I visited Ed Maslaveckas from Bud recently, who runs things from TechHub London in the shadow of CityPoint, surrounded by more Pret A Manger outlets than you can shake an organic wrap at. It was nice to do a face to face interview for a change, as most episodes of the BankNXT Fintech Podcast are conducted over Skype, and despite practising Ed’s surname a couple of times, I think I still got it wrong. He was polite enough to let me get away with it.
We talked about open banking platforms, PSD2, authentication and data security. Because Bud will offer advice to its users, there’s a data science team busy sculpting an algorithm: “It’s two things,” says Ed. “Yes, it’s algorithmic and it’s learning to some extent, but it’s actually learning about the individual consumer. So if we push a notification that says ‘You spent 20% more on coffee this week’ than you would have liked to, and you said ‘Ignore it’, we know you don’t like to hear about these kind of things. We start to build a picture of the individual – a full picture of the consumer.”
Getting a fuller picture of the consumer could prevent the mis-selling of products, and the creation of a digital one-to-one relationship is what Ed says Bud is focusing on. It’s also about making sure that, from the many thousands of financial apps available, only those most relevant to you are pushed into view.
I ask Ed about his background before becoming CEO and co-founder of Bud. You can hear for yourself, but nearly all of his answers throughout the interview come back to thinking of himself as a customer; putting himself in everyone else’s shoes when it comes to looking after your personal finances. It was a refreshing (and, I felt, genuine) conversation about making things better and easier, and our discussion didn’t necessarily follow the path of targets, bottom line and funding.
“Because we don’t really offer a financial service, we can speak to everyone and get engaged with people,” says Ed. “We can work on new APIs with loads of third parties, so it’s a really interesting place to sit now, with changes going on in the insurance market, and data, and regulation.”You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.