BankTech

Amount seeks to help banks “go digital in months – not years”

CRO Kevin Lewis says “Next several years will be a land grab” as banks digitize legacy systems

Amount, a technology provider for banks and financial institutions, has more than $100 million sitting on its balance sheet – a robust war chest ready to be deployed in the quest for growth.

Amount Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Lewis told FinLedger that the company will use this capital to reinvest in its retail banking and point of sale businesses.

In December 2020 FinLedger covered Amount’s $81 million Series C round led by Goldman Sachs Growth, just months after the new startup quietly raised $58 million in a Series B round in March after being spun off from Avant at the beginning of the year. The latest financing brings the Chicago-based company’s total raised in 2020 to nearly $140 million.

Put simply, Amount’s mission is to help financial institutions “go digital in months—not years.” The company formed just before the pandemic hit. FIs such as Banco Popular, HSBC, Regions Bank and TD Bank are just some of the banks that use Amount’s technology in an effort to simplify their transition to digital financial services.

Amount has processed over $8 billion in loans and its retail banking solution has facilitated transactions for over a million consumers. The company has about 400 employees.

Lewis spoke with FinLedger about the company’s lines of business, growth opportunities and challenges he anticipates in this uncertain marketplace.

FL: I find it interesting that Amount went into the BNPL space. Why did Amount make that decision to go into the BNPL space and what growth opportunities do you see there specifically?
Lewis: We realized that we were really good at the technology, but from an Amount standpoint, we just wanted to focus on the technology. We don’t want to go compete head-to-head with banks and Affirm to go sell into merchants. When we had multiple banks on the platform, including banks, like TD, who already have a large merchant network, they have massive commercial relationships. They have the balance sheet, they have the credit risk, and what they needed was the connective tissue, and the technology to get them live in a space that they weren’t live at.

We took the kind of prototype that we have been developing over a couple years prior to the split, and we helped TD go expand their merchant relationships with folks like NordicTrack who launched about a year ago. TD’s not alone, every single bank has a ton of merchants that are basically banging on a door saying, ‘Hey, we need this installment product to go compete with what Affirm is doing with Peloton, we need that same type of consumer friendly installment solution that can be provided at the time of purchase, to compete and win.’ TD was one of the first traditional banks to be in market with an installment point of sale solution in the shopping cart experience… We now have four different banks and financial institutions that have contracted with us for point of sale solutions.

FL: What is your strategy going forward for Amount?
Lewis
: The strategy is focused on becoming the leading provider of retail origination technology. On the other side, it’s to continue to grow, expand and help banks. When in the point of sale and buy now pay later space, we think the banks, with their cost of capital with the brands and the trust they have with consumers, they’re positioned to win there and beat the fintechs that are currently dominating that category. What we’re helping them do is close that technology gap. That’s a big business.

As we look ahead over the next two to three to four quarters, what I’m excited about is expanding into some new channels that I think are going to be a big part of our business in the future. That’s our indirect and strategic partnerships channel, where we can expand the point of sale business, as well as the retail business into a one to many strategy through some of the large infrastructure players that are already out there that are embedded with a lot of different merchants as well as a lot of different banks.

FL: What growth opportunities and business lines are you eyeing?
Lewis
: We have a ton of expansion opportunity within our core segment where we are today. We’re excited to expand down market into smaller financial institutions, both directly and indirectly through partnerships. Then again, continuing to grow this point of sale and buy now pay later business which is evolving very quickly.

FL: What challenges do you anticipate?
Lewis
: Anytime you’re working with large financial institutions, it’s a complex and slow sales cycle… There’s the standard sales cycle issues. For us, we see a lot of whitespace. You have virtually every bank in the US and internationally is going through large digital transformations right now. We see an opportunity to capitalize on what is a large land grab over the next two, three to four years, as banks look to digitize their legacy analog manual systems.

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