Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia.
Fintech Bluevine is the latest SMB focussed startup to hit the headlines, after successfully completing its Series F raise. The business financing startup has banked $102.5 million from some of the biggest names in banking, technology and VC, including UK finance institution Nationwide, Microsoft’s venture fund M12 and Silicon Valley big name Menlo Ventures, as it looks to get deeper into SMBs pockets, with banking products.
In late October, Bluevine announced the launch of its business banking services, which offered a high yield business checking account, unlimited number of transactions with zero monthly fees and online account opening in 60 seconds.
It’s not rocket science, but it works, and investors are clearly lapping it up. It comes off the back of research conducted by Bluevine that found only 9% of businesses surveyed felt that their current bank met all their needs.
Bluevine are acting on that research and building a strategy that will see them potentially become a one stop servicing point for SMBs. Interestingly, it’s a strategy that goes against the grain of what the fintech ecosystem has so often tantalisingly promised us – the ability to seamlessly connect multiple financial providers to create our own very personalised financial world.
While this integration nirvana has been realised in the non-financial world of confluence, jira, slack, asana and more, financial players, including fintech to fintech, haven’t seemed, so far, to play that well with each other. There has been a relative failure in financial services to develop a symbiotic ecosystem of interconnected financial apps from which we can pick and choose from. Yes, there are some outlier examples, like Xero, but by and large, each fintech is still a relative island, much like their incumbent competitors.
Who or what’s to blame? Well, like many things, it’s complicated, but regulation and compliance requirements and unknowns are most likely the biggest showstopper, and the biggest moat for strategies like the one Bluevine is pursuing. That is certainly something to think about.