Dublin-based Leveris is out to transform the fintech and banking world after building a software-defined, cloud-native, digital core banking platform.

Leveris claims the platform will help to finally cut the cord binding banks and fintech companies to complex, expensive and outdated systems.

The platform enables banks and fintech firms to offer a wide variety of retail banking products including current accounts, deposit accounts, personal loans, mortgages, digital onboarding (Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering) and more.

“Ireland is a hotbed for innovation. There are some great start-ups operating here, as well as superb quality and culture of software development”

As well as enabling European financial providers to enter new markets, the Leveris Digital Banking Platform is also helping lenders easily manage payment breaks for struggling borrowers during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Incorporated in 2016, Leveris is headquartered in Dublin with offices and development centres in Prague, Brno and Minsk. Its 200+ team has extensive experience in financial services, technology and banking, and is imagining a better way to build a bank.

Cutting the cord with legacy systems

Man in black t-shirt making a presentation on stage.

NOAH London 2017 – Day Two

“At Leveris, we believe that technology has failed banks,” explained CEO and founder Conor Fennelly.

“The existing technology of most banks is expensive to deploy, costly to run and complex to change. Many operate monolithic, non-real-time systems, running batch processes. By the nature of their technology, these banks are product-oriented. Their systems have been built in product silos like deposit accounts or loans, which means they never benefit from a full, single view of the customer.”

Fennelly explained that Leveris is a cloud-native, real-time, core banking system which solves all these problems, allowing banks to launch new retail products at speed, revise products on the fly and target customers with individual accuracy.

“It also reduces the operational cost of the technologies needed to keep a bank running. A traditional bank’s operating cost-to-income ratio is around 70pc. By applying technologies that are standard in other industries today, we estimate that we can achieve cost-to-income ratios of 25pc to 35pc; which of course is the most effective way to increase margin.”

The Leveris platform is event driven (real-time when a customer or the bank makes a change), rather than old-style batches of transactions. Because it is software-defined, you never need to write code to change interest rates or develop new products; and is cloud-native and can be run as software-as-a-service (SaaS).

“Recently, it took us just 12 weeks to deploy the system for Link Group, allowing the Australian financial services administrator to enter the Dutch mortgage servicing market with a faster, cheaper and more flexible system than competitors.”

Journey of the founder

Man in navy shirt with blue running shoes.

Leveris founder and CEO Conor Fennelly

Prior to starting Leveris, founder Conor Fennelly had been involved in various ventures, including Nomad Software Solutions and eoBuy.

“Something often overlooked in entrepreneurship is humility and the ability to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. A lack of humility has been the downfall of many an entrepreneur”

“These ventures have taken me from Ireland to Silicon Valley, South East Asia and many places in between. For all these ventures, I didn’t need very much encouragement. Thankfully, the ideas always came, and I was fortunate to have the support and means to make them happen.”

Fennelly believes Ireland is well-placed to triumph in the digital marketplace that will be cemented in the post-Covid19 world order.

“Ireland is a hotbed for innovation. There are some great start-ups operating here, as well as superb quality and culture of software development. News that Workhuman has become the latest Irish tech firm to reach so-called unicorn status is proof of that.

“Importantly, there is a comprehensive range of supports for fintech from state bodies and we have ourselves benefited from it. Enterprise Ireland has been a huge advocate for us, a great help not only on the funding side but also in business development. The agency has opened its global distribution network and introduced us to clients as far away as Australia and China. So, there’s incredible support and a very strong community.

“On the negative side, talent acquisition is still a problem. Given that Ireland is a base for a lot of the large American corporates, the cost of talent is quite high. We have around 250 employees, 50 are in Ireland with the rest located in the Czech Republic and Belarus where it’s more cost-effective to run the development side of the business. Our strategic corporate, product and infrastructure teams operate from our headquarters in Blackrock, Dublin.”

Fennelly said that Leveris is currently in the process of raising €100m to fuel the next phase of the company’s growth.

“The pandemic has stalled things and inhibited us from getting in the same room as the right investor, but once travel restrictions are lifted, that’s where we’ll be, showcasing the Leveris platform.”

The journey with Leveris has been eventful. “I honestly don’t see them as mistakes, more like lessons learned. I can live with any ‘mistake’ once I have followed my own convictions. Mistakes are much harder to live with if you go against your natural instincts.”

His advice to fellow founders? “Be resilient. Be prepared for lots of setbacks. I know I’ve had a few but you need to dust yourself off and go again. Also, something often overlooked in entrepreneurship is humility and the ability to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. A lack of humility has been the downfall of many an entrepreneur.”

The key to Leveris being agile and nimble has been about mindset. “Agile is a mentality and not a set of tools. Tools and technologies change constantly but the mantra of build quickly, securely, test constantly and deploy business and product features frequently is how we ensure our ability to stay agile. Using tools and technologies that are open source to avoid vendor lock-in helps us live by this mantra,” Fennelly said.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 3 July, 2020

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