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Griffin secures £6.5m round led by EQT Ventures to build BaaS platform and seek full bank license

London-based Banking as a Service provider Griffin today announces a £6.5m round led by EQT Ventures.

Portrait of David Jarvis
David JarvisMonday 16 November 2020
  • Company to enable fintechs and brands to launch financial services quickly and efficiently
  • Round will go to support continued product development and to progress the firm’s authorisation application with the PRA and FCA
  • Banking as a Service platform discovered by EQT Ventures’ proprietary AI platform Motherbrain

16th November, 2020 - London-based Banking as a Service provider Griffin today announces a £6.5m round led by EQT Ventures. This new round follows the company's previous £3m seed round announced earlier this year. Other participants in the round include Seedcamp, Tribe Capital, Paul Forster (co-founder, Matt Robinson (co-founder Go-Cardless/Nested), and Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas (Partner at Index Ventures, former COO GoCardless). Griffin is building an API-first bank that will dramatically lower the barrier to entry when it comes to launching new financial products and services. The company will use the investment to further product development, hire more people and continue the bank authorisation process with the PRA and FCA.

Griffin's co-founders: David Jarvis (CEO, left) and Allen Rohner (CTO, right)

Griffin was founded in 2017 by David Jarvis (CEO) and Allen Rohner (CTO). Both founders have more than a decade of experience working in infrastructure technology companies in Silicon Valley. Prior to founding Griffin, Jarvis was an early engineer at API banking startup Standard Treasury. Rohner is a co-founder of developer tools company CircleCI and has worked with Funding Circle on its ledger technology. Both Jarvis and Rohner have firsthand insight into the obstacles that face companies seeking to launch new financial products and services.

If you want to launch a new financial product, finding a banking partner (let alone the right one) can be a slow and expensive process‍—‌for start-ups, sometimes prohibitively so. Incumbent banks were not built to deliver Banking as a Service (BaaS) and their limited capabilities often hinder companies with great new ideas for financial products and services. The result is that innovation grinds to a halt‍—‌something that Griffin is keen to change.

Griffin aims to become the banking partner of choice for both new fintech players and established brands seeking to innovate. Its proprietary API platform will let firms open ringfenced accounts for customer funds while its integrated compliance engine and ledger will greatly reduce recordkeeping and reconciliation burdens.

“Every company needs a banking partner, a ledger, and the necessary compliance infrastructure to launch a financial services product,” said David Jarvis, co-founder and CEO at Griffin. “These systems all need to be kept in sync with each other, which is why it’s crazy that everyone ends up stitching together ad-hoc solutions rather than leveraging a single vertically integrated solution. With Griffin, we want to be the one-stop shop for companies seeking to bring something new to market. We’re thrilled to have found a partner in EQT Ventures that shares our vision and is coming to the table with such a deep understanding of the API banking landscape.”

Griffin is being purpose-built for the next wave of fintech growth: it aims to provide a best-in-class API platform designed by fintech experts combined with all of the security and robust controls of an authorised bank. Rather than burning time and money on what can be a lengthy and expensive onboarding process with a traditional bank, companies working with Griffin will be able to self-serve and start integrating immediately, reducing their go-to-market time from months to weeks.

Tom Mendoza, deal partner and investment advisor at EQT Ventures, said: "The EQT Ventures team have been following BaaS for a number of years, and we believe that Griffin has the right ingredients to be the winner in this space. We’re bullish due to the company’s unique approach‍—‌developer-first that integrates compliance, the ledger and bank (license)‍—‌and the incredibly strong founder-market fit. Also, timing couldn't be stronger due to the combination of explosive fintech growth, consumer brands launching financial services, such as Apple, and the advent of embedded finance.”

Griffin was discovered by EQT Ventures’ proprietary AI platform, Motherbrain. Built to discover new, rapidly-growing, or under-the-radar startups, Motherbrain has enabled EQT Ventures to take a data-driven approach to investing. To date, Motherbrain has driven more than $100 million in portfolio company investments. Griffin is the ninth company to be sourced by this AI platform.