Andre, Why Did You Decide To Do That?

On the 19th of October, I will be interviewing Andre Hugo, the CEO and founder of Spot Money.


And I'll be asking him how he makes the decisions he has taken to date.


You see, Andre is an incredibly successful serial entrepreneur.


Before Spot Money, there was Virgin Money. And before that, there was Money4Jam.


All incredibly successful businesses that no doubt made Andre a ton of cash, but I want to understand more about how he seems to consistently make excellent business decisions.


Surely his success cannot be simply by chance, so using Spot Money as the case study, I want to learn more about his decision-making process.


Let's give you a little taster of where I'm going here....


Spot Money is a bank, but it doesn't operate in the way you'd expect.


They don't have any branches, call centres or an online banking portal.


They don't offer an array of in-house developed lending and investment products.


They don't even have their own banking licence.


Instead, they have built an app, which offers products and services from their competitors and relies on utilising Bidvest's banking licence.


Prima facia, this sounds like an absurd business model as virtually every other bank in the world has adopted a multi-channel strategy, where they push their in-house products on the back of their own licences.


So why did Spot Money choose such a different path?


Were these choices enforced on Spot Money, because they couldn't find a "Patrice Motsepe" type investor?


Or did Andre very deliberately decide to constrain the choices his team could make, to perhaps perversely create a more innovative environment, that could deliver a better quality banking experience for us all?


We'll find out the answer on the call, but I do know this.


Using constraints to drive innovation is an effective strategy, whether you are incubating a FinTech or leading a large multi-national conglomerate.


Placing constraints on your team is a fantastic way to inculcate a customer-first mindset, where you are forced to choose action over procrastination.


Startups may lack the balance sheet of the incumbents they wish to disrupt, but this constraint helps enforce a razor-sharp focus on using the test, learn iterate cycle, to deliver exceptional user experiences for their target customers.


In Spot's case, this means they have been able to focus all their attention on creating a seamless app-based onboarding experience to access a marketplace of quality investment and lending products.


On reflection, It's quite bizarre that this strategy isn't used more often by the big banks, Spot Money is competing with.


With their trillions of rands worth of assets, any incumbent bank could deliver 10 Spot Money's every year without even blinking. The cost/risk/benefits equation of trying to do something similar to Spot is so immaterial it's a decision any mid-level manager could surely have been empowered to take.


The conversation should be as simple as picking a good 'product owner' and permissioning him/her to set up a small team, to design a new brand, product, service or solution, using any technology they feel appropriate, in an office far, far away from the mothership.


And should the team have some early success, they could be scaled in a way that startups can only dream off.


The reality is of course that the internal structures of any large incumbent bank will see such a unit as a threat and therefore activate an army of antibodies to kill this viral imposter, citing a conflict with the policies created by procurement, human resources, compliance and the other risk teams!


Join Us On The 19th of October


Whether you are interested in learning more about effective decision making or the future of open banking, why not join Andre and me on the 19th of October?


As always, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to pose your questions to us live.


I look forward to seeing you then.




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