Building the bank of the future with Monzo, N26, and Revolut | Disrupt Berlin 2017 | Summary and Q&A

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December 5, 2017
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Building the bank of the future with Monzo, N26, and Revolut | Disrupt Berlin 2017

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Summary

In this video, the founders of Banzai, N26, and Revolut discuss their mobile banking companies and their different approaches to building a successful bank. They talk about their strategies for acquiring customers, the value they offer compared to traditional banks, the challenges of obtaining a banking license and building infrastructure, their revenue models, and their plans for international expansion. Despite some differences, they all emphasize the importance of putting the customer first and creating a superior user experience.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Revolut reach a million customers so quickly?

Revolut believes they have been able to quickly gain a large number of customers because they provide real value and a nice interface. They offer features like interbank currency exchange rates that no other bank provides, and their customers are so satisfied that they spread the word and help the company grow organically.

Q: Do the other companies also provide value to customers?

Revolut's founder believes that the other companies may provide some value, but not as much as Revolut. He points out that they don't offer interbank currency exchange rates or the ability to send and spend money internationally for free, which are unique benefits that have made Revolut popular.

Q: Do Banzai and N26 believe they provide value to customers?

The founders of Banzai and N26 both agree that they provide value to customers by offering a full banking experience as alternatives to traditional banks. They aim to give customers a better user experience and lower fees compared to traditional banks, which often have high fees and a poor user experience.

Q: Did N26 regret getting a banking license so quickly?

The founder of N26 is happy with the decision to obtain a banking license early on because he believes it is essential for building a bank. He acknowledges that it took time to switch over to their own infrastructure, but now that they have a stable system, they can accelerate their growth. He believes it is important to grow step by step, ensuring that the product keeps up with the pace.

Q: Why did it take Banzai so long to switch to their own infrastructure?

Banzai's founder emphasizes the importance of getting things right and ensuring that their own infrastructure works smoothly. They spent several months after obtaining their banking license to iron out any issues and optimize their system. They wanted to make sure the customer experience was top-notch before expanding to half a million customers.

Q: How much did it cost Banzai to allow users to withdraw money from ATMs around the world?

Banzai shares that it costs them around £18 per user per year to facilitate withdrawals from ATMs worldwide. This cost tripled from their early user base because certain customers were withdrawing large amounts of cash, especially when traveling to exotic countries. They had to introduce caps to control the costs.

Q: How do the companies plan to make money?

N26 explains that their business model consists of three components: offering a sleek user experience, having a cost advantage due to modern technology and no physical branches, and providing the best products in every dimension by building a platform. They believe they can earn money by providing cost-effective banking products and expanding their revenue streams.

Q: How does N26 plan to make use of their premium card and partnerships with lifestyle companies?

N26 is launching a metal card, the first in Europe, and will also be partnering with WeWork to offer their premium card customers access to WeWork's workspace facilities. They aim to create a financial product that is tailored to the needs of a digital lifestyle and plan to launch more partnerships in the future to connect financial and lifestyle products.

Q: What are the companies' plans for international expansion?

Banzai is currently focused on the UK but has plans to expand further. N26 wants to prioritize expanding into the US next year and sees it as a significant market opportunity. Revolut is already planning to launch in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India. All three companies are ambitious and aim to become leaders in multiple markets.

Q: Do the companies feel that they are entering a crowded market?

The founders believe that the market is still wide open as every person in the developed world already has at least one bank account. They see the tremendous potential for growth, as their combined brand recognition is low, and there are billions of potential customers.

Q: If the founders had to be the CEO of one of the other companies, which one would they choose?

N26's founder would choose Revolut because they have a similar mission and ethos. Banzai's founder would choose N26 because they are very close in what they are doing. Revolut's founder didn't give a direct answer but mentioned that they are setting up operations in various countries, implying that he would want to be the CEO of all three companies.

Takeaways

The mobile banking industry is rapidly growing and becoming crowded, but there is still a huge opportunity to capture market share from traditional banks. Each of these companies has its own approach to acquiring customers and providing value, but they all prioritize the customer experience and aim to offer superior products. They are also ambitious in their international expansion plans and have strategies to monetize their services. As the market evolves, differentiation and focus on customers' needs will be key to success.

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