Notorious fintech Lanistar is set to relaunch in the UK

Notorious fintech Lanistar is set to relaunch in the UK

Digital banking

Lanistar is hoping to try its luck in the UK for a second time this spring with a host of influencers and a new banking partner.

Notorious fintech Lanistar is set to relaunch in the UK

Image source: Lanistar.

After a two-year hiatus, infamous London-based fintech Lanistar is preparing to relaunch in the UK.

Fintech, which has since developed its offering to payment card providers in Latin America, first launched in the UK with all guns blazing.

It raised £2m and positioned itself as a rival to digital banks such as Monzo and Revolut, with founder and then chief executive Gurhan Kiziloz saying he had an ambition to “create a £1bn fintech company”.

He even went so far as to buy the unicorn (branded with Lanistar).

Just eight months later, the company ran into trouble with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The regulator published a warning on its website that “this firm is not authorized by us and is targeting people in the UK […] we believe [Lanistar] conducts unregulated activities that require authorization”.

Now fintech is back, with Kiziloz out of the driver’s seat and instead in the role of chairman, according to Company’s House, and Jeremy Baber leads the company.

Baber became CEO in January 2022, after a year as director of banking and financial services for the company, with previous roles at Link Financial and Aldermore Bank.

According to Baber, what’s different about this relaunch on “home turf” is the transition from working with Modulr — which he said couldn’t provide the full banking solution the company needed — to working with Mastercard.

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“Key to our launch (in Brazil) and those to follow in other parts of LATAM, has been our alliance partnership with Mastercard members, who offered a ‘Banking-as-a-Service’ solution,” said Baber.

“This means that Lanistar has a ‘one-stop shop’ solution for market entry in the region, offering a full suite of services including bank accounts, card issuance, full digital onboarding and best of breed regulatory compliance, KYC and transaction monitoring.”

Reportedly with this change in banking partner, the fintech will now be able to offer this ‘one-stop shop’ solution to customers in the UK and Europe as well as in LATAM.

This is despite losing their FCA agency status with Modulr because, according to Baber, “the majority of fintechs have sought this designation as a ‘badge’ rather than [to] actually deliver the services to their customers”.

According to Lanistar, it differentiates itself from the competition through its “enhanced security” – – it says it has “advanced UI/UX design” to make it “easier” and “probably more secure” than high street banks, for now it says the cards are “probably some of the safest in the world”.

Lanistar was launched with the intention of challenging the status quo of “old-fashioned, traditional banking”, but not a digital bank, but rather a payment card provider, partners with a number of social media influencers, also referred to as its “social influencer family”.

Influencers are paid in shares for sharing four posts a month, and can increase the number of shares by referring other influencers to join the program.

So according to Lanistar, more than 3,000 people have shares in the company.

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Aimed at 18-35-year-olds, Lanistar launched in the same way with a heavy emphasis on influencers the first time.

It also made claims of hitting one million users on pace and before it had even launched.

Now it says it expects to grow to over one million users by mid-2023, with 20,000 customers currently on board in Brazil and aiming to launch in the UK in the spring.

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