Bank middle-manager BankSimple raises $2.9M to not be a bank

BankSimple, the not-quite-a-bank provider of front-end services for a number of treasury-focused banks, raised $2.9 million in its first round of funding. First Round Capital, IA Ventures and Village Ventures led the round.

Again, BankSimple is not a bank. It’s a provider that manages user experiences for banks. Chief executive Joshua Reich likened it to the way gift-card operators work.

The company partners with banks that are exclusively interested in the back-end parts of banking — managing treasuries and regulatory compliance — and outsource the consumer interface and customer service out to other companies.

Users of the service receive a BankSimple debit card — which allows for overdraft protection and free ATM usage. BankSimple also allows users to deposit checks with a smartphone, something USAA has done for some time now.

As payment for running its services, BankSimple receives a fraction of the income generated from the difference between each bank’s loan payment rates and savings interest rates. Reich wouldn’t disclose what percentage of the difference BankSimple receives.

BankSimple has not launched, but Reich said the company had attracted interest from 20,000 potential users. Reich also said the company had attracted interest from some banks that are interested in outsourcing their customer service, but declined to give specific names.

[Photo: alancleaver_2000]