One of the most interesting startups to appear at the Slush conference in Helsinki this week was Holvi. Not a million miles away from Bank Simple, seed-funded Holvi plans to attack traditional bank accounts with a super simple service which also gives the account holder a tonne of tools traditionally offered by online accountancy services. Just like a traditional bank account it allows you to store money and make transfers in and out. But you can associate as many accounts with your Holvi proﬁle, making it possible to separate ﬁnances for different projects, while at the same time giving you an overview of the account. It’s an ambitious vision.
Holvi’s opportunity to disrupt traditional bank accounts exists thanks to new Pan-European legislation for payment services. This has opened the doors to companies able to provide the services of a traditional bank across the European economic area. The integrated euro currency zone is making the process more simple, leading to payments across borders for the same price as local payments. And all of this without capital requirements and a regulatory process, which is far less complex than a full banking license would require.
The very simple user interface gives a big picture of the account and is optimised for web and mobile. Accounts also come with a merchant account allowing users to take payments, so they could sell products, collect donations or membership fees and invoice clients. Contacts have a built-in CRM.
Co-founder Krista Kauppinen told me: “We’ve brought in a lot of new functionalities into the account (such as a bookkeeping engine, accepting payments, invoicing etc.) that Bank Simple does not have and our accounts are shareable, making them well suited for group activities and work.”
It will be fascinating to see what people make of it when it launches outside of Finland, as the team plans.