The Super App Superhero


How Ivan Maryasin – co-founder of startup Monite – is helping B2B fintechs build viable businesses with “super app” capabilities.

B2B apps that do one or two things well are not enough anymore. That’s according to Ivan Maryasin, co-founder of Berlin-based startup Monite. 

Maryasin is one of the top influencers right now in an approach called “embedded finance”. Rather than each digital marketplace, bank, or SaaS provider kicking off its own two or three-year internal development program – notoriously expensive and prone to delays – embedded finance enables them to simply take in short lines of code known as APIs into their interface. 

Take embedded finance platform Solaris, as an example. It started out focused on payments, then added a banking license, and now offers a widening range of banking-as-a-service APIs to help neobanks build their platforms more rapidly. 

Platforms, like Solaris, Penta, Revolut, Square and many others are increasingly branching out from a core offering and aiming to become one-stop shops. Often known as “super apps”, these expanding capabilities let end-users carry out any transaction or financial service they are likely to need within a uniform customer experience.


Leading the Charge to Embedded Finance 

Monite is leading the charge in B2B embedded finance and, under Maryasin’s high-energy leadership, the startup is transforming the entire fintech industry. It is already preparing to go live with a number of high-profile customers, and is in talks with over 100 more platforms across the US, UK, and EU. 

Maryasin founded his first business at just 15 and today boasts expertise in startup growth in Silicon Valley and Europe, including Germany-based B2B neobank, Penta. His super-strength is leveraging technology to improve businesses’ performance through financial automation tools. 

Under his leadership, Monite has raised a total of $6.3 million in funding over two rounds. Its backers include P72 Ventures, Runa Capital, Tomahawk VC, and founders and execs from companies who know what’s what in embedded finance, including Mollie, Klarna, Paypal, Plaid, and Square.



Destined for Business Success 

Maryasin was always destined to make it in business. He was one of those kids who was really bored in high school because he wasn’t getting stretched enough. He started to notice that startups were taking off and started his first marketing consultancy when he was just 15. He admits there was a steep learning curve but looks back on that experience as the foundation for his business thinking. 

To give him the necessary smarts, he enrolled on Coursera where he was exposed to high-end lecturers at places like Stanford. It gave him a taste for the way of doing things in the US and he started applying to business schools there. 

He was accepted on the MBA course at Hult International Business School, San Francisco, but there was one major challenge: he didn’t have the money to pay. Maryasin loves to negotiate, and Hult offered him a 30% discount. After another round he had pushed that to 50%, after which he wrote a long letter explaining why he was declining the offer because it was not financially viable for him. The school clearly wanted him, and by offering to rebuild Hult’s acquisition strategy for Eastern Europe, he eventually came away with a 70% discount. 


Reborn in the USA

Maryasin learned everything from scratch in the US – networking, building a resumé and presenting himself. He recalls it as one of the best experiences of his life because it meant he could totally reinvent himself.  

He moved to Silicon Valley and worked in B2B SaaS companies, learning the ropes at different stages of the sales and marketing funnel. That’s where he absorbed the super hard working attitudes and very high professionalism of the Valley – not only in terms of knowing your job well but also communicating it well too. He has brought this energy to different roles at different companies, from pre-seeds, to a YCombinator incubatee (now a unicorn), and to a profitable Series B. 


Keeping Entrepreneurs in Love with Their Business

In 2016 Maryasin moved back to Europe, settled in Berlin, and became an early recruit at B2B neobank Penta when it was just a few people sitting in an apartment. While he was there, they took the bank to 20,000 customers, using a group of specialized freelancers that Maryasin recruited and managed. He then built out the whole marketing team and processes, with the declared aim to make his own position redundant by creating an acquisition machine. 

It was at Penta that the idea germinated that became Monite. 

Talking to the small businesses that Penta was serving, he realized what they needed most was the ability to handle their finances more easily. Most first-time founders, he observed, have no real idea how small businesses operate. 

Even in 2022, freelancers and established small- and medium-sized companies still waste thousands of hours per year on routine business admin and accounting, as well as analyzing their more complex financial needs like financing and working capital. 

Automation of these tasks is happening, but it has been focused on building best-in-class solutions for a specific problem. For example, Expensify for expense management or for bill pay. While these players solved one problem well, entrepreneur end-users usually ended up with automation in one place but close to nothing in others.

That identified the market opportunity for Monite. Entrepreneurs clearly have an issue and the market is gigantic. The neobanks were addressing accounts only, not process automation, leaving entrepreneurs to do the monkey work. Monite set out to automate the monkey work with one platform that connects all an SMEs bank accounts to automated, end-to-end processes for invoicing, expense management and payments on one platform.


A New Way of Thinking About Software Development

Maryasin’s strategy was to enable B2B platforms like online marketplaces, SaaS platforms and neobanks to construct super apps using APIs. 

What he was building, were the tools for neobanks like Penta to offer more than just banking. It was critical, in his view, that these tools did not mess up the platform’s interface, because that was one of the key reasons customers were signing up to banks like Penta: they specifically chose something different from the legacy banks.

Monite built a layer to connect any bank account, and have exactly the same functionality as the best new bank on the market. Maryasin did all of this with a team of two developers over eight months. 

Embedded APIs are now recognised as the way forward. As fintech spreads and competition for customers gets tougher, and as investment capital gets harder to raise, most serious platforms are unsurprisingly abandoning self-build in favour of embedded finance.   

It results in fast, reliable roll outs at controllable costs. If you say that quickly it sounds like so much common sense. But let’s not forget it is only just becoming normalized across an industry that has been obsessed with slow, unreliable, expensive DIY in-house development.  

Thanks to Maryasin’s vision, any B2B platform — from Squire-like barbershop tools to B2B neobanks — can add compliant invoicing, payables automation, or expense management workflows into their interface via a single API in 3-5 weeks and become one-stop-shop solutions for their clients.