Goldman Sachs and Mastercard have joined a $32 million Series A funding round for Bond, a US startup connecting digital brands to banking partners, according to finextra.com.
Bond is building a fintech platform designed to act as a growth engine for „digital brands” that want to provide access to capital to their customers, and banking partners that want to grow by providing the underlying financial services.
The machine learning-powered platform does this by using APIs and SDKs to streamline the integration between brands and banks, reducing friction and creating a more repeatable model.
Bond provides software that lets companies of all sorts offer products such as credit cards and debit cards. Bond has also worked to ensure the software integrates with a network of banks that can handle the regulatory obligations on behalf of its customers.
In an interview with Fortune, Roy Ng – the CEO of company – said he decided to launch Bond after seeing the incredible difficulties companies encountered when trying to launch financial products. He citied anecdotes of firms deploying dozens of employees to build software to integrate with banks, only to find the product they built was outdated or not a fit for their market. In other cases, the technological and regulatory challenges proved so cumbersome that it took 18 months to build a product—causing the firm to miss out on key market opportunities.
Meanwhile, Ng says banks are focused on their core services and are not adept at building bespoke products for third-party partners. Ng views what Bond is offering as an off-the-shelf solution that lets companies outsource the hard parts of launching financial products.
„All brands will become fintech companies eventually,” he says, predicting that many firms will follow Apple’s lead in launching financial products not only as a way to make money but to deepen their relationship with loyal customers.
On a broader level, Bond is piggy-backing on an existing trend whereby fintech firms like Chime or Square rely on „small banks you’ve never heard of” like Cross River Bank to power their financial offerings. Such banks, known in the industry as sponsor banks, provide the necessary banking licenses and compliance work needed for those firms to operate.
In the case of Bond, the startup is accelerating this phenomenon by building software that integrates with dozens of such banks at once—making it easier for clients to offer a variety of products that might be available from one sponsor bank but not another.
„Tendinţele pe care le-am remarcat înainte de începerea pandemiei s-au accelerat pe perioada stării de urgenţă. Am văzut acest lucru ca o oportunitate, un tipping point pentru bancă. Post-pandemie nu avem cum sa ne întoarcem la comportamentul financiar pe care îl aveam până în februarie a.c. Relaţia românilor cu online-ul s-a schimbat. In plus, cardul fizic se va dematerializa. Vom asista la o scădere a cererii pentru cardurile fizice, respectiv la o creştere a preferinţei pentru componenta digitală a acestora.”