Meet bankUP: the new bank for SMEs

Interview

09 March 2017

Determined to meet the needs of young entrepreneurs and bring them the tools that they desire the most, Krzysztof Pulkiewicz, CEO at bankUP, is reinventing SME banking. Here he explains how.

Tell us about bankUP – what makes it unique?

We provide standard banking services seamlessly integrated with the fintech services and business apps of users’ choice. We do not believe in a ‘one fits all’ approach, so based on the user’s business type, industry and stage in the SME lifecycle, we build a personalised user experience with features that are most relevant to their business.

At the core of the personalised experience, we have advanced data analytics, and we learn from our customers’ historical data about how we can help them both now and in the future. In addition, we use machine learning and data tagging in order to organise our customers’ budgets, provide cashflow estimations and setup the proactive business notifications they expect from a smart banking solution.

bankUP is open: we give users a free choice to work with their favourite accounting software (they can connect to it in just a few clicks) or to work with their accountant. bankUP helps our customers to collaborate better and fully digitises this process (starting from uploads, OCR to online documents sharing and one click payments).

What services does it offer?

We are offering core banking products including business current accounts and MasterCard, combined with a hub of integrated fintech services and functionalities that reach web and mobile business platforms. We use mobile and web together with smart data analytics to solve the day-to-day problems facing SMEs. By using bankUP, entrepreneurs can control all aspects of their business via just one platform. Some of our features include personalised dashboards, the organisation of incoming and outgoing payments, the possibility for customers to connect their account with all of their team members including their accountant to delegate financial tasks easily… and this is just the start.

Who is your target market?

bankUP is working in two ways. First, through a direct go-to-market model where bankUP focuses on ‘millennipreneurs’ – the young generation of business owners and freelancers. Millennials experience life, work and business through technology and they expect seamless interactions between their bank and the different tools for running day-to-day activities of their business. We are determined to meet the needs of young entrepreneurs and bring them the tools they desire the most. But of course, all digital minded and savvy business owners will see the digital added value of bankUP and form the target client group for bankUP.

Second, we have an indirect go-to-market model where bankUP offers its platform, that came to life by redesigning business banking from the ground up, by leveraging BaaS (Bank as a platform) to deliver SME banking services in EU, to Banks across Europe. Our platform is an enabler for the banks we are working with to customise the digital banking to selected group of customers and provide them with fully personalised and relevant services.

Have there been any challenges in setting up BankUP?

Obviously there’s been challenges around regulation and compliance, as well as building the bullet proof operating model. Another key challenge is around customer acquisition and the best way to attract SMEs to work with a new fintech bank.

But we acknowledge these challenges and are working to meet them. We do not want to position bankUP as one bank for all SMEs. Each customer can expect a customised approach and can expect to work with people that understand the industry and specificity of the segment in order to help with real, day to day business challenges.

What do you think retail banking will look like in 2030?

This is a million-dollar question. If we look at the banks of today, we see two types by 2030. On the one hand there will be banks who will have reinvented themselves and will have become even more important for both retail and business customers. These banks will be digital leaders and will offer far more than traditional financial products and services. They will also be the advisor and provider of important utilities for these customers; i.e. financial services, insurance, energy, telecom, media and more. We will also see major social and communication platform move into this direction.

On the other hand, we will have those banks that did not reinvent themselves, but who have backed-down to establish themselves as trusted specialists in some key financial services such as bank account management, payments processing, lending, investing, etc. These banks will not own the customer relationship anymore, but will be strong, trustworthy product factories and back-ends.


Efma SME Summit, on 23 to 24 March 2017 in Milan, is THE place to meet for top SME banking experts. Are you among them? Book your place now!

Keywords : API/Open banking , Big data , SME/Corporate , Bank Products & Services

Geography : Poland