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Posted on February 21, 2018 by staff

Tech entrepreneur raising £500k for ‘smartphone as a bank’

A serial tech entrepreneur who developed the world’s first fully automated lending robot is hoping to raise £500,000 for his new digital bank.

Marko Sjoblom is behind app-only banking start-up Fiinu, which wants to use technology to disrupt the global banking industry and solve some of its biggest problems.

The London-based company’s aim is to provide products and services – including short-term credit – to people and small businesses that feel excluded or underserved by the existing financial services sector.

The aspiring digital bank has not yet received its licence from the Bank of England but has embarked on a £500,000 equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs ahead of its anticipated launch in early 2019.

“We want to become a ‘smartphone as a bank’,” founder and CEO Marko Sjoblom told BusinessCloud.

“Our vision is that whenever we see a failure in the financial services market, we try and solve or fix that failure through the innovative use of technology.”

The 47-year-old was inspired to create the bank after realising that half of the UK’s population are excluded from accessing affordable short-term bank credit and are paying £1.2bn in unarranged overdraft fees as a result.

One of his previous ventures was MyJar, an overdraft-style lending business.

“The initial idea of setting up a bank is something I started talking about nearly 10 years ago,” he said. “I’d always wanted to turn my previous business, MyJar, into a bank. I guess that’s where it all started.”

Sjoblom has developed the world’s first fully automated lending robot, which he says will serve as a significant differentiator between Fiinu and other digital challenger banks.

It will use data made available by PSD2 and Open Banking to provide small overdrafts to millions of people within the payday loan price cap.

“Fiinu’s 100 per cent automated lending robot, which we are still developing, together with the FiinuScore are allowing us to undercut the market by an average of 85 per cent and still make a profit,” he said.

“The consumers will be the biggest winners of our disruptive innovation.”

If the company’s crowdfunding round is successful, the proceeds will be used primarily as working capital until Fiinu secures its banking licence.