Team Banking Startup Holvi Adds Funding in Advance of 2013 European Launch

Finland-based online banking startup Holvi, which BetaKit covered earlier in the year, announced today that it has raised an undisclosed new round of funding from angel investor Thomas Madsen-Mygdal. It previously received funding from European startup accelerator Seedcamp, and plans to use the latest round to grow its product development, operations, risk management, and sales team so that it can open up its services across Europe in 2013.

Billed as ’smart banking for teams,’ Holvi looks to integrate traditional bookkeeping with real-time banking to shift the paradigm of banking in silos consisting of work, personal, charity, family, and volunteer activities and provide a platform that gives users an all-in-one approach to managing their finances. Users can open up as many accounts as they want, and are able to store money and make payments, with the company partnering with other financial institutions to safeguard funds and transactions. Unlike traditional online accounts, accounts on Holvi can be shared with a team of people relevant to a particular activity.

CEO Tuomas Toivonen spoke with BetaKit about how the service is currently available and gaining momentum in Finland, with the platform recently used to operate the entire Slush Conference a few days prior in Helsinki. “The whole conference was running on top of Holvi, they did all their financial management without a traditional bank account using just Holvi, everything from ticket sales to invoicing the startups presenting, invoicing the sponsors, doing all their vendor payments, and then also the bookkeeping, budgeting, and reporting functionality,” said Toivonen. “What the Slush time really liked was that we provide completely real-time reporting and an account that could be shared with the whole team…they really found it very useful.”

Holvi also has an integrated shop feature to allow anyone to collect funds and start selling or collecting donations, in addition to invoicing services, the ability to add and pay bills, create and manage budgets. Users of the service can open up accounts on Holvi for free and pay €0.90 (~$1.20 U.S.) per transaction and transfers made on the platform, which are applied directly to their account in addition to a three percent charge applied for processing credit card payments.

Activity in the realm of financial services continue to heat up, with more startups asking why the industry has failed to evolve over the years, expounded by the rise of conferences like Finovate, which showcases the latest of the disruptive technologies. BetaKit recently covered the launch of Dwolla’s MassPay service, which allows enterprises to pay out large teams of freelancers by uploading email addresses. There are also companies like Simple that are taking a mobile-first approach to banking, not to mention the companies racing to be the mobile payments standard.

Specifically in the group payments space, startups like Payumi, FriendFund, and Leetchi are also looking to solve issues relating to collaborative banking with everything from groups of friends paying for a wedding gift to roommates splitting their bills and everything in between. Another former player, WePay, recently pivoted to become an SMB payment solution. Holvi on the other hand looks to stand out by offering a platform that’s about more than collecting or paying out money, with its added range of accounting and budgeting tools for its users to provide a more holistic ‘social commerce’ experience.

“We really replace the existing bank, we’re independently regulated, in the background we work with our partner banks and work with them to provide the full banking functionality. We’ve really built Holvi as a financial platform…so in the future we can offer additional services like cards, loans, and other services you see from traditional banks,” Toivonen added.

The Holvi team is also getting ready to launch their ‘Build a Bank Tour’ tomorrow, where it will be traveling all around its target market of Europe and asking individuals and organizations about their current banking shortfalls in hopes of gathering feedback for Holvi and showcasing its services as a platform that meets the needs of a digital era. With its European launch on the way in 2013, the company is looking to take advantage of the uniform regulatory and currency infrastructure to meet with what Toivonen hopes is a growing demand for its services.

Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan is a Senior Writer and Analyst at BetaKit. A marketing graduate with honors, Humayun's work experience spans the fields of consumer behaviour with noted contributions in an academic paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and market research consulting having coordinated projects for a major financial services client at Decode Inc. More recently he was involved in business strategy as a Business Analyst for an equipment rental outlet and prior in the National Marketing Department at Ernst & Young LLP. He is passionate about emerging and disrupting technology and its ability to transform and create entirely new industries.

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