LFP118 – Building A Global App Bank with Norris Koppel CEO Monese

App Banks are all the rage and you can go round the world on their cards. However move to another place and you soon find you need a bank account. Norris Koppel founder of Monese is on a mission to build a Global App Bank that will enable you to have local bank accounts at the touch of the button. How is he doing this? Probably easier having recently raised a $60m round 🙂 Listen and learn…

It is important to understand what has been said on the show in the past about the nature of existing “Global Banks” (q.v. Railsbank, GoCardless).

Global banks are just brands, just umbrella companies sitting over a whole bunch of national banks all of which have different procedures around account sign-up, KYC, AML etc procedures. Despite the marketing BS there are no global banks just businesses that own and co-ordinate a plethora of local banks. This will be very familiar to any of you who have changed country and need a new bank account.

Norris moved back in the day from Estonia to what is now the Disunited Kingdom and had just this problem and one day set about it solving it.

Topics discussed on the show include:

  • 75% of Monese incoming funds are salaries hence they are making huge strides to becoming the primary current account for their users
  • Monese score 9.2/10 from 7,000 reviews on Trustpilot
  • Norris journey – geographically and career
  • Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian – similarities/differences
  • Estonia as a very modern country re Tech, simplified taxes, startup friendly
  • real life in the Soviet Union – bad and good
  • “in many ways it was much freer in those times for kids than for mine growing up in London”
  • the irony that the USSR was a producer-driven economy yet in the West we have moved towards corporation which is ending up being very similar. Gorbachev in re
  • 1.3m population of Estonia hence need to internationalise business
  • why and when does one need a bank account compared to having a globally acceptable piece of plastic?
  • main need is if you live and work in a country as someone will need to pay you in a local bank
  • or you live in the UK and in Spain and have to pay rents or receive rents, salaries, pensions in both countries
  • the mechanics of how Monese can offer you bank accounts in different countries underneath the App
  • Monese as an EMI and sit above bank accounts in different countries which own 100% of customer funds
  • Monese own the KYC, AML, client information etc to avoid the lengthy sign-up procedures in each country
  • how do you build a global banking service? Banking core build.
  • “with a single tap you can open a UK Bank Account, with another tap a European one” – in 20 countries right now; later plans to have bank accounts in the US
  • the pricing approach re bizdev – “free first” vs “free later”
  • transparency of App Bank fees vs simplicity and clarity
  • “unit economics” first
  • launching in Europe vs the UK
  • Monese strategy re next countries on the list
  • the brute force approach as the common route to internationalisation
  • Norris’s thoughts on launching new Fintechs in this area
  • bad stuff happens to big banks all the time – its bound to happen to a new/app bank soon
  • Monese adding about 30ppl per month to staff  numbers of around 200
  • offices in the UK, Portugal, Berlin, Estonia
  • Monese offer personal and business accounts
  • Monese operate in 11 languages

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!