by Steve O’Hear for Techcrunch
TrueLayer, a London startup that’s built a developer platform to make it easy for fintech companies to access bank APIs — and ride the PSD2 gravy train — has raised $3 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Anthemis Group, with participation from existing investor Connect Ventures, and will be used by TrueLayer to expand its team and increase coverage of supported banks before opening up beyond beta testers later this year.
The European Union’s Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), due to be written into law by January 2018, will force banks operating within the EU to offer read and write access, so that, with your consent, third-party apps and services can access your bank account data, including being able to make and receive payments on your behalf.
Unsurprisingly, a plethora of fintech startups are already getting high on PSD2 fumes by building out a range of products ahead of time, from Personal Finance Manager apps (PFMs), credit and loans, to card-linked offers and cash-back, ready for when PSD2 legislation finally kicks in. TrueLayer, on the other hand, is taking a picks ‘n’ shovels approach to what many predict will be a PSD2-driven fintech gold rush.
“We believe that PSD2 will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for startups to displace incumbent banks and financial service providers,” TrueLayer co-founder Francesco Simoneschi tells me. “We want to provide developers with a simple, secure and universal API to access the bank infrastructure and enable the next wave of financial services”.
Launched in private beta in February, the TrueLayer developer platform currently supports things like account verification, KYC processes, and accessing transactional data for account aggregation, credit scoring, and risk assessment. It is available in the U.K. and Simoneschi says TrueLayer will expand to other EU countries later in 2018.
And, of course, full PSD2 support is next on the roadmap. “The API will start offering additional bank services beyond data, including payment initiation (an API to send wire transfers) and the full scope of the opportunities enabled by PSD2 and Open Banking,” he says.
Eventually — and once the startup has attained the appropriate PSD2-related licences from the U.K. regulator — Simoneschi hopes that TrueLayer will be able to act as an “umbrella license” and therefore the regulatory as well as technical gateway for fintech startups and other kinds of businesses to go in search of PSD2 gold.
“We are extremely positive about PSD2 and the benefit of a clear regulatory framework,” adds Simoneschi. “It is awesome that Europe (and the U.K.) are so open to innovation when it comes to consumer finance and banking. There [are] still many challenges that PSD2 will have to solve, but this can be truly transformative for the financial services market”.