Get to Know our Customer — Kroo

This week we spoke to Tim Brown, Co-Founder at Kroo, to understand their journey, the reality of running a business during COVID-19, and what they see as the future of fintech.

When was Kroo set up, and who was involved?

The idea of Kroo came about by Nazim, our CEO, and myself, at a coffee shop in 2015. We shared our frustrations about our day-to-day life. Particularly when it came to finances. Like most people, we socialise with friends and family on a regular basis, share the cost for group meals, and pay up-front for shared holidays.

We both expressed that we were constantly lost in the world of who owes who and how much. Was it a gift? Did we need to pay them back? Did they need to pay us back? Quite often there would be a level of awkwardness when meeting a friend. A lot of unspoken questions such as had either one of them under or overpaid the last time they met for a meal? Was anyone still out of pocket?

Kroo is the answer, it is where friends and money meet. We’re building a new bank that’s as social as you are. From holidays to flat shares and everything in-between.

Who exactly is your audience?

Typically, Kroo targets 25–35 year old consumers who are not only ambitious personally, but who want to make the world a better place. They pick Kroo because they want to join a company that aims to be the world’s best socially responsible bank.

What does that mean in reality? Well, Kroo will have a Board level Social Conscience Committee, we are currently sourcing a tree planting partner! And Kroo will partner with organisations that will allow us to positively impact the world we live in.

Can you share any stumbling blocks that were experienced in the early days?

I’m sure any founder will tell you that the biggest challenge after defining your vision is building the right team to help you get there. We’re currently a team of 40 people and we have a strict hiring process to ensure that we hire someone who fits into our culture.

We specifically look for people who represent our core values, that is humanism — do the right thing; ambition — believe you can be the best person you can; impact driven; move fast and stay agile; take on responsibility and champion diversity.

What are the things you are most proud of in your company’s journey?

We are extraordinarily proud of where we are. We started out with an idea to solve our personal problems and the idea that we will help thousands of customers is exciting.

Looking outside of Kroo now, how do you see your industry developing in the coming years?

The next few years are looking to be very interesting indeed. The pandemic has opened up the market in different ways. Some good and some not. High street bank branches have been closing all over the UK, cash seems to becoming a thing of the past and when the lockdowns are lifted there is a building anticipation for people to get out and start spending, sharing and enjoying life again.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has been going on for almost a year at the time of this interview. Can you share any survival tips for businesses?

Employee wellbeing is obviously a big thing. At Kroo we tried to make sure that our staff felt connected to one another. This is hard when you’re a startup with a growing team. We make sure that each team meets with their line manager as often as possible. Our CEO regularly gives company-wide updates so everyone on the team can ask questions and understand where the business is going. This gives our team peace of mind.

The pandemic forced us to adapt, change and invent. We expected a surge in customers during the summer months as they prepared to go on holiday and use our fee-free international exchange rate feature. When holidays were being cancelled our product teams decided to develop the app and features and release some new updates that I can’t talk about just yet.

And finally, what do you see as the future of fintech?

As the world starts to come to terms with a new way of living post Covid, the fintech’s that have made it through the turbulent times will come out leaner, stronger and ultimately more adaptable to change.

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