Traditional banking can be a bore with forms to fill and long waiting periods. What if you could save and invest as easily as you could buy stuff from Amazon?
Bambu is a B2B robo-advisory software company who is on a mission to help bring traditional financial institutions into the digital age.
Started by Ned Philips in Hong Kong last year, Bambu sells the building blocks of robo-advisory services to banks and other institutions to allow them to offer these services to the end consumer. Philips, a 25-year veteran of the financial industry with deep FinTech experience, is a late-bloomer in the entrepreneur space. He started Bambu, his first startup, at 50, a time when most baby boomers are preparing for retirement.
“I realized that I am 50 and I didn't have a lot of time left if I wanted to start a new company. Demand for B2B FinTech digital services is high, so I started the company because the timing seemed right, the opportunity seemed right; and so far so good,” said Philips.
One pain point Bambu hopes to help banks solve is how tedious the offline banking process can be for its customers. Whether its savings or investing, the processing time for a client and waiting times involved is relatively long and expensive from the bank’s point of view.
Bambu aims to increase efficiency in the savings and investing process by giving banks the basic tools to offer online savings and investment services to their clients. Bambu also utilizes deep learning technology to provide clients with personalized investment solutions.
“We build the technology that enables banks to give their customers a proper digital wealth experience. We provide the building blocks, so the investment, the on-boarding experience, the design, the integration can all be built according to specification,” said Philips.
Philips, who has lived in Hong Kong for 13 years and has family in the city, said that Hong Kong was the obvious choice for a startup.
“In Asia, particularly as a gateway to China, Hong Kong is a place you have to be. There is a great number of financial firms here in great concentration, and this is where our clients are. So I have a personal connection, our clients are here and we are getting good traction in Hong Kong,” said Philips.
Currently Bambu has four clients, and over the next 12 months, Philips hopes to extend that number to 6-10 as well as to explore opportunities in the telecommunications, e-commerce, consumer space. Philips’s team of 14 is based in Singapore and Hong Kong, and he hopes to grow his business elsewhere in Asia in the near future. There is also a possibility that Philips will collaborate with his father, who is an expert in the field of deep learning and artificial intelligence.
“When you build a startup, particularly software, you have to picture it a lot. We pictured it 800 times in 12 months. I really enjoyed the process of picturing and having people go ‘wow, I like what you've built’, it’s good feeling,” said Philips.