Griffin, the London-based challenger and soon-to-be bank, has raised £3 million in a seed round led by Europe’s seed fund Seedcamp and Tribe Capital. The round also saw participation from angel investors including the founders of Indeed.com.
Funding will be used to finish building its fully-regulated banking platform designed for fintechs looking to build and launch their own financial products but who can’t afford to wait for incumbent banks to catch up.
The start-up believes fintechs starting out in the industry struggle to get up and running “due to poor technology offerings and [a] lack of appetite from major banks”. Griffin’s platform will be built on application programme interfaces (APIs), allowing fintechs to open ring-fenced accounts for customer funds with a built-in compliance engine and ledger.
The firm confirms it will also be using the new capital to fund its application for a UK bank licence from the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Once regulated, the start-up can whittle down the average industry time for leveraging a built-in risk and compliance engine from six months to just “a few days”.
FinTech Futures caught up with Griffin last year. The start-up told us the team was building everything from scratch from its core banking ledger to the customer information system to the payments integrations to the API front-end.
Griffin’s aim is to be “the banking partner of choice” for fintechs, “one purpose-built to help them”. “We’ve seen first-hand how punishing the current onboarding processes can be for fintech start-ups,” says Seedcamp partner Tom Wilson, whose firm also led Griffin’s 2018 pre-seed round. “It’s affected a lot of the firms in our portfolio, and we’re excited to be backing a company that has a serious plan to solve that problem.”
Set up in 2017, Griffin is headed up by David Jarvis and Allen Rohner, who previously worked as API and ledger technology engineers respectively. “They’ve successfully set up and run new banks and new tech companies […] this is one of the strongest teams I have ever seen,” says Indeed.com founder Paul Forster.
“We’re heading towards a world in which almost every major brand is going to want to offer a strategically important financial services product”, says Griffin’s founder Jarvis. “But it won’t make sense for most of them to become banks themselves. And that’s where we come in.”