Global financial services provider iBanFirst, delivering solutions across banking borders, has announced that it will continue to expand with the help of venture capital funds Elaia and Bpifrance, through its growth capital fund Large Venture. The pair join French funds Serena and Breega, which first invested in the fintech in November 2018 and have participated once again in this latest funding round. They will find themselves alongside Xavier Niel, who acquired stakes in the company in October 2016. Despite the uncertain economic climate, iBanFirst has secured the backing of these top-tier investors.
The latest funding round reflects the profound changes that can be observed in the payment services market for SMEs and mid-tier companies. Their CEOs and CFOs have reiterated their needs in terms of speed, transparency, expertise and security, and through lack of appropriate client servicing and adequate technology, traditional banks simply cannot satisfy their requirements.
Since closing its last funding round, iBanFirst has seen spectacular growth and has significantly developed its footprint in Europe, with the acquisition of Dutch and German competitors NBWM and Forexfix at the end of 2019. The volume of payment transactions has almost tripled, with a year-on-year increase averaging 180% in March 2020, which, in turn, has led to three-figure revenue growth as well. To support this, the company’s staff numbers have also expanded, from 16 employees in 2016 to 180 employees in 2020.
iBanFirst boasts its own core banking infrastructure, making it a leader in B2B payment services and giving it a competitive advantage in the roll-out of its technological roadmap. This includes the forthcoming launch of a new payment tracker, as well as additional open banking (AISP) and import lending services. In the current context, where the risk of business defaults is growing, the payment tracker, which improves quality of service and security levels while also strengthening trust between clients and suppliers, is of particular relevance.
Xavier Lazarus, Managing Partner at Elaia said: “The digitisation of the traditional economy is not only underway, but it has been drastically accelerated by the current health crisis. The fintech sector, and especially the international payments sector, is on course to becoming one of the clear winners of this crisis period. While the bulk of the market remains in the hands of offline historical players, their quality of service and transaction costs are increasingly challenged. This is why we are both proud and delighted to support iBanFirst in its international growth and in the development of a leading pan-European digital platform specialised in B2B payment services and currency exchange. From the determination of the company’s management team, the quality of the tech platform and financial processing on offer, right through to iBanFirst’s already impressive performance – the lockdown period being no exception – the evidence is overwhelming that this is a historic opportunity to be part of the development of a leading tech company here in Paris.”
Pierre-Antoine Dusoulier, CEO and Founder of iBanfirst said: “I am delighted that Elaia and Bpifrance Large Venture have come and consolidated our pool of historic investors, and I am very proud to see iBanFirst join their portfolio of hypergrowth tech companies. Elaia and Bpifrance, notably through its Large Venture fund, are two major players in French venture capital and their ability to support the entrepreneurs and companies they invest in is well established. This is a decisive step towards achieving maturity as a company and pursuing our goal of becoming the leading platform for B2B multicurrency financial services. While continuing to deliver technological solutions that improve user experience, we will keep expanding our SME and mid-tier offering. To support companies in their international growth, we will strive to offer transactions that are increasingly straightforward, secure and transparent, within a network nurturing mutual trust.”
Damien Launoy of Bpifrance Large Venture said: “Bpifrance collaborates daily with the SMEs and mid-tier companies that iBanFirst caters for, and we are fully confident that such companies have an increasing need for improved services when it comes to international payments and currency exchange. These needs are all the more palpable in such uncertain times, and will be in the months to follow, when these companies will have to resume or intensify trade with the greatest possible ease and flexibility. We are therefore delighted to be a part of this new chapter in iBanFirst’s
development and we are eager to support the company’s management team in their growth ambitions, as they facilitate the digitalisation of SMEs and mid-tier companies. We are confident that iBanFirst will quickly become a leading international tech company, like many of the companies we invest in via our Large Venture fund.”