- Initiating payments with banks in Europe is often a draining manual process that is proving to be a real challenge to tech companies operating across the continent
- Atlar’s payment operations platform and automation API is a category creating product that solves this major issue: it automates all company payment activities, without the need to manually communicate with banks
- Already operational and used by several clients, a seed round of €5 million led by Index Ventures will enable team growth and expansion across Europe
- Atlar has built a key piece of missing infrastructure that will help accelerate European tech and contribute to the emergence of a virtual single market
By Sofia Dolfe, Partner
Handling payments is the lifeblood of any business. But in Europe, where companies often need to work with multiple currencies across a series of banking partners, it’s a mission critical resource drainer that’s hampering cash flow. The need to manually initiate and reconcile payments means much time is wasted communicating with slow moving local banks. It’s something that our portfolio companies often bring up as a serious pain point for capital management. And while open banking has solved many problems on the retail side, it doesn’t offer a killer use case for businesses as payments can’t be perfectly reconciled.
Atlar provides companies with a much-needed solution by simplifying and automating all this unnecessary complexity. Their payment operations platform and automation API allow any company to access their accounts and initiate payments, without needing to communicate with their banks. By making seamless payment processing in any currency or region across Europe a reality, it also makes Atlar part of a cohort of innovators that are powering the emergence of a virtual global single market.
With its first-rate team, combining expertise across technology, product and customer relations, Atlar is building a key piece of missing infrastructure that will help accelerate the growth of European tech.
Every year, an estimated €260 trillion moves through European banks in the form of pay-outs, insurance premiums, deposits, loan payments, and much more. Staggeringly, much of this is done manually: through spreadsheets uploaded to banks, direct debits that must be reconciled against invoices, or hacked-together software solutions created by individual finance teams and engineers within companies.
While fintech tools have provided innovation for companies when it comes to things such as accepting payments and ‘open banking’ (a framework which requires financial institutions to surface a customer’s data on request for use by another service) similar developments have not arrived to enable payment flows that begin in a company’s own bank accounts.
That’s where Atlar comes in: businesses plug into a single platform via an API, which in turn hooks into banks. Businesses can then automate all of their payment activities – initiating transfers, reconciling transactions, handling direct debits, and more. It radically reduces the resource demand while helping maintain capital flows and business records; in turn, that means payments don’t get skipped and man-hours are greatly freed.
“Accepting payments as a business is pretty painless now, but initiating them with your bank is still agonisingly slow and manual,” explains Joel Nordström, Atlar’s CEO. “This is why Atlar is on a journey to becoming the operating system for bank-based payments. By creating a new category, we hope to unleash a wave of innovation for our clients which will ultimately benefit European consumers and businesses.”
Atlar was started by three former employees of Tink, the open banking platform acquired by Visa for $2.2 billion in 2021. Its founders are Joel Nordström, Chief Executive Officer; Joel Wägmark, Chief Product Officer; and Johannes Elgh, Chief Technology Officer.
The platform is already fully operational, with Atlar’s customers including Banxware, a leading German fintech lender.
“Having been through the pain of both building our own bank integrations and setting up a back-office team, we were thrilled to partner with Atlar,” says Nicolas Kipp, founder and COO at Banxware. “Their platform gives us exactly what we need in order to handle our bank payments, which lets us focus on our core business.”
Led by Index Ventures, the seed round of €5 million will enable the team of 10 employees to be grown to at least 20 by the end of the year, as it expands operations across Europe.
Published — Nov. 8, 2022