As a pioneer in Open Banking, OpenWrks is looking to support the 23 million people within the UK that have money worries who are traditionally, and wrongfully, under served. The focus on helping people keep track of how much they spend is made easier by the occasional rhubarb gin and tonic, while chilling out to British indie rock.
What is OpenWrks – what problem are you solving?
At OpenWrks, we make Open Banking work. We make it easy for people to access their account information and securely share it with businesses they trust so that those businesses can deliver better, more personalised products and services.
Currently, people don’t understand what they can afford, due to outdated income and expenditure assessments and self-certified information and with the rise of contactless, it’s becoming harder to keep track of what we’re actually spending each month. We’ve built the technology and applications, using Open Banking connections, to help people understand what they can afford to invest, save, borrow or repay.
Your company is in the ‘Open Banking’ space – How are the incumbent banks responding to this new environment?
As the first third-party provider to be listed on the Open Banking directory back in 2018, OpenWrks has been at the forefront of the Open Banking evolution. We’ve seen and helped the Open Banking ecosystem grow and mature and although there was a slightly rocky start, through collaboration and a rise in consumer awareness the incumbents are seeing the benefits of Open Banking in their own innovations and through partnerships.
Your product helps break down the barriers to financial support for people in debt – why is this important you?
The 23 million people within the UK that have money worries are traditionally, and wrongfully, underserved. The industry is brimming with money management apps that have been created to help those with money, maintain it and make more of it. But there’s little – or dare we say it – no help for those that are actually in financial distress. We believe that helping these people before it gets too bad by encouraging behavioural spending changes can reduce the need for them to take out more and more credit to maintain their lifestyles.
You recently graduated from the Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab – What did you learn/What did you gain as a company?
The Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab gave us the chance to dedicate time and get expert advice on our proposition and product. It helped us form a solid proposition that could be translated from B2B to B2C and has been the driving force behind the OpenWrks applications expansion, what we do and why we do it.
What advice would you give new startups in this space?
Don’t chase after the shiny new things. When you’re a start-up it’s easy to get distracted from the purpose of your business/product which should be to benefit your customers and somehow make their lives easier or better. Keeping focus means that you can continue to improve your business/product with feedback and iteration loops like focus groups and user testing instead of getting distracted by new products or services. Then expand into other areas once you’ve proven the value to your customers.
We have an array of craft beers and independent music at FinTECHTalents – Give us a great song to listen to while we sip your favourite tipple (please also list your favourite drink!)
Foals – Exits, with a rhubarb gin and tonic (and a couple of frozen raspberries).
OpenWrks will present as part of the FinTech Stories Stage at FinTECHTalents this November 11th and 12th.