FinLeap’s solarisBank to offer Banking-as-a-Platform so startups can ride fintech gravy train

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Offering what it calls Banking-as-a-Platform, FinLeap, the German fintech ‘startup factory’, has hatched its latest venture.

This time the Berlin-based company builder (to use the preferred terminology) is investing and betting on the underlying regulatory and financial technology infrastructure — the picks ‘n’ shovels, if you will — in the form of solarisBank, a fully licensed digital bank designed to power an array of fintech services.

Born out of the frustration experienced by FinLeap’s own startups when faced with the need to piggybank an existing banking license and technology in order to be able to offer various financial services, solarisBank has developed what is described as a modular-based banking toolkit, including, and crucially, various modern banking APIs. This means that it’s able to offer other fintech businesses various services that, in turn, they can offer to their own customers.

These include account and transaction services, compliance and trust solutions, working capital financing, and online loans. Those services not only require a technology solution, but in many instances, a banking or e-money license too. SolarisBank handles the heavy lifting for both.

“We are confident that most major Internet companies will want digital banking solutions that expand their product range and offer it within a challenging regulatory environment,” says FinLeap Chair Jan Beckers in a statement. “We haven’t seen a bank that offers a technology platform like ours and can partner with so many different kinds companies and business models.”

While solarisBank is officially de-cloaking today, it has already begun servicing a number of test customers. It isn’t disclosing who they are, but I understand that one is an e-commerce platform that is using the banking platform to offer new value-added financial services relevant to its existing customer base, such as loans. In this instance, SolarisBank is acting as both regulatory banking partner and technology partner. A second customer is a gift card provider who would otherwise require an electronic money license.

“Solaris’ services are like Lego bricks: our partners can pick the bricks they require and assemble custom solutions to fit their business needs,” a company spokesperson told me via email.

“Partners can access Solaris Platform services via our easy-to-implement API. The frictionless and straight-forward integration enables solarisBank partners to launch quickly and concentrate on their core business. In addition to the focus on technological innovation, we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements with our full bank license.”