Ken Villum Klausen, CEO at Copenhagen-based banking app Lunar Way has raised a €26 million round led by SEED Capital, while obtaining a European banking license from the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority.
Founded in 2015, the banking app, which focuses exclusively on the Nordics, raised €13 million and expanded to Norway back in February. With the additional funding and the new banking license at hand, Lunar Way plans to accelerate the development of its Nordic bank, develop new products, and grow in the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian markets.
The app already offers several features such as budgeting, spending notifications, transfers, bill payment, and card freezing. The new banking license will open up even more possibilities, for instance loans, insurance, and multi-currency cards.
“The funding and banking license is the preliminary culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the entire Lunar Way team,” said Lunar Way founder and CEO Ken Villum Klausen. “We have grown from a small startup to a fintech with close to 100 employees from Denmark, Sweden and Norway with users in all of Scandinavia – a market notoriously hard to penetrate. All the while challenging the status quo of banking in the Nordics and meeting the regulatory demands of becoming a bank. We’re the very first of our kind in the Nordics to get a banking license. We’ve done all this in four years. That in itself is an accomplishment. But our journey is only just starting now.”
The Nordic market consists of only 27 million people but is the home of the most stable economies in the world, with some of the wealthiest and tech-savvy populations on the planet. Though the market is known for being hard to crack for new banking entrants due to the Nordic clearing systems, as well as demanding regulations for safety and payment infrastructures that vary greatly from country to country, Lunar Way has chosen to focus its efforts solely on the Nordics since day one.
“Unlike other fintechs that have chosen to expand vertically, Lunar Way’s approach is to go deep in the Nordics, building not just a supplement for users to have when travelling or as an add-on to their other banking solutions, but as a 100% digital, innovative and true alternative to traditional banks,” said Villum Klausen. “We mean it when we say that the goal is to change the status quo of banking and to be the #1 banking app of the Nordics.”
Where 90% of the population is digitally native and already has a mobile banking solution, the first challenge in the Nordics is to offer a product that is innovative and easy to manage. The next challenge is to launch a bank, unlike anything the users know.
“The future belongs to those who offer the best user experience, and it’s our ambition to be the leading financial marketplace in the Nordics,” added Villum Klausen. “We already offer the users control of their entire personal finances, spending overview, savings, interactive budgets and up to 4% interest. The plan going forward is to collaborate with those who offer the best financial solutions out there and tie the whole thing together in the Lunar Way app.
“From here the user can access, view and handle all their personal finance needs. We’ve already taken the first steps in Denmark and offers insurance, loans, multi-currency cards and so on with several different partners. Soon we’ll provide investments with Saxo Bank. The bank license will help us create similar marketplaces for our Swedish and Norwegian users faster. It will also enable us to build our own financial products.”
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