Can you believe that it’s been nearly one and a half years since we launched the Lodex Marketplace!
We had a big vision to help Australians access financial services more cost effectively by putting the power of back into the consumer’s hands. Since we have grown our product offering and have a wonderful community of Lodex members auctioning their loans and deposits on the Lodex Marketplace, we thought it was a good time to check in with our CEO, Mic Phillipou, to see where the journey has taken us so far and what the plans are for the future.
Here are the highlights from our chat with Mic.
We have to think differently in order to compete, and most importantly we need to partner with strategically aligned, best-in-class professionals.
What has been our biggest learning since the launch of Lodex?
After working with large banks with wonderful support when it comes to staff, systems, processes, brand presence and capital, to build a company from scratch, with none of this in place initially, was no mean feat. We have needed to be very focussed, efficient and disciplined with our time and capital in order to hit our milestones and compete in a very saturated space. Moreover, we have been focussed on recruiting people who share our belief and passion in the company’s vision.
As financial services is highly-regulated, ensuring that we hold all the required licences has been a key focus. This foundation has been an important focus and has taken us time to put in place. Other key learnings include the need to keep investing heavily in the tech platform in order to remain relevant, the fact that as a marketplace, we have had to be very focussed on building both sides including users and paid customers, as well as needing to invest heavily in partnerships in order to share mutual value and scale with greater speed. Finally, we have learnt that you need to continue to optimise and iterate your offering… more frequently than we perhaps planned for 🙂
What’s next for Lodex?
We have long researched the banking market offshore and studied the winning business models. Accordingly, after observing and learning from the likes of European fintechs including Revolut, Monzo, Starling Bank, N26 and Tandem Bank, we have been working on building a similar mobile bank-as-a-platform offering through a digital wallet to meet the needs of the users especially the younger Millennials.
We are now getting set to softly launch the e-Wallets to market in July this year, which will be separate from our marketplace financial services hub initially.
Why are you integrating digital currency trading and payments?
Whilst blockchain is still very much a nascent technology, the demand to trade, hold and sell digital currencies has grown markedly over the last 5 years. We have seen a growing desire by consumers wanting to gain safe and compliant access & exposure to digital currencies. These are technologies of the future, and whilst Lodex’s core focus is on traditional banking services, these are features that we want to be able to offer our wallet holders so they don’t have to leave our wallet.
How has the market impacted your change in direction?
We are in the midst of the biggest transformation banking and financial services has seen as a result of the advancement of technology and open banking laws coming into play. Consumers are demanding banking services from their mobile and want access immediately. Services such as payments, money transfer, credit and deposit products all need to be easily accessible via one’s phone. Banks and other traditional financial services organisations are all looking to optimise their digital offering to remain relevant as they invariably have enormous fixed costs in terms of infrastructure (branches), core banking systems that may be out of date and legacy processes that require manual handling. Accordingly, we are seeing more and more traditional players partner with fintechs to improve their digital offering and acquire younger customers.
On the other side, we went through the boom of the digital currency phase in late 2017/early 2018 where bitcoin reached record highs ($20k approx) and then the market crash followed with the hype being washed away. We still see opportunity in the digital currency market, particularly the application of the blockchain technology to facilitate payments, and then people still have an innate desire to want to be exposed to the next Bitcoin where they can make significant wealth. Digital currencies provide this potential opportunity.
Why always launch Australia first?
We are Australia-based, boast a deep understanding of the market and hold all requisite licences, so it is our plan to become a good player in this market, win the hearts of locals and then assess opportunities for expansion into other markets. The platform is built for scale so once the company is ready, we will be able to push into another market.
What is the legacy you want to leave?
At Lodex, we are committed to adding value to the consumer when it comes to financial services. We want to be known for creating platforms that enable people to access financial services with greater ease and at the fairest possible price, in Australia initially and then offshore.
Anything else you want to share?
Starting a business from scratch and competing in a category where your competitors have marketing budgets in the hundreds of millions along with armies of people to deliver the products is challenging. We have to think differently in order to compete, and most importantly we need to partner with strategically aligned, best-in-class professionals.
We have had great help along the way from our staff and outstanding Chairman, as well as learning from other wonderful established businesses such as Finder onshore and the Neos offshore. We will continue to invest in recruiting experts in their field of expertise and partnering with the best in their categories as we are banking on the fact that this will help us remain relevant.
Working as a team to build a fair, easy and transparent marketplace has been an incredible journey.
Thanks Mic for having us as part of your journey and for forever looking at ways to improve the delivery of financial services.