We couldn’t be prouder of our trailblazing Mambu customer, N26. They just became bigger than Commerzbank! Can we have a moment for that? The fintech poster child for the financial start-up community wowed the market this week, notching a massive series E funding of $900 million, a clear sign that digital banking is here to stay.
So what are the reasons for N26’s success? And, what does this mean for financial services?
Bank like a Rubik's cube.The Berlin-based digital bank went from zero to hero quickly. Founded in 2013, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, N26 shares many similarities with Mambu —- its banking ethos, the advocacy for an easier, less complex and more democratic perspective towards finance, a digitally-led approach to lifestyle and the friendship of its founders, Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal.
“A Rubik’s cube is complex, but if you know the correct sequence of moves, you can solve it quickly and elegantly.” N26 has offered this explanation about the origins of its name, which reflects the 26 small cubes of the famous brain teaser. By applying the same approach to banking, which has historically been an intricate and at times frustrating experience, the digital bank makes banking better.
Armed with fairness, transparency, innovation and the conviction that people could simply bank from their phones, Stalf and Tayenthal grew N26 as one of several customer-obsessed European start-ups, seeking to challenge established banks with app-based checking accounts and little to no fees, fuelling the so-called era of the ‘tap-anomics’ — money at your fingertips.
N26 is also the first pan-European mobile-only bank to achieve such rapid expansion utilising Mambu’s cloud-native banking platform. The bank made the conscious decision to build in the cloud in 2016 in order to stay agile and grow quickly. Today it is serving more than seven million customers worldwide.
“They have created an app which gives their customers a truly simple banking experience. This is a great example of how retail banking can be redesigned in the 21st century,”our CEO and co-founder, Eugene Danilkis has said of N26 in the past.
N26 now plans to expand its workforce and create 1000 jobs in preparation of their IPO, which could be in late 2022 or early 2023. But what message is N26’s success sending to the other players in the industry? The smart money is on those businesses that tap cloud potential and modern technologies to solve a clear and identifiable user need.
N26’s amazing accomplishments reinforce the shifting power balance between banks and customers, indicating banks need to adopt a customer-centric mindset - one that brings value through hyper-personalised and innovative services that end users can’t find anywhere else.
The digital banking market is red hot for a reason. Whether it’s the next wave of challenger banks or the growing B2B community powering innovation from behind the scenes, fintech has solid appeal for investment portfolios. And with the pandemic accelerating its acceptance among the wider digital community, will the record-breaking investment of last week just be the tip of the iceberg?