Bored of dealing with 10 different banking apps to keep track of your money? Then you need Bud. The fintech start-up is building the banking experience of the future, using machine learning and data gathering to transform how we manage our money. We caught up with Patrick Frith, Operations at Bud, to find out more.
How long has the business been going?
Ed and George launched Bud in 2015. They'd been friends since school and wanted to build a platform for financial education. It's come a long way since then!
How did you come up with the idea? How did it start?
Bud's been through a few guises. It started off as a platform to help people understand the range of new financial services that are coming out of the fintech scene. That pretty quickly morphed into a platform that would use transactional data to match people with the right product or service (without the need for the customer to invest the time in educating themselves). I guess the biggest leap forward though came when we realised that there was a real need within the banks for the kind of technology we were developing. It solved a customer experience challenge for them and a distribution challenge for us.
How is Bud disrupting the market? How do you stand you from other fintech businesses?
I'm not a fan of the idea of disruption for disruption's sake. Businesses should exist to solve problems as elegantly as possible and I think that's what we do. We're a financial network that helps banks to create mutually beneficial collaborations between themselves and other FS providers. The collaborations deliver new experiences for customers, new reach for the partners and help the banks to maintain their primary relationship with current account holders. I think conceptually, that's the most disruptive thing about us. The idea that collaboration can be a better business model for the whole FS industry than competition, and that the model can be more valuable for the end customer as well. I'd say we are enabling rather than disrupting.
In your opinion what are some of the most exciting developments taking place in fintech? Will PSD2 be a game changer?
At Bud we see open banking as delivering a more connected financial ecosystem and the excitement for me is around how, when they're connected, the individual service providers and products in the ecosystem become more valuable than the sum of their parts.
Where do you see Bud in the next five years?
Nowhere. And everywhere. If we do our job right over the next five years, Bud will be sitting in the background using the open banking tech to power services that silently help millions of people to have healthier finances, a better relationship with their banks and better access to the right financial products.
Other than Bud, what other fintech companies are you most excited about and why?
The companies that excite me are the ones that are addressing the structural problems in the industry. Processes in the FS industry were shaped by the tech available at the time. That's no-one's fault but it has led us to a point where we have an industry that operates almost entirely on its own terms - as a customer you have to fit in with those processes no matter how out of date they are. ID / KYC (Know Your Customer) / AML (anti-money laundering) requirements are a good example - the idea of a tokenised, portable digital ID didn't exist at the time so the processes don't account for its inception. Companies like Yoti are doing a great job of fixing this.
What's your best piece of advice for someone starting out?
Hire a designer. Build insanely low-fi prototypes and test them with real customers. You'll never get better insight than watching a customer being completely unable or unwilling to use your killer app.
Do you have any life or work hacks?
Learn what it is that keeps you motivated - for me it was about getting to a stage where you can feel good about learning from failure rather than being hung up on the failure itself.
Why do you like working at a startup?
Everything you do matters. You can see the daily correlation between the quality of your work and the success of the company, the way you socialise with people becomes the bedrock of the company culture. It can be stressful and you have to be really self-aware but it's an immensely fulfilling way to work.
What are your pain points with business insurance and what caused you to choose Digital Risks?
Business insurance is often over-complicated, despite dealing with essentially straightforward matters. Digital Risks made it easy and simple to understand what we needed and to get through the process.
Why did you choose us over other providers on the market?
The simplicity of the platform alongside its competitive pricing.
January's PSD2 legislation clears the way for a whole host of innovative new banking services, of which Bud is a prime example. But handling financial and payment details isn't without its risks, which is why a specific type and level of professional indemnity and cyber insurance cover is required, to ensure customers aren't left out of pocket if anything goes wrong.
As a fintech specialist, Digital Risks has worked with one of the leading providers in the market to build a specialist PSD2 policy.