Despite the growing shift towards digital payments, cash has remained an essential medium of exchange for the majority of the population in Switzerland and abroad. Quick access to money via bank’s ATMs is important, yet some remote regions are poorly equipped due to the high costs of installing a single ATM. Through its mobile app, Sonect bridges the gap between the digital and traditional worlds. For the first time in Switzerland, the solution enabled users to withdraw money from local stores such as retailers, kiosks or coffee shops at any time.
On the B2B side, Sonect allows banks to integrate their service in their mobile banking app, enabling users to access their money deposits and withdraw them anytime. Retailers also can sign onto the platform to act as virtual ATMs to allow end-users to withdraw cash from their shops. With the Neon and Migros Bank already on board, Sonect collaborates with more than 2300 retailers, including K-kiosk and Volg.
On the B2C side, Sonect’s app has been tripling the number of downloads year by year. The addition of Twint as a partner brings over 3.3 million potential bank users to the Sonect platform. So far, about 75’000 Twint users have visited the platform. The company has also launched a shop app allowing anybody to become a virtual ATM; some 300 shops, hotels, pharmacies and bakeries in Switzerland are already registered.
Pilot projects in UK and Germany
The startup is also taking a significant leap in expanding its service in foreign markets. Pilot projects are running in the United Kingdom, and in Germany, about 100 small-sized shops are already registered. in UK Sonect has been selected to participate in an initiative called the Community Access to Cash Pilots. Now the Sonect App is live and available for use in Burslem and Tunstall (Stoke-on-Trent).
Further, plans to establish a subsidiary in Mexico are underway. By the end of 2021, the startup will have launched in the new market with a team of five employees fuelling its growth. Additionally, another European country will be launched shortly, boosting its European expansion.
Founded in 2016, Sonect became operative in 2018 and has since seen upward growth. Besides the growing network, the startup has since attracted investment in a Series A round. The company is raising additional capital as part of a Series B round to bolster its growth.
In a statement, Steivan Pitsch, head of marketing at Sonect, says, “We are right now at the intersection of a sustainable growth whereby we see larger partners, an increased number of users, transactions in countries and the scaling up of the company internationally. Sonect will be a new and different company by the end of 2021. We currently have 30 employees and plan to grow to 60 employees to address the growing demand. The current developments challenge our culture, tasks and overall organisation; however, looking at our pipeline and how we have advanced in the existing markets, it is now about delivering on our promise.”
(Ritah Ayebare Nyakato)