During a demo day event today, fintech startup Neat announced they will soon launch a mobile app that is aimed to ‘make bank branches redundant and offer a radically modernised banking experience.’
“If Google or Facebook were to build a banking solution, this is how they would build their business model,” said CEO David Rosa in a statement.
The startup partners with banks and uses both cards and a smartphone app. Users only need 10 minutes to set up a bank account, with secure finger print scans and facial recognition.
Users can use the app for money transfers, checking account balances and topping up their account. The app can be used for offline and online purchases.
Moreover, Neat can also help users save money by making a budget. It even sends out notifications each time they spend, showing them how much they can spend each day.
Neat also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain deeper understanding of its users.
While the app is certainly open for anyone to use, the company is specifically targetting university students and young professionals. Not only do they tend to be early adopters, the company’s market research also revealed that university students tend to need more help with budgeting
The Hong Kong-based startup is run by a team of eight people, and is looking for customer support specialists, front-end developers, and student ambassadors to help create awareness on university campuses.
Neat is currently part of the SuperCharger fintech accelerator, backed by large companies like Standard Chartered, Baidu, and Ernst & Young.
Prior to moving to Hong Kong, Rosa had built a corporate career in the UK for years. When he first moved to Hong Kong 15 years ago, he was impressed how efficient and ‘edgy’ the city was. Also, Hong Kong’s famous pay-for-everything Octopus card had just been launched.
But in an e-mail to e27, he noted that the situation has changed lately: London has become the fintech capital of the world, and Hong Kong has fallen behind.
“At the heart of this success is a very forward-looking stance from the regulators, the Mayor of London as well as the venture capital industry. London has understood very early on that to survive as a global financial center it needs to foster a very healthy FinTech industry – or face dire economic consequences,” he explained.
“My feeling is that the pendulum is starting to swing the other way around again. So, though a lot more needs to be done, it’s a very exciting time to be involved in fintech in Hong Kong, and indeed in Asia,” he added.
Neat is partnering with several banks and financial institutions which will be announced during the product’s official launch.
The company has two main events to work towards this year. Apart from its initial launch in Hong Kong — which they have been preparing for by building a waiting list and getting as many signs-up as possible — they expect to gear up and start scaling just in time with new semester in September.
“We are a very ambitious team and our vision is to export Neat across Asia and our Artificial Intelligence capabilities to regions where Neobanks already exist,” Rosa said.
“We are also strong believers in building a product that delights users, so the first step is to establish a strong presence in Hong Kong as a solid proof of concept,” he ended.
Image Credit: Neat