French fintech startup Swan raises $40 million in funding led by early Revolut backer, Lakestar

While AI startups continue to steal the spotlight with blockbuster funding, investments in fintech startups are slowly picking up steam. Just this week, we’ve highlighted two fintech startups, Tradeteq and ThetaRay, that secured a combined $70 million in funding.

And now, there are reports that Lakestar, an early supporter of fintech unicorn Revolut, has taken the lead in a multi-million-dollar investment in the French fintech startup Swan.

According to CNBC, Swan has secured €37m through its series B funding round led by European venture capital giant Lakestar, with participation from existing investors including Accel, Creandum, Bpifrance, and start-up studio eFounders. The latest funding comes as Swan looks to expand its Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) technology across Europe.

Swan will use the fresh capital infusion to expand its operations in the Netherlands in the coming months, before later expanding its operations in the Italian market in 2024.

The Paris, France-based Swan provides white-label embedded finance solutions to businesses seeking to integrate banking features like accounts, cards, and IBANs into their user experience and workflows.

With this latest funding round, Swan has now raised a total of 58 million euros, with Accel, another venture capital firm, leading Swan’s series A round in 2021.

Swan CEO and co-founder Nicolas Benady said that, when he started out, it was “incredibly complex” to integrate banking and other financial services into existing platforms that didn’t have any financial components.

“What we had in mind with our co-founders was that it shouldn’t be that complex,” he told CNBC. “If it’s easy to accept payments — like the Stripes the Adyens, the Mollies of this world enable — it should be as easy to set up banking.” Benady added:″If you develop a big idea … at 2 a.m., it should be possible to come onto our website and have something up and running in the morning.”

“It was unnecessarily complex. Long, convoluted sales processes, insane amounts of paperwork. Expensive. Slow. Since then, we’ve seen the SaaS revolution, we’ve seen iPhones, people can make complex things easy, with great design, with thoughtfulness. That’s what Swan is all about.

Benady said: “I’ve been in payments and banking for 15 years, and I always felt like the industry was not well designed.”

“With my co-founders Nicolas and Mathieu, we launched Swan to make it genuinely easy for European entrepreneurs to add banking features to their core product. We built BaaS, SaaS-style! And we rethought every part of the process, from discovery to testing, to integration and launch. Everything should be super easy, fast, and reliable.”

According to Benady, the Dutch market presents unique challenges compared to other European countries when it comes to launching digital banking and payment services. One distinctive aspect is the presence of the Dutch payment system called iDEAL, allowing consumers to make online payments through their own banks, supported by major lenders like ABN Amro and ING Group.

Swan’s plan is to expand its range of services to include various payment collection methods like direct debit and card payments, along with new lending capabilities. This expansion will enable Swan to cater to additional industries such as travel, insurance, and business-to-business marketplaces.

The future of payments is trending toward embedded finance, with projections indicating that up to 40% of payments will be integrated into platforms in the coming years. Data from Reportlinker suggests that embedded finance is poised to become a $384.8 billion market by 2029.