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Ixaris Launches Initial Phase of Open Payments Ecosystem (OPE) Project

Ixaris_homepage_June2015

In fintech, compliance and security concerns often trump the promise of developer-friendly, open technologies. Payments solutions provider Ixaris has launched the initial phase of its €4 million Open Payments Ecosystem (OPE) project to change that.

The OPE is made possible with the support of the European Commission’s Horizon2020. The goals of the project are twofold:

  1. To make it easier for developers to build payment apps for banks by embracing Open APIs.
  2. To make it easier for banks to safely access new payment technologies by providing resources like curated app marketplaces.

The project features six “sub-systems,” each representing a different stage in the life cycle of payment services.

  1. A developer environment for payments app development and testing.
  2. A payments application store.
  3. A secure execution environment that prevents the original developer from accessing live customer data.
  4. A compliance system for the life cycle of the app.
  5. The ability to add additional service offerings for payment service providers
  6. A comprehensive data warehouse for business intelligence

Alex Mifsud, Ixaris CEO, hopes to bring the innovation-driving power of Open APIs to the world of fintech. “Unlike in other industries, Open APIs have yet to emerge as a key driver of innovation in the payment industry,” Mifsud said. And while citing understandable compliance and security concerns, Mifsud believes OPE can provide a model of “how an open access approach to payments will create truly game-changing payment applications.”

Ixaris_FEU2015_stage

From left: Patrick Abela, product director, and Reno Scerri, pre-sales and solutioning manager, of Ixaris demonstrated Ixaris Payment Server at FinovateEurope 2015 in London.

EU Horizon2020 is dedicated to ensuring European technology competitiveness through innovation. The program will spend nearly €80 billion over seven years (from 2014 through 2020), as well as additional private investment, to help companies develop technologies that will ultimately lead to greater economic growth and more jobs.

Companies and organizations select projects from a wide variety of “calls for proposals” available for viewing online at the program website. Proposals are judged by an independent panel of specialists in the respective fields, and companies are typically informed of the funding decision after five months. A grant agreement is then provided specifyng the innovation or research to be pursued, duration of the project, and budget, including the European Commission’s contribution. Learn more about the process here.

The project Ixaris will be working on through mid-2017 is designed to meet the objective of an “Open Disruptive Innovative Scheme”, implemented through SMEs, that helps move innovative ideas in the ICT sector from initial harvesting through prototyping, real-world demonstration, and eventual market deployment. The goal is to increase profitability and growth of the SMEs using the technologies, to gain market penetration and distribution of the innovations, and to encourage private investment, either in the form of co-investment or follow-on investments in previously supported companies. The total cost of the project is €4.2 million with the European Commission contributing €2.5 million.

Founded in September 2000 and headquartered in London, Ixaris has demonstrated its technologies on the Finovate stage as recently as February at FinovateEurope 2015. The company is a specialist in developing apps based on open-loop prepaid card schemes such as Visa and MasterCard, and was named to the FinTechCity’s FinTech 50 in January. As of March 2015, Ixaris had raised $10 million in equity financing.

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