my thoughts: CEO Simon Rabin
26th October 2018
We’ve been working on Chip for a little over 18 months now and it’s fair to say we’ve learned a lot along the way.
As we move forward into an incredibly exciting period of growth I thought I’d take the opportunity to write down some of my thoughts about our journey so far. I’d like to share them with you, things we’ve done well as well as things we could have done better.
Stuff we’ve done well
One thing that has struck me recently is the sheer growth in the number savers being helped by Chip. Over 75,000 people have used Chip to save a combined £58 million. We expect that by the end of next year this will increase to £150 million for over 300,000 savers.
Up to now, that’s £58 million towards holidays (7,521 and counting), engagement rings and rainy days. On the topic of engagement, I’d like to extend our congratulations to ChipMunks Alex and Maisie. Alex’s Chip savings funded the engagement ring, and there’s a little left over for the big day too…way to go, guys!
Knowing that Chip makes a positive difference is amazing. But we don’t want to stop there. That’s why, as a team, we have pushed for more.
Open Banking Integration
We are helping drive a revolution in FinTech and the UK’s adoption of OpenBanking API’s. That’s why we are proud to announce that by the end of the year we’ll have OpenBanking integration with both Starling Bank and Monzo. This is real marketplace banking in action and a real credit to the entire Challenger Bank community.
authorisation to lend
We have made significant progress toward our aim of achieving a full banking licence. We have been granted authorisation to start lending and this has a real impact for all our savers to gain access to higher returns on their Chip savings.
Production of ChipX, our returns engine, is now well underway and we have started sharing ideas and development proposals via our Chip Champion and ChipMunk communities.
Up to this point, we have received over 8,000 ideas in community feedback relating to our new Xplainer series. Growth in our communities is an area where we feel especially proud and value them tremendously. Our company has become truly customer (or in our case saver) focussed. It has developed into something where our savers make key decisions on how our product develops. We want to prioritise our next moves based on your needs.
British banking awards
A proud recognition of our progress is reflected in the fact that we have been Nominated in the ‘Best Personal Finance App’ at the British Banking Awards 2019. Something we will let you know more about in the near future.
THINGS WE CAN DO BETTER
Our impressive growth rate has put some strains on our technology stack and development team, especially as we have had to focus resource on the development of new features. The influx of new savers has led to several issues with bank connections. We have worked on the issue and continue to do so. However, at times we haven’t responded quickly enough and have found it difficult to put the limited resources we have into action in the right areas.
Whilst our Saver Happiness and live chat team have always tried their best to communicate any problems with savers quickly and honestly, I know there have been frustrations around getting issues fixed. We’ve learned a lot from this, primarily that it’s not good enough to just acknowledge a problem but we must have the resources to fix them quickly. We’re confident that improvements will be made in this area.
2.0 Speed of Delivery: It’s coming…then again, so is christmas!
Our investor community was dying to get their hands on Chip 2.0. I received countless personal emails from savers asking to try it. At the end of September, we exclusively invited them to beta test the new and improved version of Chip. We rolled it out to over 1,000 savers who have been giving us priceless feedback since then.
However, in hindsight, we released the beta too early. It hadn’t been tested sufficiently before we had real Chip savers trying to save with it. Frankly, it wasn’t good enough and our beta testers made big sacrifices to get us where we are now.
To all of them who have helped us through this process, thank you. We have learnt an invaluable amount, your help means that when 2.0 is rolled out to ChipMunks, the remainder of 75,000 savers and hundreds-of-thousands more in the future, they will receive a product we can all be very proud of.
Up to this point, I’d like to extend my thanks to the whole team, they work incredibly hard and I’m very proud of their achievements.
What are the lessons I’ve learned up to this point? Two things: to support our growth, we need to be more realistic with development expectations, plan a little better and make substantial investments in our technology going forward.
We have already started implementing improvements. We have welcomed in a new COO and a new Product Manager. These new additions will share the responsibility for organising and prioritising fixes, releases and time frames. They are two very experienced people who are well versed in overseeing exponential growth in tech and startup companies. Our new management structures ensure that Chip will be able to cope with our ever-increasing user base and publicity.
By making organisational improvements, I can ensure we deliver on our promise of transparency with our Savers.
We have big ambitions for Chip2.0 and ChipX.
There’s some very important news coming next week on how you can play a central role in taking Chip to the next level. Until then, I’d like to say thanks for taking the time to read my reflections, and I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on how Chip should move forward.
I look forward to speaking to you again, very soon.
Simon Rabin, CEO.