UK Fintech Startup Gets Banking Approval, Raises $24 Million

Estimated read time 2 min read

British banking-as-a-service fintech Griffin has raised new funding after receiving regulatory approval to be a fully operational bank.

Griffin, which was founded in 2017 by ex-Airbnb software engineer David Jarvis and CircleCI founder Allen Rohner, has developed APIs that offer banking services to businesses such as interest-bearing accounts and lending.

Until recently, the company was only able to operate with restrictions on the types of accounts it could offer but has now been approved to leave the process of “mobilization” by both the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

“As a bank, we have capital requirements, so a lot of operating expenses, which makes it quite a straightforward pitch to VCs; our funding is going towards salaries, not bad loans,” Griffin CEO Jarvis told Business Insider.

“We’ve secured more than we need, which is great, but less than we want. The market is god awful, so not having to do a down-round, with outside investors coming in, is the best outcome.”

Griffin has raised £19.1 million, around $24 million, in a funding round led by MassMutual Ventures, NordicNinja, and Breega, with participation from Notion Capital, EQT Ventures, DG Daiwa and CircleRock. The raise brings the fintech’s total funding to $59.7 million.

Based in London, the company has around 100 staff, up from 65 last summer.

“We are hiring, but unlike earlier rounds, we aren’t going on a hiring blitz, as we did the hiring for this round before the round closed. We were about to be a fully operational bank, so we needed operations roles,” Jarvis added.

The bank has used its time under restrictions to line up customers as it looks to widen its user base, with Jarvis adding that most of the next year will go toward improving the company’s products and payments infrastructure.

Check out Griffin’s 12-slide pitch below: