Banking is broken and we’re fixing it

Those who know me personally will attest to my passion for the intersection where design meets financial services. While I’ve never been able to quite narrow down where it comes from, I’ve always been fascinated with new ways of interacting with financial products and the mass amounts of data that pass through our economies every minute.

Back in early 2014, I started 12Labs with Yemani Mason, a driven, US-based entrepreneur and we embarked on a venture to give the masses access to high frequency trading technologies. While we never got exactly where we had planned, I learned the poignant of what experience the 21st century human being was seeking when interacting with financial information.

Upon return to Australia, a stint at the University of Sydney made me realise that tertiary education just isn’t for me and sparked a newfound interest in the practical application of design in technology. I was fortunate enough to subsequently join Deepend, one of Australia’s preeminent independent digital / design agencies. Again, in my nearly 18 months with the agency I learned more lessons however this time these learnings were on the service side and complimented my time in the USA working on the 12Labs product suite tremendously.

I learned the value of effective technical solution design, business development and that complex problems need to be validated thoroughly before recommending an definite answer.

In September last year, I met Sam Nixon, a Canberra-based Commerce/Law student at the first Sydney Fintech Startup Weekend. He had an appetite to tackle a number of problems plaguing the Australian financial services sector and at the time was a budding young professional at EY. Over that weekend, we created a model that forced savings on users to ensure they could afford to buy into real estate. It was rough and messily compiled code but it worked and we consider that to be the beginning of where this current venture began.

As a bit of a side-note, the most interesting part of that weekend was a statement made by Al Bentley, the founder of Simply Wall Street, mentioning that these events are perfect for meeting potential co-founders. Without a doubt, weekends like the Fintech Startup Weekend are incredible networking opportunities for those looking to connect with likeminded individuals looking to build cool stuff, particular yin the niche space of financial technology.

Immediately after the startup weekend, we went on to start HomeFund, an automated savings framework that served as a sort of short-term superannuation. We made tremendous progress during our short tenure working on the idea, developing the calculator that determined a persons ability to save for a property investment, taking into account the future value of the property and assigning them a fund based on their adversity to risk. This led to a discussion with H2 Ventures, Sydney’s own, fintech-oriented venture capital firm. We chatted about transparency in banking, and pain-points in managing both savings and investments and spawned an entirely new idea.

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We’re calling this idea Mosaic. At a high level, it’s the bank account built for the connected future by combining investment, transaction and savings accounts into one product. Using our own engine, we’re able to allow a user to invest in any asset class they wish if they’re an active investor or be risk profiled to determine a passive fund best suited to their situation. These investments replace cash (nearly entirely) which effectively eliminates the inflationary race and when a user needs to make a purchase of any kind, the account intelligently liquidates assets depending on pre-determined risk-assessed settings to provide liquidity as necessary.

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The problem we’re tackling extends beyond an individuals devaluing, cash-centric bank account. It addresses the disconnect in the investment world by creating a platform in which any asset class is accessible. Even more importantly, it allows the uninformed masses to efficiently have their money invested in assets with a genuine return on investment in comparison to the ordinary 3% that the bank gives.

We’re going to be providing all of this through a device that everyone owns. The humble iPhone. Initially we’re developing directly within iOS with plans to release an Android partner version not long afterwards. The system will talk directly to your bank account (Australian’s only at this stage) and you’ll be able to move money directly across to your Mosaic account. Essentially, you’ll be able to see your entire banking landscape all through Mosaic (even if you have multiple bank accounts) and be able to ensure your money is always sitting within assets providing the highest return on investment. Think of Mosaic as a bank account on steroids and what makes it even better is you don’t even have to think about it if you don’t want to.

So what’s next? We’ve received angel investment and partnered with H2 Ventures. We’ll be participating in the H2 Accelerator to grow and develop over the coming months. We’ve got pretty bold plans for the space and are always looking for likeminded and passionate people to join us so keep an eye out at Mosaic People.

Side-note 2: For those who wanted to see HomeFund released, we won’t be building the savings framework however we’re planning to offer a similar style real estate-focussed fund through Mosaic at some point in the future.

We’re taking on an initial round of users in the coming months to test an account. Sign up here if you’d like to be a part of the initial beta release.

We’ll also be regularly releasing updates to the product and other Mosaic news through our official company blog page. 

Want to know more? Drop me a message or come in for a coffee at our office within Stone and Chalk.

mattjones ()

Co-Founder and CTO of Mosaic.