FAIRNESS, REALNESS, TRANSPARENCY, INNOVATION, AND FOCUS
After five years driving Airbnb business in Portugal – up to 2.3B€ of impact in our economy -, Ricardo decided to shift his career and moved to Fintech.
He is currently the Country Manager for Revolut in Portugal. Revolut was launched in July 2015 as a digital alternative to the big banks.
While the fintech initially drew in customers by allowing them to spend and transfer money abroad with the interbank exchange rate, the company has since attracted over 9 million customers in Europe, Australia, and Singapore with its spending overviews, budgeting controls, cryptocurrency exchange, and trading features.
Ricardo has a degree in Design and worked for a few years as an Art Director and then co-founded the company Alok Design Brands.
He also provides mentorship to entrepreneurs currently incubated in Startup Lisboa.
In a VUCA world as we’re living, thank you for the opportunity to share with you some thoughts and ideas, starting our conversation by understanding a little of your current challenges.
What are the main challenges of your current position as Revolut in Portugal Country Manager?
As Country Manager for Revolut in Portugal, my main challenge, as is for my team, is to grow our user base and localize the product as best as we can.
Portuguese are heavy tech users and they have proven to be very tech-savvy.
They love to experience new products, and they never fall short in introducing it to their friends or recommend it if they like it. I think that is what has been happening, as we’ve become a study case of penetration around Europe: we have over 300.000 users in Portugal.
The idea is to reach half a million Portuguese users in the first trimester of 2020. That’s an ambitious goal that we personally set out for our local team, but we believe we have a super competitive product and we will meet those numbers.
In your industry, which tech trends would you highlight?
The goal, at Revolut, is to give the users total control over their finances. That puts extra responsibility on us because we need to answer to customers’ expectations and needs without adding complexity to the final product.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of all the new features we’ve added to our portfólio, like cryptocurrencies or trading – now available for all customers.
That, naturally, added a lot of depth to our product (from a back-office perspective), while for the customer everything continues to be agile and seamless.
That’s what I love the most about these new tech trends: the ability to deconstruct something that used to be very complex and that offered a poor user experience – like trying to buy crypto via a broker, or trading in the stock market -, and make it light and comfortable for the end-user.
In your perspective, what’s the main factor that distinguishes companies in their relationship with the clients?
For me, it’s critical that the customer is always in the center of the equation and has an undivided focus.
We face Revolut as an unfinished product because we keep adding innovation to it, mostly asks from our customers. We will never cease to innovate to meet our customer expectations.
So, working for our customers it’s fundamental. It’s also key to work on a fair and transparent product.
We never forget we’re dealing with people’s money, we take security very seriously, and those worries are what, in my opinion, makes the difference. Fairness, realness, transparency, innovation, and focus.
In the context of Business Analytics (BA)/Business Intelligence (BI), what is the relationship of your company with data and critical business information?
Data is critical at Revolut.
We run a business that is under intense scrutiny and regulatory rules from financial authorities and we manage sensitive data, so we take security and data management very seriously.
Data is core to our business.
It starts from the Know Your Customer process, even before you become a user, until processing or identifying odd patterns in case of a potential financial crime.
Data is our king and queen. Our data volumes have been increasing over 20 times in the past year, we maintain around 800 dashboards and data lakes daily and we manage 100.000 SQL queries daily.
And, what you think will be the impact of BA/BI on the companies and people?
Data is becoming more and more relevant, as it’s becoming hard to process the myriad of information we’re creating by the second.
In a not too distant future, we will require data scientists in every team, in every company, to help machines manage all sorts of information and data; our society and our communities will be a lot more sensitive to data management and the type of intelligence you can extract from it.
I think we’re already living in the data age, and this will become more and more relevant for everybody.
For you, innovation is…
For me innovation is revolutionizing an old and traditional system, forcing organizations to evolve, reminding them of the client’s wants and needs, and building new solutions that are proven to better serve them.
In 2030, how will companies be like?
In 10 years I believe a lot of traditional companies have had already the chance to migrate to this Digital Area – or the 4th Industrial Revolution.
But they will need to do this while coping with the transformation brought by the new ones, born in the cloud, digital natives, that are already making their way in this global area.
So, I believe we will have a super competitive and global market, that I hope has ethics, a sense of fairness, a focus on the customers, a flexible mindset, always eager to transform and evolve. In an environment like this, everything thrives.
Revolut was launched in July 2015 by former Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank investment bankers, Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, as a digital alternative to the big banks.
While the fintech initially drew in customers by allowing them to spend and transfer money abroad with the interbank exchange rate, the company has since attracted over 9 million customers in Europe, Australia and Singapore with its spending overviews, budgeting controls and cryptocurrency exchange.
To date, Revolut has raised approximately $340 million in funding, from notable venture capital firms including Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Balderton Capital and DST Global.