Mobile banking startup PayKey, which offers a smartphone keyboard designed for millennial banking customers, has raised $10 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to $16 million.
According to news from TechCrunch, this latest round was led by MizMaa Ventures, with participation from other investors that include SBI Group, Siam Commercial Bank’s financial tech subsidiary Digital Ventures, SixThirty and Fintech71.
While the Tel Aviv-based PayKey started out as a social blockchain app, the company noticed the problems banks faced in engaging younger customers, which led founders to have “a lightbulb moment about how we can solve this problem for financial institutions by utilizing one of the most valuable and most used pieces of real estate on the smartphone: the keyboard,” said PayKey chief marketing officer Guy Talmi.
PayKey’s smartphone keyboard allows bank customers to access financial services without having to log onto a banking app. After financial institutions integrate PayKey’s white-label smartphone keyboard API (which keeps each bank’s own security and authentication systems) with their mobile apps, customers can then install it onto their smartphones and use it to send payments, check their balances and access other services from inside any app.
The goal is to help bank compete with the likes of Venmo, Square Cash and Zelle, as well as peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.
“As these platforms develop and enhance their own financial services, there will be barely any reasons left for users to use any other apps,” says Talmi. “We act as a bridge between the bank and the user’s most used apps, enabling banks to have their brand become a part of the social and messaging experience.”
PayKey has signed commercial agreements with seven banks so far, including Westpac, UOB, Bank Leumi and an unnamed financial services provider that it says is one of the world’s biggest. The company plans to double its customers over the next six months, with a focus on Asia, where many of its Series B investors are based, as well as a look into other verticals, including telecom providers.Zz