Beyond Open Banking – Interview with Budget Insight

Tuesday 5 April 2022 10:28 CET | Editor: Vlad Macovei | Interview

We speak with Bertrand Jeannet, CEO at Budget Insight, which helps companies create more value for financial services users and develop new growth potential

Could you please tell us more about Budget Insight? How did your story start and where are you now?

Budget Insight was founded in 2012. We have been a B2B actor since day one. The company started by providing our technology to accounting firms for whom it makes life much easier. 

Now, we are among the European leaders of Open Finance, providing our technologies to more than 230 partners, including the biggest credit institutions (BNPP, BPCE, Crédit Mutuel, Arkéa, Oney, ING), insurance companies (Axa, Maif, Groupama) and the most famous fintechs of the ecosystem (Lydia, Agicap, Joko, Finfrog, Finary, Moka, Max, Cashbee, Paylead, Ismo, Tiime, Pennylane, Avanseo, Valiuz, IPaidThat).

Through one single API, our clients can access different solutions they can combine:

  • Pay, the payment initiation solution (PIS) enabling payment from their interface.
  • Bank, the Account Information Services (AIS), regulated by the PSD2, allows aggregate payment accounts balances and transactions in real-time.
  • Wealth, an activity outside the PSD2, enables retrieving clients' asset portfolios for a comprehensive view of their investments.
  • Bill, another activity outside the PSD2, helps become more productive by reconciling bills and various documents (KYC, KYB).

Our key differentiator is the ability to go beyond PSD2 and retrieve all financial data - payment accounts, saving accounts, asset accounts: securities, stock funds, endowment contracts, life insurance, retirement accounts of various types, cryptocurrencies. 

Our mission is clear: we open-up finance to empower consumers and businesses. 

Here are some key figures about our activity :

  • +2 million end-users; 
  • +4 million accounts;
  • +EUR 150 billion aggregated through our technologies;
  • +200 000 payment initiated.

Today, our API offers plenty of opportunities, and the main ones can help you:

  • Better manage your money, spend wisely or save further;
  • Calculate your carbon footprint according to your expenses or consumption habits, for instance;
  • Finance long-term projects by saving smartly and automatically;
  • Improve your purchasing power by benefiting from automatic cashback without even having to think about it;
  • Ensure companies' sustainability thanks to cash-flow forecasting solutions;
  • Exchange, pay, and get paid more easily with maximized security and reduced expenses;
  • Access loans to achieve your projects even if your files do not meet all the requirements;
  • Steer the management of your company, from accounting reconciliation to supplier payments, including salaries payments.

As we can see in Open Banking, while the initial focus was on payments and account data, the scope has already been widening to cover the full spectrum of financial services (Open Finance) and other industries (Open Data). Where do you see the major use cases/opportunities going forward/innovative financial services which meet real market needs?

One thing is obvious: uses are not limited to recovering data related to payment accounts (Open Banking). The tech companies like Budget Insight can tackle needs in many markets, not exclusively in the financial ecosystem.Therefore, recovery of all financial assets is crucial, and the field of possibilities is almost infinite. 

When looking at Open Banking, the PSD2 has clarified the legitimacy of the technologies linked to payment accounts, but this is still not enough. The 'other types of accounts' have been forgotten even though they are essential for most uses, including historical and classic Personal Finance Management use cases. How can we promise a 360-degree view of one's financial assets and provide accurate advice if we only offer a partial version of their financial situation? We just can't.

We are entering a phase that is changing the way people and companies own their data and share it to improve everyday life. So while usage of our technologies was relatively low initially, we see a real usage take-off linked to the growing confidence that end-users have in our technologies. 

When innovative services meet obvious needs, regulations will adapt. It will take some time, but the endgame is known. Everyone holds their financial or not data, and we will very clearly enter this Open Data era with the same objective: to empower consumers and businesses.  

Use cases that positively affect the purchasing power of consumers are very successful (Cashback, BNPL, microcredit) and will continue to grow if regulation remains appropriate and does not restrict innovation.  

This is also the case for all software enabling companies to manage their business better (intelligent accounting, cash-flow monitoring, invoice payment, salary payment). 

New use cases will emerge naturally and will need our technologies. This cycle repeats itself every year with the arrival of new players who surprise us by developing high-value-added services based on our API.

Could you please provide details on the recent fundraising round?

Sure! We are thrilled to welcome a new shareholder alongside Arkéa: PSG - Providence Strategic Growth.

The raising of USD 35 million accompanies this arrival to accelerate further the Open Finance revolution and a sustained investment policy for external growth operations. This is a significant step in our development and the affirmation of a crystal clear ambition: to become the European leader in Open Finance. 

This new partnership strives to allow Budget Insight to develop new products and significantly expand its European reach to cement its position as a leading example in the Open Finance sector, which consolidates around a handful of big players. 

It was a no-brainer to partner with PSG. Indeed, they used to work with software companies to accelerate their growth and empower them to gain significant market share with a view to market consolidation. It's exactly what we want to achieve in the coming years.

What is next for Budget Insight? What are your plans for this year and how are you planning to use the capital?

To support this acceleration phase, we significantly plan to increase our workforce by 2025. We have already announced 50 positions to be filled in 2022 to grow our technical, product, and sales teams.

We will accelerate the extension of the European coverage of our technologies. We have already launched our activity in Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, and Spain, and we plan to operate very soon in Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. 

The funding will also allow us to enrich our product catalogue (products based on data enrichment, for instance), invest in R&D, and improve the quality of our services. 

An additional investment plan for add-on acquisitions is already planned, and we'll have a built-up strategy in parallel. So we are already in discussion with some exciting targets.

About Bertrand Jeannet

After graduating with a Master's degree in Strategy & Consulting, Bertrand has quickly sensed the beginnings of the future revolution: Open Finance. He advised several innovative players (mainly fintech companies) in their global strategy for four years. In 2018, Bertrand joined Budget Insight as the Head of Risk & Compliance before becoming the CEO.


About Budget Insight

Budget Insight brings Open Banking and Open Finance technologies to 230 companies, from major banking institutions to fintech startups. Its API and products enable to aggregate financial data and documents and to perform payment initiations. Thanks to powerful technologies, the ability to offer the best user experiences, and European regulatory requirements expertise, Budget Insight empowers companies create more value for financial services users and develop new growth potential.

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Keywords: Open Banking, financial services, API, Open Finance, Open Data Economy
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Companies: Budget Insight
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech

Budget Insight

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