What crisis? Mollie, Kinder, Ginger and Payaut prove why fintech is Amsterdam’s growing industry
Fintech in Amsterdam is alive and kicking. In a recent report, Dealroom calculated there are over 8,250 fintech jobs in the city. The industry added 2,000 jobs in the last three years, making it Amsterdam’s top producer of new jobs. Startups Mollie, Kinder, Ginger and Payaut prove that growth is not just a number in a report. Over the past weeks they’ve announced expansions, partnerships and rapid growth.
Mollie: strengthening the executive team
Amsterdam-based online payment service Mollie announced they’ve expanded their executive team with a whole slew of experienced people. Marco Dos Santos trades in his executive position at Booking.com for the role of CTO at Mollie. Miriam van Dongen (chairwoman Audit and Risk Committee) and Koen Köpen (CTO at Klarna) join the supervisory board, while Daniel Ropers (previously CEO at webshop Bol.com) joins in a role as strategic advisor.
In the same press release, the fintech also announces the addition of Ken Serdons. He previously worked in the financial industry as executive for Worldpay and Paymentsense, but now takes that experience to Mollie as the new CCO. The attentive Silicon Canals reader will notice he has been around for at least 11 months. “It’s only now that we found the time to announce it officially,” Serdons says.
Not the biggest; ‘the most loved’
The past couple of months have been hectic for the payment service provider (PSP). With COVID-19 locking the country down, online payments skyrocketed in both volume and users. Serdons: “The vast majority of the COVID impact has stuck as most merchants that started trading online are still doing so and consumers behaviour has changed. We have gained significant progress on the trend from offline to online which was happening already. Covid has accelerated that trend.” He does stress Mollie was growing rapidly regardless of COVID-19, booking a 120 percent YoY growth.Mollie is not only looking to add new executives. Their rapid expansion leaves them looking for qualified employees on every level of the organization. “At the moment we have 280 professionals working for Mollie. But yes, we are looking for a lot more people in all areas of the business: commerce, marketing, risk, finance, customer support etcetera. We hired over fifty people during the COVID period, all virtually and keep hiring to support our growth plans.” The ultimate plan for Mollie right now is to become the ‘most loved’ PSP in Europe, says Serdons. “Germany is going really well. We are ready to expand into other markets in the EU.”
Kinder: COVID-19 Appeal with Rabobank
More fintech news came from tech-for-good startup Kinder. They announced a partnership with Rabobank Charity Management for their COVID-19 Appeal. Rabobank Charity Management is the first banking Charity Desk in the Netherlands specialising in supporting account holders with investable assets of at least €1million. Asset managers distribute funds in the COVID-19 Appeal on behalf of Rabobank’s Charity Desk, and do so based on the vetting of charities Kinder has specialized in.
Kinder is the tech-for-good startup founded by serial entrepreneur Mathys van Abbe. As the name probably reveals, the original idea was to make a Tinder-style app for charities. It quickly evolved in a platform that both serves as a quality mark, knowledge platform and tech stack for charities. Their COVID-19 Appeal allows philanthropists to donate to a general cause, rather than one organisation. Kinder’s vetting framework ensures the donation ends up at the good causes that qualify as ‘the best of the best’.
‘More consumer facing products to come’
“The model of appeals work”, says Van Abbe. “Charities hear about it and want to be part of it, also because Rabobank is involved. For instance, two days after launching the COVID-19 appeal, we got an email from UNICEF about joining as well.” Van Abbe sees a lot more of these appeals in the future, also in conjunction with familiar brands such as Rabobank. “Our data is the foundation for these big names to get involved. And at the same time having these A-brands on board confirms that our data is valuable.”
Due to COVID-19, fundraising events got cancelled so offline donations have dipped, says Van Abbe. However online donations in the charity sector as a whole have increased, accelerating business for Kinder: “We want to launch more consumer facing products at the end of this year. Not only similar appeals for different causes, but also intuitive ways for people to set up fundraisers or to easily save up spare change to donate to causes. Kinder is also looking to expand its network, from the over 2000 charities it has currently vetted. This would also mean an expansion of the team. Van Abbe: “We currently have about 10 FTE working from TNW Spaces in Amsterdam. And one from Oman. Ideally this would grow to 20 FTE, with little satellites in different countries where we are operating.”
Ginger: Big new client, ongoing expansion
Ginger from Amsterdam announced a big new client. The Payment as a Service startup partners with EMS, a European omnichannel payments specialist and joint-venture between First Data and ABN Amro. Since 2014, Ginger offers a modular payment platform that helps global banks and financial institutions to offer local online payment solutions to their merchants worldwide. ING Bank, Kabbage, Mastercard, and Payconiq were already using Ginger’s technology.
According to Gingers managing director Tom van Wees, Ginger is not done adding new clients. After expanding to the US last year, they have more plans there: “Our US expansion is progressing well, we are in advanced discussions with a few tier-1 banks there and aim to announce a large new client before the end of the year. Unfortunately, I cannot disclose any names yet, as this is not public yet.” Even though the sales efforts slowed down a bit, Wees says these banks start to see the added value of offering a smooth eCommerce solution to their SMB clients. “Next to that, we are setting up partnerships with local Fintechs to better serve those clients with US specific needs, such as Underwriting and Automated Onboarding. A new partnership announcement will follow in the coming weeks.”
Ginger’s core team currently consists of 8 FTE. Van Wees: “This team will double this year. They are mainly focused on the development of the platform and international growth of our client base. We also have a flexible layer freelance developers that have been working with us for years. We planned to open an office in New York this year, but we have delayed this for a while to see how the current situation unfolds in the US. The past months have also shown us that virtual meetings are working well in the meantime. However, we like to be close to our clients, so the plan to open an office there in the long term is still on.”
Payaut: Payment innovation for marketplaces
New kid on the block is Payaut, which recently launched their automated payment solution for online marketplaces. Payaut ensures that money flowing through these marketplaces ends up with the right sellers or companies with SplitPayments. Under the new PSD2 regulations, these marketplaces would have to get licensed as a financial institution. A costly, complicated process only the largest online marketplaces will be able to complete.
By partnering with Payaut, these online platforms can fully comply with PSD2, without being locked in with only one PSP. “Numerous online marketplaces in The Netherlands received a letter from DNB regarding non-compliance with the new European PSD2 guidelines,” says Ernst van Niekerk, CEO of Payaut. “It was quite an unwelcome surprise. Now they have to obtain a license as a Payment Institute, a route that’s nearly impossible for many of them. But it’s either that or they have to pick and choose only a single PSP to manage their payment flow. To be locked in with one PSP really limits their scalability.”
Payaut started in 2019 but their experienced team of founders manages to make waves. Van Niekerk worked as product manager at Adyen. CCO Pieter de Haas specialized in e-commerce and online marketplaces at large multinationals such as Procter & Gamble. No wonder they managed to raise a hefty sum of €1 million in pre-seed with Finch Capital and LocalGlobe. According to Payaut, they are already in talks with investors for a large seed-round. Keep an eye on them.
Author: Dennis de Vries