Releasing the Kin app is an exciting and terrifying time. It’s exhilarating to put our work in front of customers, but it’s also a time of vulnerability. While in many ways the alpha release is a small first step, it’s part of a much longer journey. The journey to here, and the journey that we are still on.
We’ve been wrestling with this challenge – how to help people be better with money - for a long time. And we’ve been wrestling with it because it is our challenge as well – as individuals, and in relationships with each other and the people in our lives – how do we become better with money.
We believe that the way people deal with money can be better. And in particular, we believe that the way people deal with money together can be better. And we believe that by working together, we can find ways to make it better.
This challenge is a thread that runs through our personal and professional lives. Christo Davel founded 20twenty in 2001. This was the first digital only bank in South Africa. We learned many things from 20twenty, and even more from our customers. We learned how much people wanted something better. And we learned about the value of deeply caring for and communicating with our customers. Customers are the most valuable part of any business, and solving customer needs is the only way to build a sustainable business.
Dennis Williams joined Christo at 22seven in 2015. 22seven is a personal financial management platform that makes is easier to get a handle on how you are spending your money, and also uses data to suggest ways to you to make manage your money better. We learned about making things easy for the customer, and providing value immediately. We learned about behavioural science and biases. And we learned just how hard it is for people to learn how to do things money differently.
But we also learned a very powerful thing working as a team at 22seven. We found that every day we were talking about money strategies, and different approaches to tackling money challenges. We chatted about things that worked for us as individuals, and things that hadn’t. Things that remained hard for us, and things that were starting to seem easier. We found that as individuals we became better at money not necessarily because of insights from data, but from the story telling and strategy sharing we were doing. Somehow we were becoming better, together, by sharing and being part of a community.
And so we come to the next stage of our journey. 24ki… Kidding. No numbers. It’s Kin. The next stage of this journey, this mission to help people be better with money, is Kin. We want to find ways to work together to build to Kin to help people manage money better together.
Together really matters. We’ve started to appreciate more and more the power of networks and connections and relationships – throughout this business journey. We think that the world is connected, and through those connections powerful things can happen.
It’s an evolution of our money philosophy – that together matters. That doing things together matters. That sharing challenges and ideas matters. That by pooling resources, whether knowledge or money or connections, incredible and meaningful things can happen.
There is certainly a lot of activity in the financial services space. Six “challenger banks” are set to launch in South Africa over the next 6 to 12 months. In the UK and Europe, the likes of Monzo and Revolut are gaining traction. The regulatory environment is changing. Open Banking in the UK and PSD2 in Europe are changing the way that services can be created to allow people to access their banking information. The infrastructure of banking is changing, and this excites us. We believe that these changes are paving the way for partnerships and more collaborative approaches to solving these questions for customers.
But through that all, as we await our first customers and we move into this period of close co-creation, we are reminded that it is all about people. It’s about the team of people we work with, and the teams we partner with. It’s about people who are customers, and their people. It’s about people who are not customers. It’s about the human interactions and challenges that we hope Kin can be a part of.
At the end of the day, It's about togetherness and relationships.
- Dennis Williams and Christo Davel