"If you do things that are already known, you’re not innovating. New territory comes with making mistakes." - Frank Jan Risseeuw, Yolt

Hello friendly blog readers. I’m trialling a new format of the blog this month. If you find the podcast a little tl;dr, (too long; didn’t read) then you can now use this blog post to catch up in an easily digestible format. And if once you’ve read it, you want to have a listen, as always you can find us here.

This month, Ben and I spoke to Frank Jan Risseeuw, the CEO of Yolt, on their journey from an idea at ING 2.5 years ago, to 500,000 registered users and a plan for European expansion.

What is Yolt?

  • Yolt is a new money management ‘aggregator’ app which has just reached 500,000 registered users in the UK.
  • Why the UK? Yolt was launched here first because Frank Jan said it’s the capital of FinTech innovation, with a large appetite to test new apps. There’s also a wide banking landscape and a real opportunity to bring a digital only banking app to the market.
  • However, Yolt have recently launched a closed Beta test in Italy and France to see how the product will grow in this market.
  • The Yolt journey began in 2016 at ING, when the new open banking legislation was coming into play. ING wanted to capitalise on this and saw an opportunity to create a ‘bank without the balance sheet’. 

Many a corporate innovation or new idea never get off the ground. What is Yolt’s recipe for success? For Frank Jan, you need to have the following:

  • A clear purpose
  • A good plan
  • The trust of investors or the company backing the concept 
  • The right culture, which he defined as: the right people, who have the freedom to work and deliver 
  • Belief and trust in your idea: not bringing in new features and ideas every week – but sticking with the idea and having regular check-ins 
  • An ambitious yet resilient attitude – understanding that you need to get things to market quickly, in order to learn. When you do things that don’t work or make mistakes – that’s all part of it. 

ING had an idea, and Frank Jan took the role of CEO and started to build his team. What did he look for in the people he was bringing onboard?

  • People who can see the big picture, and understand the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve
  • People who can make traction, always taking small, agile steps to get things done
  • People who strive not for 99% but for 100% when the time comes

How did Yolt approach testing?

  • Test and learn cycles were employed throughout the process, starting with discussions with customers about their attitudes and thoughts on money management
  • Continuing to run focus groups and testing around the topic of ‘Unthink’, as Unthink Money is Yolt’s tagline, to continue to engage customers
  • Building a community of power users who were very invested in the product
  • A flexible roadmap of planned features which would change depending on customer feedback

And finally, here’s a picture of the Yolt team accepting their Excellence in Innovation Award at the CEAs this year. Well done Yolt!