We caught up with Will White, ex-Monzo and Loot, to talk about applying product methodology to building banks.
Thought Leaders in Finance: Will White — Part 1: Desirability, Feasibility and Viability — the first in a six part series.
When you’re trying to create a fintech—a neobank, challenger bank, in a corporate out of a corporate, new—the things you need to think about are three areas: desirability, feasibility and viability.
Desirability is quite simply, what does the customer actually want? What’s their pain point? What is the problem you are actually solving for them in their life?
Feasibility is you thinking, can you actually build this? You know, sometimes you’re looking at ideas that are great, but they’re probably a little over the horizon. So you got to figure out what is actually possible today. Do the vendors exist? Does the team exist? Can I do this with the regulations I use?
And viability is: it’s logical business sense, but you’ve got to figure out will this ever make money? Because otherwise you don’t have a business, you need to be thinking in those terms from from from the get go.
And of the three, you should lead with desirability. Once you’ve gone out, and you’ve spoken to everyone, you got the broadest collection of potential options for what you could build for the customer, then you’re really taking them through quite a rigorous process. And it has to be led by desirability.
So don’t go out there and figure out that something’s feasible, or imagine a business that’s super viable, so you can definitely make it profitable, and not build something that your customers will ever want. We have seen people have emerged and disappear because they spent too much time figuring out ‘are we built this amazingly feasible project’, you know, ‘we’ve we’ve assembled something that definitely works’, or they’ve figured out something that definitely makes money, but they’ve assumed customer behaviour that doesn’t exist today or may never exist.
So go out and start with what are the customer needs. If you build those design principles—the design thinking, that customer centricity, the validation—in really, really early, you’ll also follow best practices the whole way through the build of your product.
Will White was a founding member of Monzo Bank, and COO of Loot Bank. He is currently COO of the LA based neobank Be Money, a Venture Partner at Vectr Partners that's invested in the neobank space, and an Advisor the Aussie neobank Parpera which just raised $1m.