Leveris: No Need For Legacy Technology – Banks Can Catch Up With FinTechs

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Distruptive FinTechs are founded every day across Europe. The one who's lagging behind? Banks. Head of Innovation at Leveris, Conor McAleavey, explains how they can catch up:

Conor, explain what Leveris is all about.

Leveris is a provider of modern core banking and lending platforms. We believe what we have built is the first of its kind because it is built using the core principals of modern platforms; it’s cloud native, built on a service oriented open architecture, highly modular and has a full suite of internal and external APIs. It’s how modern platforms are built in almost any other industry in the world, but up until now not in banking.

What does that mean in layman terms?

It means that banks get to dramatically lower their costs, offer their customers modern user experiences while also giving them the ability to start acting like a financial marketplace that can offer a myriad of third party products and services to their customers on a revenue share basis.

Why did you start working on the idea? Why do you think banks care?

Up until the rise of FinTech they probably didn’t care all that much because even though they were sitting on what we like to call “a steaming pile of legacy technology”, they were still the only game in town and were incredibly profitable. Who wouldn’t be happy when part of a highly profitable oligopoly?

However in the past few years this market dominance has started to come under significant threat from nimble FinTech startups focusing on a single product or revenue line like TransferWise and Funding Circle, as well as upstart challenger banks like Atom, Monzo, Number 26 and Fidor. So we are solving a lot of problems for them, but I guess the two primary problems are lowering their costs while simultaneously allowing them to offer fundamentally differentiated products to their customers.

Sounds like you’re sitting in between chairs a bit. How do banks perceive you: friend or foe?

Well that’s an interesting question because until about 18 months ago I would have said ‘foe’ but now I would actually say ‘friend’. Prior to 2015 in the financial services blogosphere and with FinTech influencers all the talk was about disintermediation, encroachment and even how FinTechs were going to drive established banks to extinction. But like I said this all changed about 18 months ago as the age of ‘bank and FinTech collaboration’ really started to take shape with the likes of Santander and Kabbage or JP Morgan and OnDeck. The big banks and consultancies even gave it a name – they call it FinTech 2.0.

I think it’s fair to say that they now see us an antidote because we can dramatically lower their costs while also giving them the capability of offering modern user experiences to their customer base.

Talking about finance: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

For a company of our size we are somewhat unique in the fact that we have survived to date on founder money and early customer revenue. However we are well aware that to fully seize this huge opportunity in front of us we are going to have to scale fast, and to do that we will have to take on outside money. We are looking at investment right now and plan to do a Series A type raise in the next few months followed by a much much larger growth round mid to late 2017.


Conor McAleavey, Head of Innovation

What’s your vision for Leveris? How will it change the world?

Changing the world is a very lofty goal but when you are working on solutions to the problems of an industry that has more than 3 billion customers, I guess you have a chance. Right now financial services are very paperwork driven, lots of age-old processes and procedures that have to be carried out in the physical world. Friction and frustration abounds at almost every step but is hyper elevated when it comes to the more complex products like mortgages. We believe in a world where financial services are seamless and banks are almost invisible. Things just work and are easy.

We also believe that a person’s financial data should work for them and should return value to them. We believe that banks should see their customer’s data not as a cost center but as a means of bringing value back to those customers through third party merchants, brands and services. If we could help bring about that world and help people make better financial decisions that benefit their lives in the long run, I think we could probably say we had changed the world.

How would you describe the Leveris team & what do you look for in team members?

It’s an incredibly mixed bag of people, personalities, backgrounds and nationalities. We have three offices in Dublin, Prague and Minsk so the majority are either Czech or Irish. Many of us come from banking backgrounds but many also come from more general technology backgrounds. Most of us have cross-functional skills and many also have entrepreneurial backgrounds. What keeps us all together is a shared belief and confidence that we can do what we set out to achieve. When recruiting we look for the most positive and passionate people we can find, people that believe anything can be achieved and who love coming to work.

What will the next 12 months bring?

The next twelve months for Leveris will be very focused on delivering our products alongside banking partners in a number of European countries. Seeing actual consumers using the products we’ve spent many years designing and building will be incredibly exciting for us. It can’t come soon enough.



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