The new injection of capital will be used to further expand beyond Europe, including the U.S., Australia and South East Asia. The latter includes a new office in Singapore, where a small team has already been assembled.
Backing Railsbank’s Series A is Moneta Capital, which led the round, alongside CreditEase, Clocktower Technology Ventures and Singapore Life. A number of existing investors also participated, including Firestartr.
In a call with Verdon, who was talking to TechCrunch from Singapore, he explained that the new office is part of a strategy that will see Railsbank ride the next wave of fintech innovation, which he says is happening in South East Asia and where the playbook from London and New York 2011 is being repeated.
“In 2011, [we] saw the emergence of the finTech 1.0 scene with people like Currencycloud (which I also founded), TransferWise, Betterment, Bank Simple, etc.,” he tells me.
“This was enabled by the opening up of regulation as the macro trend. We currently see [a] similar regulator macro trend in SE Asia emerging and also the macro trend of tech companies being the distributors of financial products driven by access to cheap smart phones by firms like Xiaomi.”
To that end, Railsbank is positioning itself as a “utility” on which other companies — spanning fintech upstarts, challenger brands, to incumbent banks that want to re-factor their tech — can build and sell various financial services or add fintech features to their products.
“Just like the water company — reliable, safe and works 24×7 and priced at utility pricing,” Verdon says of Railsbank, likening it to what Amazon has done for data centres with AWS. “Railsbank is a utility for the compete financial services backend: platform, connectivity, operations, scheme memberships (e.g. Visa), regulation, and compliance.”
As an example of what the Railsbank platform is capable of, Verdon described how SingLife was able within two days to develop a completely working digital banking app with its own debit card and support for bank transfers, including dedicated account numbers and sort codes, etc.
This, he tells me, is made possible because the Railsbank platform and API provides all of the tech, compliance and integration “hooks” required to build a full banking experience.
Meanwhile, although the startup continues to count other fintech startups as customers, Verdon says Railsbank is also working with brands offering financial products (e.g. supermarkets, travel, retail) and what he dubs “old fin”: companies looking to replace their own costly tech with a platform solution.
“We are also working with banks to provide a complete utility infrastructure and payments/card/ops rails to reduce their… operational costs,” he tells me.