Mambu’s Eugene Danilkis on who wins the race towards digital banking (hint, the customer)

Eugene Danilkis is CEO of Mambu

What’s Mambu all about and what was the personal inspiration behind creating the company?

Eugene-Danilkis, CEO of Mambu
Eugene Danilkis, CEO of Mambu

Mambu is about giving organizations who want to challenge the way banking has traditionally been done, the technology platform to be able to rapidly and easily bring their vision to market. Whether it’s socially-minded businesses focusing on financial inclusion on the two billion underbanked around the world, commercial lenders servicing the much-neglected SME lending market or fintech startups who want to rethink banking, Mambu is the platform and partner for them.

We want to empower these organizations to be able to launch whichever products through whichever channels they have in mind and not have to deal with the complexity of the calculations behind the scenes and empower their developers to integrate into the ecosystem. My personal inspiration was to build a great company that can be at the heart, and a driver, of the change that we think we’ll see in banking this century. We wanted to solve a challenge that we saw in common from big banks to non-profit organizations while creating a terrific product and a lasting company that has the potential for transformative impact around the world: advancing both social and economic goals.

What’s the driving force for the surge in digital lending? How are incumbents reacting to pure play startups in the space? When can digital be used to deliver competitive advantages against traditional banks that once monopolized the space?

Lending is the ‘easiest’ part of the bank’s business to attack strategically from a startups perspective. The demand is certainly there and the need is there as well in various areas from MSME finance to alternatives to payday lending. Macroeconomic conditions such as low cost of capital are also accelerating this and empowering the rise of new entrants. Digital-first approach can be used to build better custom experiences, easier processes and automate away high-cost low-value aspects of traditional banking.

Who wins longer term — banks which are moving slower yet have all the customers or the startups?

The customers wins. Some startups will prove to become big players in their own right and at the very least will force banks to transform and reshape their services as well. Some will make this transition successfully and smoothly and others won’t. So we envision the ecosystem still being a mix of new and old organizations in the decades ahead, but both would have been reshaped by technology.

How do you win new business — what objections do you have to hurdle to bring in a new customer?

A lot of business we currently win is through referrals and word of mouth. Mambu occupies a unique position in the market of ‘core banking systems’ or ‘portfolio management systems’ (depending which perspective you look at it) as the first and strongest SaaS solution and one of the few viable alternatives to traditional core-banking systems and providers. Our biggest challenges in the sales cycle is if the company itself, at a relatively small size and young age, is able to manage so many projects and customers at once.

Where are you taking the business in 2016? What should we be on the look for?

We’ll be raising capital and expanding the team quite a bit from what we have so far. Mambu has always been a product-first and product-focused company but we will now start to build out our business development, sales and marketing teams. We’ll also be expanding our own footprint out of Europe to be able to better service customers in the Americas and Asia with regional office in 2016 and 2017.

I also expect us to be working more with larger established financial institutions in helping to bring new digital products to new markets while at the same time helping the startups they’ll be competing against. All of this should solidify Mambu as the best alternative to traditional core banking systems or the challenges of re-inventing this technology from scratch for every lending and banking business line.