Auka | Founder and CEO
Q – You personally designed the industry-leading cloud-based mobile payments platform. What’s the secret to not only having great technology but filtering it through the industry?
A – It starts with knowledge. I spent years studying the payment networks from a technical, commercial and regulatory perspective, discovering a gap and the need for change to meet the needs of modern customers. As banks come around to see the needs of their customers, the demand for real solutions increase. There is a lot of ‘lipstick on a pig’ solutions out there. But, eventually, quality wins.
Q. Auka was the world’s first regulated financial services company to run 100% on public cloud. How do you see the technical implications and security issues of using public cloud infrastructure?
A – I always find this question interesting and I’ll answer it with another question: what are the security and technical implications of not using the cloud? We benefit from the world’s largest pool of talented security experts, working 24/7 to keep our applications and data safe. At the same time we enjoy an unlimited capability and access to unique platform innovations. I have yet to see anyone stack up to this with their own servers and IT resources. So one should rather focus on the risk and cost of not going to cloud. It’s safer, faster and just as compliant as on-premise solutions.
Q. You’re personally on the Google Cloud Customer Advisory Board. What can you tell us about your links with Google and where would you say the industry is going?
A – We have worked with Google since 2009 and built a strong relationship with their talented and innovation-focused organization. We benefit from, and enjoy early access to and participation in projects utilizing new technology. This keeps us alert to what’s next, enabling us to go further when we design better banking experiences for our customers. It’s still financially rewarding to deliver yesterday’s services on a large scale. Traditional banks are good at that. But we have started to see a trend where customers require more features, more advanced services, or services that are advanced at the back-end, making the front end easier to use. This requires the adoption of new technologies, enabling a personalization often driven by insights from larger data sets, behavior analyses and the application of machine learning. If you are behind in this field I think others will accelerate past you with exponential growth. Once you lag behind it’s hard to catch up.
Q. How do you see the future cooperation of traditional banks and fintechs after PDS2 in January 2018? What will the implications of these changes mean for you?
A – As banks discover their lack of technical abilities and have struggles with legacy IT, the burden of simply staying compliant with new regulatory changes will drive a new era of collaboration. Most of the traditional vendors are not driving innovation, they are simply providing incremental improvements. The value of being different increases in tandem with customer expectation. You want banking, payments and financial insights to be as easy and available as, for example, your favorite special media apps. To get there, banks will have to partner with new players, while new players will need the trust and distribution of banks to get market access. It’s a perfect match, but not everyone will get invited to the dance, and following the fintech hype dance night, I think many will leave without a date. And, this means we will see a new downturn as many FinTechs, especially the ‘lipstick’ ones as mentioned above, will have to concede defeat.