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Southeast Asian open finance startup Brankas gets $20M Series B led by Insignia Ventures – TechCrunch

Southeast Asian open finance startup Brankas gets $20M Series B led by Insignia Ventures – TechCrunch
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Brankas, a banking startup open to Southeast Asian markets, is entering the new year with a $20 million pool. Funding is led by Insignia Ventures Partners, with the participation of return investors Bennext and Integra Partners. Other backers include Visa (Brankas was a 2021 Accelerator member), AFG Partners and Treasury International, the venture capital firm led by fintech veterans including Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder of Acorns and Eli Proverman, founder Participant of Betterment, also invested.

Brankas offers a list of 10+ built-in Banking as a Service APIs, including those for online bank account opening, credit scoring, identity verification, e-commerce transactions, and gig economy payments. Founded in 2016, Brankas aims to “democratize access to financial and identity data”. Clients include traditional financial institutions, banks, and fintech startups.

Brankas says it’s seeing 30% monthly growth in API usage and is now used by more than 40 banks and 100 enterprise customers and channel partners. Since many of its fintech clients focus on “unbanked” people, or people without traditional bank accounts or credit cards, Brankas’ partners include financial service providers such as remittance and e-wallet companies.

For more information on Brankas’ start, see the company’s 2019 TechCrunch profile, the same year it raised the Series A.

Since then, Brankas Chief of Staff Bala Subramanian has told TechCrunch that it has been “aggressively building new products during the pandemic, which has seen significant outreach in our existing operating markets of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.”

For example, these products included four new payment products – direct, for account-to-account bank transfers; disbursement of transfers directly from accounts; Pay, a no-token solution for small businesses to collect payments; and for enterprise customers, IPG, a platform created for large financial institutions to collect payments on behalf of merchants).

In terms of data, Brancas developed four new data APIs, to retrieve retail and corporate transactions; Balance, to allow people to see their checking and average account balances; Income, which uses machine learning to determine an individual’s income or salary; and Telco, to allow customers to access users’ communications data.

Since Series A in 2019, Subramanian said Brancas has seen more regulator support for open funding, as they see it as an enabler of financial inclusion and greater customer choice. It has also seen more “banking as a service” products, or banking products such as savings accounts, cards, and loans offered as “embedded finance” on third-party applications, including e-commerce, SME account management, HR software, and payroll. As a result of increased adoption, he said, “large multinational financial service providers such as Visa are embracing open financing, even if it threatens their legacy businesses in the short term.”

He added that open funding has also been adopted by the mainstream cryptocurrency community, thanks to the increased demand for “tradefi” products to supplement crypto earnings.”

Brankas’ new funding will be used to build new APIs and double its existing team of 100. It also plans to add more capabilities to its portfolio of payments, data, and banking as a service APIs in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Tt will also announce partnerships with digital banks and fintech companies in Vietnam and Bangladesh, two new markets where Brancas will launch early this year.

As Brancas plans to [[deepen the capabilities of its payments, data and banking-as-a-service API product menu in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Will also announce partnerships with digital banks and fintech leaders in Vietnam soon and Bangladesh, going live early this year].

Other open finance API companies in Southeast Asia include Finantier and Finverse. Subramanian said the trade-offs for Brankas include its regional coverage and being the only company to offer regulated payments APIs that enable direct bank transfers and intermediary remittances, as well as cryptocurrency payments and wallet linking APIs. He also said that with Visa, Brankas is enabling open funding to all Visa partner banks in the region and is currently developing new solutions for payments, identity and data analytics.

In a statement about its investment in Brancas, Samir Chaibi, Director of Insignia Ventures Partners, said: “We were also impressed by Brancas’ approach to market development and its ability to launch and scale their products in a regulatory compliant manner while ensuring that developers benefit from it as a reliable and stable source for banking, financial and other data. “

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