Financial Technology companies (Fintechs) face many challenges in meeting the expectations of Financial Institutions (FIs). The former gives the latter an edge in winning over their respective customers by developing products and solutions that help in simplifying finance and its effective management. Therefore, it is no cake walk for Fintechs to thrive in this cut throat world where their survival largely depends on clients (FIs) being happy with the deliverables. Not just that; Fintechs also need to have complete awareness and agility to face the evolving technological changes. They should be super-fast in learning, mastering and implementing the updates in technology for developing new-gen solutions that are in line with the industry standards. Let us take a look into what an ex-Google Engineer, an Entrepreneur and an Aviation Enthusiast have done to achieve great success in the technology front.
The Ex-Google Engineer
Though Fintechs offer new customer products in a highly regulated space, they also have an advantage of working for the institutions that have already passed these regulatory requirements. That’s what probably drew Suresh Ramamurthi, an Ex-Google engineer to enter this arena. But, Ramamurthi did not take the ‘no-bank’ route. This Google veteran spent years looking for a bank before he and his wife purchased the struggling Citizen’s Bank of Weir (CBW) in Kansas City. CBW was in shambles in 2008, just a year before the duo purchased it. The bank was under orders from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to cease operations due to inadequate capital reserves, high levels of unrecoverable loans and internal fraud. The couple not only transformed CBW but also made it a place of real innovation. In this course, Ramamurthi started his own Fintech Company – Yantra Technologies that specializes in software that can be used with the retail banking payment infrastructure. After several years of relentless efforts, Yantra built the next-gen platform that transformed and changed CBW’s old and rusty operations.
N26 is a mobile banking start-up that was backed by PayPal founder, Peter Thiel. Having its headquarters in Berlin, Germany, this was a major step forward to replace brick and mortar banks in the European belt. Just one and half years into its operations, by June 2016, N26 had a user base of more than 200,000 customers in 8 European countries.
The Aviation Enthusiast
Venkat Rangan is the founder and CEO of Market Simplified Inc. Though Venkat is a technology enthusiast, he has great interest and passion for Aviation. He often flies a Cessna Sky Hawk 172. In 2005, Venkat started Market Simplified Inc. at a very humble set up in Mylapore, Chennai, India. Though it was a small setup, Venkat had already started on this journey towards his big dream to revolutionize banking and financial services for end customers through his venture. Later, we had a corporate office at the Times Square Building, NY right opposite NASDAQ.
Our 5 Mile Journey
Around 2005, there was a brokerage based in the US – TDAmeritrade, for whom we were trying to help connect to their customers digitally through the mobile platform. Yes, TDAmeritrade was our first customer when digital banking and digital stock trading was merely a dream for everyone. We made this dream a reality! From there, we have come a long way to become the world’s largest digital platform in banking and capital markets space.
We were also the first Fintech Company to adopt cloud based technology and our’s was the first commercial Fintech platform to be hosted on the cloud. Our cloud based mobile trading platform is actively used by 40+ financial institutions and 25+ million retail consumers across 12 countries with a throughput of more than $5 billion trades per day. After all these successful ventures, Amazon has quoted us a case study to sell their Amazon Cloud Services. When we asked Venkat – how he discovered cloud as a very time critical platform, he simply shrugs his shoulders and says, “necessity is the mother of all inventions” and walks off with a smile.
Today, Market Simplified is quietly celebrating 12 years of success with its main operations in Ascendas International Tech Park, Chennai, India along with a corporate office in Schaumburg, IL. We have clients across the globe. We have developed state-of-the-art banking and brokerage applications for many top players in the industry with all of them having excellent reviews in Google Play Store and Apple Store.
Earlier this year, we were also awarded the Deloitte technology fast 500 Award for our consistent growth and constant innovation in the Asia Pacific Region.
Our most recent success story is Kotak 811 which was developed to enable a complete digital customer on-boarding experience where customers can open a bank account within 5 minutes just using the app. This is the first time in India where a complete paperless on-boarding solution has been built and deployed for a bank. This has helped Kotak Mahindra Bank increase its customer base to 17 million since the release of Kotak 811 earlier this year.
Our constant pursuit to innovate and simplify finance has driven us to experiment with the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies as well. Our team has built ‘IAN – Intelligent Virtual Assistant’ that helps retail banks engage deeply with consumers through personalized and proactive services over natural voice-based conversations and chat messages. We have also extended this technology to IoT and here is our product demo featuring ‘banking with Alexa’. We are currently working towards building Digi 360 – a complete product suite for Community banks and Credit Unions in USA.
Ramamurthi, Peter and Venkat have all been instrumental in bringing to us – historical moments in the field of technology and innovation. Our learnings and findings from our past experiences are important to us as Fintechs. There are no better examples than the ones mentioned above. We are still in this pursuit of change and betterment of financial services. As Venkat fondly says, this is our 5 mile journey from Mylapore to Taramani in these 12 years…
|“We are witnessing the creative destruction of financial services, rearranging itself around the consumer. Who does this in the most relevant, exciting way using data and digital wins”|
About Market Simplified: Market Simplified is a thought leader in revolutionizing and digitizing products for financial institutions by continuously innovating and simplifying finance. We empower our customers with cutting edge digital experience that is highly personalized and enhanced for the end users with our ‘Experience Engineering’ platform driven by Analytics, AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain technologies. Our clientele includes industry leaders like OptionsXpress (Charles Schwab), Currenex (State Street), MB Trading, Maybank Kim Eng, Kotak Mahindra Bank, National Stock Exchange of India and many others across the globe.
About the author: Girijashankar is a Classical Carnatic Vocalist and teacher who loves to perform. He is also a voracious reader and prefers to read books on crime and mystery. He is currently working as a Business Development Executive in Market Simplified.