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Rebank

Financial innovation, technology advances and social changes are sending shockwaves through the financial services industry. In an age of increasingly rapid change, important questions, debates and developments are unfolding before our eyes. These ideas, and the choices we make in response to them, will shape our future. Technology is vastly powerful, creating new industries in response to – or sometimes in anticipation of – changing customer expectations. Rebank explores the trends, developments and challenges that define our age and shape the future role of money, banking and financial services.
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Rebank
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Oct 5, 2021
It’s great to be back after taking nearly a year off from regular content to build and launch BELLA.
 
The break wasn’t really planned, but between launching the business, having a son and moving to LA all while dodging COVID, it was unavoidable.
 
But just because we weren't publishing, doesn’t mean we weren’t going deep on fintech. 
 
The team and I built and launched BELLA in less than twelve months, and we’re aggressively scaling it now. 
 
In the background, I've continued to trade views and break down strategy with the world’s leading founders and investors. 
 
Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some of the most topical discussions we’ve had over the past year, and we’re also working on new content that you’ll start to hear and see.
 
Right now, we’re especially interested in embedded finance, DeFi, M&A, new takes on traditional consumer finance products, payments, e-commerce, digital investments and, as always, digital banking. We’re always looking to talk to great people in those areas, so please shoot recommendations our way.
 
We’re still figuring out the podcast schedule, which we expect to be less frequent than weekly. We’ll be increasing focus on our newsletter, especially our premium content. Sign up at bankingthefuture.com/subscribe.
 
In today’s episode, we’re joined by Tilman Ehrbeck, Managing Partner at Flourish Ventures, a venture firm focused on improving the financial health and prosperity of people around the world. Flourish invests in segments including Challenger Banks, consumer and SME lending, personal finance, data analytics, insurance and financial infrastructure in countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia.
 
Flourish has invested in companies including Chime, Aspiration, Tandem, Grab Finance and more. 
 
I find Tilman to be extremely thoughtful and a great communicator, and he’s doing hugely important work. This conversation helped me better understand how impact-oriented VCs like Flourish balance purpose with financial returns in the highly competitive venture space. 
 
Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Tilman Ehrbeck.
Apr 21, 2021

Today, we’re joined by Shamir Karkal, co-founder of Simple, the first digital bank in the US, and now co-founder of Sila.

Founded in 2009, Simple was the original digital bank, conceived and built to give people more control over their money. After a few successful years, Simple was acquired by BBVA for $117m, under whose ownership it operated until early-2021, when it was shut down.

Simple was loved by its users and mourned following it’s closing, in what was a sad moment for fintech.

Today’s breed of digital banks, including Chime, Varo, Current and others, inherited a lot from Simple, who pioneered the space. However, few of Simple’s most popular features have been replicated by other players.

In recent years, we’ve seen huge user growth achieved by fintechs offering banking to previously underserved customers, especially those living paycheck to paycheck. Nonetheless, Simple leaves a powerful legacy, and many lessons learned, for the entire fintech industry.

In this conversation, we go deep on what worked and what didn’t for Simple, why it never hit escape velocity, why its users loved it so much and how Shamir and his co-founder Josh engineered life changing payouts for their employees through the BBVA acquisition.

We also discuss Shamir’s current company, Sila, which is building programmable money for the next generation of fintech companies.

For all of our past episodes, and to sign up for our newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Shamir Karkal.

Feb 15, 2021

Today, we’re joined by Viktor Nebehaj, Co-Founder of Freetrade, a free stock trading platform in the UK.

Founded in 2016 and launched to the public in 2018, Freetrade has grown to over 500,000 users in just over two years in the UK alone. For the full backstory, check out our episode with Founder Adam Dodds from February 2019, available at bankingthefuture.com.

In this conversation, Viktor takes us behind the scenes at Freetrade over the past few weeks, during the Reddit-fueled runups in Gamestop, AMC and others, as the company struggled with partner-imposed trading halts and FX throttles. We also discuss payment for order flow, margin lending, rapid user growth and Viktor’s views on the good, bad and ugly of free stock trading.

If it seems like I care deeply about this subject, it’s because I do. Investing is one of the most important things people can do to support their long-term financial well-being, but the industry is characterized by unnecessary complexity, conflicts of interest and information asymmetry that can make it hard for people to get the best outcomes. Companies like Freetrade, Robinhood and others have a tremendous opportunity to break up entrenched industry dynamics and bring access, education and tools to the masses now that they're mainstream in their respective home countries.

Feb 8, 2021
Welcome to our much anticipated first episode of 2021, and what a start to the year it has been. 
 
Last week was a trainwreck as Gamestop, which was initially bid up by Redditers in an attempt to punish Wall Street, crashed back to earth when the very free brokerage platforms that purport to democratize investing for the 99% shut off trading in the most active stocks, benefitting hedge funds at the expense of retail investors.
 
As wild as the events of the week were, they are merely a symptom of something much deeper: latent hatred for Wall Street and  the traditional financial system that repeatedly and seemly unfairly rewards a small number of people at the top.
 
Precisely because of this feeling that the system is broken and doesn’t serve the people, fintech is flying. Robinhood, Chime, Cash App, Coinbase, Affirm and Klarna have built insane user bases, because they are catering to huge swaths of Americans left behind by the incumbent industry. 
 
These companies are the future of retail finance in America for sure. What will their impact be?
 
I’m joined by Lex Sokolin to discuss these topics. Check out all of Lex’s work at fintechblueprint.com
 
For all of our past episodes, and to sign up for our newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.
 
Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Lex Sokolin.
Dec 20, 2020

Today, is a special episode, of great personal importance to me.

I have been learning and studying and training in fintech for years, both as a founder and through this podcast, where I’m able to have conversations with the most visionary and impactful founders, CEOs and VCs in the world of fintech.

For the past year, I’ve been channeling all of this experience and insight into a new company, called BELLA, that is leading with digital banking in an effort to create positive change in the world.

BELLA launched in the US on November 30th, and everything has been a blur since then. Taking a new consumer company into the world for the first time has to be one of the most thrilling experiences that exists.

In today’s conversation, I’m joined by Angelo D’Alessandro, CEO of BELLA and my co-founder, but more importantly close friend and mentor, to talk about what we’re building.

We cover our backstory, Angelo’s approach to building teams and brands, BELLA’s vision and offering, the influence of Rob LoCascio and LivePerson, the state of the world in 2020 and the implications for startups and brands going forward and more.

For all of our past episodes, and to sign up to our newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Angelo D'Alessandro.

Dec 14, 2020

Andrei Cherny is the Co-Founder and CEO of Aspiration, a socially conscious bank challenging the traditional banking industry ethos.

Prior to founding Aspiration, Andrei worked as a speechwriter for Bill Clinton, authored books on public policy and war history, served as Assistant Arizona State Attorney General, held senior positions at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Center for American Progress, and more.

In 2013, Andrei co-founded Aspiration, a socially conscious banking and investments provider that lets users set their own fees.

Aspiration has raised $200 million in funding and attracted over 1.5 million users.

In this conversation, Andrei and I discuss the factors that have contributed to Aspiration’s success, the takeaways for the industry, the company’s future plans, and more.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Andrei Cherny.

Dec 4, 2020

Today, regular contributor Lex Sokolin and I are joined by Anne Boden, Founder and CEO of Starling Bank, one of the original wave of app-only digital banks in the UK.

Starling has built a diversified bank and achieved profitability for the first time in October, a rarity for digital banks.

Originally a retail-only offering, Starling has built out business banking and banking-as-a-service offerings and now serves a wide varied of customers.

In this conversation, Anne, Lex and I discuss Starling’s path to profitability, lessons for other digital banks, marketing and customer acquisition, and Anne’s new book on Starling’s first seven years.

For all of our past episodes, and to sign up to our newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

To subscribe to Lex’s amazing newsletter, please visit www.fintechblueprint.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Anne Boden.

Nov 24, 2020

Ali Niknam is the founder and CEO of bunq, a fully licensed digital bank based in the Netherlands and available in 30 countries across Europe.

Prior to starting buns, Ali founded TransIP, the largest domain name and web hosting provider of the Netherlands.

Ali is the sole investor in bunq, having invested €80m in the company to date.

As of July 2020, the bank had €650 million of user deposits.

In this conversation, Ali and I discuss the economics of digital banking, the decisions bunq has made around economic sustainability and scale, takeaways for the broader digital banking industry and more.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Ali Niknam.

Oct 26, 2020

Pierpaolo Barbieri is the Founder & CEO of Ualá, an Argentinian consumer fintech taking South America by storm.

Founded just three years ago, Ualá has already amassed more than two million customers in its native Argentina and recently expnanded to nearby Mexico.

Unlike consumer banking offerings in many developed markets, which compete with incumbent banks, Ualá’s main competitor is cash in markets in which as many as half of adults are unbanked.

Ualá has raised just under $200 million since launch, from leading investors including Soros, Point72, Goldman Sachs, Tencent and SoftBank.

As if building the modern financial infrastructure for Latin America weren’t enough, Pierpaolo is a Harvard and Cambridge educated Historian and Economist, published author, macroeconomic advisor and regular contributor to publications including Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and more.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Pierpaolo Barbieri.

Oct 13, 2020

Ryan Gilbert is General Partner at Propel Venture Partners, a Bay Area venture capital firm backed by BBVA. He is also as of very recently CEO of Olympus Acquisition Corp, a $750 million SPAC that listed on the Nasdaq in August.

In this conversation, we look at why SPACs are coming back in fashion, pros and cons of SPACs versus traditional fundraising and listing routes, Ryan’s plans for the future of Olympus and more.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Ryan Gilbert.

Sep 23, 2020

We’re joined by a pair of fintech analysts, Max Friedrich of ARK Invest and Lex Sokolin of ConsenSys, to break down Ant Group’s highly anticipated IPO.

Ant, a spinout from Alibaba and the parent of Alipay, one of China’s leading payments companies, filed papers to IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

In this conversation, Max, Lex and I break down Ant’s business, from the origins to today, discuss growth opportunities and potential headwinds and explore the multi-faceted relationships between Ant and other big tech companies and national governments.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

To subscribe to Lex’s amazing newsletter, please visit www.fintechblueprint.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Max Friedrich and Lex Sokolin

Sep 18, 2020

Today, we’re joined by Lex Sokolin to talk through a few interesting developments in the world of fintech.

M&A is a continued trend in fintech, with the most recent candidates reported to be UBS and Credit Suisse, the latter of which is also in the news with a new digital bank. Will their effort somehow be different than the abortive attempts of their international peers, including JP Morgan Chase in the US and RBS in the UK?

Klarna raised $650 million at a $10.6 billion valuation, making it the most valuable private fintech in the world. Why is Klarna successful where OnDeck and, arguably, Kabbage weren’t?

Lastly, we venture into Lex’s realm of digital assets, with MasterCard’s fun new toolkit to help countries test Central Bank Digital Currencies and Kraken’s newly granted Wyoming bank charter.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

To subscribe to Lex’s amazing newsletter, please visit www.fintechblueprint.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Lex Sokolin.

Sep 8, 2020

Mike Massaro is the CEO of Flywire, a payments technology company fresh off a $120m Series E led by Goldman Sachs. Matt Harris is a Partner at Bain Capital Ventures and one of the smartest fintech VCs on the planet.

Both Mike and Matt have been on Rebank before, in episodes I highly recommend everyone check out.

In this conversation, we dig into the embedded finance opportunity and Bain Capital Ventures’ prediction that we’re at the beginning of a platform shift that will be as big as the Internet, Cloud and Mobile.

The combination of Matt’s investor perspective and Mike’s insight at the helm of a leading payments company make this a fascinating discussion.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Mike Massaro and Matt Harris.

Aug 14, 2020

We’re joined by Lex Sokolin to break down recently published annual reports from Revolut, Starling and Monzo, three of the leading European digital banks.

There are some fascinating insights to be drawn from the documents, especially in the context of the broader global fintech market.

This is rich subject matter, and we surely didn’t cover everything. You may even disagree with some of our analysis! Let us know.

Please get in touch with thoughts, opinions and corrections. We’ll share all the high quality communication we receive with the entire community.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

To subscribe to Lex’s amazing newsletter, please visit www.fintechblueprint.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Lex Sokolin.

Aug 12, 2020

Rob Moffat is a partner at Balderton, a leading European VC, with investments including Revolut, Nutmeg, Wagestream, Zego, GoCardless, ComplyAdvantage and many more.

In this conversation, Rob and Rebank co-host Aman Ghei discuss the state of the venture market, fundraising during a crisis, the most interesting new business opportunities in fintech and much more.

To subscribe to the Rebank newsletter, including insights, essays and written transcripts of all new episodes, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Rob Moffat.

Jul 30, 2020

The fintech world is not taking the summer off. New developments are coming fast and furious, from fundraisings to product launches to government intervention.

Banking for brands startup Bond raised $32 million to capitalize on the exploding trend of B2B2C banking.

Samsung Money launched, leveraging SoFi’s infrastructure. As SoFi again seeks a national banking charter, they could become the de facto leader in this space.

Kabbage and Intuit launched small business bank accounts as extensions of their already deep relationships with SMBs.

And WhatsApp is trialing all sorts of financial services in India just as Chinese fintech super apps are being banned from the country.

For all of our past episodes, and to sign up to our newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

To subscribe to Lex’s amazing newsletter, please visit www.fintechblueprint.com.

Jul 17, 2020

Mike Cagney is the Co-Founder and CEO of Figure, a full stack financial services blockchain company with consumer offerings in market or on the way in lending, banking and more.

In late-2019, Figure raised $103 million at a $1.2 billion valuation and continues to grow.

Prior to starting Figure, Mike co-founded and ran SoFi, one of the most successful consumer fintech companies ever.

In this conversation, we discuss Figure’s routes to asset origination and capital markets disruption, Figure’s previously unannounced consumer banking and payments offering, lessons learned building and scaling multiple billion dollar companies and more.

For all of our past episodes and to sign up for our newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

To subscribe to Lex’s amazing work, please visit www.fintechblueprint.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Mike Cagney and Lex Sokolin.

Jun 19, 2020

Oliver Hughes is the CEO of Tinkoff Group, one of the world’s most successful digital banking groups with over ten million customers.

Tinkoff is publicly listed, which brings clarity to its operating model in a time when many noteworthy consumer digital banks are pursuing customer acquisition at the expense of profitability.

Oliver has led Tinkoff through three financial crises, so brings experience and perspective to the current COVID crisis.

This is a fascinating discussion about unit economics in digital banking and winning business models with a CEO with thirteen years of experience in this game.

For all of our past episodes, and to sign up to our newsletter, please visit www.bankingthefuture.com.

To subscribe to Lex’s amazing newsletter, please visit www.fintechblueprint.com.

Thank you very much for joining us today. Please welcome, Oliver Hughes and Lex Sokolin.

Sep 5, 2016

Chris Skinner is one of the world's most authoritative voices on the future of banking.

Chris is a writer, speaker, analyst and commentator covering all things digital banking. Chris has published multiple books on the future of banking and fintech, including most recently ValueWeb, which in Chris's own words explores "the open-sourcing of financial services using apps, analytics, APIs...and blockchain."

Chris is on the Advisory Boards of a number of companies including Innovate Finance, Moven and Meniga. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand, Next Bank, City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance. The Wall Street Journal named Chris one of "The Top 40 Fintech Influencers Globally." If that wasn't enough, Seth Wheeler, Brookings Guest Scholar and Former Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House, called Chris “one of the most authoritative voices on Fintech anywhere.”

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