Europe’s biggest bank now Israeli tech customer

Santander is investing $5 million in Israel’s MyCheck, making its initial foray into locally made financial technology

Santander Bank (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Santander Bank (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Santander, through its Santander Innoventures Fund, said that it was investing $5 million in Israeli fintech start-up MyCheck. The investment kicks-off MyCheck’s Series B funding round, and gives Santander, Europe’s largest banking group, its first stake in Israel’s financial technology ecosystem.

MyCheck, founded in Israel in 2011, is an app that allows users to pay bills at restaurants, bars, hotels, and other places of entertainment using their smartphones – a long-sought after financial technology goal, turning the smartphone into a kind of credit card. The MyCheck app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play for individual use, but the company’s bread and butter is in white-label versions for stores, restaurants, and other venues. Such apps, MyCheck claims, increase customer loyalty (the app also lets venues manage their customer loyalty programs), and in fact, MyCheck said, it has seen a 320% growth in transaction volumes over the last six months, much of it from the private-label activity.

The funds from Santander will be used to accelerate MyCheck’s international expansion, especially across the U.S and Western Europe, bolster sales and marketing, and enhance business intelligence capabilities. Santander in return gets equity in the company.

But beyond an investment, Santander now has an app that it can deploy for all sorts of purposs. The company has over 107 million retail and commercial customers across ten main markets in Europe and the Americas, and a significant number of them would be able to use an app like MyCheck to enhance payment options and loyalty programs for retailers.

Shlomit Kugler (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Shlomit Kugler (Photo credit: Courtesy)

The investment is being made via Santander via its Innoventure Fund, which scouts out and invests in companies with advanced financial technology. Mariano Belinky, Managing Director of the Santander Innoventures Fund, said: “We established the Innoventures Fund to support start-up fintech companies who are at the cutting edge of digital delivery of financial services and in MyCheck we have found this. The investment in MyCheck highlights our leadership in financial technology, investing in services which seek to benefit customers in their everyday financial transactions.”

According to Shlomit Kugler, Co-Founder and CEO of MyCheck, “Santander is an ideal investor and partner for MyCheck. The company shares our vision and our passion for financial technology that improves the lives of people and helps businesses and economies to grow. We have already secured hundreds of thousands of users. With Santander’s support we can scale rapidly and capitalise on our leadership position in the hospitality sector. This investment is a validation of MyCheck’s market proposition, its business model, its technology and its people. We’re proud to have this vote of confidence from Santander and be the first to receive an investment from their Innoventures Fund.”

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