Pile: a European treasury solution embeds banking in under 2 weeks

How Pile deepened their product in less than 2 weeks with Swan's embedded banking

Sarah Wachter
June 13, 2023

These days, CEOs and VCs are concerned with diversification, but with 3-4 accounts across multiple regions, it can be tough to manage runway. A more efficient treasury solution is required to manage it all.

Pile wanted to make it easy for high-growth startups to manage their runway. To create their treasury solution, they partnered with Swan to build a layer above operational banking accounts, making it easy to move money.

With Swan’s embedded banking, Pile has become Europe’s startup treasury solution. They empower companies to keep their money safe, diversified, and growing, with an overview of runway across all accounts.

Embedded banking for depth of product

Pile offers high-growth startups a main Pile account for core treasury. Customers connect all their other banking accounts to Pile, where they can spread and manage funds across multiple banks in one central location. So whether they’re moving money from their Deutsche Bank account or their Pile account, it feels the same.

To ensure the depth of Pile’s European treasury management platform, embedding banking features was an obvious choice. Pile Co-founder Balazs Deme explains:

“Since we’re so focused on treasury management, optimizing and really squeezing the most out of runway, we realized that for depth of product, we needed an anchor point. Banking obviously makes sense in a treasury context, so that’s why BaaS was a prime target for us at Pile.”

Here are some features they needed:

  • Sending payments
  • Creating accounts
  • Onboarding
  • Topping up accounts
  • Visualizing transactions

Both Pile co-founders, Balazs Deme and Jessica Holzbach, had previous experience working with BaaS. The array of available options expanded from just several in 2018, to a multitude of options just five years later. With so many options on the market, due diligence becomes key.

For everyone that builds in fintech or a regulated market, it’s wise to choose your battles. Decide what you want to build yourself, and where to add partners to your product offering. It’s good to choose your partners really wisely — do good due diligence on them. Find someone who has the same mission and vision so your goals are aligned.”

In Pile's case, they knew not all BaaS have the same level of efficiency, so this was a priority. They wanted a partner that makes it genuinely easy to explore, build, and launch fast. Balazs says:

”With Swan, it’s just faster. That was quite attractive. We liked the product, liked the docs, then the API reference, the coverage. Everything was very robust, from staging setup, to doc. The team was really fast, and Pile needed a partner who wants to be fast.”

The two co-founders had also received good feedback from other companies who had already used Swan’s Banking-as-a-Service platform to provide banking features.

“We had good feedback on working with Swan from Ride Capital, and that made our choice pretty easy. With our previous experiences and this high recommendation, we didn’t need to shop around, to be honest.” Balazs added.

Launching a banking MVP in 1 week

Pile was one of the fastest companies so far to embed banking with Swan. Whether through signing or integration, Pile moved fast because they knew what they wanted to build and had a clear and precise vision for what their product needed to do. Their strategy was to outline their MVP, build a clear timeline for building, and stick to it. Having Swan as a BaaS partner made this swift launch possible. Balazs explains:

“It took just 1 week from signing to beta live. 2 weeks to a full product launch. With the KPIs we were going for, this fast execution and Go-To-Market was huge for us. Even the contract with Swan was easy. No endless back and forths; we were able to stick to a timeline and avoid running around in circles. “

The exploration phase involved checking out the public Sandbox and documentation. “Everything's there in the Sandbox, there weren’t any major hiccups.” says Balazs. And then came time to execute. “Closeness with Swan’s team helped us focus on execution. Even now, after the launch, a few people from Swan’s team, whether in Product or Sales, handle different topics directly on Slack. This is super helpful, especially when it comes to figuring out issues with the API integration. We can ask Swan how they did something and two minutes later get a response. It saves hours.”

Essential to a successful launch, is of course, exhaustive QA. Pile dedicated a full day to final checks, calls with the team, and quality assurance from top to bottom, to make sure everything worked from staging up to production. Check out the timeline:

Fast and Pan-European

Beyond Pile’s choice criteria in a banking partner (moving fast), they needed to go with a pan-European player. Balazs explains:

”For us, it was important to go with a pan-European player. A partner that thinks more globally. Being empowered to scale was just as important to us as being fast and agile.”

Today, Pile serves high-growth startups across the continent, and they’re already thinking ahead about boosting their product. Swan’s Banking-as-a-Service platform provides them a whole range of features to scale their product. After core functions, Pile will add multi-user access, allow exporting of transaction data (CSS files etc), attaching invoices to transactions, and more. These functional features, along with virtual cards, will all be a part of Pile’s ever-improving treasury solution.

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

Sarah Wachter
June 13, 2023
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