Meet Swan, a new French startup that wants to let other companies offer financial services by issuing cards, bank accounts and IBANs with just a few lines of codes. The company could be considered as a bank-as-a-service platform, like Treezor or Solarisbank.
Originally founded by startup studio eFounders, the startup just raised a $5.9 million (€5 million) seed round led by Creandum with Bpifrance’s Digital Venture fund also participating.
Swan has obtained an e-money license from the French regulator, which lets them operate payment services and hold user funds. Unlike a bank, it can’t issue credit lines. The company also handles risk, which means that it handles KYC processes (“know your customer”). Essentially, if you’re working with Swan, they take care of all the risky aspects of managing money.
Compared to other bank-as-a-service companies, Swan doesn’t necessarily want to power neobanks and help them get started. The startup thinks a ton of companies touch on financial services but can’t offer those services because it’s such a big investment.
For instance, you can imagine an invoicing product that generates IBANs for you so that it automatically matches incoming transactions to the right invoice (like Upflow). On-demand companies could issue cards to their delivery
employees partners so that they can pay for groceries and food directly using a Swan-powered card. Marketplace companies could handle pay-ins and pay-outs at a more granular level with each client managing their own e-money wallet.
This vision is part of a bigger trend called embedded finance. By expanding your product to control a bigger stack of the experience, you can provide new products and services and make your customers stick around for a long time.
As a Swan customer, you can customize the branding with your own logo and colors. When you issue cards, you can choose between a physical Mastercard card or a virtual one. They work with Apple Pay and Google Pay. You pay €900 per month and a flat monthly fee for each account and card that you issue.
Swan is taking a developer-oriented approach. The company says it can take several months to integrate a banking-as-a-service product into your own product. With an API-driven approach, Swan wants to make it as easy as integrating Stripe on your e-commerce website.