Once upon a time P2P was a simple thing. Now it’s more accurate to see it as online lending and borrowing. Models vary, regulation varies, the most successful platform was started by a bank, direct lenders have wholesale flows in funding retail or corporate outflows, others have just retail funds and others mixed.
Quite a complex state of affairs and in this episode Christian Faes joins us for a wide-ranging conversation about where this all came from, where it is and where it is going.
Lendinvest itself is no longer a P2P in the current definition but an online investment platform which is itself only one of their many channels.
App Banks are following many courses with many motivations. Who better to guide us through this ever more complicated maze of motivations and destinations than Ricky Knox, Founder and CEO of Tandem Money/Bank and serial entrepreneur sans pareil.
inter alia (alia being things like Insead) Ricky founded GSM Systems in 2003 (where he remains non-exec chairman) which now has partnerships with >170 mobile operators in >70 countries.
In 2005 he founded Small World Services taking it from inception to a Top10 global money transfer businesses with nigh on $5bn annual turnover.
Not content with these laurel leaves he founded the well-known Fintech Azimo in 2012 which does remittances to 198 countries globally, has half a million customers and more than 270,000 cash pick-up locations worldwide.
In 2015 he founded Tandem Bank, which (another inter alia) bought Harrods Bank – which certainly makes it a standout in Fintech as a whole, let alone in the App-Banks sub-sector.
All of which background (and more not included!) makes him ideal to discuss whether the current crop of App Banks are going to turn into real businesses – you know those businesses that are self-supporting and whose revenues are higher than their costs 🙂
One of the founding ethos of Fintech was “unbundling” – the slicing of FS into single-issue firms. This is now looking old-hat. Revolut acquired 500,000 customers in less than two years by offering interbank rates on FX transfers and so was one of the most successful of Fintech 1.0.
Now they are leading the way with Fintech 2.0 offering a whole range of products. Managing this transition with respect to both “the brand” and “the app” is not trivial and I am delighted to be joined today by co-founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky.
Unlike Monzo who have gone down the banking route but Revolut have remained with the simpler/cheaper/faster but narrower e-money issuer licence.
Reformation or refactoring of banking is the Holy Grail of the Fintech Revolution. Do that and the revolution is a big deal. Get nowhere near and its all rather marginal. So-called challenger banks have ended up rather same-y. Will “App-only” banks end up going down the same route forced my micro-regulation and micro-supervision into the same tight mould. Or will they somehow remain within the constraints of the mould but somehow break it at the same time?
Its that paradox that faces Tom Blomfield CEO and founder of Monzo Bank. (and co-founder back in the day of GoCardless who were on the show in LFP046) A long way towards full authorisation as a bank will they become merely “me-too” or will they refactor banking as we know it?
I have been an interested spectator on the sidelines for come time wondering which way the ball will bounce. At Lendit Europe 2016 I finally succumbed and took one of Tom’s pre-paid Mastercards – not least as which they offer wholesale exchange rates abroad and I was just off on holiday. It’s actually quite cool and more useful than expected. Certainly one gets a clear idea of what its like to feel like the business is really focusing on you as a customer-centric organisation with great design and service.
But back to the big picture – will Tom change the mould or will the mould change Tom?
This is London Fintech Podcast episode 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything. Well a bit of everything anyway. And I have the pleasure to be joined today by – er – myself.
In the now traditional (um – can doing something twice be a tradition?) first podcast of the year step away from diving into a topic with an esteemed guest and take a more top of the mountain view of the landscape.
As it’s a bumper funpack we will cover a whole range of topics all of which pertain to Fintech.
So we start today’s show with the relevance of Star Wars; move on to beer and deep dive into a topic that applies to Fintech and to the whole of our perception of the world, the media – mainstream and indie.
Next a review of key themes from 2015 UK Fintech and finally we wrap up with some thoughts about the future.
In the next episode I’ll be back to the far easier task of asking folks smarter than I the answer to life the universe and everything or at least what’s going on in their corner of the Fintech phenomenon