meet Numeral, a French startup that wants to update corporate bank accounts. While customers interact with Numeral using a modern application programming interface (API), the startup connects directly to the bank’s servers to upload payment files and interact with outdated information systems. By abstracting this layer of complexity, you can treat your bank accounts like another microservice in your architecture.
Last month, Numeral announced which raised a $14.8 million (€13 million) funding round led by Balderton Capital. Alexandre Prot, Tom Blomfield, Guillaume Princen and Kima Ventures also participated. The Numeral team originally started working on the project within Logic Founders, a startup studio created by eFounders.
Numeral is also not a banking-as-a-service provider. The company does not offer bank accounts, does not generate IBANs and does not issue cards.
“We are a payment automation platform for technology companies,” co-founder and CEO Édouard Mandon told me. “We allow tech companies to connect to their bank account to automate payment operations.”
While retail banks are just starting to offer APIs, corporate banks opened up their banking platform many years ago. But don’t expect a REST API with documentation pages. Many banks expect you to upload a text file to an SFTP server. The file must be formatted in a very specific way as well.
Numeral sells its product to fintechs, insurtechs or real estate companies that rely heavily on bank transfers. For example, the company’s first customers are Spendesk and Swile. Numeral built integrations for its first customers so that Spendesk and Swile can interact with their bank accounts using an API.
By the end of 2022, Numeral plans to cover a dozen different banks. “Right now, half of our customers discover our service through a French bank that describes Numeral as the APIs they don’t offer,” said Mandon.
Once the integration is complete, Numeral customers will be able to integrate payment features and capabilities into their applications. The startup also offers a web app for non-technical employees. That way, they can reconcile payments and bills without having to use the legacy web application offered by corporate banks.
Numeral can then add some additional features on top of its API. For example, you can imagine setting up an approval workflow, a notification system, etc.
The startup is also thinking about orchestration capabilities. If a customer has multiple bank accounts, they can route payments to the right account depending on various rules. Numeral can also be used to actively manage cash balances across multiple accounts.
This can be particularly useful for global customers with accounts in multiple countries. Mandon worked for iBanFirst before starting Numeral, so he knows a thing or two about having multiple partner banks spread across multiple countries.
With the funding round, Numeral plans to grow to a team of 30 to 40 people. In addition to new integrations with French banks, the company plans to expand its coverage and customer base to other European countries such as Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy.