When my co-founder, Neeraj Baid, and I first moved to London we used sophisticated foreign exchange tools to move money abroad. Tools which were more efficient than existing offerings. After carrying out research, we realised that while fintechs such as Wise and PayPal had taken big strides to move the industry forward, their pricing models meant that the more money you send, the higher the cost. This is despite the fact that the true cost of transfers are fixed.
This means that regular users are essentially being penalised for their loyalty to these services. Following this realisation, we spoke to potential customers for three months, gathering as much intel as possible before writing a single line of code. We then created Atlantic Money to disrupt the disruptors.
Our friction-free app cuts out the middleman, connecting our customers directly to an institutional-grade money transfer solution. We charge a fixed £3 fee for transfers at the real exchange rate of up to £1m, saving customers 75% compared to Wise and even more when compared with other competitors such as banks.
You have previously stated you don’t want to become a super app, why is that?
Initial fintech and tech challengers disrupted the status quo, bringing better technology, improved customer experience and value for money.
But in a battle to attract VC dollars and stratospheric valuations, many lose focus, rapidly expanding into new product areas and hiring hundreds of staff, quickly. Their strategy has largely been undifferentiated as they all want to build the next super app with all sorts of services for their customers, neglecting their most frequent and loyal customers who want one service delivered in the best and most cost-effective way. In effect, the most loyal customers end up subsidising efforts to add services which don’t actually benefit them. Our mission is to prevent exactly that and to offer users the best possible deal.
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Do you think there’s a place for fintech ‘super apps’?
While there are a lot of FinTechs offering a variety of products and services out there, combining these into a super app is not the solution. Super apps generally make the argument that having your money in one place helps simplify everything, but the truth is open banking has made it much easier to move money around to different buckets – and there’s very little efficiency gained from having all your money on one platform.
People want single-purpose apps that offer exactly what they need in a quick and easy way, not a bloated app with hundreds of unnecessary features and products which takes ages to load.
A super app also stifles competition, as we’ve seen in China with WeChat which made links to competitors such as Alibaba and Douyin inaccessible until Beijing stepped in. The fintech movement is about competition and choice. We didn’t disrupt monopolistic banks to create monopolistic fintechs.
The super app pursuit is vague but also futile. The people who lose out are the neglected loyal customers who signed up for a flagship product, not for the awkward and unrelated product appendages.
What can we hope to see from Atlantic Money in the future?
Our low-cost money transfer service is now available to everyone in the UK, saving them up to 99% on their cross-border payment costs. For the first time, people in the UK can transfer up to £1,000,000 abroad for a fixed fee of £3 and at the interbank mid-market rate with no foreign exchange (FX) mark-up. The low-cost transfers can be made via the Atlantic Money iOS App.
We have also secured an additional injection of $3m seed capital, led by Amplo and included Nordstar and former Lazada executive, Martell Hardenberg. This is in addition to $4.5m in initial seed funding from investors including Index Ventures, Ribbit & Kleiner Perkins.
Having recently secured our EU licence, we plan to use this additional seed capital to supercharge our international growth. Combined, the UK and Europe constitute the largest currency corridor in the world, and we are excited to be bringing our flat fixed-fee of £3 for transfers all the way up to £1,000,000 at the interbank mid-market exchange rate to people in Europe.
We’re in the process of launching gradually across the EU, we started with Belgium, followed by Germany then Austria and Ireland.