Last week, we partnered with Google to introduce and demo our impending Starling Bank Marketplace, and explore the compelling potential of open banking.
We’re really excited about the development of banking as a marketplace (so much so that we decided to host an entire event in its honour!).
We felt that it was an apt moment in Starling Bank’s progression to unite our own experience with the expertise of a few guest speakers from Fintech and beyond. We were keen to explain what the big deal is about open APIs and marketplaces in general, and what our own Marketplace will look like when it launches. We also wanted to discuss its huge potential for improving customers’ lives, as well as the opportunities that exist for people and companies to get involved with it and promote their products and services. Exciting stuff!
Even better, because we work closely with Google, we were lucky enough to be able to host the event at their HQ in the heart of buzzing King’s Cross *techie fist pump*. A range of brilliant speakers from some of tech’s most disruptive brands stepped forward to enlighten a diverse audience of 200 – followed by some well-earned beverages, naturally. Here are some of the highlights…
To market, to market
After an introduction from Starling Bank’s CEO Anne, Thomas Rödde from Google Cloud took to the stage as our first guest speaker. As Google’s Head of Fintech for UK and Ireland, he knows a thing or two about open APIs, so he spoke in depth about what openness means to Google and the huge potential it has for banking. As Google is a leader in open source, it was interesting to hear how he feels it’s connecting the dots between essential services to transformative effect.
Next, our Chief Platform Officer Megan Caywood took the audience through the nuts and bolts of the Starling Marketplace, explaining why we think it’s so important. After a mobile demo, Megan gave the audience a sneak peek of the in app marketplace in its current stage of build, to demonstrate how a partner app can easily be integrated and used by the customer. She wanted to show how a marketplace with open banking has the ability to transform people’s everyday lives by delivering better products with more complex capabilities.
“The Starling Marketplace is pivotal to helping our customers live healthier financial lives. At Starling, we believe in giving our customer's transparency and choice, and that means helping them to find and access market-leading financial products from across the market, and this is what the Marketplace sets out to achieve, and what we were so excited to unveil for the first time at this event."
Megan Caywood, Starling Bank’s Chief Platform Officer
We then got the lowdown on all things PSD2 from Matt Newman, our General Counsel here at Starling. He went through what exactly it means, and how its emphasis on strong customer authentication, open APIs and capping fees means that it protects consumers but creates opportunities (and why any tech business hoping to progress needs to know about it).
Next up was a dynamic panel discussion between Megan, Edward Berks (the Director of Financial web at Xero); Graeme McLean (Head of Banking Lending & Protection at the FCA) and Steve Naude (Head of Banking Partnerships at TransferWise). They chatted about the potential of the marketplace concept and what it will mean for tech companies and their ability to effect change in their customers lives.
Steve from TransferWise also discussed their early experiences of working with banks, and was refreshingly candid about the benefits and drawbacks they faced during that time.
And then there was beer
Beyond the discussions and insights revealed throughout the day, we also made sure that there were plenty of opportunities for networking and connection afterwards — helped along the way by drinks and nibbles.
The sheer range of professions and industries in the audience meant it felt like a real meeting of minds; attendees ranged from small, established and brand new fintech types, government reps, security officers and people who were generally just excited about the idea of partnering with Starling to bring their product to the marketplace.
A quick recap of the event: