Chief executive and founder
In two sentences or less, describe your product or service.
Xinja is Australia’s first, independent, 100% digital bank designed entirely for mobile. Designed with our customers and in their interests, it makes it easy and even fun for them to track their spend, save for what they want and just get a lot more out of their money and make better money decisions without the angst.
What has been the company's biggest milestone to date?
Probably the moment the very first version of the app worked on my phone. We had worked so hard, been through so much to launch the company, and had spoken to so many pre-registered customers about how banking should be and what they want and need, and then to finally see Xinja in the palm of your hand – however early stage – was a critical moment of truth. It meant a lot. And seeing really strong interest from offshore investors just after we went public. That blew us away.
What’s your most useful advice for having a productive day?
Always understand your critical path and be brutal in executing your tasks in accordance with it. Oh, and don’t stress if you can’t reply to every email that lands in your inbox.
Where do you see the company in 12 months?
We hope to have several thousand Xinja customers who have already benefited from using the Xinja app to improve their money mindfulness and financial outcomes. We hope we’ll be able to quantify that impact in actual money saved and in the happy tone of their comments.
Our first product – the prepaid card – will have been fully in the market for several months, we should have launched home loans, and we’ll be looking forward to launching transactional accounts, if we haven’t already. We’ll probably have about 60 staff by then, and we’ll be digging into data deeply as we progress our AI to offer ever smarter suggestions to customers.
Which book has had the most influence on your professional mindset?
Maverick by Ricardo Semler. Semler’s whole management philosophy is about trust and democratisation. Both he and I call BS on the accepted wisdom that the best structure for a business is an organisational pyramid designed for an 18th century paper mill in England.
Why is it that we accept that “junior” staff can't be trusted? That we need to tell them when and how much holiday they can have? That we need to issue tasks for them to complete, rather than give them aspirations and objectives and let them find a way to achieve it? Why do we tolerate “senior” people expecting deference, big offices and a fancy car park? Semler tapped into the innate decency and aspirational nature of human beings, and I hope very much to follow his example.
The fintechFIVE is a series of five questions intended to shed light on innovative companies from Australia and around the world. Every Thursday we ask the same five questions to a representative from a different fintech company – check out the most recent fintechFIVEs here.