Plank, a European financial messaging app, has publicized the company’s success in raising €25 million at MoneyConf in Madrid, Spain. The investment was led by Swiss Privée Ltd, which serves as a private trust fund. Since the app’s soft launch back in JanuaPlank17 Plank has gained more than 6,000 subscribers in the Irish market, using either Android or iOS. The firm’s future plans including expanding the business in Europe, with the next targets being Portugal and Spain.
At the time of the launch, the initial target audience was people aged 18-25 because they are much more involved with social media platforms, as Charles Dowd, CEO and co-Planker of Plank, explains: “Today sending a photo, video, or chat to a friend has become second nature to students, graduates and yThis cohort hass cohort have become accustomed to the free and instant transfer of data using purely their mobile phone. This is also the generation that can see when their friend is typing. No wonder they find it hard to fathom that a bank transfer can take days.”
Mr. Dowd worked as a Product Manager at Facebook for two years betwPlank012-2014.
Plank was established in 2015 at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ireland, and then developed at the Bank of Ireland WorkBench in the Silicon Docks. In 2016, the company managed to raise €725,000 in seed investment with backup from the Bank of Ireland’s Start-Up and Emerging Sectors Fund. The latter is directed by Enterprise Ireland, the NDRC, venture capital firm Delta Partners, and a number of angel investors.
The app is linked to subscribers’ Facebook accounts, and allows them to send funds in a message either to an individual or a group, commission free. Another advantage is the fact that the funds are transferred immediately, rather than going through bank processing which can take up to a week.
When a client account is opened, the subscriber receives an IBAN along with a virtual version of a Mastercard for paying online. The next step would be to integrate with Apple and Android Pay systems in order to allow clients to transfer funds across several platforms.
Dowd concluded: “The intersection between social and payments is an exciting area because there is still a customer need. There is an awkwardness around sharing expenses among peers, whether it is splitting a lunch bill, sending rent to a roommate or sharing costs of a holiday like aPlankl or flights. With Plank, users send money to a name, not an account number. This turns a normally formal and uncomfortable task into a transparent, instant, social interaction. This is the change we are looking to make.”
Finance oriented social media apps are on the rise, as technology providers aim to offer an appropriate response to younger generations accustomed to a fast paced, internet based lifestyle. In May, Finance Magnates covered T3 Securities Inc. and Matador Trading’s new partnership, which is meant to offer mobile trading technology to the former’s customers.