Bankifi: Using Embedded Banking to Reinvigorate Small Business Offerings
Banks face increasing competition in the small business space from a range of different types of provider, each of which is looking to either enter the value chain or expand across it. Open banking has acted as a catalyst for these changes, but is not the only factor, and banks in all regions must consider their response.
Running a business of any size requires access to banking services; something that has traditionally given incumbent banks a naturally strong position in the small business segment. However, this situation is rapidly becoming less comfortable.
A combination of specialist challenger banks, fintechs, and platforms from the accounting and commerce sectors are all either looking to pick off lucrative service lines (such as lending) or positioning themselves as the primary interface through which a business owner manages their affairs. For incumbent banks, this represents a clear risk to revenue. Responding to these challenges will require new thinking, particularly in moving from a focus on selling products towards helping clients meet their day-to-day business challenges.
BankiFi (https://www.bankifi.com/) is a software vendor that was founded in 2017 to help banks address these challenges. The BankiFi proposition is based around a simple concept: to help banks move away from selling products to business customers in favour of providing the services and tools to manage a business. This means offering improvements to the workflows that customers engage with on a day-to-day basis, such as collections and accounting.
This is a rapidly expanding market segment and the majority of new players are focused on either directly competing with banks or supporting other players to do the same. BankiFi takes a different approach and is a rare example of a new ecosystem entrant that is actively looking to support banks to better serve the needs of small business customers.
BankiFi’s founders, Mark Hartley (CEO and Co-Founder), Marijke Koninckx (Chief of Product), and Conny Dorrestijn (Co-Founder) briefed Celent in June 2021 on the company’s offering, positioning, and progress to date.