ERP system can be integrated into Cobase alone, so it no longer has to be integrated separately with each bank.”
While ING Ventures has invested €7.5 million in the Amsterdam-based fintech, it has committed to further investment in the years ahead. Cobase will operate as a completely independent company, under its own name and management. The company is part of a series of diverse investments ING has made within its ongoing innovation strategy.
ING Wholesale Bank’s accelerator programme
For those who are not aware, in 2016, Cobase completed ING Wholesale Bank’s accelerator programme, in which the concept was tested through prototyping, customer interviews and market research. Afterwards, Cobase started development of the platform with a group of pilot customers based on co-creation and the lean startup methodology. Customers’ wishes and feedback were assessed and taken into consideration throughout the platform’s development. Further, customers in this phase came from the corporate market, representing a wide range of industries and nationalities. Starting today, the company will actively conduct sales and markets.
Cobase – How is it different?
The platform does not compete with banks, rather it supports them in an area where it is difficult for them to operate themselves. Cobase arranges direct connections with banks or uses existing networks like SWIFT, and its customers enjoy the benefits. In addition to worldwide bank connectivity, the platform’s key features include a central Payment Hub and various Cash Management and Treasury Management modules.
The company is working intensively to develop its ‘Robo Assistant’, a module that end users can use, for example, to monitor balances and transactions and, if necessary, to perform automatic tasks, such as funding or sweeping accounts. The combination of bank connectivity and management is an efficient total solution for large companies that often work with many different banks and accounts.
PSD2 and Open Banking
Schafraad added, “With Cobase, we anticipate the upcoming PSD2 regulation and leverage the power of Open Banking, which will make it easier for third-party providers to use their platforms to access their customers’ bank accounts, of course only with the customers’ consent. Cobase brings everything together in one place, which greatly improves operational efficiency, oversight of financial positions and monitoring of payment flows for customers.”
With the investment from ING, Cobase will continue to expand its global network of banks and develop the functionalities of its platform. Initially, the platform will be available to corporate clients in the European market but will later become available to companies outside of Europe as well.
An International Customer Base
Schafraad also revealed, “We are connecting with banks all over the world. We follow our customers and look at which banks they use. Our customers currently come from the Netherlands and Western Europe, but we want to actively start offering the platform to customers internationally.”
Cobase’s earnings model is based on the software-as-a-service principle: the customer pays a monthly fee to use the platform. The price depends on the number of banks and accounts that the customer wants to access. The platform is a cloud-based solution with a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and requires little to no effort by the customer’s own IT department. It requires no investments or long-term contracts for licences or hardware.
For those interested to meet the company officials, Cobase and ING will be present at EuroFinance to be held Geneva during Sep 26-28, 2018.
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