Like making proper photo albums or cutting down on carbs, saving is a brilliant idea with clear benefits. But in the face of real life, it’s very hard to do
That’s why Ross Tappin and Krissy Bordas launched an app called Swave to help even big, impulsive spenders put a bit by for a rainy day (or an ISA, or to help their children through university, or any other savings goal).
Like a lot of apparently simple, user-friendly things, Swave is actually very clever and quite complex. The app deploys an analysis and algorithm framework to transform customer transaction data into “save nudges”.
You buy your morning coffee, Swave suggests you slide a few pence into your savings account at the same time. You pick up a new paperback – and you get a nudge to save. One simple swipe is all it takes and you’re another small step towards your savings goal.
Ross and Krissy were confident enough in Swave to leave their careers in investment and hedge fund technology.
But even when it’s well-founded, confidence in yourself and your idea is not necessarily enough – you need the confidence of others too. And that, Krissy says, is where Innovate UK’s awards came in.
“Shortly after deciding to leave our careers for start-up life we entered the Innovate UK Financial Literacy Challenge, a Digital Innovation Contest to receive grant funding from the UK government to fund our new venture,” she said.
“The challenge had been set in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, who were judging solutions to help financial education and inclusion. We were delighted to win the competition and the funding meant we were able to take on our first employee. Being named as winners also gave us confidence that we’d made the right decision to leave our careers and that other people also believed in our idea.”
Money talks, but so does good company and access to consumers
The funding that Ross and Krissy won meant they could accelerate Swave’s development. But according to Krissy the non-financial rewards were just as important.
“Being offered desk space on the innovation floor at Lloyds Banking Group has been brilliant as we built our product and worked towards launching a pilot,” she explained.
The innovation floor at the Lloyds Banking Group digital centre is home to a team of innovators – small groups, each working on their own projects and pilots. That makes it the perfect incubator for a project like Swave, says Krissy.
“As we were still shaping our idea, and since our team is still very small, it has been invaluable to have access to the range of experts within Lloyds Banking Group. On the innovation floor they trial numerous ideas and experiments with customers every year and have extensive experience in designing user experiences and running successful pilots.”
The traffic of ideas and information is two-way though. Thanks to Ross and Krissy’s past roles, Lloyds Banking Group innovation teams have gained insights into the complex technology of wealth management and hedge funds whilst the two Swave founders have themselves gained essential exposure to their app’s future users – real people.
What next for Swave?
A beta version of the app is about to be tested amongst Lloyds Banking Group employees and early in 2016 a version will launch to a group of Lloyds and Halifax bank customers.
Krissy concluded: “To test Swave we need access to personal financial data, but that’s very hard to come by. So without the help of Lloyds we would only have been able to test with friends and family, and they aren’t always the most reliable critics!”
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