At Shasta we are big believers in the importance of providing your customers an amazing experience. You can have the best technology algorithms, you can have a great customer acquisition marketing team, and you can have big partners distributing your product, but none of that is likely to matter in the long-term if your product isn’t simple, intuitive and easy to use. In the short-term you may acquire lots of users, but they’ll only return and engage if the product works. Google crushed Yahoo with better, more accurate search results. Facebook crushed MySpace with a more useful and easy-to-use product. And Apple crushed the mobile phone industry and forever changed the trajectory of mobile computing with the elegant and intuitive iPhone.
And yet there still are some very big markets dominated by huge incumbents that have yet to adopt this mentality. The airline industry. Your cable company. Your wireless carriers. Most companies from these industries view customer service as a cost center, not a revenue driver. They prioritize short-term profitability over making long-term investments in product innovation. They have countless opportunities to wow us with awe-inspiring Apple-like experiences and yet they continually disappoint and frustrate us.
Another such industry is the consumer banking industry. For years the banking industry has made money by confusing its customers. Don’t pay attention to your account and you’re almost guaranteed to get hit with hidden fees and charges. Call into customer service and find a long wait and an overly complex IVR menu. Wait on hold as you’re passed from one service rep to another because their backend systems are not integrated. Pull your hair out as you attempt to navigate antiquated and downright ugly web and mobile banking interfaces. The consumer banking experience has suffered for a long time and unfortunately the problem has only worsened over the last decade as consolidation among big banks has led to fewer choices for consumers.
Two years ago Josh Reich and Shamir Karkal dreamt of a better way. They had a vision for a bank that put the customer first. A bank that provided the best web and mobile tools to manage and understand your money. A bank that didn’t profit from hidden fees. A bank that viewed great customer service as an opportunity, not a hindrance. A simple bank. They later added Alex Payne to the team and off to the races with BankSimple they went.
Since then they’ve made amazing progress towards this bold vision. They’ve built a talented and world class team of engineers, designers, operations specialists, customer service experts and marketers. They’ve partnered with the innovative transaction processing company TxVia. They’ve teamed up with Bancorp and CBW, partner “back-end” banks empowering them to offer FDIC-insured products to their customers. They’ve partnered with Visa to provide cash back at millions of merchants and with Allpoint to provide fee-free access to over 43,000 ATMs. And they’ve started eating their own dogfood. Most importantly, they’ve remained laser-focused on their audacious goal to finally give banking customers what they deserve – an amazing banking experience.
At Shasta we’re looking to back entrepreneurs that share our passion for amazing customer experiences. We’re looking for entrepreneurs with bold and crazy ideas. We’re looking for entrepreneurs that are willing to challenge the status quo and that have the execution chops to actually pull it off. Within minutes of meeting Josh and Shamir I knew we had found such a team. Josh, Shamir, Alex and team – we’re incredibly excited to partner with you today to help you further transform this big vision into reality.