This interview first appeared on Irish Tech News Business showcase on 21/09/2016. Many thanks to the guys at ITN and especially Simon Cocking
Describe the company – the elevator pitch …
We are a software company who have built a full-service, modular, banking-as-a-platform (BaaP) solution for traditional banks, new market entrants, and any consumer brand who wants to enter the banking and lending space.
Our platform has two products integrated on one platform. (i) a full service, end-to-end digital retail bank and (ii) a full-spectrum lending solution.
It is a fully integrated, back-end, middleware and front-end services and applications platform that is built on open-source components, using open standard formats, APIs and protocols so that new technology innovations are easily integrated, keeping any bank up to date with technology change.
How are you different?
Traditional players will offer you a full end-to-end solution for all your needs, as do we. However, our platform has 4 distinct differences:
- Speed to market: Launching a challenger bank can take years. We’ll build a new, standalone platform that shares no issues with any legacy IT infrastructure in weeks
- Banking-as-a-Platform: Our modular and extensible platform uses service-oriented architecture and open APIs. This means our clients can implement only the services they want, while also building profitable partnerships with market innovators. (e.g.) Instead of competing on FX with Currencyfair or Transferwise, you can just plug them into our platform and agree a revenue share. Or any other service such as Hailo, Wealthfront, Stripe, ApplePay, BitCoin, your electricity bill etc. You name it.
- Cost: Core banking implementations are characterised by high capex entry costs, followed by costly ongoing opex. Our cloud-based service virtually eliminates the former and dramatically reduces the latter. Our platform is also auto compliant. We’ll ensure that the Leveris platform remains constantly ready for regulatory compliance, and that regulation updates are constantly maintained.
- Revenue: The Leveris platform is conceived, designed and built for revenue-positive or cost-neutral operation. Our unique, multi-purpose lending solution is already fully integrated into a new bank. We also monetise data for the bank and for the end consumer by tailoring cross sells and third party offers accordingly. The means the Leveris platform can start making money from day one unlike the majority of neo banks and/or transaction only banking platforms.
Why will the company / product do well?
We are a customer obsessed company. For example, if you look at our lending solution for mortgages. We have built the entire lending ecosystem and life cycle onto one platform. The borrower does not need to leave our platform to purchase a home. Everything is there; origination, valuer, solicitor, insurance providers to property portals.
Then after the drawdown, we have a first to market ‘Loan Manager’. With the ‘Loan Manager’, the borrower can change the terms of their loan in real-time whenever they want. If they have a little extra they’d like to pay off or maybe they need a breather, we don’t make it difficult for them. In fact, we will tell borrowers how much they can save by paying a little extra each month. These extras can amount to 10’s of thousands. This is truly a customer centric product.
To put it very simply; we are cheaper, faster, better.
Where are you based?
We are headquartered in Dublin with a research and development centre in Prague.
When was the company launched?
What have been your biggest wins to date?
The successful implementation of our ‘Everyday Banking’ and ‘Lending’ solutions for our first client due for release in mid 2017.
What type of market segment are you trying to attract to your product?
We are looking to work with companies who are forward thinking, nimble and excited about the value of technology and data in financial services.
There are 3 main types of companies that we like to work with:
- Established banks
- A challenger bank
- Consumer brands
Tell us about your team?
We have a team of about 200 people with core expertise in a wide range of areas such as banking, marketing, UX, gaming and front-end design and development. Some of us were engineers, salespeople, marketers, designers, analysts and even rocket scientists before we found our calling here.
Our HQ is in Dublin. This is where we work on innovation, design, marketing and strategy. Our development house in Prague builds and develops our core products. Their expertise lies in core banking systems and backend software development.
We are a customer obsessed company. And although we are ultimately a B2B company, everything we do is with the end-user in mind. If it doesn’t make the end users life better in some way, we just don’t do it. And from our talks with our customers, that’s the way they see it to.
What are you long term plans for your product / company?
Ideally we will have implemented and deployed 4 to 5 instances of our platform in the next 24 months. That is our goal and we are well on the way to achieving it. Our long term vision would be to become the number one Banking-as-a-Platform company in the world. Grand ambitions I know, but that is what I believe we can achieve.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
I’ve just ordered the new OnePlus 3, so can’t wait for that. Other than gadgets, I spend most my spare time using apps such as Headspace, Blinkist, MyfitnessPal and Spotify.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
Q: What does the future of banking look like?
A: The future of banking looks a lot like what email, messaging or social media is today. Free to use with the ability to connect users to products and services they want and need. Banks will go from being a profit focused business to a relationship and service provider. Essentially a platform that connects every aspect of the user’s financial life. We can already see this from a social standpoint in China with WeChat and that is the way Facebook messenger is heading here in the west.
I see in the next 5 – 10 years banks will be using platforms like ours where their core banking products and services will be delivered in real-time and completely free. The future bank will make money by creating new ways to deliver value through data. This will happen by opening their platforms to 3rd party products and services that are not core to the bank.
Ultimately banks will become data platforms and to a lesser extent, banks.
Q: Why is banking so bad?
The answer is threefold:
- Regulation – The compliance, regulation, audit and governance requirements, combined with capital reserves that are painstakingly oppressive, meaning that few outside can get into the banking game. That is why there are only a few big banks in most countries, and little competition. These barriers are reducing but it is a massive blocker for most companies entertaining the idea of entering financial services.
- Technology – Most banks are built on technology from the 1970’s. Let that sink in. 1970’s. That is over 30 years ago. Banks are hampered in everything they do because the technology prevents it or the cost to make changes is too great.
- Profit – Banks globally are making a fortune offering terrible products and services that they see no reason to change. And why would they.
But change is coming. And we hope to be at the forefront of that change.