An Aussie-founded fintech, based in London, has secured £1.5 million ($2.66 million) in seed funding, while it’s still pre-product, pre-revenue, and less than a year old.
Founded in early-2018 by Australian native and chief executive Brad Goodall, along with co-founders Neil Ambler, Patrick Cox and Ellen Fernandes, Banked aims to open up the possibilities of financial data by providing a trustworthy channel of communication between banks, businesses and individuals.
The entirety of the seed funding has come from London-based venture capital firm Backed VC, although Goodall tells StartupSmart he is in talks with other investors regarding a potential secondary seed raise.
Open banking came into effect in the UK earlier this year, while the European Union’s second revision of the Payment Service Directive (PSD2) will come into effect next year. These changes in the banking sector mean banks are now obliged to open up their balances and transaction data to third parties.
“The open banking opportunity is a real business-to-developer market,” Goodall says.
“Therefore, it’s more about being able to effectively develop an API, and then the tools, documents and processes that make a developer’s life easier,” he adds.
Banks have had the sole control of their own data “forever”, Goodall says, and access to financial data is an area where “customer experience is not consistently met”.
But the move to open data is “the start of a wave”, he says, not only in Europe, but also globally — including in Australia.
“I’ve got a really close eye on Australia,” Goodall says.
“It’s a really interesting space in the way the government is approaching regulation, and the ecosystem is responding,” he adds.
“It will definitely be a market we look to enter.”
Goodall plans to travel back to Australia in January, in order to scope out the market and consider expanding there at some point next year, and he also has plans to conquer the US.
However, for Banked, the pipe dream is more about changing the way a market works, than reaching all corners of the globe.
“Our real interest is delivering a product that becomes the framework — or the pipes — for lots of other products built on top of it,” Goodall says.
People, product and opportunity
Initially, the startup put all of its efforts into securing funding from Backed, Goodall says.
“It’s a great team — they got the concept and the product,” he says.
“They were able to deploy the funds so we could launch the team and move out of stealth mode,” he adds.
Goodall and the team have been working with a handful of customers in a closed user group already, and plan to launch the product publicly in April next year, going live in both the UK and Europe in 2019.
Already, the funding has gone into recruiting a crack team, with the startup growing to 17 people, including those with experience working with the UK regulator and financial standards bodies, and others with design experience at the likes of Apple.
As a digital product, “we don’t have huge overheads, other than people, at this time”, Goodall says.
“It’s all about building the team and launching the product,” he adds.
“The product is the thing that needs to do the talking — we’re focused on building and launching.”
From his experiences as a serial startup founder, Goodall’s main takeaway is the importance of having a clear goal.
“You have to be extremely passionate about the problem that you’re trying to solve,” he says, “and very passionate about what the solution is.”
Equally, you have to have a great team of both co-founders and employees behind you, he says.
When talking to investors, conversations centre on the market opportunity, the solution, and the people.
“If you can talk to all three of those until you’re blue in the face, you’re probably 50% of the way there,” he says.