Starting up in Stockholm atlar has raised a $5 million (€5 million) seed round led by Index Ventures. The company has been working on an Application Programming Interface (API) that enables bank-to-bank payments for European businesses.
In addition to Index Ventures, La Famiglia VC, Cocoa and several business angels took part in the round, such as Revolut CFO Mikko Salovaara, former EVP of global sales at Adyen Thijn Lamers and N26 CFO Jan Kemper.
While European consumers are already fairly familiar with open banking and payment initiation, many B2B transfers are still processed manually. Business banking has not experienced the same level of innovation when it comes to payments.
And yet corporate banks already offer ways to initiate payments without having to connect to a web portal and upload a spreadsheet. But banks don’t necessarily use modern REST APIs. They expect a text file formatted in a very specific way on an SFTP server.
If you have a development team, they can build a custom integration. But many companies simply don’t have the resources to maintain these connections. They prefer to pay a partner to take care of all the technical details.
Atlar provides a modern API that hides all the complexities of banking connections. Once a company uses Atlar, it can directly activate wire transfers, reconcile transactions and process direct debits through Atlar’s API.
In particular, Atlar can be used for payouts, insurance premiums, deposits and loan disbursements. Companies operating in multiple European countries are likely to have multiple bank accounts. Therefore, automating payments can be a nice upgrade for those companies.
“Accepting payments as a business is pretty painless now, but initiating them with your bank is still excruciatingly slow and manual,” Joel Nordström, Atlar’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “This is why Atlar is on its way to becoming the bank payment operating system. By creating a new category, we hope to unleash a wave of innovation for our customers that will ultimately benefit European consumers and businesses.”
Besides Joel Nordström, Joel Wägmark and Johannes Elgh are the other two co-founders. They all worked at Tink, the open banking company acquired by Visa for $2.2 billion.
Atlar competes with Figure, a French startup I covered earlier this year. So far, Atlar focuses on Scandinavia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. And today’s funding round will be helpful when it comes to European expansion.