Black-led UK challenger Atmen is raising half a million
Atmen, a challenger banking service looking to “bring colour to banking”, is in the swings of crowdfunding half a million.
Founded by Marvyn Smith in June this year, the Black-led fintech start-up will look to address some of the “unconscious biases” communities of colour face in the financial industry.
Smith previously served up organisational and corporate strategies to clients including HSBC, Page Group and the NHS.
Atmen in German translates as “To Breathe”. According to the challenger’s website, this relates to both the COVID-19 pandemic, and the “systemic institutional biases in society” highlighted by George Floyd’s murder in May.
What Atmen will offer
Atmen, like many new challenger banks, intends to offer a prepaid debit card and virtual debit card.
It will also offer free in-app peer-to-peer transfers, multi-currency and foreign currency exchange, and Apple and Google Pay enabled payments.
According to Fintech Direct, the investment will help the start-up launch these features within six to eight weeks of closing it.
Smith intends to roll out the challenger offering to Europe, before launching in the US in the following six months.
The Atmen team is made up of five contributors. They are all bootstrapping the venture and are not currently receiving a salary.
Mystery BaaS provider
Instead of building the service from the ground up, the fintech has contracted a Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider.
Whilst the identity of the partner is unknown, it’s understood that it uses blockchain technology. The provider is licensed to operate in the UK, EEA, SEPA region and the US, which aligns with the fintech’s expansion plans.
“Atmen will have access to these areas/markets from day one allowing us to upscale a lot faster than our competitors,” Smith tells Fintech Direct.
European challengers such as Monzo and N26 have struggled to expand stateside, making slow headway against local rivals like Chime. Though N26 did say last month that it had “nearly” hit half a million customers.
“That said, the option of building a solution will always be on the table for review together with our BaaS provider,” Smith adds.