B2B Pay is now piloting the payment system from its headquarters in Helsinki, Finland. While the founders Ambikar and Kasper Souren originate from New Zealand and the Netherlands respectively, they came to Finland in late 2015 after being accepted to a fintech accelerator programme run by Nordic banking giant Nordea.
During the three-month long programme the founders worked closely with various experts at Nordea and were assigned a specific mentor who helped the startup develop their concept further and build networks in the financial industry.
“Nordea is a big bank, but we really enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot,” Ambikar says. “We launched a prototype of our service together with them and now we are in a pilot phase with a limited amount of customer accounts provided by Nordea.”
After the programme, the duo decided Helsinki is the ideal location to set up their company officially. It means B2B Pay has been able to continue its cooperation with Nordea and is currently waiting to receive a ‘Payment Service Provider’ license from the Finnish authorities. Ambikar has been surprised how little bureaucracy there has been to all the steps along the way.
“I have lived and worked in Europe, India and New Zealand. Helsinki is the easiest place to start a company, the tax system is simple and the whole process is more efficient than, for example, in Germany,” he says.
Finpro’s Invest in Finland helped the company in the establishment process. “We are really happy with the support Finpro’s Invest in Finland has provided us. When we came to Finland to participate in the Nordea and Nestholma accelerator program, we did not actually intend to be in Finland after the program. But because of the support from Finnish regulators, Nordea Bank, and Finpro, we decided to set up the company in Finland,” says Neil Ambikar.
“I met the founders Neil and Kasper in December 2015 and I was impressed by the clarity of their business idea and how far they had come without having a formal company anywhere yet. We discussed about Finland’s business environment for a fintech start-up and practicalities of starting and running the company here. In few weeks’ time they had already registered the company in Helsinki and since then things have been progressing fast for B2BPay,” says Kyösti Järnefelt, Senior Advisor at Invest in Finland, Finpro.
It has been a busy year for B2B Pay. Since the Nordea programme, the startup has passed Israel’s prestigious TechStars accelerator programme (supported by UK bank Barclays) and secured its first customers. Currently the company focuses on small and medium sized companies and transactions between Europe and India.
But while cost-efficient, easy transactions are at the core of B2B Pay, the startup is already working on expanding its services.
“Fintech is evolving fast and most companies, big or small, do not really understand payments and international transactions. So we are building an analytics tool for them,“ Ambikar explains. “We are developing an algorithm which, after you answer a few questions, automatically analyses your business and what would be the best payment solution for you.”
At the moment Ambikar and Souren split their time between Finland and Germany and employ an intern and a part time business developer in Helsinki. They are also looking to hire two to three people for IT and business development in the Finnish capital in the near future. The goal is to eventually grow B2B Pay into a one stop shop for business-to-business payments and financial advice.
“We want to be the first choice for exporters for payments, but we could also become a replacement to financial advisors. In the future you only need a few clicks to get all your finances automatically assessed. It is the future of payments,” Ambikar concludes.