Eugene Danilkis, CEO of Mambu
Eugene Danilkis, CEO of Mambu

What is Mambu’s mission statement?

Mambu believes that all people and businesses should have ubiquitous access to appropriate financial services to help them pursue economic opportunities around the world. Our job is to provide the next generation of financial innovators the ability to easily design, deploy and service essential loan and deposit products. We drastically lower the barrier to entry and the cost of building out a technology-driven, innovative banking institution enabling our customers to focus on their business, products, services and innovation around technology. We do this by providing a new generation of banking technology built in and delivered via the cloud, that’s simple, affordable and flexible for any financial institution tackling any lending or deposit-taking opportunity anywhere in the world.

Where are you headquartered?

Mambu was founded in Germany, and is currently headquartered in Berlin. Although this isn’t the financial hub of finance so-to-speak, Mambu felt that the location was a good one for our early stages of growth given the city’s B2B tech landscape and startup culture. As a multicultural city, it’s been a great pool to attract talent from all-over Europe to service our customers which now span 30 countries.

What kind of year do you foresee for your company, and the industry as a whole?

Mambu performed outstandingly in 2014. We roughly doubled our users, end clients and portfolios under management without any investment into sales or marketing. To kick off 2015, we’ve expanded the team to penetrate deeper into markets where we serve clients and enter new markets. While we will continue to provide innovative technology to microfinance organizations, working with banking disruptors in developed countries will be a huge focus for us in 2015. We see these disruptors being both startups, other financial institutions entering the domain, as well as disgruntled ex-bankers who want to start from a clean slate and provide financial services in a different way using different technology.

What are your key targets for 2015?

Staying in line with our mission statement, it’s important to us that Mambu continues to help firms develop and enable the unbanked to succeed economically and to give customers better, cheaper and simpler alternatives to the big banks. As we’ve grown, we’re increasingly doing business in the SME lending space, which will continue to be a focus for us in 2015 and a huge need around the world.

What will be the most important opportunities for FinTech in 2015?

FinTech transformation will get a stronger grip on the banking industry this year, as more banks will look to innovate their strategies and technologies. This will be done so they can stay competitive against new market entrants looking to close the financial inclusion gap.

We see this to some extent in mainstream banking, with RBS London signing a partnership with P2P lenders to extend financing options to SMEs and Goldman Sachs and Société Générale looking to do the same in the U.S. To add to that, we’ve also received inbound inquiries on “cloud-first” strategies from banks, which will amplify business in 2015. This stems from a shift in increased awareness around cloud technology benefits, something which didn’t exist a few years ago. Now people understand that the cloud goes beyond just placing servers in another building, and this is transforming how industry players think about cloud business models.

What are the key hurdles for growing your business this year?

Focus will be a key challenge. We already work in nearly 30 countries with organizations from a few hundred accounts to a few hundred thousand, from those providing short-term loans to million-dollar SME loans, integrating with technologies like M-Pesa, ATMs and AI-credit assessments engines. With such a broad range of customers, from banks to nonprofits to startups to microfinance in so many parts of the world, we need to maintain discipline in our messaging, in our product roadmap and in our team to service the various target markets effectively.

What are your thoughts on the current state of FinTech?

It’s an exciting time especially in the larger wake of the banking crisis of 2008, decreasing confidence in the big banks and the rise of alternative service providers. The next few years will determine whether this wave of new entrants will simply become a new face of the existing dominant financial institutions or whether they truly are disruptors and challenge the foundation and strongholds of large banks. In emerging markets, there’s a unique opportunity to create a wave of community-focused but technology-driven financial institutions which leapfrog the incumbents and usher in a new wave of financial inclusion and community-focused products and services.

(image credit: Mambu)

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