The startup Relio wants to shake up the local SME business with a neobanking solution: “Relio will soon launch the first Swiss digital account specifically for SMEs,” the fintech company has just gone public with this promise. It is seeking a fintech license and has received 700,000 Swiss francs in pre-seed financing round from the venture capital fund of Swiss stock exchange operator SIX and the German High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), it adds.
Upon request, the company confirmed that since August 2020, it has been pushing ahead with the completion of the platform with a permanent staff of 4 employees in the premises of the SIX FinTech Incubator F10 in Zurich. However, according to press spokesman Milos Stokic, around 10 employees are intensively involved in the project. They come from the board of directors and network of Lav Odorovic, who founded and leads the startup last year.
Odorovic built Neobank Penta in Germany, the “German digital bank for freelancers, startups and small businesses,” according to the statement. Contovista founder Gian Reto à Porta is on board as chairman of the board in this country. What Revolut, Neon, Yapeal and Co. offer for private customers, Relio wants to make available for SMEs.
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Like Yapeal, for example, Relio uses the core banking solution of the British SaaScada
Instead of the usual digital banking services, about 80% of which are already offered by more or less all neobanks, Relio focuses in particular on the remaining 20% of companies, which are usually more demanding because of compliance requirements, said Stokic. It is precisely because of these SME demands that the fintech solutions already offered to date for the digital processing of financial transactions often fail, he said.
While a corporate account can be set up quickly, the process can drag on for weeks due to compliance requirements, he says. Odorovic wants to change that, saying, “Our promise is ‘compliance without complications.'” That’s why he’s building a “digital business account around compliance as a core competency.” This approach should enable “even complex SMEs to obtain an account with a Swiss IBAN quickly and without red tape.” The company wants to implement this concept as independently as possible and would therefore like to obtain its own Fintech license from Finma.
Like Yapeal, for example, it uses the core banking solution of the British SaaScada, but places a special focus on automating compliance for SMEs, the Relio man explains further. To this end, the processes are automated on an industry-specific basis. Relio is benefiting from the fact that, despite the diversity of SMEs, there are still patterns that can be used in all industries. This leads to the promise that “even complex companies can open a business account with a Swiss IBAN within 24 hours.
In addition, the company is working on tools for collaboration and software integration, for example of accounting solutions, for which corresponding APIs are to be made available. Which solutions these will be is currently still being left open. Abacus is not likely to be one of them, especially since they have just bought into Yapeal.
Stokic is currently unable to say when Relio will actually go live. Prototypes and proof of concepts have existed for some time. The plan is to launch the platform as soon as the license from Finma is available. This could take 9 to 12 months, as the Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank (BLKB) recently stated when it founded its digital subsidiary. That is also roughly the timeframe expected for the new startup. Accordingly, the first customers could be acquired at the beginning of 2022, and there are already interested parties, the marketing man continues. As soon as the first customers are on board, the next round of financing will be launched, he adds.
The fact that the Neobanken range is in the upswing, determined recently the university Lucerne in the trend study banks 2021 . According to the study, one in five people already conducts their financial transactions digitally. In fact, in the private customer business, corresponding projects from Swiss financial institutions have sprung up in recent months: Credit Suisse, for example, launched a competing product to Revolut and Co. last fall, Postfinance wants to launch a digital banking app à la Neon with Swissquote. And BLKB also wants to gain a foothold in the market.
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