The UK’s financial regulator the FCA has approved the fintech start-up, which last year found itself falling foul of the FCA, to operate as an electronic money agent through payments platform Modulr.
Lanistar, a new fintech start-up with big ambitions and some controversy, has been approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide payments services.
The news follows a series of events last year when Lanistar announced its intentions to be the next fintech unicorn (although this has recently been upgraded to a ‘deca-corn’) through an attention-grabbing social media campaign. Not long after, the FCA put out a statement warning that it may be a scam only to row back a few days later and remove the warning.
Modulr was flagged by Lanistar as a key partner at the time of the FCA rebuke in November 2020 but soon clarified that it was early days: “Lanistar has not completed our due diligence process, so it does not have any right to refer to Modulr or suggest that it has the right to provide regulatory services on behalf of Modulr,” it said at the time.
Notification of Lanistar’s latest FCA approval, allowing the handling of e-money and provision of certain payment services on behalf of an e-money institution meaning Lanistar can offer its customers digital accounts to send and receive payments, shows it has been operating with the new license for the past three weeks.
Lanistar describes itself as a payment card and account provider “built to match the Millennial’s lifestyle” and now says it is on the path to being worth £10bn. It certainly seems to be on a hiring spree. Its latest accounts show it had c. 73 employees at the end of 2020 with another 30 hired since. It said in a media statement yesterday that now it has secured the FCA permissions it will be looking to add another 300 staff in 2021.
Recent new hires include Bill Suglani, its CFO, a former BP, KPMG and executive at Open Banking and Jeremy Baber, Director of Banking & Financial Services, who previously worked at GE Capital, Aldermore Bank and Link Financial.
As well as a growing staff headcount at its Hammersmith offices, as well as regional bases in Athens and Macedonia, Lanistar also runs a network of c.3000 social media influencers. It says a launch into the EU as well as Brazil is planned for later in 2021.
Gurhan Kiziloz, CEO, Lanistar, said: “We are extremely grateful and excited by the official confirmation that we are approved as an EMD agent and one step closer towards achieving greatness. We are laser focused and obsessed with delivering our product and scaling up our company through 2021 with clinical precision and look forward to slowly but surely welcoming customers all over the world.”