Bunq “not that impacted by coronavirus” as CEO Ali Niknam mulls acquisitions

By Aisling Finn on Friday 22 May 2020

Digital Banking

Speaking at the AltFi Digital Summit 2020 Niknam also teased the possibility of a future fundraise.

Bunq “not that impacted by coronavirus” as CEO Ali Niknam mulls acquisitions
Image source: Ali Niknam (right)/AltFi.

The world of fintech is experiencing turbulence at the moment, owing to the coronavirus pandemic and the global economic downturn that has ensured.

Ali Niknam, founder of TransIP the thrid biggest domain name provider in the world and CEO of Dutch challenger bank bunq, says that he, and his company, remain unphased by the current disruption.

“Frankly we’re not that impacted by coronavirus, other than us having to work from home.”

“We are seeing that our revenue is still growing at an incredible pace. We’re seeing interchange revenue slightly decline because of travel restrictions but, we are seeing an increase in pace for our business subscriptions,” Niknam said at the AltFi Digital Summit 2020 last week

In particular, Niknam pointed to the fact that bunq has a lot of features and benefits that its competitors don’t, such as its Green and Super Green subscriptions that allow users to plant trees when they use their cards.

“We were founded as a response to the previous financial crisis, so doing good for the world has always been a part of our DNA and we’re always trying to think of ways to make life easier.”

The challenger bank has currently helped users plant over 100,000 trees and will help its users become CO2 free in under two years. 

Bunq has a very active community of users who have suggested "a lot" of updates to its app and Niknam says he even goes as far to "pinpoint the exact user who makes a request" and has even met some who've successfully made suggestions in the past.

The CEO also hinted at the possibility of acquiring one of bunq’s fintech peers: “we are also looking to see if we can find some opportunities for ourselves.”

“There’s a high quality of assets available at a discount, so somewhere down the line, there will be some sort of mergers or acquisitions by incumbents. But, I’d be surprised if nothing happens,” Niknam told AltFi.

Niknam credits a customer-centric approach, as opposed to a profit-driven one, to bunq’s successes, and says that now it has perfected this approach it could be time to look for funding elsewhere, as, to date, Niknam remains the largest investor in bunq.

“I believe the one thing companies should focus on when they launch is making sure they have a product that their customers love to use.”

“We’ve been tremendously successful in understanding what our users want and how to make their lives easy and now that that is ingrained in our DNA we can now at least consider getting funding,” he added.

So, according to Niknam bunq's success can be put down to a keen focus on customer satisfaction, an active user base and trying to keep bunq as the "bank of the free" for as long as possible.

Watch the full AltFi Digital Summit interview with Bunq CEO Ali Niknam:

Rewatch AltFi Digital Summit Day 1: Revolut, Freetrade, ComplyAdvantage, Innovate Finance and Nutmeg

Rewatch AltFi Digital Summit Day 2: PensionBee, Starling Bank, Just Cashflow, Bunq and Plaid

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