Yapily raises $51 million for its open banking API by focusing on infrastructure

Fintech startup Yapily has raised a $51 million Series B funding round led by Sapphire Ventures. The company has been working on a single, unified open banking API for several European markets. Developers can leverage that programming interface to interact with third-party bank accounts directly from their own products.

“The core difference between us and most of the players in the space is our focus on the infrastructure,” founder and CEO Stefano Vaccino told me. Unlike Tink or TrueLayer, Yapily operates in the background. You never see a Yapily logo anywhere and the company provides no front-end interface.

Another difference is that Yapily focuses exclusively on API integrations. Due to recent regulatory changes in Europe (PSD2), banks now have to offer official APIs to integrate with third-party services. While some still don’t offer APIs, many of them are now complying with the rules.

By focusing on official APIs, Yapily can offer a snappier and more reliable experience. Other startups working on unified open banking APIs rely on a mix of official APIs, screen scraping and private APIs. Screen scraping can be particularly slow, and private APIs sometimes stop working overnight.

When it comes to coverage, Yapily supports more than 1,500 banks across eight countries. “We have between 90 and 99% coverage in the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands,” Vaccino said. You can see the full list of banks on this page. According to Vaccino, only Tink has a similar level of coverage in Europe.

You can use Yapily’s API for several different purposes. For instance, the API lets you check the balance on a bank account, check the account holder name and fetch the last two years of transaction.

But the startup has also noticed that more and more customers rely on open banking to initiate payments from a bank account. Compared to card payments, account-to-account payments are cheaper. Cards also expire, leading to churn. Yapily’s API can be used for one-time payments, international payments, bulk payments and recurring payments.

With today’s funding round, the company plans to expand its commercial presence across Europe. In addition to the U.K., Germany and Italy, Yapily will hire new team members focused on France and Spain.

The startup will also build integrations with banks in new markets in Northern Europe and the Baltics — and then beyond Europe. “At the beginning of next year, we’re going to look at Latin America and especially Brazil,” Vaccino said. Brazilian banks already have a lot of open banking APIs.

Right now, Yapily has around 100 customers, such as American Express, QuickBooks, Bux, Vivid Money, Volt and Moneyfarm. By focusing on the infrastructure layer, other fintech startups are taking advantage of Yapily to build applications on top of the startup’s API. It’s an interesting go-to-market strategy and it seems to be working well.