Sonect, the location-based matchmaking platform that connects people who have cash with people who need cash, has obtained its Electronic Money Institution licence from the Bank of Lithuania, which enables the company to operate in all EEA countries. This marks a starting point for pan-European expansion for Sonect.
My matching cash withdrawal with cash deposit, Sonect builds a community around local businesses and helps them generate physical leads. It has taken the Swiss FinTech a mere 18 months to become the largest single cash withdrawal network in Switzerland and is now ready to enter new markets in Europe and beyond. Sonect plans to replicate its success story in several European markets in the months to come.
As banks around the world are phasing out their ATMs on a massive scale, withdrawing cash becomes more and more problematic. Sonect seeks to solve this issue by allowing customers to withdraw, deposit and transfer cash at any participating business – be it a café, a pharmacy, or any other place that accept cash.
Lithuania will serve as the European headquarters for Sonect. Lithuania is the optimal hub for European expansion due to the outstanding conditions provided by the Bank of Lithuania, like support, infrastructure, and a fast and reliable process next to the extensive talent pool in Lithuania. Sonect expects to build a team of 20 people in the next couple of years, in addition to the 30 current Sonect team members.
“The EMI licence is a strategic move that perfectly sets us up to expand across the European market quickly. Our success in Switzerland showcases the need for a solution like Sonect to bring cash withdrawals to the next level. We are looking forward to replicating our success in other European markets soon.” Sandipan Chakraborty, CEO & Founder
“In order to operate in other EEA countries, we could have chosen any European jurisdiction to apply for a licence, but our due diligence showed that in Lithuania this process was the smoothest. We also get to benefit from the direct access to CENTROlink – a convenient gateway to SEPA offered by Bank of Lithuania,” Sandipan Chakraborty, CEO & Founder
According to Mantas Katinas, General Manager of Invest Lithuania, Lithuania has what it takes to match the dynamism of such disruptors as Sonect:
“As a country, Lithuania is flexible and agile enough to pave the way for novel solutions – the area of finance being no exception. The same qualities are seen on the personal level, with young professionals willing to stand out and think outside the box. It’s no surprise that more and more game-changers like Sonect are choosing us for their expansion projects.”
Sonect was founded in 2016 in Zurich by Arindam Bajpayee, Sandipan Chakraborty and Rik Krieger. In 2019 the European headquarters was established in Lithuania in the form of a subsidiary – “UAB Sonect Europe”. Sonect has the ambition to disrupt the cash withdrawal system all over Europe and does that by bringing the shared economy approach to cash withdrawals. The company currently employs 30 people, of which half are working in Switzerland, while the rest are scattered all over the world. Sonect is about to finalise its multi-million Series A funding round in order to fund its pan-European expansion.
Sonect’s services can benefit all three involved parties – traditional banks, retailers, and individuals alike:
- Banks can reduce ATM operation costs & complement their ATM network – or even enter new markets without investing significant capital. On top of that, they can leverage a new revenue channel and get closer to their customers.
- Additionally, Sonect paves the path to a digital financial future by creating an easy to use access to digital financial services.
- Local shops can not only have less cash to manage at the end of the day but also earn a commission & attract new customers by offering a new service and having access to an additional marketing channel.
- Individuals can avoid an extra trip to the ATM and withdraw cash at the click of a button – wherever they are: in a restaurant, a bar, or their favourite local shop.
- The EMI licence will help Sonect to offer their service all over Europe and therefore allow users to use the service not just at home but also during their travels.