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Deep Simplicity: Making banking suck less
Better than a Bank
My first lesson in the power of “simple” came from one of my favorite basketball coaches growing up. He used to spend most games and practices encouraging us to kiss — Keep It Simple Stupid. He did not believe in having lots of plays to memorize or complicated defenses to run. He was old school and showed us that a mastery of spacing and well-timed changes in speed and direction combined with hard work was all it took to be a great team. We played simple. We won a lot of games.
When you can identify a single, core belief to measure your efforts against, you have an extremely elegant way to focus the efforts of your team and drive toward success. When you can use technology to cut through complexity and deliver on the promise of a massive industry that has lost its way you have a huge opportunity. When we met with the founders of BankSimple we were blown away by the vision and the team. It was obviously a punch the sky mission and we could not be more excited to participate in a great New York syndicate with IA Ventures and Village Ventures as well as the fantastic group of angels supporting this deal.
At its core, the mission of a bank is simple and implies a focus on serving the customer in a trust based relationship
Banks used to deliver on this promise back in the day when people had a personal relationship with their bank. They knew their favorite teller and said hello to the branch manager at the local restaurant or bar. The bank was a place to go for advice and guidance as well as to deposit capital surpluses or contract to borrow when facing capital deficits. Things were simple and it worked.
To provide service in this way, banks built out extensive networks of local branches. These direct points of contact with the consumer enabled banks to provide excellent, personal service and to leverage their hands on relationship to offer loan products and generate revenue.
The world has changed but banks have not.
Technology eroded the consumer need for branch visits through ATMs and online banking. Finding the best loan product is more efficient on the web and the increase in competition has been a huge victory for the consumer. However, the banks have found ways to get even and continue to support their branch infrastructure costs with confusing policies and painful fees.
The industry has strayed significantly from the one sentence mission above and now it takes pages just to explain the costs associated with opening and managing a basic checking account.
[caption id=”attachment_719" align=”alignleft” width=”819" caption=”Page after page of fees…”]
The team at BankSimple is going back to basics and building the one sentence bank. They are using technology to eliminate costs and design to delight the consumer with an experience that makes sense. The vision is simple, the mission is complex and I am juiced to be involved.