Ollie Purdue (CEO and Co-founder, Loot) has gone from law student to Mobile Banking superstar. Now Ollie is on his way to Apps World, ready to share how he is revolutionising money management. We find out how he built a mobile banking sensation…
Thomas Campbell: Hi Ollie. First things first: tell us about the origins of Loot?
Ollie Purdue: I was a uni student last year. And when I was at uni I found managing money was a bit of a nightmare. I had a NatWest app that showed me my balance. But because of student loans and stuff the number was never really valid. I also used a money management app to track my spending. But because I entered all the data myself it never stayed up to date.
I wanted a way of merging the two together. One where you can open the app up and it shows you how much money you can spend because it’s also your banking service. So that’s what we built. It launched on the 10th of September. Now we’re in the phase where we’re going around Freshers’ Fairs signing people up.
How come there was this gap ripe for your innovation?
I think it’s because banks are so widespread. If anyone with NatWest uses the same app it doesn’t matter whether they’re a millionaire or whether they’re unemployed or have no job or they’re a student – they’re all stuck with the same thing. But people in different markets have different problems.
While half of students are downloading apps to help them with their money, the banks aren’t doing anything. They’ve got to keep their apps fairly generic, otherwise they’re going to piss off everyone else I guess.
Plus it’s in the interests of banks for people not to be wholly in control of their money…
Definitely. That’s how banks make their money. They make their money from fees and charges. The way we’ve built our bank is different. We will make money when people save money. For instance, if we give everyone deals with things that are relevant and they use those deals then we’ll make money.
What are your immediate aims for Loot?
For the moment we’re targeting 100,000 users by the end of the year, which would be good for our initial launch. We’re talking to banks about rebranding their accounts and launching a new current account, which would be great. And then also we’re talking to brands about providing deals to our user based on their spending habits, which would be really cool.
What apps have inspired Loot?
We looked at a lot of money management apps to see what they did right and what they did wrong. There was a big view generally that no one really wanted to have to manually enter data and do it themselves. It showed that, even though a lot of these apps might have a really nice UI, the whole thinking behind them was wrong because people really don’t want to have to do that.
What’s the secret to successful app development do you think?
I think the biggest thing is just to make sure it’s really simple and refined. Just show that number one thing. If you look at Citymapper – which I really like – you literally just enter where you need to go and it does the rest. It doesn’t really tell you how it mapped it out because no-one really cares about that.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Apps World Europe?
It’ll be good to meet loads of different people from loads of different industries other than finance – to see if they have similar issues.