The LTP team recently attended FinDEVr 2015 where we met VP Sales Peter Hiekmann of Kontomatik. Keeping an eye on the news in the FinTech sector, LTP interviewed Kontomatik CMO Konstantin Rabin about the European market of mobile payments and Financial Industry 2.0. Here is the transcript of the interview.
LTP: For LTP readers who may not be familiar with your company, please tell us about Kontomatik and the services you offer. Who are your biggest clients and how fast is the company growing?
Konstantin Rabin: In simple words, Kontomatik lets brave organizations create a Financial Industry 2.0. We are a financial aggregator that supplies banking API in seven countries already—Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Czech Republic, Slovakia and, of course, our home country of Poland. Our technology allows the penetration of the bank account data, which then can be used to verify a user's identity (KYC), provide credit scoring and serve tailor-made offers and actually anything our clients can think of. Our largest client is, in fact, a company that acquired us earlier this year—Kreditech. The company is growing quite fast in terms of both business and development units.
LTP: Recently you published an infographic: Financial Industry 2.0. Could you please expand the idea? What is the digital transformation of financial services and its core areas? Why is it necessary?
KR: While banking and financial industries have always been seen as rather conservative, the main purpose of the infographic was to demonstrate a shift that is taking place. For years, people used to consume financial services at the vendor's location, yet now it is common to see more and more financial products to be consumed via the Internet or mobile banking services. It is common to see most of the industries getting digitized as this is simply what the consumer needs, and there is no reason why financial services should be an exception. The infographic has been just the first in the series of the content we are going to release. You can preview the most recent infographic dedicated to the consumption of the financial services here.
LTP: How did the financial services in Europe and worldwide change over the past years? What are the major game changers in financial services that affected the industry?
KR: We can certainly see many FinTech companies appearing every year, and such companies are simply able to supply more transparent, cost-effective and faster solutions. Next to this, most of such companies operate online. In recent years, the amount of FinTech companies reached a critical mass and it became a catalyst for the whole financial services industry.
LTP: Your primary area of operations is Europe. Could you please tell us about the state of online/mobile banking in that region? What are the hallmarks of the European market? How is it changing?
KR: I cannot say that mobile banking in Europe is common, but it is about to change soon as it has the highest speed of growth. For example, there are currently around 15,000 downloads of mobile banking apps in the UK. This is roughly 0.025% of the population getting into mobile banking daily. As for Internet banking, it is an absolute must for any bank, and even though it is not growing as fast as it used to, it has nearly reached the ceiling in some countries. For example, a year ago, 91% of the Internet users in Iceland used Internet banking.
LTP: In your infographic, you provide a quote: “Banking is transforming from the place where you go to the activity that you do.” Could you please elaborate on that from your perspective?
KR: Just a few years ago, an individual had to visit a branch to receive almost any kind of service from a bank. Should a person require a loan, account in a foreign currency or anything else, it was impossible (or nearly impossible) to do so without visiting a branch. With current developments, banking becomes rather an activity that could be managed from any device, anytime. Next to this, the role of banks is also dropping as there are other companies that can supply you with bank-alike services.
LTP: What were some of the recent important partnerships and changes that have happened with the company? What are the key steps or important milestones for Kontomatik?
KR: The year 2015 has been quite intense for us so far. In the beginning of the year, we were acquired by one of the fastest growing and most innovative companies in the world—Kreditech. After that, we followed with the development of the new website and then started localizing it into the languages of our customers. We have also onboarded a few country managers to assure a smooth geographic expansion. As for the future, we are certainly going to add more countries into Kontomatik’s banking API coverage; this is our primary goal.