An ESADE Business School financial technology start-up is hoping to take on the banks.
The Spanish fintech firm, The PayPro, is an online tool allowing users to make payments in 30 different currencies in more than 200 countries. It claims to save consumers up to 90% of the hidden fees that banks apply to foreign exchange transactions.
Founded by ESADE alumni Pablo Ruiz, the chief executive, and Gabriel Llambias, COO, a former senior wealth manager with investment management firm Popular Banca Privada, The PayPro is targeting SMEs.
It joins the growing band of fintech start-ups that are biting at the fringes of banks’ business models. Underpinning these innovative competitors is technology — something large lenders struggle with, as they are saddled with creaking legacy IT systems.
The PayPro, which has offices in Barcelona and London, recently raised €310,000 in venture capital, led by investors Idodi Venture Capital and Lanta Capital. The start-up presented the equity raising at ESADE BAN, a business angel network promoted by ESADE’s entrepreneurs and investors club.
Pablo said: “As an ESADE alumnus, it was a personal milestone to be able to present The PayPro again, and for it to have been so successful.”
He hit on the idea while working for a small export company. He realized that the firm’s bank lacked transparency on exchange rates. The PayPro claims banks apply fees of up to 3.5% on small businesses. Alternative forex providers to banks tend to focus on large firms, the company said. The PayPro aims to fill this niche.
Fernando Zallo, director of ESADE BAN, said the network collaborated with The PayPro during its capital raising process. He praised Pablo, “who had the vision to find a business opportunity in a traditional activity such as currency payments”.
He added: “The PayPro joins other leading companies in today’s Spanish fintech sector that have found financing through ESADE BAN.”
The company expects to offer its services in early 2016.