When beginning to build a bank, what should be your first priority? Will White, fintech advisor, ex-Monzo and Loot, COO of the US neobank Be Money & Venture Partner at Vectr Fintech Partners explores.
Have we clearly defined the customer, so not just at that early top level, but we've clearly got a vision of like,' this is our beachhead' customer?
Whether you're going to use personas, whether you're going to do 'Jobs to be Done', there is plenty of methodology. And you should be looking at that stuff with the kind of rigour that you you'd put into building the business model.
The first thing you got to figure out is, do you have something that customers even want? Is it even possible? And will it ever make you money? Who owns these three areas in your team? If your skill set is not desirability, in terms of understanding the customer needs, the 'Jobs to be Done', Lean Methodology etc., hire and spend money on this. Spend money on this to get the rigour.
If you don't manage to get one of your founding team members to be, or the team that gets assigned to you in a big corporate to do this, you've got to go out and speak to somebody who understands this and thinks of it with the same rigour that an accountant would think about a business plan.
It gets harder if the founder has come out of a corporate because they while they can be really very skilled, very, very smart people—because corporates are so absolutely stuffed full of those people—but the entire culture of a bank is to be risk averse. It is to protect your your licence, protect your charter, and it is unfortunately easier I think for people [outside of that] to spend lots of time imagineering a big idea.
Going out and getting all the stakeholder ideas is particularly acute in somewhere like a bank where everyone wants to have a view. And then everything gets kind of watered down, watered down, watered down. They don't focus on the customer centric, they don't focus on that 'desirability' piece.
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Will White was a founding member of Monzo Bank, and COO of Loot Bank. He is currently COO of the LA based neobank Be Money, a Venture Partner at Vectr Partners that's invested in the neobank space, and an Advisor the Aussie neobank Parpera which just raised $1m.