Holvi: Making finance easy for micro businesses

Chief Executive Officer Antti-Jussi Suominen discusses European growth and managing finances for small businesses.

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July 30, 2020 - 9 minutes

Founded in 2011 and based in Helsinki, Finland, Holvi combines banking with business management for the self-employed. The company was built by entrepreneurs who are on a mission to take the stress out of money management and to free their users from paperwork and make life easy for them, by providing an easy-to-use service that saves them both time and money.

Holvi gives everyday entrepreneurs the tools they need to easily manage their business finances. They recognised early on how frustrating the admin around finances are for micro-businesses. Many of their users have little business accounting experience and need a straightforward service. Holvi provides this with a digital application where users are in control of invoicing, expense management and bookkeeping for their business.

This is in contrast to the traditional banking market for micro businesses. It simply doesn’t work for a lot of people as their business is personal and therefore, they need a tailored, individual solution from their banking partner, something Holvi delivers.

“Anyone self-employed can open an account online – with no branch visit required. The whole service is tailored to their needs and shows only the numbers they’re looking for. With Holvi there’s no need to check for formulas or adjust ranges. It just works.” Says Antti-Jussi Suominen, CEO Holvi.

Giving micro businesses control

Making finance easy for micro businesses

Expansion into the UK

The UK is Europe’s biggest market for small businesses and a big opportunity for Fintechs wanting to cater to this market. Besides that, the UK has always been known as a nation of sole traders. There are nearly 6 million small businesses and three-quarters of those are one-person operations. If you want to grow in Europe in this market segment, you have to be in the UK.

Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, in early 2020 Holvi expanded its European presence to the United Kingdom after having been operating for a couple of years in Germany, Austria and Finland. And although the UK is a competitive market for Fintechs, there is already growing awareness of and demand for digital services like Holvi. Before this, Holvi expanded their footprint in the Eurozone by focusing on Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands in 2019.

“So far, it has been a very exciting and educational journey. Especially through the expansion in Europe we have learned a lot, e.g. how important it is to meet the local requirements of the markets and how to collect and use the feedback of the users. Feedback from our users is extremely important for us. The ideas and advice of our users have made us what we are today.”

“Feedback from our users is extremely important for us. The ideas and advice of our users have made us what we are today.”

To support the expansion in the UK, Form3 was selected as Holvi’s payment processing partner to provide them with the technical capability to connect to UK Payment Schemes.  Utilising their cloud-native payments platform, Form3 offers Holvi a single API integration into the UK Bacs and Faster Payments schemes. The fully managed service provides 24/7 monitoring and incident management, 365 days a year, plus any scheme rules changes are automatically updated so that Holvi doesn’t have to worry about payments handling, maintainance and or standards compliance.

Bacs and Fastern Payments schemes are crucial if you want to conduct business in the UK. Form3 provides these schemes in different access models, either to connect directly to the scheme and have full autonomy over your payments, or, in Holvi’s case, to use a sponsor bank for quick time-to-market and the benefit of additional banking services.

“Form3 is transparent and truly collaborative. They understand our business and provide high quality service both technically and operationally. One of the greatest advantages of working with Form3 is that we can rely on a much more personal touch. Form3 help us with their professional expertise and advise us on our steps in this new market. With their offering they provide a unique, flexible solution for our needs which we can scale up as we grow. –If something is unclear, we are able to speak directly with our agent and have support on almost any topic immediately. We can rest assured that our problem will be solved quickly without disrupting our workflow.”

Access to Bacs and Faster Payments

Plans for the future

“The increasing demand for small business banking across the Eurozone is growing rapidly and Holvi sees the opportunity to excel in this segment where traditional financial institutions haven’t been able to serve their customers to the level of satisfaction needed. There are still lots of micro-businesses that can use the help of Holvi.”

Having become the leading business banking service for microentrepreneurs in their home market of Finland, and rapidly growing in Austria and Germany, Holvi is taking the product to new customers across the Eurozone and helping the everyday entrepreneur to succeed.

“We will focus on further growth and user satisfaction within our core markets, which are Finland, Germany and the UK. We will also continue to innovate and improve our product.”

Making finance easy for micro businesses

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