Building a Better Banking System: The Innovations of Revolut

Global banking has been a hot topic in recent years, and the rising tide of digitization and globalization is changing our relationship with money. In 2018, the digital banking company Revolut clinched more than $250 million in fresh funding for the growing fintech firm. In the intervening years since that round of funding, Nikolay Storonsky and Tom Stafford of DST Global have helped to urge the industry forward.

As one of the first digital challengers back to break even, Revolut has already served 1.5 million customers worldwide- without investing in marketing and advertising. This success was on display as Tom Stafford and Nikolay Storonsky attended MoneyConf to discuss what has led them to so much success in recent years.

Along the way, Tom and Nikolay underscored the future of global banking and what it could look like for consumers years later.

Revolut’s Nikolay Storonsky, DST Global’s Tom Stafford at MoneyConf 2018

Global Banking and Consumerism in the Digital Age

Over the past two decades, the most significant change in our daily lives has come part and parcel with the internet and its ubiquitous nature. From the moment we wake up til the moment we fall asleep, we are connected in one way or another to the Internet of Things. Conventional banking spaces that have yet to adjust to the times have begun to fall behind. Nobody wants to talk on the phone anymore, and fewer people want to talk to actual customer service agents.

Tom Stafford, managing partner at DST Global, spoke pointedly with his criticisms of old banks and their traditional methods. Stafford stated during his MoneyConf appearance alongside Nikolay Storonsky, “What I really want as a consumer is for all of that stuff to be abstracted away from me.”

Stafford went on to explain how phones and businesses are branching out with many applications, though this is different from what people want out of a global bank – they want convenience and easy access. Stafford said, “I want to press a button and a burger arrives. The only thing I want to do is complain if the burger is cold, I complain. If the burger is fine, I don’t. That’s how I see banking going forward.”

In addition to their thoughts on convenience, Storonsky and Stafford believe that global banking will only thrive when the right players are in charge of the operation. This means that the end-user’s experience has to be paramount in the mind of industry leaders, something that hasn’t always been the case but is so with Revolut.

Storonsky and Tom Stafford have focused on expanding their line of products while honing in on what makes ease of access so imperative to the process. Repeat customers and positive word of mouth built momentum for Revolut. 

Stafford said at MoneyConf on expanded features and free access, “FX Transactions on Revolut are free. I mean, what banks give anything away for free? If you think of that concept of free, reinvesting your economics into your customer, that’s the watchword of the internet.”

Global Banking, Self-Belief, and Building Better Systems

Nikolay Storonsky and Tom Stafford developed a robust funding haul as their team raised $250 million in fresh funding. With a fresh mission statement and a robust round of funding behind them, onlookers have to understand that Revolut and Stafford’s team are doing something right.

Tom Stafford pointed to the rigorous duties of building a company from scratch while focusing on innovation the entire way. Stafford said during his MoneyConf appearance with Storonsky, “The fundamental belief that I hold is that the best talent utilizing technology and the internet will effectively take over almost all industrial vehicles that exist today and in the future. By industrial verticals, I mean 100% of GDP.”

Nikolay added to this concept by pointing to career-long bankers who have been in the industry for decades without promoting much innovation. Pointing to their recent innovations, Storonsky underscored the ability to load cryptocurrencies and to receive interest from those loaded cryptocurrencies at the same time. 

Stafford thinks that old banks will only partially vanish, but some transactions can be removed from their orifice. Stafford said, “I think there are certain quite specific transactions you may want to take out of the bank. Certain large loan types, certain large insurance products, but I always think about it from the consumer to the SNME or the enterprise point of view.”

Closing up his work at the conference, Stafford reiterated the importance of creating a service that consumers want to use repeatedly. “They’re building a service for all SMEs, all consumers, everywhere in the world to do their daily banking.” That, in Stafford’s opinion, is the future of global banking.

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