The Finterview - Fintech Exposed episode 10. The Founder Diaries series
Ed Bramwell has always been an entrepreneur, starting small businesses to earn pocket money. However, after working in consulting and inhouse in other companies, he realised he was not satisfied with the lack of autonomy he had. He always wanted to run his own company, and 18 months ago, he finally became a founder.
When asked why he chose Quetzal, Ed explained that he initially attempted to start his own company but faced several issues. After confirming these issues with his startup friends, he discovered that there was a real issue with opening a business bank account, especially if you're in an industry considered as a high risk. He expected that opening a business account would be as easy as opening a consumer account, but he ended up dealing with huge forms and long wait times. When he finally received a response, it was often disappointing, such as "sorry not in our risk appetite" or "we need more information to continue with your request."
Ed understands why the background checks are necessary, but he believes the process could be better.
Join us and listen to Daniel’s interview with our guest: entrepreneur, founder and member of the Fintech Foundation cohort: Ed Bramwell.
Why do people underestimate compliance in the startup space?
Daniel asked Ed why he thinks people often underestimate compliance. Ed explained that people are spoiled by their consumer banking experience and fail to realise that businesses are easy to commit financial crimes from. He acknowledges that financial institutions are constrained by KYC requirements but believes they could put more effort into understanding businesses.
Ed emphasised that honesty, preparation, and promptness are crucial when starting a business. Being transparent about high-risk business ventures is essential, and having all the necessary documentation ready to show and being quick to provide it will help startups establish trust.
What does Quetzal Finance do?
Quetzal provides current accounts, debit cards linked to those accounts, and a concierge service that gives personalised responses.
Ed created Quetzal to serve honest, high-risk businesses that were not being served by traditional banks. He believes that the effort to do extra compliance is not as high as current neo-banks make it seem. By not charging high-risk businesses more than low-risk businesses, Quetzal can attract customers that traditional banks cannot.
How do you monetize a business like Quetzal Finance?
Ed explained that Quetzal will not be using risk-based pricing. Instead, the company will charge based on the size of the business. New startups may bank with Quetzal for free, and as the company grows and requires more services, Quetzal will begin to make money. For example, employee card programmes are an additional service that Quetzal could provide for larger businesses.
Daniel added that APIs are changing the Fintech game, allowing startups to take the best of each service and integrate them into a one-stop-shop. When asked about the future of banking, Ed noted that the payments world is already at a very low price point, and being cheaper is not necessarily the best strategy.
A clean and user-friendly product will make Quetzal stand out. Ed also predicts that AI will change the way people consume financial information and that automation will replace much of the excel analysis that analysts currently perform.
How will Ed build a bank, different from traditional neo-banks?
Ed stated that Quetzal's concierge service will differentiate the company from other neobanks. The concierge will analyse all financial transactions and give suggestions based on the business's needs.
Although Quetzal does not have a customer support service yet, Ed personally provides the customer service number, showing Quetzal's commitment to its clients.
What Ed envisions for the future of Quetzal Finance
Ed is excited about overcoming compliance issues and serving overlooked, high risk industries such as Web3 and Crypto. These industries face unique challenges that traditional banks and a lot of modern neo-banks aren't equipped to handle.
Quetzal's personalised concierge service and commitment to understanding each business's unique needs make it an ideal partner for these types of high-risk ventures.
Ed also mentioned that Quetzal plans to expand its services to include loans and credit lines in the future.
Listen in to the latest episode of The Finterview - Fintech Exposed to learn more about Ed’s perspective on the banking industry today and how Quetzal aims to provide a solution to its modern day shortcomings.