We interview Eric Mouilleron, Founder & CEO at Bankable who shares his startup story with us.
The pace of fintech innovation is challenging for a great number of traditional banks. To meet business needs of large financial institutions, disruptive fintech players that can offer innovative platforms and payment solutions have become particularly interesting to work with.
1. Tell us about Bankable. How did this idea come to be?
I started Bankable with the vision of displacing payment inefficiencies by real-time, affordable, scalable electronic solutions.
When I founded Bankable (formerly Cards Prepaid), no one knew what “fintech” stood for. I realised the power of prepaid while attending the first MasterCard Prepaid Conference in May 2007 in Prague. The prepaid industry promised high growth and I envisioned powering payments with globally scalable technological innovation.
There was an opportunity in the market. Traditional banks have extremely opaque fees while consumers demand transparency. Many people only need basic banking services simply to receive money and make payments without any hidden fees.
A prepaid based light bank account enables such services and empowers consumers who do not have bank accounts and are outside the credit rating system.
However, the regulatory environment did not allow non-banks to offer payment services before November 2009 when the Payment Services Directive was implemented by EU member states. It was the first step to revolutionising financial services and stimulating competition in the marketplace to provide consumers with transparent and efficient services.
I completed a EUR 1.5 million equity injection into Bankable in December 2009 from professional investors looking to invest directly and privately in early-stage companies.
Today, along with Bankable, fintech has emerged as a dynamic industry disrupting financial services through innovation.
2. Why is it called Bankable?
We initially established ourselves as Cards Prepaid Ltd. We rebranded in August 2014 to Bankable to shift focus from prepaid cards as a means of payment to the company’s mission to enable “Banking as a Service”. Banks, telcos, fintech entrepreneurs and governments can launch financial services quickly, while corporates can streamline their payment processes through Bankable’s proprietary platform as a service.
The name positions the company as an established partner with reliable technology for its clients. Bankable’s logo symbolises a gear mechanism that emphasises the idea of uninterrupted performance and continuous innovation provided by Bankable to its clients and partners.
3. Why is Bankable needed?
Bankable is here to displace payment inefficiencies and to promote outsourced innovation in financial services. We are here to serve business needs with time to market in mind.
We are a global architect of innovative payment solutions providing “Banking as a Service”. Our core virtual account management platform is available in white-label or via APIs enabling anyone to deploy payment solutions – including virtual account services, e-ledgers, virtual & plastic card programmes, and e-wallet & light banking solutions.
For example, banks can offer an innovative solution (the Virtual Ledger Manager) to their large global corporate clients allowing them to reduce the number of bank accounts operated and automate reconciliation using virtual accounts and virtual IBANs.
Additionally, banks and entities with a large consumer base can also launch corporate and consumer card solutions to target varied categories of clients.
For corporates, our platform can power a fully white-labelled self-service private cloud-based platform for SMEs and corporates to issue Visa/MasterCard prepaid cards to employees for expenses, purchasing, payroll, incentives, etc.
On the other hand for consumers, our platform can enable a “light” banking solution offering essential financial services to digitally native consumers. Consumers are not required to have a bank account to access this solution which makes it an ideal payment and financial management tool for young people, the unbanked population and migrant workers.
All these solutions provide full control and transparency for clients and consumers alike.
4. What makes Bankable different?
Bankable provides end-to-end payment solutions. We enable regulated and non-regulated entities to deploy payment solutions. They key benefit of our core platform is the ability to allow clients to develop payment solutions via a single point of contact.
Our interoperable proprietary platform is integrated with various key partners in the payments ecosystem. This infrastructure allows clients to quickly deploy payment solutions via a single partnership with Bankable, in turn also accelerating time to market.
We encourage our clients to focus on their brand and distribution, while we operate the back-end system (processing, connectivity to card schemes, etc.).
5. What were some of your biggest challenges for launching this business?
The biggest challenge even today is to attract and retain relevant clients, exceptional talent, and prestigious shareholders.
6. Tell us about your expansion plans and how do you go about choosing the next region you expand into?
We are currently focused on distributing our solutions across Europe. Currently, we serve corporate clients with a legal entity in Europe globally. For consumer projects, we can launch in all 30+ European countries.
We definitely want to expand our global footprint as well. We are currently in discussion with regulators, Central Banks, and corporate clients in Australia, Middle East and North America.
We are also looking to expand our services to Africa to build robust and modern payment solutions to slowly displace cash and promote financial inclusion.
7. What are the 3 things you want people to know about your company?
- Time to market is of raison d’être.
- We are relevant and compliant to global organisations.
- We are friendly and punctual!