Friday Finance: how a German fintech launched a banking MVP, fast 💫

Friday Finance simplifies business finances for CFOs at small and medium-sized companies. The fintech, which already serves 2000 finance teams with easily digestible finance analysis, has boosted its automation capabilities by connecting with Swan for embedded banking.

Sarah Wachter
September 23, 2022

Friday Financewanted to expand the simplicity and automation potential of its business finance solution, by embedding banking activities directly into the product experience. They needed security and efficiency, but they also needed to move fast.

By connecting to Swan’s BaaS and no-code solution, Friday Finance has quickly launched banking accounts, with transfers available via SEPA debit, and the option to top-up. German IBANs and cards are on the way.

In only 2.5 months, Friday Finance built safe and secure banking features into their holistic financial solution. The resulting automation saves CFOs 3 work days/month of work on repetitive tasks!

Friday Finance goes beyond raw data to offer finance teams intelligent, smart finance management

Finance teams are full of people with great adaptation and coping skills — they create clever workarounds to handle the complexities and inconsistencies imposed on them by existing finance tools. But Friday Finance founders Christopher Zemina and Patrick de Castro Neuhaus wanted to free CTOs from the busy work of maneuvering around disjointed tools and spreadsheets, and give them more time to focus on real strategy.

Friday Finance is not a bank. Friday Finance is a software that is largely powered by banking features. It sits on top of existing accounts and takes CFOs ”from a patchwork of separate spreadsheets, systems, and accounts, to one unified environment.”

Here’s how Friday Finance simplifies the tools CFOs just can’t avoid:

  • Automation: 80% of finance processes can be automated with Friday Finance
  • Pay all bills directly on Friday Finance: no need to log in and out of multiple apps to deal with multiple payments
  • Real-time cash visibility: connect all existing bank accounts to get a holistic view of banking stats and a consolidated cash position. Helps to trim wasteful spending!
  • Instant and reliable cash planning: Transactions are automatically categorized.
  • End-of-month processing: Close your books faster by uploading bills to see instantly whether they match with transactions that already occurred.

Embedded banking and accounts for next-level automation

To increase its automation potential and avoid unnecessary logins to multiple systems, Friday Finance knew they had to start with accounts. Bank accounts are at the core of financial workflows; everything runs through them. But when there are too many, things get complicated.

Friday Finance connected with Swan, a European Banking-as-a-Service and regulated financial institution, to reinvent how businesses interact with banking flows. Swan’s platform gives the fintech easy access to banking features like accounts, cards, and payments, so they can embed them directly into their software. Friday Finance Product Manager, Sarah Schibich, explains how they chose Swan:

We could either offer banking activities through BaaS, PSD2, or Open Banking. For the journey we have ahead, it made more sense to go with BaaS. We knew Swan was out there. And after a deep dive, and comprehensive analysis with other players, we saw that Swan is in very good shape!”

Swan also happened to be the quickest and easiest option for a European company looking to scale fast:

”Friday Finance’s customers can get up and running in just 30 minutes — it was crucial we find an embedded banking partner who could move equally as fast. So, as we prepared to go into payments and banking through our platform, we chose Swan’s no-code version. Integration was quite smooth and quick.“ explains Sarah.

Integrating with Banking-as-a-Service in just 2.5 months

Sarah Schibich led the integration project as Product Manager along with the support of the payment squad (4 developers) and 1 tech lead. Initial integration took about 1.5 months, and a ready-to-go MVP will be launched just 2 months after that.

With Swan you’re totally autonomous to embed banking features yourself, using just our platform and the guidance of our Docs and API Explorer. But if you ever get stuck, or need to test your ideas, Swan’s technical experts are there to help. Sarah Schibich describes what it was like:

I don’t have a technical background, but (working with Swan) worked out quite well for me. The Doc was easily written. If there was ever confusion on my end about certain technical aspects I could ask somebody. And we had consistent support whenever there were questions.”

Sarah needed absolute confidence that Friday Finance’s shiny new banking features would really work, safely and reliably, before launching Beta testing. This is where the Event Simulator comes in. External events, like receiving a card payment, or an incoming SEPA credit transfer, need to be tested during integration. The event simulator lets you see how well your integration manages these events, so you can feel confident going live:

The event simulator we used heavily and all the time for testing activities in the sandbox — it worked quite well. It’s a necessity because you cannot test sensitive operations like transactions with real money. The event simulator was vital for testing and to make sure everything works.” said Sarah.

From Minimum Viable Product to Minimum Lovable Product

Connected to Swan for embedded banking, Friday Finance is able to create accounts, and run KYC and transactions for their customers, all without having to build up a banking team. They can count on Swan’s banking operations and regulatory teams to ensure everything runs smoothly and within the law. Moving forward, Friday Finance plans to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by embedded banking to make money movement easier:

”To get from MVP to MLP, Minimum Lovable Product, that will involve building even more functionalities on top of Friday Finance Pay. Payment scheduling, bulk transactions for salary payments, and more. We expect to take full advantage of Swan for this.”

Empowered to serve CFOs across the European Economic Area

Swan’s e-money license empowers Friday Finance to provide banking features all across Europe, but Friday Finance is putting a heavy focus on DACH region, for now. They can count on Swan’s German product and compliance teams, and they’re especially excited to have German IBANs. While German businesses expect and trust German IBANs best, in fact, all IBANs perform equally across Europe. This is important for fintechs like Friday Finance who plan to continue expansion across Europe:

“By embedding banking features, Friday Finance wants to create a holistic financial journey. We want to give small and medium companies an experience that solves the complexities and inconsistencies their finance teams deal with every day, with their existing tools. We already have customers beyond the German-speaking region and we know Swan will grow simultaneously with us, to serve multiple countries over the years.”

With Friday Finance, Swan partners with one of the most exciting SaaS companies in Germany and Europe, a fintech that’s raised over 20 million dollars with well-known VCs. We share a similar vision: to make it easy for our customers to get started, so they can focus on their actual core competencies. We’re looking forward to growing side by side!

Thinking about building banking services into your own product? Have a chat with our team to explore what you could build.

Sarah Wachter
September 23, 2022
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