Open banking startup Finverse wants to build the Asia-Pacific region Plaid – TechCrunch
Based in Hong Kong, FinverseThe ambitious goal of the is to enable an open bank throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The startup recently emerged from stealth mode with $ 1.8 million in seed funding and is now present in four markets (Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam) with links to 30 banks. Founder and CEO StÃ©phane Lesaffre told TechCrunch that Finverse plans to enter a new market quarterly, aiming to cover around 75% of retail and SME banks in each location.
Participants in the Finverse roundtable included Febe Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, SixThirty, Venturra and angel investors.
Finverse is part of a generation of fintechs developing APIs that allow easier sharing of financial data. The most prominent examples include Plaid in the US and Tink and Truelayer in Europe (Finverse’s seed funding included angel investments from Truelayer employees).
Prior to launching Finverse in 2020, Lesaffre was senior product manager of financial data integrations at NerdWallet, working with account aggregation APIs like Plaid and former player Yodlee.
Plaid won the US market because it was reliable and developer friendly, Lesaffre said. It didn’t offer as much data coverage as Yodlee, but âwhat it did was a very well focused and very easy to build dataset. My ultimate learning from NerdWallet is that bad data is really worse than no data.
Finverse wants to do the same for the Asia-Pacific region by building reliable APIs and data integrations. âBasically, we’re basically a consent-based data channel where a consumer allows Finverse to log into their account and share it with another fintech or financial institution,â Lesaffre said.
This can include information about accounts, balances, transaction history, and bank statements. Access to this data gives financial institutions an idea of ââa consumer’s assets and liabilities and can be used to perform things like income estimates, credit checks, and assess repayment capacity.
Lesaffre said early Finverse users are mostly fintech startups, including a mix of SME loan providers, and who buy now, pay for services later.
Finverse’s APIs can be used for a wide variety of use cases, but most of its current prospects focus on consumer or small business loans. Many want to move from a highly manual process that requires applicants to upload documents, to a digitized credit decision that can take as little as a minute.
Finverse is currently focusing on banking consumers, or people with traditional bank accounts and credit histories, but over time, it also plans to add digital wallets, neobanks, and other less traditional institutions. . Future use cases include financial tracking, as more and more people in Asia are starting to use e-wallets, investment apps, and online banking accounts.
âIf you’re a small digital bank, you know a lot of your customers will have another main account at a big bank, so a lot of small banks are very keen on being able to have a full perspective on their consumers,â Lesaffre said. âOne way to do this is to allow consumers to track all of their accounts in one place. “
Another use case of Finverse’s APIs is verification, compliance, and KYC of cross-border payments.
Other open banking startups focused on Southeast Asia include Brankas and Finantier. Lesaffre said Finverse’s approach is different because it targets the entire Asia-Pacific region, instead of focusing on specific markets. Its new funding will be used to develop its engineering and business development teams.