Holvi – The open banking ecosystem for small businesses

April 17, 2015 Holvi

Greetings from Finland!

As you have been previously covering banking and financial technology we thought that Holvi, the company reshaping the European banking landscape, might be of interest to you.

Holvi is the Finland based fintech startup that is reshaping financial services across Europe. Having acquired customers from countries like Finland, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark, the company is next targeting Germany and Austria. Holvi is designed to replace traditional banks, and the underlying business model differs in various aspects. The core of the service is a digital current account that combines diverse features, such as e-commerce, invoicing and financial reporting tools. Unlike traditional bank accounts that merely list transactions, Holvi gives users a financial clarity and provides them with the easy-to-use tools to simplify their financial operations.

Contrary to commercial banks, Holvi is not targeting individual consumers but has designed its services mainly for entrepreneurs, self-employed, micro businesses and SMEs – a creative force of 40 million in Europe. 83% of Holvi’s customers are within the Millennial segment. Holvi’s viral current account has been built for a networked community offering multiple channels for sharing and referral. The connectivity of the segment is reflected in the customer acquisition process: 57.4 % of the new customers get into the service by personal reference. Here you can read more about how Holvi challenges European banks by activating Millennials.

Modern technology in the cloud

Holvi is not a traditional bank – it operates as a payment institution authorised by the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) of Finland for operations across the EU under the Payment Service Directive. As an authorised payment institution, the company is regulated by the same authorities as traditional banks and provides its services under the same code of conduct and consumer protection rules.

Latest technology, targeted customer segments and segregated accounts are Holvi’s core factors of differentiation. Holvi has a strong in-house technology team that has built the banking and payments platform from the ground up. The company is not adding another layer to pre-existent infrastructure but applies current technological means to create a seamless online banking experience coupled with a beautiful user interface.

The company has a strong technology task force with specialist talent in web and mobile engineering as well as core systems engineers that come from payments, telecommunications and air traffic control systems background. Payment execution, KYC (Know Your Customer Verification), AML (Anti Money Laundry Screening) and risk management are all handled without external service providers.

The service is operated in a private cloud environment hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the same infrastructure that runs Amazon.com. Holvi is one of the first financial institutions with a regulatory approval to run its core banking and payments on AWS. Using a modern cloud infrastructure stack allows high flexibility, scalability and a very attractive cost structure.

“We aim for fast execution and zero debt on both our balance sheet and technology stack. We are a generation ahead in an environment where most competitors’ core systems are still using mainframes”, says Tuomas Toivonen, the Holvi Co-Founder.

Foundation of the 21st century banking – the connected ecosystem

The company is building an open platform that seamlessly integrates third party service providers. Holvi has recently integrated Dropbox into its service that allows customers to export their financial reports and receipts directly to their cloud storage account.

“In short, we are building the bank account and epicenter for the modern economy. An ecosystem that connects all forms of payment methods, data, transactions and alternative financing. The most important unclaimed position of the banking space,” states Johan Lorenzen, CEO at Holvi.

As a payment institution, the company operates as an asset manager and payment services provider. In its duty to manage its customers’ assets, Holvi holds the customer funds in segregated accounts for the benefit of its customers. No customer funds are held on Holvi’s balance sheet, and in no event would creditors of Holvi have a claim on the customer funds.

The company received its own independent payment service provider licence in the summer of 2014. Holvi offers an independent current account with its own international bank account numbers (IBAN) across the European Economic Area. Holvi has opened its virtual gates wide open to welcome Europe’s digital generation by providing them a banking service without any queues, branches or paperwork.

For more information, please contact:

Elina Räsänen
+358 50 3888 207


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