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‘There were all these other great services, but banking was kind of static’: Mercury’s Immad Akhund on banking startups

  • Entrepreneur Immad Akhund was disenchanted with banks serving his startup.
  • So, in 2017, he started his own challenger bank to service startups.
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‘There were all these other great services, but banking was kind of static’: Mercury’s Immad Akhund on banking startups

As a founder of a startup in 2008, Immad Akhund found himself frustrated. Heyzap, a tool that maximized how much money app developers made from advertising, worked with a variety of banks, like Silicon Valley Bank and Bank of America. None of them was noteworthy. Akhund found banks’ technology woefully behind and they had a way of charging fees for everything.

“I was just really frustrated as an entrepreneur that I had all these great other services, which improved over time, but banking was this kind of static thing that I was forced to use and rely on,” he said. “I was never happy about it.”

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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

Akhund’s experience was that the more niche a bank was, the more unlikely it was to write its own software. That leaves their startup clients with a bunch of disjointed services that that are all like ‘enterprise software that the banks contracted out’. Recalling his most frustrating experience, he remembers spending three days at the end of each month manually copying and pasting numbers from his firm’s back office into the bank.

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“I think startups and technology companies kind of expect to be able to automate their business processes,” he said.


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