When I launched 10x back in 2016 there were two questions that I wanted to solve. One – why don’t banks work better for their customers? And two – why hasn’t technology created true transformation in the financial services industry?
Banks often seem to be focused on selling products as opposed to recognizing that for most people, dealing with their finances is boring or intimidating even though it is an essential part of their everyday lives. Take buying a house. People really care about buying their own home, but no one gets excited about getting a mortgage. What I wanted to do at 10x is improve peoples’ lives by making it easier, faster, cheaper, and better to engage with their finances.
When I was CEO at Barclays, I became convinced of the need to transform the organization through technology, but I couldn’t find the right tech. So, when I left, I came up with the idea of creating a tech platform that would allow banks to transform themselves and make them 10x better at everything – and that was how 10x was born.
What makes 10x unique is that we bring deep financial industry domain expertise together with deep cloud native technology understanding. We’ve had decades of experience inside the banking industry. We understand that banking is really about data, but that banks are also very inefficient at handling data. We realized that if you can make that process more efficient, you can have a more effective bank – but to do that you really need to understand the underlying data as well as the technology that enables it.
That really underpins our culture at 10x. Our North Star is all about making banking 10x better and that is exciting and motivating to be a part of. Financial services impact everybody’s lives, and so our values and our sense of purpose orbit around the idea that we are all here to transform banking and make it better for customers, for banks and for society as a whole. We have a phrase at 10x that is a play on Facebook’s former slogan ‘move fast and break things’. We say move fast and don’t break things. This is financial services and so you can’t afford to break things because you’re dealing with peoples’ money. But speed is important, quality is important, and delivery is important. That is at the core of our culture.
And we’re on a mission to do this at an even greater scale. We recently hired three senior sales and marketing leaders to help drive the next phase of our growth – chief marketing officer Lucy Heavens, senior vice president for business development in Europe Tom Phillips and regional director for Asia Pacific (APAC) Nicholle Lindner. That followed our oversubscribed $187 million Series C financing round in June last year that will support our goal to become a global FinTech helping transform the largest banks in the world – from tier one institutions to the top of tier three.
We currently operate in the UK and Australia, and we are moving forward with plans to expand into other markets in Europe, APAC, Africa and ultimately the US, Canada, and Latin America. Our technology has the capability to serve retail customers and small and medium-sized enterprises, and by the end of this year, large corporates too. The platform supports a full suite of banking services, from transaction banking, savings, and lending products through to credit cards and mortgages.
All of that is enabled by our transformative technology. In the past tech architectures were typically based around an individual product, so there would be a credit card system or a loan system, for example. What we decided to do was design a system that is built around the customer. So instead of individual product stacks, our system is effectively a set of micro services that can be assembled together like Lego bricks.
From a customer’s point of view, this can provide richer functionality and a much better user experience. And by harnessing data more efficiently, banks can also serve their customers better, for instance by making faster credit decisions, identifying fraud more accurately or providing a hyper-personalized experience where product recommendations are pushed directly to customers in real-time, creating a kind of Netflix-for-banking.
For banks, this can enhance the speed and effectiveness of their operations while also reducing costs. Our technology allows anyone to configure new products without having to write a single line of code themselves. In the past it might have taken a bank six months or even a year to launch a new product. Now it can be done in just minutes without the need for large product management and development teams.
That ability to be more nimble and move faster has the potential to radically change the way banks operate in the future. This change will be driven by three key themes: data, digital identity and distributed – as opposed to centralized – technology. We have moved through the innovation phase of financial services, and we are now entering the transformation phase, and it is those three themes that are going to shape the future of banking. Data, digital identity, and the advent of open banking will empower banks to create new product offerings and business models, while distributed technology can help remove much of the cost and friction that has built up in a world of centralized IT infrastructure. All incumbents have the opportunity to transform, but not all of them will and as we have seen in other industries, many incumbents who have boasted market leading positions don’t always survive if they fail to adapt to the changing world around them. At 10x, we have created a platform that enables incumbents to fully embrace data, digital identity, and distributed technology, giving them the tool kit to embark on this transformational journey and ultimately be ready for whatever comes at them.
This article first appeared in The Financial Technologist - The Most Influential Financial Technology Firms of 2022 in March 2022