Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

Brankas, an open banking startup for Southeast Asian markets, is heading into the new year with a $20 million Series B. Funding was led by Insignia Ventures Partners, with participation from recurring investors Beenext and Integra Partners. Other lenders included Visa (Brankas was a member of the Accelerator Program for 2021), AFG Partners and Treasury International, the venture capital firm led by fintech veterans including Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder of Acorns and Eli Broverman, co-founder of Betterment, also invested.

Brankas’ platform offers a selection of more than 10 “banking-as-a-service” embedded APIs, including APIs for online bank account opening, credit scoring, identity verification, e-commerce transactions, and gig economy payments. Founded in 2016, Branka’s goal is to “democratize access to financial and identity data”. Clients include traditional financial institutions, banks and fintech startups.

Brankas says it sees a 30% monthly growth in API usage and is now used by more than 40 banks and 100 enterprise customers and channel partners. Since many of its fintech clients target people without bank accounts, or those who do not have traditional bank accounts or credit cards, Brankas partners include financial services companies such as remittance companies and e-wallet.

For more information on Brankas’ launch, see BestFitnessBands’s 2019 profile of the company, the same year it raised its Series A.

Since then, Brankas Chief of Staff Bala Subramanian told BestFitnessBands that it has “aggressively built new products during the pandemic, which have seen great adoption in our current operating markets of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.”

These include, for example, four new payment products: Instant, for account-to-account transfers; Payout for transfers direct from accounts; Pay, a no-code solution for micro-enterprises to collect payments; and for corporate clients, IPG, a platform created for major financial institutions to collect payments on behalf of merchants).

In terms of data, Brankas developed four new APIS: Statement, for retrieving retail and business transactions; Balance, to show people their current and average account balances; Income, where machine learning is used to identify individual income or salary; and Telco, to provide customers with access to users’ telecom data.

Since the Series A in 2019, Subramanian said, Brankas has had increased support from regulators for open finance as they see it as a tool for financial inclusion and greater customer choice. It also saw more ‘banking-as-a-service’ products, or banking products such as savings accounts, cards and loans offered as ’embedded finance’ in third-party apps, including e-commerce, SME account management and HR and payroll software. As a result of the growing adoption, he said “large multinational financial services firms like Visa are embracing open financing, even if it could threaten their legacy operations in the near term.”

Open financing has also been adopted by the mainstream cryptocurrency community, he added, thanks to the increasing demand for “tradefi” products to complement crypto revenues.

Branka’s new funding will be used to build new APIs and double the current team of 100. It also plans to add more capabilities to its payment, data and banking-as-a-service API product menu in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Tt will also announce partnerships with digital banks and fintech companies in Vietnam and Bangladesh, two new markets where Brankas will go live early this year.

Brankas also plans to [[deepen the capabilities of its payments, data and banking-as-a-service API product menu in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Will also announce partnerships with digital banks and fintech leaders in Vietnam soon and Bangladesh, going live early this year].

Other open finance API startups in Southeast Asia include Finantier and Finverse. Subramanian said Brankas’s distinguishing features are its regional coverage and being the only company to offer regulated payment APIs that enable instant bank transfers and remittances without an intermediary, as well as cryptocurrency payments and wallet-linking APIs. He also said Brankas is enabling open financing for all Visa partner banks in the region through Visa and is currently developing new solutions for payments, identity and data analytics.

In a statement regarding his investment in Brankas, Samir Chaibi, Chief Executive Officer of Insignia Ventures Partners, said: “We are also impressed with Brankas’ approach to market development and their ability to launch and scale their products in a way that regulations, while ensuring developers benefit from a reliable and stable source of banking and financial data and more.”

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