Greece’s Viva Pockets raises $80M for its neo-bank concentrating on small enterprise retailers – TechCrunch

TaxDown banks ~$3M for tech that helps people get their taxes done – TechCrunch

Challenger banks proceed to make vital waves on the earth of finance, with smaller outfits luring clients away from incumbents by offering a better approach for them to not solely interact with fundamental banking companies, however to faucet right into a wave of know-how that brings extra personalization and sometimes higher offers into the equation. Within the newest growth, Viva Wallet, a Greek startup constructing banking companies geared toward small and medium retailers, has picked up financing of $80 million, cash that it will likely be utilizing to increase its footprint and the companies that it’s providing to customers, specifically increasing its Service provider Advance loans enterprise.

The corporate is already stay in 23 European markets and plans quickly to increase that to Croatia, Hungary and Sweden.

The funding is notable partly due to who’s doing the investing. Tencent — the Chinese language know-how large behind Wechat that can be making major inroads into financial services — is within the spherical, alongside the European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Improvement (EBRD) and Breyer Capital.

Viva Pockets will not be disclosing its valuation proper now, but it surely means enterprise. Yannis Larios, the corporate’s VP of technique and enterprise growth, confirmed to us that it’s in the midst of closing a big Sequence D — last August sized at €500 million ($603 million) — that may worth it at €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion). It is a massive leap: he additionally famous that when Viva Pockets closed its Sequence C within the second half of 2019, it was valued at €305 million.

“We’re excited to onboard Tencent, EBRD and Breyer Capital to Viva Pockets,” mentioned Haris Karonis, Founder and CEO of Viva Pockets, in a press release. “We’re assured that our buyers’ in depth know-how and community of partnerships will speed up Viva Pockets’s plan to unify the fragmented European funds market. The know-how improvements that we’re bringing ahead to European retailers will assist them present a frictionless, localised cost expertise to all their shoppers, and liberate them from the trouble of sustaining legacy card terminals.”

The spherical is notable for coming at a time when Europe is slowly, hopefully poking its head out from beneath the load of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shaken and knocked over many an financial system already wobbling even earlier than the general public well being disaster. Targeted totally on retailers, Viva Pockets is a chief instance of the sort of tech enterprise which may assist a few of these essential companies get better.

Should you assume that the world of neo-banks could be very crowded — and that particularly neo-banks focussed on the SMB alternative can be getting crowded — one motive why Viva Pockets is getting some consideration is due to its traction and monitor report up to now.

Larios says that the startup has been worthwhile as of Q1 of this 12 months, on the again of a enterprise that has grown by greater than 40% within the final 12 months, with 60,000 retailers presently energetic on its books. It’s on monitor, he mentioned, for that quantity to be 100,000 by the tip of this 12 months.

One motive for its success, he mentioned, is that it’s taken a really localized method to progress, organising operations with bodily branches in every of the nations the place it’s energetic — considerably of a retro thought in at present’s market the place banks are recurrently shutting down their brick-and-mortar areas and going digital. “Viva Pockets is proving the resilience of its enterprise mannequin,” he mentioned.

The funding might be utilized in half to construct out its loans program but in addition to increase areas the place Viva Pockets is already robust. Considered one of these is its level of sale Faucet-On-Telephone answer, which turns any Android system (smartphone, pill or enterprise system) right into a card terminal, to just accept each contactless and PIN funds with out the necessity for separate {hardware}. (Most POS methods use small, separate terminals that may connect with a pill or cellphone.)

He additionally mentioned there might be some M&A sooner or later to increase to extra markets extra shortly.

One space the place the corporate won’t increase is into the buyer area. Different neo-banks like Revolut and Atom have leveraged their traction with youthful shoppers to maneuver into offering companies for the enterprises that they discovered, however Larios that that isn’t a technique that Viva Pockets will take within the reverse, not least as a result of the buyer market has up to now confirmed to be a tough-margin (and even bad-margin) sport.

“Viva Pockets focuses on companies solely and can proceed to take action!” he mentioned (exclamation his!). “The patron section will not be offering any area for profitability and we’re seeing that each one competing neo-bank enterprise fashions specializing in shoppers are largely burning cash away.

“We’re specializing in the SMEs of Europe, offering a pan-European funds answer which nevertheless could be very a lot localized to handle retailers’ true native wants by way of native funds acceptance, native IBAN accounts, native BIN enterprise debit playing cards and so on.” However whereas Viva Pockets might have loads of SMB clients — and the EBRD funding is certainly being made to endorse that — he factors out that it additionally contains medium companies and a few enterprises — bigger retailers like grocery store chains, for instance — and that might be an space it would proceed to increase in.

This provides Viva Pockets sufficient specialization and differentiation, alongside its profitability in concentrating on these areas up to now, to herald the massive identify buyers eager to faucet into financial restoration, each to assist that alongside and to experience the wave of that because it pays dividends.

“We’re very excited to assist Viva Pockets unify the fragmented European funds ecosystem throughout 23 nations. Viva Pockets is on the forefront of a paradigm shift for fintech and collectively, we anticipate to remodel the funds business in Europe” mentioned Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, in a press release.

“Tencent shares Viva Pockets’s aspirations of making worth for customers and companions by means of innovation. We stay up for supporting Viva Pockets in its growth throughout Europe,” added Danying Ma, MD of Tencent Funding.

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