Back to Blog

Startup Watch: Qonto Launching European Direct Business Bank out of Paris

qonto home

When it comes to startups, it seems that consumer services get all the attention, while the enterprise plays get the revenue. Or so Qonto hopes as they target business customers for their new direct bank opening in second quarter. The Paris-based startup (with an .eu web address) is targeting business with their more intensive expense-tracking needs and promises “easy business banking,” a compelling slogan.

The startup is not technically a bank, chartered under the French payments company regulations, but it offers debit cards, current accounts, and international transfers. The only big thing missing are commercial loans, and no doubt those are on the product roadmap, once they get some traction on the expense management side.

Qonto is currently concentrating on the front-end customer experience, off loading the nuts and bolts of payments to Treezor, a French white-label payments provider. Treezor is able to provide instant MasterCard numbers to Qonto customers, with the plastic arriving within 5 days. That helps get the new business customer onboarded immediately, a great first impression.

A few Finovate alums are pursuing this market, but none in France.

The company was in the news last week with their first fundraising, snagging $1.7 million from Alven Capital and Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, which also invested in N26 and TransferWise.

Bottom line: Supplying businesses, even smaller ones, is a lucrative proposition. They are not as price sensitive as they appear, because few owners have the time or patience to shop for banking services. Once they settle on a provider, you have a good chance of keeping them for the life of their business, IF you can meet their needs as they grow, especially credit. And startups are uniquely positioned to appeal to small business customers, because as a small biz themselves, they understand the customer like no large bank can.