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Peer2Peer Finance News | August 23, 2019

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Zopa opens Barcelona tech hub to build bank infrastructure

Zopa opens Barcelona tech hub to build bank infrastructure
Suzie Neuwirth

ZOPA has expanded its operations outside of the UK for the very first time, to help build the technology for the launch of its digital bank.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender is opening a new hub in Barcelona, Spain, to tap into what it sees as a great pool of tech talent.

A Zopa spokesperson told Peer2Peer Finance News that the firm had already been “recruiting heavily” in Barcelona, so the launch of the development centre made sense.

The spokesperson said that the decision to set up the hub in Spain was not motivated by Brexit.

“As one of the world’s first fintech businesses, we pride ourselves on our approach to technology and product delivery,” said Zopa’s chief technology officer Ronen Benchetrit.

“Our mission at Zopa is to make money simple and fair, and our developers get the opportunity to build solutions to real world problems, whilst using the latest technology to deliver products in an agile manner.

Read more: Zopa unveils plan to wind down provision fund as it readies for IFISA launch

“Barcelona has an exciting and fast-growing tech scene and is already home to some of the world’s best tech talent. It also draws the best talent from all over the world, attracted by its vibrant culture.”

Developers working on the bank technology infrastructure will be split between London and Barcelona. They will work on developing payment gateways, credit card processing, and deposit systems for the “next generation” banking arm.

“Our Barcelona development centre will give us access to some of the best software engineers in the world, allowing us to accelerate the development of the infrastructure we need to support the launch of our next generation bank,” said Didier Baclin, head of bank build at Zopa.

Read more: Zopa gains full FCA approval

Zopa, the world’s oldest P2P lender, is planning to apply for a banking licence later this year. The banking operations will sit separately to the firm’s core P2P business, but will enable the firm to offer a wider range of services to UK consumers such as FSCS-protected deposit accounts and credit cards.

At the start of this month, the platform announced that it had closed a £32m equity fundraising led by Indian conglomerate Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC) and European venture capital fund Northzone, that would be used to finance the build-out of its bank infrastructure.

Read more: Zopa creates waiting list for new investors