The world we live in has grown and evolved in ways that are hard to truly wrap our minds around. From the advent of the dial-up internet connection to the ubiquitous nature of the Internet of Things, our very existence has changed dramatically in recent years. Alongside this growing era of the internet and technology, the prevalence of globalization has reigned supreme. We can book a trip to the Swiss Alps from our bungalow in South America using a bank that connects every location.
Globalization truly touches everyone, and the realm of banking is now experiencing wholesale growth. Tom Stafford of DST Global recently appeared alongside Nikolay Storonsky at MoneyConf to discuss the future of global banking, where DST Global Investments fits in, and what concepts like Revolut can do to both.
Finding a Global Bank to Believe In
In the era of tech start-ups and increasing digitization, tech savants are working every hour of the day to make the next big application, website, or widget. In the global banking realm, this has led individuals like Nikolay Storonsky of Revolut and Tom Stafford of DST Global to join together to create progress.
When assessing how to find a fund to invest in, Tom Stafford and Nikolay Storonsky know that they have to focus on the individuals first.
Tom Stafford says, “What appeals to the company is Nick (and the team). Fundamentally, when we are thinking of investing, we have three things we are looking for.”
Stafford would go on to outline the key areas that DST Global assesses when joining a project: a founder with a vision, companies looking to disrupt large categories, and leaders in those individual categories.
During his MoneyConf appearance, Stafford added, “We only back companies where we think the company and the founder have the vision to build something very large. Roughly speaking, financial services have about $16 or $17 trillion of market cap today.”
Appearing at the MoneyConf event alongside Nikolay, Tom Stafford was effusive with praise over the growth of Revolut driven by its founders and his work ethic. Stafford pointed out that the global institution had grown to millions of customers. Stafford added, “The most important thing is 2 million users in three years without a single dollar of marketing.
Prosperity and Innovation in Global Banking
Banking has undergone serious moments of innovation in evolution over the past several years. Recent headlines in the news discussing conventional banking troubles have only given energy to the global banking space in which innovators like Tom Stafford and Nikolay Storonsky are working.
When asked at MoneyConf what sets his space apart from conventional banking in its current iteration, Stafford was succinct in his reasoning: “The vast majority of retailers have not changed, and they are dying.”
Pointing to the conventional role of a bank, Stafford understands that ease of use is paramount and that conventional banks are not adjusting to the times.
Making a comparison to ordering dinner, Stafford said, “What I really want as a consumer is for all of that stuff to be abstracted away from me. I want to press a button and a burger arrives. The only thing I want to do is complain if the burger is cold, I complain. If the burger is fine, I don’t.”
Stafford added at MoneyConf, “That’s just how I see banking going forward.”
Chiming in with a smile, collaborator Nikolay Storonsky said, “The best customer service is when you don’t need customer service.”
To continue growing Revolut in its current form, the banking institution has had to stick to its core mission statement while growing with its constantly expanding roster. Pointing to more than 40 hires per month since their recent funding, Stafford and Storonsk spoke extensively on how to build a functional and enduring company.
Stafford said, “If what we really care about is the experience of the end user, what we’re looking for in the future are great founders and great teams building great products.”
Storonsky underscored this idea by pointing to the constant turnover rate within growing businesses as a way to keep the roster unified. Storonsky added, “High turnover with people who don’t see (the business mission) right. As you grow, unfortunately, your interview process is not precise enough. It is important to have high-level visibility to identify the right talent.”
Wrapping up their appearance at MoneyConf, Stafford again underscored the importance of Revolut and its mission statement when compared to the growing banking revolution. Stafford said, “Big companies get built when large numbers of users want to use your service over and over again. That’s what Revolut is building. They’re building a service for all SMEs and consumers everywhere in the world to do their daily banking.”