Here’s what it means for the people who use our tech, the company and the industry. - Ed Maslaveckas
The easiest place to start with all of this is the spring of 2015. I was working in Ireland, getting paid into an Irish bank account, but I was using my English account too. When I wanted to move money between them both, I used TransferWise. That’s three different apps, with three different passwords, and all the associated admin.
As far as problems go, this was a minor one — but it was the result of a bigger issue. Managing your finances is difficult and intimidating, and the penalties for not doing it well can be severe. With all the advances the fintech space was experiencing at the time, why was this still the case?
I met up with George, a friend from back home, on a trip back to the UK and, over a pint in Hackney’s Old Ship Inn, I pitched him an idea for an app that would bring all these new fintech tools into one place. After a couple more drinks (probably one too many), he agreed to build it. The idea was simple: Connect everything together and make money simpler for everyone.
This has been the driving force ever since. As a generation, many of us are afraid of money — it’s why our finger hovers over our banking apps without pushing the button, why we don’t view our balance at a cashpoint, and why we rarely change our banking providers despite better offers elsewhere. We know we’re not getting it right, but we live with this sense of unease anyway. The alternative is to acknowledge how much we don’t know.
Fast-forward four years of tireless work from our amazing team, and we now have a product that makes a real, tangible difference to people’s lives.
This investment by HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Banco Sabadell, ANZ and Investec — as well as some fantastic VC partners in the form of 9Yards Capital and Lord Fink, the former CEO of the hedge fund Man Group — is proof that we’re going in the right direction. Proof that some of the world’s most forward-thinking investors think that our model (and our execution on it), represents a real opportunity to change the way people deal with money.
A lot has changed since the early days, of course. We’ve moved from developing our own app and providing our service at the scale of a startup to working with bank partners to roll out that ‘layer of control’ at the scale of an institution.
We’ve moved from a flat in Hackney, to offices in Google Campus, then Brick Lane, back along Hackney Canal to a beautiful space in The Bower, on Old Street roundabout. There are now 85 providers ready to make their services available through the network, and from the two of us in the Old Ship we’ve grown to a team of almost 70.
The pace of change has been rapid, but we’ve worked hard to keep the important things the same. Despite our growth, we’ve done everything we can to stay focused on the original vision — we make money simpler for people so that they have more control over life.
This has helped us build a company with a distinctive internal culture and we’ll stay focused on that as we double in size again by the end of 2019. This means hiring people with the passion to shape what this looks like on a larger scale — if that’s you, check out our careers page.
We’re still as ambitious as we were four years ago — perhaps more so. The changes to the finance industry, ushered in by open banking, have opened up huge opportunities for us. These are exciting times, not just for Bud, but for the industry and the people it serves too.
All that remains to say is a huge thank you to the team, the partners, the investors and everyone else who has helped us in our journey so far. The challenges ahead are considerable, but we now have the resources, time and structure to push forward and deliver on our original vision. I can’t wait to get started.