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I'm a fintech founder that went through YC and raised a $2.8m seed to aggregate banking - AMA!

Hi everyone,

I'm Juan, one of the founders of rebank, a tool that helps you track burn and send money anywhere.

What happened to business banking?
The number of new fintechs has steadily increased in the last six years. Before this, startups had one bank and one accounting tool. Now there's dozens of finance tools available each with their own overhead. The finance stack has completely changed.

We've created a single source of truth for startup finances to fix this.

How rebank got started
Prior to starting rebank I worked for a GV-backed travel startup. It was my first time working in a finance team so I was learning a lot in a fast-moving environment; it was great.

I hadn't come across a corporate banking interface before, but when I had to use one I was transported to the first time I ever used a PC back when Windows 95 was the dominant OS.

Paying invoices, downloading transactions, checking balances ... it was all so cumbersome. My colleagues were some of the hardest-working people I had ever met and that talent was wasted on cleaning data and downloading csv files.

There wasn't (and still isn't) a tool that solves the problems that incumbent banks create. If this was fixed, startups would have more freedom to focus. That's how the idea for rebank came about.

The biggest challenge since launching rebank
Making sure we're focusing on the biggest problem in the company is our biggest challenge. Everything feels important when you're a small team - should we test ads, write content or both? Do we prioritise growth or retention features this month? We pick a rate-limiting step we want the whole company to influence as an antidote to this.

The biggest success since starting rebank
Getting into Y Combinator wasn't the biggest success but it enabled a lot of success for us. We never thought we’d get in but after intense preparation and some luck we were accepted. I wrote about that here

I'd love to spend some time answering questions about fundraising, pros & cons of being a founder with an MBA, fintech or anything else!

  1. 4

    Hey Juan, great progress so far on Rebank. I saw on one of your articles (https://www.rebanknow.com/post/best-bank-accounts-for-uk-startups-2021) you didn't compare Monzo under the UK business accounts list - any reason they are not included?

    1. 2

      We picked the list based on our conversations with ~300 startups and Monzo Business barely came up. I think we should definitely include them though. Thanks for letting me know

  2. 4

    Juan, first of all: congratulations on the solution and sophistication of the product. You nailed one specific feature that is necessary for literally EVERY single business in the world (and would even have a consumer-case here).

    I've been working as a CFO for a fintech for 4 years now and I'm amazed by the lack of evolution of the CFO suite tech stack. It's just insane that when I bring to the table discussions around ERP implementation we still talk about dinosaurs (SAP and Oracle).

    It seems that you probably went through the same pain - so I was wondering if you have a take on why there is so little evolution on this front?

    Also - I'm based in southeast asia, which ads a component of lack of integration of tools as you'd have in the US/Europe.

    Congratulations once again!

    1. 2

      Thanks Leticia! I'd say it's because startups still can't get secure and reliable access to bank APIs to build something with. Banks have been playing the "we're protecting our consumers" card to make integrations difficult but that's changing now thanks to regulation.

      1. 2

        I would also add to that the fact that jurisdiction has its own financial system technicalities - from regulation to tech architecture ‘maturity’ stage.

  3. 3

    How much float did you manage to have over a 15 days and 30 days period from your clients?

    1. 1

      Hey, that's a banking metric and rebank works differently to a neobank. We sit on top of your banking solutions so we don't mind where startups keep their cash so we don't track that: we just don't think that measures customer value v well.

      We do look at how much money we've helped companies send though and that number has increased by 43% MoM since December. That's a better measure of value to us 👍🏽

      1. 2

        Thanks for providing insight into that, that's a really impressive growth rate!

        Behind the scenes, you are quite different from the "traditional" neobank structure. I was hoping to be of help with my startup to provide you with additional percentages for that free float for extra revenue.

    1. 2

      Haha. Yes! External validation is so important in the early days. If you're a bit later stage it might be a less obvious choice (post-seed or with a clear path to PMF)

      There's so much I could talk about here but I'll summarise the good things as:

      • a lot of early customers + a network you can tap into for life
      • you'll make like-minded friends
      • your valuation is likely to increase ("the YC effect" that some investors hate)
      • focus!
      1. 3

        YES! I love this especially the YC effect. Thank you @jandrade1

    2. 1

      Depends. If you want to bootstrap a business and have a steady stream of income while living on your terms, I would avoid YC.
      If you want to shoot for the starts and maybe "make" it, while having way more pressure and working 10x as hard than at your previous job, then yeah go for it. Once you raise money you become someone else's employee. If your startup is the next Twitch , then I think is worth it, but most startups aren't.

      1. 2

        I think you’re describing an extreme, not the norm. SAFE’s are extremely founder-friendly so anyone raising through that won’t turn into an ‘employee’.

        You own your outcomes and investors/YC will always encourage you to aim higher whilst helping you avoid the cliff edges we face as founders. I’ve always seen this as a positive.

  4. 2

    Great going Juan, read both your blogs on YC. Realised the importance of Startup school.

    1. 2

      100%

      Startup School is like a mini-YC and it's free. I always recommend it to first-time founders.

      1. 1

        Cool, we have applied to YC as well and waiting for a reply. All the best.

        1. 1

          happy to help with interview prep if you hear back. Get in touch with us.

  5. 2

    Hi Juan

    How long did you work to build the mvp before applying to YC?

    1. 1

      We spent ten months working on the MVP. The first commit was in Jan 2018 and we got the yes for YC in Nov I think. This included waiting for us to be regulated.

      I wish we had designed a smaller MVP or deferred YC by six months as we were quite early!

      1. 1

        You have to be regulated under which entity? And the reason for that would be the API with the banks right? Because you don’t actually ‘hold’ any funds on behalf of other parties, you just get access to the information on the account balance right?

        1. 1

          That's right. Obtaining bank data is a regulated activity in Europe so we're regulated there. There's no need for regulation in the US but we use the same architecture everywhere

  6. 2

    Your use of the word dongles is fantastic

  7. 2

    Great read, thanks Juan!

  8. 1

    Congratulations on the product and success to date, Juan. How did you think about the opportunity cost of working in a corporate role post-MBA vs branching out into doing a fintech startup? Also assuming you were not a technical founder (maybe a wrong assumption based only on the fact that you have an MBA), how did you find the technical talent to get started? Thanks!

    1. 1

      I explored different paths during the MBA (consulting/VC) but knew I’d end up starting a company so just went for it. Financially it was a dreadful decision but I knew I’d figure it out.

      I just spoke to A LOT of people until I knew exactly what kind of person I needed to work with. Prob 70+ different convos altogether

  9. 1

    How does it compare to SaltEdge ?

    1. 2

      It's completely different. Salt edge is a bank data provider. Their customers are fintechs or large corporates that want to build something in-house.

      We're a tool for startups that doesn't require integration, etc. (app layer v infra layer)

  10. 1

    How do you plan to make money? [Business accounts make money on lending / interchange / fx / banking services, so it's unlinkely to generate sufficient income using subscriptions alone, especially in such competitive markets]

    You seem to have little competitive edge against the major fintechs (Revolut/Starling/Monzo), which all offer business accounts and integrations.

    Some extra downsides:

    • Additional overhead (another vendor/service to integrate).
    • No cash from interchange (corporate cards are, but no card payments are mentioned)

    I understand your edge against old banks if it was 2015-2017, but as you mentioned, the last 6 years have indeed exhausted that signal.

    1. 3

      We charge a monthly subscription, but rebank is free to start.

      Once startups move beyond basic banking needs (that many banks serve well) there's really nothing out there for them - we hear that a lot.

      Not offering cards lets us focus on solving the problems our customers tell us they have. That's more important than revenue potential right now.

      There are so many startups in the US and UK that are being underserved by their banks. The media hype about those banks you mention might make it seem like business banking is a solved problem but it really isn't.

      1. 3

        Thank you for the reply! Can you be a bit more specific about about where exactly they are being underserved and the gap you are filling? Is it the integrations with Slack/Whatsapp? The runway analytics?

        I agree that those startups aren't perfect solutions, but they will onboard the majority startups. And once that startup grows into something that rebank wants as a client, they are more likely start complaining about being underserved to Rev/Mo/St and ask for those features instead of signing up with another service.

        So my question is then, what is this gap that you are filling?

        1. 1

          No, those are cool features though - send balance or transaction data to Slack (or internal tools) from any bank ⚡️

          That’s not what we see. Startups grow to use multiple banks. One bank is rarely enough so we fill the gaps that banks can’t or won’t. That's about as good as I can do in short-form, get in touch with us if you want to know more.

          1. 2

            Thanks. And all the best. Especially great to see innovation coming from Europe!

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