By  @SimonCocking. Great interview with Jason Bates Co-Founder of and now : An all-star team creating next-gen banks from the smartphone in. See more of the FinTech Insider podcasts on Irish Tech News here.

What’s your background briefly?

A long career in technology transformation, which led to co-founding Monzo and Starling, two new challenger banks in the UK. Now as Co-Founder and Consulting Lead at 11:FS, I help banks drive digital transformation so they can deliver ‘truly digital banking.’ It’s an amazing team with big bank experience, but we’re taking a startup approach to deliver projects rather than just talk about them.

Does it seem like a logical progression?

Yes, software is eating the world, as Marc Andreessen famously penned, and it’s been nibbling on it for a while, too. We are only just starting to see the real effects of digital banking appear. As Chief Customer Officer at Monzo and Starling, I researched customer needs, designed the app, recruited a world class team, and defended regulatory submissions to the FCA. By creating digital banks, propositions, and products from scratch, I really got to understand how the world of banking is changing.

What did you mean by ‘truly digital banking?’ What does that mean for customers?

Helping them be truly digital means helping them:
1) understand what digital banking means, and how the world has changed.
2) benchmark and remix existing digital banking solutions into their new products and propositions.
3) create, deliver, and test new propositions with smaller teams in faster timescales.
4) expand this into broader cultural change within their organizations.

How was 2016? What worked, what would you do differently?

2016 was a big year for 11:FS. We worked on banking projects across Europe for retailers in France, lenders in Eastern Europe, banks in the UK, and even kicked off a project on using banking APIs to help with financial inclusion in South Africa. I think our best move was starting FinTech Insider, a podcast that lets us talk about what’s happening in the industry. Our guests have been amazing and we’re now being listened to in more than 150 countries.

What would I do differently?

I’d have started looking for more talented people to join earlier. There are so many amazing projects out there that need superstars in design, engineering, and product development. I’m on the constant hunt for world class talent that need a big break.

What are you excited about in tech for 2017?

I’m excited that Monzo (one of the banks I co-founded) will get it’s full banking licence and really start to show the world what being a digital bank really means. I’m also excited by how so many technologies are developing in parallel and what the intersections of those areas are going to produce, like machine learning, IoT, AR/VR, Blockchain, etc.

What tips would you give to those looking to innovate in the banking / fintech space?

Three things: 1) Start with a group of underserved / overcharged people who need a better service.. whether that’s in retail, commercial, transaction banking, Insurance, lending, or capital markets. There are hundreds of opportunities. 2) Bring technologists and designers together with people who understand the fundamentals of that market and can rebuild it from first principles 3) Find your first customer and see if they buy it.

The podcast, what do you enjoy about it, and what were some of your favourite episodes from 2016?

We have so many projects going on, and it’s amazing to be able to take some time out during the week to reflect on what is going on in the industry with some great people who are out there making it happen. I learn so much, we have fun, and I think that comes across in the conversation.

My favourite episodes are the Monzo and Tandem takeovers, and the episodes where we went to Berlin to meet Solaris and N26. Although, we’ve got some amazing episodes coming that I’m really looking forward to.

What would you love to see become widely available in 2017 to make customers’ lives easier?

It will be 2018, but I hope that banking APIs will provide the platform to fintech that many of us hope it will. There is a lot of work to do on technology, governance, and processes around those services, but they have the potential of transforming personal and SME financial management, while at the same time providing a digital identity to most of the country, and disrupting the payment space.


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