At 10x Future Technologies, we work hard to unlock technology’s potential to create a banking experience that meets the needs of everyone in the digital age.
We’re making great progress. Since launching a year ago, we’ve begun building a digital bank for our first client, Virgin Money, and recently signed two strategic partnerships with Ping An, one of China’s biggest financial services firms, and Oliver Wyman, the global management consultancy. In the process, we raised £34 million when we closed one of the largest ever series A funding rounds for a European FinTech firm.
We’ve grown significantly in our first year. A company that started as a handful of people working on an exciting new approach to finance in a tiny office has now become a significant part of London’s FinTech ecosystem.
This week, we’ve moved to much bigger offices in London’s Victoria that allow us to bring our more than 150 digital technology and design experts together on the same floor.
This is a real step-change for us, crystallising how far we’ve come over the past year. Victoria is such a dynamic part of the capital, and much like Google’s move to King’s Cross and Apple’s to Battersea, our move is another example of a tech company settling into new areas that are right for them, rather than clustering in traditional enclaves.
Our new environment will allow us to remain focused on creating innovative digital platforms that allow our clients to unify their wide array of data systems into a lean, future-proof architecture. These can help clients transform how they operate and engage with customers, helping ushering in the financial services of the future.
Future-proof financial services
So what will that future look like?
I’m convinced it will be marked by open banking platforms that offer customers far more personalised and cheaper digital products than we see today.
Many CEOs are nervous. Regulation like PSD2 will force banks to open their customer accounts to third-party providers, ultimately making it easier for their customers to find more compelling banking experiences than they currently receive. Last week’s Budget provided further evidence of the shift, as open banking initiatives are to be extended to other payment products, including credit cards.
Yet for all the change, improved technology means that open banking is a significant opportunity for those providers who embrace its full implications. It will mean the development of mortgages, credit cards, loans, savings and current accounts that are far better tailored to your specific needs. It will mean providers can anticipate when a small business owner might need a more flexible line of credit, or can offer personalised mortgages that allow you to overpay to reduce your debt, or skip a payment when you need extra cash at Christmas.
At 10x, we take an incredibly collaborative approach to unlock these advantages. Everything we do must be ten times better than what has gone before, and collaboration is a vital part of making that happen. So our attitude is simple: if someone else has a better capability, integrate it into what you’re doing. We have an open API policy for this very reason.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve seen bank CEOs become much more attuned to the reality of the threat that they face from new technology. They recognise that their success is becoming ever more dependent on their technological capabilities in the digital, data-driven financial services of the future. Many look to markets with more mature digital businesses, like China, envious of the profits that the most cutting-edge companies are able to make.
But as I’ve argued before, large banks aren’t geared to transforming their business models – indeed, their employees are often programmed not to make mistakes. But in this new world of open technology, the industry is all about drawing from learnings, constantly iterating on ideas and making improvements.
This is where a collaborative approach is key. Startups thrive on agility and speed in ways that incumbents do not, while banks bring significant industry experience and large customer bases eager for new technology. Bring the two together, and the resulting collaboration could be transformational.
Our new premises will help us to move this unique approach to the next level, helping us usher in financial services that are ten times better for everyone.