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SBI invests $20m in OpenLegacy to help MoneyTap blockchain payments app

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Today Japan’s SBI Holdings announced a $20 million Series C investment in OpenLegacy, an API firm that helps customers to innovate on top of legacy systems. The startup has numerous high profile financial clients, including Citi, BNP Paribas-Cardi and FIS in banking and payments as well as Liberty Mutual and AIG in insurance. However, it also has several major clients in other sectors.

According to CrunchBase, OpenLegacy previously raised $41 million from Silverhorn Investments and Rafael Development Corporation. SBI is investing in OpenLegacy Ltd in Israel, although the operating headquarters of OpenLegacy Inc are in New Jersey, U.S.A.

The Japanese investor is very active in both banking and insurance. It wants to leverage OpenLegacy’s technology for the MoneyTap app and says it will recommend OpenLegacy for the digital transformation of regional banks.

Several of these banks are participating in its MoneyTap venture, a startup that aims to enable 24/7 banking within Japan as well as low-cost cross border payments. The initiative has at least 20 Japanese banking investors. It leverages Ripple’s distributed ledger technology and initially started as part of the joint venture SBI Ripple Asia. However, at incorporation, it became a subsidiary of SBI Holdings.

“OpenLegacy will enable our portfolio companies to quickly launch digital innovations, integrating, leveraging, and extending our legacy systems in a fraction of the time, all without changing the underlying systems,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, SBI Holdings President & CEO.

OpenLegacy says by using its microservices-based APIs, it cuts down on the total cost of ownership because it bypasses middleware and doesn’t require legacy back-end upgrades.

Elsewhere, SBI is prolific both as a blockchain investor and with joint ventures. Earlier today, we noted that it is exploring bringing SMBC into the SBI R3 joint venture. It also has a joint venture with China’s OneConnect to provide AI, blockchain and other technology solutions to Japanese banks.

In terms of investments, it has a stake in insurance blockchain B3i and participated in Ripple’s recent $200 million Series C funding. It also claims to be R3’s largest outside investor.

Plus, SBI is extending its reach in tokenization by investing in Securitize. It formed a self-regulatory body for security token offerings with Nomura and others.