MONOWORLD: Dmytro Dubilet is planning to conquer the world. The business angels and support of the English people will help.
For the past few months, the co-founder of the Monobank project, Dmytro Dubilet, has been working for precisely two hours longer than the rest of Ukraine. No, he has not become the founder of a pharmacology start-up but has moved to London, to another time zone. Temporarily.
In the city where he once studied at a business school, Dubilet is planning to repeat the successes of a fintech breakthrough which made him Ukrainian Innovator No. 1. We are talking about the Monobank project, which Fintech Band, a company led by Dubilet, launched in partnership with Universal Bank. Not burdened by the traditional banking infrastructure of branches and employees, the ‘bank in your pocket’ quickly became the most popular Internet banking tool in the country.
Now monobank has 452,000 clients in less than a year; according to Dubilet, this number increases by 50,000 per month. ‘In Ukraine, we’ve long since exceeded our expectations,’ said Dubilet to Leadership Journey.
«First of all,» says Dubilet, «in Britain there is a completely transparent and relatively rapid procedure for obtaining a banking licence, which makes the prospects for a start-up pretty clear.» The Ukrainian innovator needs a license to become a financial institution because the British fintech, unlike the Ukrainian project, won’t partner with banks already operating. «It is much easier to obtain a licence to provide financial services in England than in Ukraine. So we have submitted documents to the British regulator and are waiting for their decision,’ says the entrepreneur.
However, in the UK, unlike in Ukraine, the fintech solutions market is much larger, with similar services already working there. Therefore, the Ukrainian will be looking for his own ‘blue’ Sargasso Sea in the ‘bloody ocean’ of Internet banking.
Ukrainians are planning to conquer the ‘workshop of the world’ by catering to an audience ordinary banks are reluctant to accept, namely borrowers with thin credit files. That is what bankers call those who haven’t taken out loans, and, therefore, have no credit history. Banks are reluctant to engage with this category; if they do make loans, they are insured against risk by huge interest rates of up to 70 per cent per annum. ‘Because we don’t know whether they will repay the loan or not,’ says the Ukrainian developer, citing bankers’ logic.
With Dubilet’s project, Artificial Intelligence will decide whether or not a loan gets made. It will take into account the basic financial habits of a given client, where that client buys basic goods and how much is spent on food and clothing. They also take into consideration the information that clients reveal about themselves after receiving the card. «When a client starts using the card, we see which stores they go to, whom they send money to and hundreds of thousands of other parameters,» explains Dubilet. «Having analysed everything, we can provide loans more cost effective loans faster than traditional banks, in the end benefitting the consumer.’
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO MAKE A LOAN
There are thousands of such criteria, according to Dubilet. Taking them all into consideration allows minimises the risk on what was once considered a problematic loan. Local developers help the Ukrainian team to understand the unique nature of the British borrower better. ‘Actually, the art of issuing a loan is to build a sophisticated, advanced model that will make an accurate prediction about who a loan can be made to, who cannot, under what conditions, to what amount, etc.,’ explains the Monobank creator.
Given the resounding success of their Ukrainian project, Dubilet is confident that the development of such technologies will turn them into something normal for a metropolitan residents, just like Uber. ‘You will have everything on your phone. You will consume all kinds of financial services, generally without needing to think about them,’ the Ukrainian points out.
Dima Dubilet is planning the technological capture not just of London, but the whole world. The business angels, venture capital funds, with as many representative offices in London as pubs, will help him. Well, almost as many. ‘How else do you do it? It is impossible to build a global business with your own money,’ says the Head of the Fintech Band company, whose turnover in 2017 reached UAH 5.3 million.
After Britain, a group of emissaries under orders from Dubilet will go on to conquer the rest of Europe. Having spread Monobank throughout the Old World, its creator plans to develop the project in Asia and Africa. «There’s a lot of greenfields out there. So, we start from London, move on to Europe, and then we’ll see,» the developer promises.
Nevertheless, though temporarily working under the shadow of Big Ben, Dmytro has not forgotten his countrymen. In the near future, the Monobank team plans to issue foreign currency cards, launching a number of transfer systems and services for individual entrepreneurs. ‘There are many entrepreneurs among Monobank’s clients, and they, of course, require that we consider the possibility of receiving payments as entrepreneurs,’ Dubilet explains the desires of his clients.
There is also good news on another long-standing Dubilet project: the state services platform iGov. This summer, the project, previously developed and supported by a public organisation’s volunteers, became state property.